[Review] Jessica Jones Episode 2×13: “Playland”

written by Brandon Moore

It is a universally acknowledged truth that family road trips suck. It’s time to cross the finish line in Episode 13.


Malcolm finishes repairing Jessica’s apartment, cleaning up both the damage and himself. One haircut and sharp suit later and he’s at Jeri’s door. No longer an associate of Alias Investigations, he decides to freelance for Jeri. Using the dirt he’s got on her partners, he helps Jeri walk away from the law firm with a ridiculously large severance along with all her clients to start her own practice. Jeri is impressed with how far Malcolm has come from being Jessica’s do-gooder backup, but she doesn’t keep him on for more work. Malcolm is chagrined, but the check she hands him takes the sting out of it. He’s got a taste for success.

Trish is finally starting to look less dead. With Jessica and Alisa on the run, she’s even more desperate to help. She thinks Jessica’s mom is a blind spot in Jessica’s judgement and she needs to make her see reason. The police, now hunting both of the Jones women, ask Trish if she knows where they might be. She tells them she has no idea, but she was totally crossing her fingers behind her back when she said it.

Speaking of our superpowered rage-a-holics, Jessica wakes up to find herself in a Winnebago of emotion. Alisa proposes they can fix each other! Jessica apparently helps keep Alisa’s rage in check and Alisa can help Jessica with all of her family issues, all while traveling the country and doing good! David Banner and his sad piano theme would be proud. They even get a dry run in saving a family from an explosive car accident. Jessica warms to the idea of having a life with her mother and even reaches out to Oscar for help getting out of the country. Unfortunately, that gets the cops on their tails. Alisa realizes that a life with her daughter means a life on the run, a life always in danger, and she doesn’t want that for her.

The two end up at Playland and ride the Ferris wheel from Jessica’s happy memory. Alisa is going to turn herself in. Jessica fights back against this idea, but Alisa won’t have it. In a deeply touching moment between mother and daughter, Alisa tell Jessica just how proud she is of her. Jessica is strong, she is a hero, and she is better than Alisa could ever be. The last thing to go through Alisa’s mind is a bullet fired by Trish Walker.

Wait, what?

In a blood-splattered instant, Alisa is dead and Jessica leaps down to confront the killer. Trish pleads with Jessica. The cops would kill them both! Jessica couldn’t see! Someone had to save her from herself! Jessica grabs the gun and trembles with rage before telling Trish to run. The cops arrive to find her sitting with Alisa’s body in anguished shock at losing her mother all over again.

Everything is awful. Malcolm is working for Pryce, trading his moral compass for a paycheck. Trish is disowned by her sister and also has what appears to be superhuman balance and agility. Jessica has learned that maybe she shouldn’t push the world away and drown in a bottle. As she sits down to dinner with Oscar and his son, it begins to look like maybe she’s discovered the value in true personal connections. My heart.

Season One was about overcoming past trauma. Season Two is a tragedy about finding your place in the world. Malcolm wants to help his friends, yet he’s used and abused for his efforts so much that he gives up and starts to just look out for himself. Trish is so desperate in her quest to do what she is convinced is right that she becomes a murderer. Jessica is suddenly given the gift of her mother. Once she’s realized that she is indeed a hero and actually does crave the loving relationships that she’s pushed away for so long, her mother is cruelly torn from her. It’s a painful path for our characters to walk as they learn, grow, and fall.

This season started a little slow, had a stumble in the middle, and finished very strong. All of the central actors put in quality, heart-wrenching performances. It pains me to watch my favorite of the Defenders go through such heartache. That pain means that the show is doing its job and doing it well. Season Three can’t come soon enough.

Jessica Jones is available now on Netflix. Brandon can be reached on Twitter @BluThundur.

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