written by Kiara Williams
Ahhhh, gotta love the smell of vacuum-sealed corpses in the morning.
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
Jessica thinks about her mother as the police pull the body parts of Salinger’s victims from the train tank. In voiceover, we hear her think that her mother would have loved that Jess was able to use her power to expose a bad guy and be a hero. “Maybe I want it, too,” she adds. Maybe she’s finally becoming more comfortable accepting that title.
Trish, who is playing hooky from work again and sticking her mother with the job of covering for her, wants to go kick Salinger’s door in and drag him out by his eyebrow hair. However, with all of Salinger’s knowledge at his disposal, it would only bring trouble if they did that. (How many times have I said this over the past few episodes? It feels like 18 million.)
Meanwhile, Erik wakes up to find he’s been duct-taped to a chair. Final Boss Incel Salinger has him in a dark kitchen, with a camera set up to capture Erik’s face as he admits all his wrongdoings. Salinger claims that powered people have cheated the system and enjoy things they don’t deserve, and as a black woman I have to laugh to keep from punching a hole in my TV. Salinger has had enough money and intellect to get multiple degrees and do anything he wants, and he chooses to be a serial killer instead of anything else remotely productive. All this because he was jealous of his brother and wanted his father’s love and attention, but sure, powered people are the problem. Is he gonna start yelling “They’re takin’ our jobs!” next?
Salinger wants to know how Erik found out about him. Erik tries hard to avoid telling him about his power of Douche Radar, but Salinger’s bloodlust and bad intentions are so strong that simply grabbing Erik’s hair causes blood to leak from his eyes. I get strong Harry Potter/Voldemort vibes, and I can’t help but chuckle while saying “I can touch you now.” However, because of this moment, Erik’s power doesn’t stay secret for long.
Jess runs into Detective Costa as the police investigate Salinger’s apartment. She’s not supposed to be at any crime scenes, but Jess isn’t always one to listen. Jess points out that there are only seven names on the victims list, but there are eight people in Salinger’s photo album. She needs the list in order to find the last victim and find out where they are. Costa is like “I absolutely, positively cannot give you this list, Jess” and then proceeds to “accidentally” drop the list on the ground in front of her, because he’s an alright dude.
Jess and Trish go back to Alias Investigations and find Dorothy there. Jess just straight-up tells her that Trish has superpowers, and when she doesn’t believe her, Jess chucks Trish out of a window to prove it. Trish lands on her feet, of course, and when she gets back into the office, Jess leaves her and Dorothy to talk about it. Trish is finally able to share her true feelings about her mother pushing her into stardom, and it doesn’t go over well. Dorothy leaves, broken-hearted. Maybe they’ll eventually be able to mend things.
Malcolm, oh Malcolm. One bad day can change so much. Malcolm goes back to Berry’s street corner and beats the crap out of her pimp as revenge for the sucker-punch from last episode, and gets Berry to follow him back home. Malcolm’s previously mentioned bad day also caused him to go from loyal, adorable boyfriend to someone who ignores his girlfriend’s phone calls and allows a “business transaction” to happen with Berry. If you want to climb out of the Morally Gray Pit, this definitely isn’t the way, sir.
Malcolm also uses his fancy tech from Jeri to identify the eighth photo from Salinger’s book. He’s a chef named Caspar Marx, and he’s actually very much alive! Jess goes down to his restaurant to ask him about his Salinger encounter and why he’s not in pieces like the rest of Salinger’s victims. Turns out, Chef Caspar thought his kidnapping was some elaborate BDSM kink, and all he had to do to get Salinger away from him was kiss him. Salinger got spooked and ran away, because cooties! Caspar gives Jess the address of the now-abandoned restaurant where this all happened, and Jess and Trish run off to find Erik.
Salinger is about to enact his “justice” on Erik (while I give him the finger on behalf of black people everywhere) when Trish and Jessica run in to stop him. The tag team beatdown is pretty great and they are able to take Salinger in…only to find out that there’s no DNA evidence on any of his victims’ body parts, so the police can’t link Salinger to any of the crimes. The longest they can keep him is overnight. Wait, Trish is a witness! …but she can’t out herself as a super. But what about Erik? Well, as Jess learns from Jeri, Erik testifying would also land him in jail for a year. Erik immediately rejects the idea, since after his encounter with Salinger, he is convinced that being around so many people with ill intent would kill him. One Voldemort was more than enough for him.
Jeri tries to see Kith by trying to deliver a bagel tray to Peter’s shiva (and I also learn what a shiva is), where she runs into their son Laurent instead. Laurent tells Jeri that she seems awful, and she denies that anything Peter said in his final video was true. When Laurent gets angry and swipes the bagel tray out of her hands, Jeri falls and breaks her wrist, her ALS making her much more fragile than before. Laurent is left crying as he attempts to clean up the mess he made, and Jeri can only walk away to tend to her injury. On top of that, she lost two-thirds of her business to her old firm, so now her professional life is a wreck as well.
Erik doesn’t want to go to the hospital due to the risk of Asshole Exposure, so he gets patched up back at Jess’ place. Berry finds out that Erik is safe again and is all over him once she sees him, and it’s a little weird but you do you, Berry. She leaves him alone to rest and asks Jess to snuggle with him (despite the limited time they have to work with!), saying that she’s “like an aspirin” to him, and I got Twilight flashbacks and they hurt. To end the episode, Erik says that he worries they may have unleashed Salinger with their interactions.
And since Salinger is a privileged white incel with a god complex, that’s about the scariest thing I can think of.