Jessica Jones season 2 sees its major characters hit some of their lowest points, and the third season promises dynamic transformations for each of them. Jessica, Trish, Malcolm, and Jeri are not the same people that they were at the beginning of season 2 – and season 3 promises to give them all room to grow into their newly discovered roles.
The first two seasons of Jessica Jones have focused on her trauma and her past. In the first season, Jessica must confront Kilgrave, an abusive mind-controller who tortured and raped her. The second season delves into the trauma of the car crash that robbed Jessica of her family – and the discovery that her mother is both alive and a super-powered murderer.
Related: Jessica Jones Season 2 Review
Given how season 2 ends, it seems likely that the third season will shift to focus on Jessica’s future. In Jessica’s final monologue of the second season, she reflects that, “I never learned how to live.” But after losing her mother, rejecting Trish’s friendship, and alienating Malcolm, Jessica does not shut down. Instead, she ends the season having dinner with Oscar and Vido, telling Vido the story of how she stopped a bodega from being robbed. If Jessica is given the chance to grow outward, instead of look inward, in season 3, she may be able to become the hero that Vido sees in her.
The other characters of Jessica Jones faced their fair share of trauma, but each one finds themselves in a powerful role at the end of the season. Jeri leaves the firm that tried to buy her out to create her own new firm. Malcolm becomes an associate at Pryce Cheng’s firm. Trish discovers that she may have superpowers after all, promising the rise of Hellcat in season 3. All three of these former allies have distanced themselves from Jessica, and so in season 3 they could just as easily be friends as foes.
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Season 2 showed how traumatic Jessica’s past had been – even beyond Kilgrave’s control and manipulation in season 1. Her entire family died in a car crash, she was experimented on without consent, and her college boyfriend was murdered (by her mother – although she only learns that as the season unfolds).
Jessica discovers that her mother, Alisa, is still alive, and has been living in hiding due to her superpowers and uncontrollable rage. Alisa is also in a relationship with Karl, the scientist who is responsible for experimenting on Jessica and giving her superpowers. While Alisa is prone to violence, and despite Jessica’s interventions still continues to murder when provoked, Jessica can’t let go of life without her mother. She lies for her, saves her, and even goes on the run with her with the invention of leaving her former life behind.
Jessica’s willingness to help her mother drives a wedge between her and Trish and her and Malcolm, who is working as an associate for Alias Investigations. Malcolm eventually leaves Jessica to work for Cheng’s rival firm, while Trish relapses and tries to use Karl’s genetic editing treatment to gain superpowers. Neither Malcolm or Trish can understand why Jessica would protect her mother, but Jessica is overwhelmed by the prospect of having her family back.
There are clear parallels between Alisa and Jessica throughout the season, and Jessica fears that she may be more like her mother than she wants to believe. Killing Kilgrave at the end of season 1 opens a door that Jessica can’t close; she’s now a vigilante killer, even if she felt that she had no other choice. Jessica also kills Dale, an abusive prison guard who is harassing her mother, after she discovers that he is a serial killer who has murdered inmates. Dale attacks Jessica while she is snooping in his house, and in the ensuing struggle she accidentally hits him too hard with his nightstick, killing him. Jessica is horrified and, as a result, suffers a nervous break, bringing visions of Kilgrave back to haunt her.
For a while it looks like Jessica is going to leave with her mother, but then Trish shoots and kills Alisa. Jessica is unable to forgive Trish, and the two have a falling out in the final episode. Without Trish, Malcolm, or her mother, it would seem that Jessica is even more isolated than she was at the beginning of the season, but she chooses to go and have dinner with Oscar and Vido, signalling that she is trying to form new connections. She is trying to live her life, instead of just avoiding her painful past.
Trish’s life at the beginning of the season seems perfect. She’s got her own talk show, and she has an incredible journalist boyfriend called Griffin, who – we later learn – wants to marry her. Trish’s life begins to spiral, however, when Griffin proposes to her. She realizes that she didn’t want to marry him – she wanted to be him, and she decides to break off their relationship.
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The truth is that Trish wants to be Jessica, too. She is both resentful of her own lack of superpowers, and angry that Jessica chooses not be be a hero. Trish is so hellbent on getting to the bottom of IGH that she puts her personal relationships with Jessica and Malcolm in jeopardy and begins to use Simpson’s inhaler, getting high on performance-enhancing drugs. At first she wants to break the story… but after the inhaler runs out, she decides she wants to become the story. While Jessica is dealing with her mother, Trish uses Malcolm to get to Karl. She then stashes Malcolm in the trunk of her car and threatens Karl if he does not conduct a procedure to give her powers.
Trish’s desire to be “super” costs her her relationship, career, and friends, and puts her health in jeopardy. Jessica interrupts the procedure, and Trish is furious as a result. Initially, it appears that the procedure has had no effect, and Trish blames Jessica for this. In the final episode, Trish shoots Alisa in the head, telling Jessica that she is protecting her. Jessica is mortified and betrayed. When Trish later tries to reconcile with her, Jessica says, “I look at you now and all I see is the person who murdered my mother.”
In her final moments of season 2, however, Trish discovers that she may have agile super-human reflexes after all. By her own standard, she may be better off, even after losing everything. It’s not clear if her alter-ego will appear in season three as a hero or a villain, but either way, season 3 will surely include the rise of Hellcat.
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