Welcome back to our ongoing review of ‘Jessica Jones’ Season 3, continuing with episodes 4-6, titled ‘AKA Customer Service is Standing By,’ ‘AKA I Wish,’ and ‘AKA Sorry Face.’ This batch of episodes finally establishes the main villain for the season, as well as moves Jessica and Trish back in line again (finally), as well as deepening the story lines for most of the side-characters, most especially Hogarth, Malcolm, and Erik.
Jumping right in with Jessica’s story, she demands to know Erik’s story, and who would try to kill him, and learns that he is an empath who can sense when people are guilty/ evil (not entirely clear on that), with proximity to said evil-doers giving him violent headaches. He has used his power to blackmail people he finds with damning secrets and guilt into giving him money. He uses the money to gamble and is currently heavily in debt to a scary bookie named Sal who likes to torture late payers by dropping them in her pool with weights, which luckily Erik has always been able to escape from.
Jessica decides to look into Sal but Erik explains that she is unlikely to want to kill him since he still has time to pay her back, so he and Jessica decide to investigate his other current marks, who may have wanted payback for the blackmail. They collect a lot of money and turn in many of the crooks to the cops (including one creep who ran a child pornography ring), with Erik feeling guilty that he never really used his powers to help people the way Jessica does.
Eventually, they land on a man named Gregory Salinger, who they eventually learn is a serial killer and a brilliant man, as he has already done his homework on Jessica and threatens to turn in some evidence to the police which he has on her. While Jessica meets Salinger, Erik returns to Sal to give back the money he owes, but Sal claims he is too late and drops him in the pool with three weights, intending to kill him. Luckily for Erik, Trish had learned about Sal and went to confront the woman, arriving just as they are trying to kill Erik and helping the man escape. Unfortunately, during the fighting Trish accidentally stabbed Sal with a crowbar, which leaves the woman critically injured and in the hospital. Trish shows little remorse about since the woman was a criminal bookie.
Jessica continues to investigate and learns Salinger is now stalking Erik’s sister Brianna, who is currently a prostitute. They grab the sister and leave her in Malcolm’s care while Jessica decides to work with Trish to bring down Salinger, forming an uneasy alliance which is helped along when Gillian forces the two to talk about what happened with Jessica’s mother. While Jessica tracks the man, Trish breaks into his home and discovers a photo-album full of the man’s victims (8 in total), which inevitably leads the pair to a train station and a car full of dead body parts that Salinger kept as trophies. While Trish is supposed to follow Salinger, Jessica heads inside to investigate and walks right into one of Salinger’s traps, this one trapping her in the car while it fills with poison gas, which Trish saves her from. Though their man escapes, the two finally have a real talk and share apologies for what happened, deciding to work together and have each other’s backs moving forward, especially since Salinger had come so close to killing Jessica twice already.
Meanwhile, Malcolm continues to hate his job and Hogarth’s methods, especially since the woman has him investigating Kith’s husband to find reasons to break the pair up. Evidence of cheating means nothing as apparently Kith and her husband (Peter) have an open marriage, which they agreed to following the death of their daughter, whom they currently have a charity scholarship fund set up for. Eventually, Malcolm learns Peter has been stealing from the scholarship to give gifts to his lady-friends and gives the evidence to Hogarth, who decides not to use it knowing it would hurt Kith.
But following a date where Kith makes it clear she will never leave her husband, even while enjoying her affair with Hogarth, Hogarth tells Malcolm to release the evidence and Peter, unable to convince Kith that Hogarth was behind everything, eventually films himself committing suicide, all while spouting an angry tirade against Hogarth and her unscrupulous actions, which he releases onto the internet.
Kith is furious at Hogarth for her part in it all and Kith’s son prevents Hogarth from even attending Peter’s funeral, saying her mother wants nothing to do with her. Meanwhile, Hogarth begins to lose clients who saw the video and do not want to do business with her. She rallies her company to fight for every remaining client, though she loses her biggest account, Rand Enterprises, as Danny Rand is out of town on “sabbatical” (aka getting his double-Iron Fists in Asia), and one of her ex-partners swooped in on the account. So now, on top of her illness and losing Kith, Hogarth’s firm is in some trouble, meaning the woman might be a bit more unpredictable and dangerous moving forward in the season.
Malcolm meanwhile, finds himself in more trouble as Hogarth makes it clear he cannot share his work with his girlfriend Zaya, even though they both work for Hogarth, which drives a wedge between the two. When Jessica asks him to watch Brianne, he quickly loses his charge when she calls her pimp (Gor) and the man arrives to take her back out to the streets, sucker-punching Malcolm in the process. Malcolm then heads out and eventually finds Brianne, and beats Gor to a bloody pulp in anger, taking Brianne back to his house and convincing her to stay because of the current situation with her brother, who has been kidnapped by Salinger. As they hide-out, Brianne comes on the Malcolm and they begin an affair, driving yet another wedge into Malcolm and Zaya’s relationship.
As mentioned before, Salinger retaliates on Jessica by kidnapping Erik, which infuriates Jessica even more since the cops, led by Jessica’s friend Detective Costa, claim they do not have enough evidence to pin the bodies on Salinger, especially since the man knew they would get a warrant to search his apartment and he managed wipe it clean before the cops arrived, including the photo album of his other victims. Jessica and Trish meet up to figure out how to find Erik, and they are interrupted by Dorothy, who demands to know why Trish has been avoiding her job selling clothes (QVC-like) on TV. Jessica outs Trish’s powers to Dorothy, hoping the woman might convince Trish to give up the hero lifestyle, but Dorothy ends up leaving, hurt that Trish kept it from her.
Meanwhile, Salinger begins torturing Erik looking for his “truth,” because Salinger’s MO is to find said truth and take pictures of his victims in their agony. Salinger figures out Erik’s powers as the man starts to bleed from his eyes the closer Salinger gets to him, and Salinger accuses Erik and Jessica of being “cheaters” in life because of their powers, demanding Erik admit to their unfair advantage (a point-of-view spurred on by how hard Salinger worked for all of his degrees and to get to a place where he can outsmart the heroes).
Eventually, Jessica and Trish track down Salinger’s hide-out, a commercial kitchen, and save Erik, apprehending Salinger in the process. Sadly for them, Costa still claims they do not have enough evidence on the man, and their star witness (Erik) cannot go to the police and testify because he would be tried for his blackmailing ways and sent to prison, and with his powers, he would die if he went to prison for an extended period of time among all the guilty in there. Yet, despite the setbacks, Jessica and Erik console each-other by making love for the first time.
Not a bad batch of episodes, they definitely got the wheels spinning for the season, and the introduction of Salinger was just chilling enough to make him a viable threat for Jessica, even if he has no powers beyond his brilliant mind. I am interested in seeing how Jessica and Trish work together, and where Trish’s penchant for extra violence is going to lead as the season progresses, as even Jessica can see that Trish is just a little too enthusiastic about the whole crime-fighting business. The Malcolm story may not have much going on, but I am kind of enjoying the Hogarth story, watching her reconnect with Kith only to lose the woman because Hogarth had to assert control over the situation and work the law to bring down Kith’s marriage. I am looking forward to seeing more of Erik’s abilities and how Jessica and Trish will use him to bring down Salinger, and how a cerebral villain by Salinger will eventually be brought down by Jessica, especially since she is now insistent that she is a hero, and simply killing the man does not fit her code of ethics.
Alright, back to the watch-downs, see you back here soon for the next review!