“Chasing your dreams can be deadly.”
This review contains spoilers for Marvel’s Jessica Jones Season 2, episode 12, titled “Pray for My Patsy.” To see where we left off, check out our review of Season 2, episode 11 and follow along with our full season binge here.
If Jessica thought that Kilgrave was the worst thing she would ever have to deal with, she’s probably reassessing that opinion now. In some ways, a simple, black and white villain — an unrepentant rapist, murderer and sociopath — is far easier to confront than a loved one who loses control. How often do people in abusive relationships try and justify their partner’s actions as aberrations, or the families of murderers try to reconcile the image of the person they know intimately with the heinous crimes they’ve committed?
Last season, it was hard to imagine the stakes getting any more personal for Jessica, given how thoroughly Kilgrave violated her. But as reluctant as she was to kill him, on paper, it was justifiable — necessary, even. He was a Bad Guy, simple as that. There’s nothing simple about her relationship with her mother — someone who was crafted into a weapon the way Jessica was, who isn’t in control of herself, as Jessica wasn’t. Alisa is cut from the same cloth as Bruce Banner or Bucky Barnes — good people who have been forced into circumstances beyond their control. If they can become heroes, why can’t Alisa? She just needs someone to believe in her the way Steve Rodgers believes in Bucky. The main difference is that Captain America strives to see the best in people, while Jessica is too bruised, too broken, to be anything but a cynic. Why should this work out, when nothing else in her life ever has?
Every time she tries to trust her mom, Alisa knocks her out, or attacks her friend, or flies into a rage — and it’s not fair to expect Jessica to spend the rest of her life talking her mom down off ledges and trying to prevent Alisa from killing people, knowing that their blood will be on her own hands if she fails to get through to this unpredictable creature with her mom’s voice. But that’s love, right? It’s inconvenient and messy and hard, but we don’t give up on it, not when it means so much to us — not when it has the ability to make us whole. That’s Jessica’s dilemma as we head into the Season 2 finale, and it’s honestly impossible to guess what she might choose. It’s a choice no one should have to make, but Jessica’s used to making those.
Is Alisa more of a monster than Jeri, who shrewdly manipulates Inez into killing Shane as payback for stealing from her and making her feel vulnerable? She’s fully aware of her actions, fully in control, and she doesn’t think twice about it.
Is she more of a monster than Trish, who lashes out at those closest to her because of her own insecurities, blaming other people when her dreams go unfulfilled? It’s horrifying to think that Trish’s own inferiority complex has left her so wrecked (even if there’s a fairly good chance she’ll wake up with powers after the seizures stop), but it’s just as upsetting to hear Jessica say that Trish has always made her feel worthless, even if it doesn’t stop Jess from calling Trish the most important person in her life, her best friend. We always hurt the ones we love the most.