Now we’re making progress.
This review contains spoilers for Marvel’s Jessica Jones Season 2, episode 3, titled “Sole Survivor.” To see where we left off, check out our review of Season 2, episode 2 and follow along with our full season binge here.
Now things are starting to get interesting.
While the first two episodes of Season 2 felt a little unfocused because Jessica didn’t have an antagonist to follow, everything is starting to sharpen in “Sole Survivor,” as Jessica and Trish get one step closer to solving the mysteries of IGH, thanks to a former ER doctor named Leslie Hansen who apparently supplied patients to Kozlov to experiment on (particularly ones that didn’t have any next of kin to notice their absence).
But if the real Leslie Hansen was stuffed into an incinerator in her basement, who’s the woman who seems to know so much about Jessica’s case, and apparently has super-strength of her own? Is it possible that the DNA results on the dismembered head were faked, much like Hansen was scrubbed from the internet, to allow the dirty doc to go off the grid? Stranger things have happened in the MCU.
Whoever the mystery woman (played with nervy gravitas by Janet McTeer) actually is, Jessica now has a photo and a major hint about her own past: Not only did IGH give her super powers (which were apparently only an unintended side-effect of the “genetic editing” that was done to her, not the purpose behind it), they also resurrected her from the dead. This makes Jessica even angrier — she tells Maybe-Hansen that they should’ve let her die with her family like she was supposed to, but the doctor insists that Jessica survived for a reason, and it’s hard to disagree with her.
The other standout scene of Episode 3 once again comes courtesy of Jeri, who (after reaming out poor Foggy — who got a job at Hogarth, Chao and Benowitz at the end of Daredevil Season 2, lest we forget) finally lets down her walls with Jessica, confiding that she has ALS, and that she’s not happy about running up against a problem that’s out of her control.
Watching these two emotionally-stunted women fumbling their way through a vulnerable moment is electrifying to watch; both stay perfectly true to their characters — Jeri holds herself together and Jessica doesn’t attempt to offer empty comfort, and director Mairzee Almas makes great use of the physical distance between them, because you get the sense that if either of them tried to get closer, metaphorically or literally, one or both might shatter.
A few stray Easter Eggs: Oscar’s kid asking whether Jess knows Captain America is the most obvious reference, and Jessica’s mention of Trish’s “Cloak and Dagger” plan to meet Hansen could be seen as a nod to the upcoming Marvel Freeform series of the same name, as well as a common turn of phrase, but the deeper cut is the name of the shrink Trish takes Jess to visit at the beginning of the episode: Maynard Tiboldt (who was also namedropped in the season premiere). In the comics, Tiboldt is a supervillain who goes by the name The Ringmaster, and uses hypnosis to overpower his foes. Could the show be setting him up for a villainous turn later this season? We wouldn’t bet against it.