This is how you do an origin story.
This review contains spoilers for Marvel’s Jessica Jones Season 2, episode 7, titled “I Want Your Cray Cray.” To see where we left off, check out our review of Season 2, episode 6 and follow along with our full season binge here.
Even if episode 7 wasn’t a thrilling deep dive into Jessica’s origin story (which it is), I’d probably still love it just for giving us the delightfully 2000s Trish Walker pop anthem “I Want Your Cray Cray,” complete with mortifying music video.
But this episode isn’t about the fashion or the slang or Trish’s questionable bangs, it’s about how Jessica Campbell Jones became the person she is today. We might’ve assumed that a lot of who she is now is a product of Kilgrave, but episode 7 proves the pieces existed long before he put them all together.
We discover that Jessica’s first love was an ambitious bartender named Stirling Adams, who had big dreams of opening a nightclub (Club Alias, natch), and didn’t mind having a super-powered girlfriend — especially one who could steal him fancy watches and protect him against thuggish investors looking for a cut of the profits on his nascent business. He seems a little crooked right from the get-go, since he certainly doesn’t have any hesitation about encouraging her klepto tendencies, or about hitting up Trish for money, but he seemingly treats her well, encourages her love of leather jackets, and gives her a home and a sense of belonging when she needs one after she and Trish have a major blowout, so we can’t completely hate him.
Of course, that all comes to an abrupt end when Jessica’s mom (Alisa — we finally have a name for our mystery woman!) bashes his brains in after she overhears him colluding with his gangster investors, offering to pimp Jess out as hired muscle in exchange for expunging his debts. At the time, of course, Jessica has no idea that her mom not only survived the car crash (and also came out of it with super-strength) but is responsible for her boyfriend’s murder, since she’s completely oblivious to Alisa’s stalker antics until the present day, when Alisa reveals everything.
It’s heartbreaking to watch Mama Jones trying so desperately to get to know her daughter even as she’s struggling with the side effects of everything Dr. Karl has done to her, but we can’t really blame Jessica for punching her mom across the room when she learns the truth about why she lost the (first) love of her life. That loss undoubtedly made her more vulnerable to Kilgrave when he entered her orbit, piling trauma on top of trauma.
One thing that seems to be consistent throughout every period in Jessica’s life is that Jess and Trish are stronger together than apart — bad things happen to them both when they’re not communicating, so here’s hoping Jessica can reach Trish before she crosses a line she can’t come back from.
We also get to see Alisa’s journey from her perspective in “I Want Your Cray Cray,” proving that she’s not quite as monstrous as she first appeared — just a traumatized mother who’s desperate to make up for lost time. We find out that it takes five years for her to become lucid after the accident, having undergone countless experiments (and reconstructive surgery on her ruined face, which explains why Jessica didn’t immediately recognize her) before she kills Luanne and injures Inez, escaping so that she can go on the hunt for Jessica.
Her attack on Stirling is driven by rage, but for Luanne and Inez, she’s just trying to prevent them from calling security and keeping her drugged and trapped in the lab. That doesn’t make her body count better, exactly, but perhaps more understandable, and it says something about her inherent goodness that she comes back to Dr. Karl after realizing the damage she’s done, submitting to his tests and treatments and clearly deciding not to engage with the world again until she’s no longer a threat to it — at least until Trish and Jess start digging around.
At some point, Dr. Karl also tells Alisa that her husband and son both died in the crash, and only Jessica survived, which either means Inez is lying to Jeri about the boy with healing powers who helped fix her injuries, Karl is lying to Alisa about her son being dead so that he can perform more experiments on him, or there’s another kid, unrelated to Jessica and Alisa, whose DNA also reacted to the genetic editing in a way that gave him powers. Of the three, door number two seems the most likely option, but let’s wait and see.