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Hellcat rises as Jessica Jones puts Trish Walker front and center

Photo: David Giesbrecht (Netflix)
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Rather than pick up with the stabby cliffhanger from the previous episode, “A.K.A You’re Welcome” flashes back to fill us in on how Trish Walker went from instinctively catching a dropped cellphone back in the second season finale to becoming a full-on vigilante hero. This is an entirely Trish-centric hour, and we even hear her voiceover in place of Jessica’s usual noir-inspired monologues. I always enjoy when these heavily serialized Marvel Netflix shows mix things up with something more uniquely episodic. So even though this episode winds up feeling a little bit inessential by the end, it’s a refreshing indication that this final season is still willing to try out new formats.

“A.K.A You’re Welcome” is stronger in its first half, as we see Trish’s earliest attempts to become a superhero. That includes a fun training montage where she hones her parkour skills and develops that cool wallflip move she used in the premiere. Only it turns out that physical training is the easy part. Actually figuring out how to fight crime (and how to find it in the first place) is a whole lot harder.

Most of the incidents that come across Trish’s police scanner app are too minor to need her help, and she arrives at the scene of a robbery only after the police have already wrapped it up. She manages to stop a random phone thief, but—in a hilarious moment—she’s instantly recognized as Patsy. The would-be-thief winds up suing Trish for assault, which leads her to hire Hogarth as her defense attorney. Trish sells her condo (sorry, “simplifies her life”) to help pay the settlement, and eventually finds her particular niche of heroism: She’ll lead a double life (which is why she takes the home shopping show gig) and focus on criminals who have bought or weaseled their way out of the legal system—from wealthy serial rapist Reid Pearson to Andrew Brandt, the man whose house she broke into in the premiere.

“A.K.A You’re Welcome” loses steam in its second half, as it gets closer to events we already saw play out in the premiere. We learn a few more details about the fact that Brandt is a wealthy man who hired thugs to brutally beat his half-sister in order to steal the statue she inherited from their parents. Overall, however, there’s nothing too revelatory in the plotting, and the stakes are low since we already know how Trish’s investigation and break-in plays out. This 55-minute episode really could’ve benefited from a tighter running time.

The bigger reveals are about Trish’s emotional state. Her narration comes in the form of an email to Jessica, which she keeps writing and rewriting. The draft Jessica saw in the premiere is the harshest version Trish wrote, and one she almost certainly never intended to send. Earlier drafts were much more vulnerable and empathetic, even going so far as to admit she might have been wrong to murder Jessica’s mom. Throughout this episode, Trish’s main goal is to team-up with Jessica and become the crime-fighting duo she feels they were always meant to be. In the heat of their post-break-in argument, however, Trish winds up saying the exact opposite of how she truly feels: She pushes Jessica away and tells her she’s got it covered on her own, even though that couldn’t be further from the truth.

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Isolation is shaping up to be a major theme of this season. Jessica, Trish, and Malcolm are all headed down lonely, destructive paths, stubbornly refusing the idea that they need or want help. Trish’s confident veneer finally crumbles as she opens up to her mom about just how lonely she feels, which Dorothy seems to misinterpret as fallout from a bad breakup (or maybe an unintended pregnancy? I was a little confused there). That moment of vulnerability makes it even more heartbreaking when the episode catches up to the present and Jessica calls Trish to her hospital bed. Trish assumes Jessica finally wants to reconnect, but it turns out she just wants Andrew Brandt’s name, since she suspects he was responsible for her stabbing. Jessica isn’t trying to team-up with Trish, she’s just using her as a source.

“A.K.A You’re Welcome” is a wonderful showcase for Rachael Taylor, who’s asked to play basically ever emotion imaginable in this Trish-centric hour. The first time she delivers the titular “you’re welcome” line, she’s tentative but excited at having stopped her first crime. The second time, she’s fiercely proud at having prevented a rape and empowered a young woman to become the hero of her own story. The third time, she’s bitterly resentful at having been used as a means to an end by Jessica. Trish is a messily complicated, sometimes inconsistent character. That was a weakness last season, but it could turn out to be a strength of this one. Sometimes people are complicated, messy, and inconsistent.

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Though I’m sure we’ll get a new villain soon enough, “A.K.A You’re Welcome” is a statement of purpose that the Jessica/Trish relationship (and the Jessica/Trish/Malcolm trio) will be a key focus for this season. I don’t know if the show’s writers knew going in that this would be their final season (I suspect they didn’t), but tightening the world of Jessica Jones to focus on its key players feels like a fitting way to round out the series.


Stray observations

  • Krysten Ritter makes her directorial debut with this episode, and she does a bang-up job!
  • Rachael Taylor is uncannily great at replicating the chipper feel of a home shopping network host. The aesthetics and dialogue are also spot on.
  • I love that the classic Jessica Jones score doesn’t kick in until Trish sees Jessica walking down the street.
  • It’s a nice character detail that Dorothy has faith in her daughter to handle an on-air caller who starts shakily talking about her divorce.
  • We see Jessica and Oscars’ quietly mature breakup, which is both sad and sweet. Jessica isn’t in a place where she can be in an emotionally open relationship, and Oscar doesn’t want to settle for someone who’s half-in, half-out. I’m still hoping those two kids can work it out by the end of the season.
  • Though the previous episode proved that Malcolm has his moral limits, he’s still clearly headed down a very dark path this season. He shows no remorse at having threatened the emotional stability of the cellphone thief’s child in order to get Trish a better settlement deal.
  • Trish may give the classic Hellcat comic book costume a big “hell no,” but the show’s costume designers did a really nice job nodding to that look in this modernized and practical ensemble:
Screenshot: Netflix
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  • I’m not enough of a comics expert to recognize them all, but Trish’s costume montage seemed to include a bunch of nods to other Marvel superheroes. (One was supposed to be Captain Marvel, right?)

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About the author

Caroline Siede

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Caroline Siede is a pop culture critic in Chicago, where the cold never bothers her anyway. Her interests include superhero movies, feminist theory, and Jane Austen novels.