Jessica Jones season 2 finale recap and review: AKA Playland


The Joneses take one last trip to Playland, Trish and Malcolm embrace the whole anti-hero thing, and Jessica loses her entire family once again.

Sometimes you just have embrace the fantasy.

Deep down, I doubt either Jessica Jones or her mother really believe they’ll make it out of the U.S. and spend the rest of their days using their powers to help people. I don’t think either Jones really trusts the other. It’s unlikely that either mother or daughter actually expects their impromptu road trip to end in anything but tears. But they still have to try.

As Jessica admits herself in “AKA Playland,” nothing she’s done has stopped Alisa’s path of destruction: not reasoning, not prison, not even Jess threatening to kill her. The only thing Jess hasn’t attempted is actually joining forces with her mother, as Alisa suggested earlier this season.

In Jessica’s defense, a statement like, “We are the two most powerful women in the world. We can do anything,” is really hard to resist.

So, as we all have done at least a couple of times in our lives, Jess lets herself be taken in by Alisa’s words and dives into the fantasy head-first. Maybe Alisa can redeem herself by doing good. Maybe Jessica can have her mom in her life after all. Maybe.

No one can blame Jessica or Alisa for clutching onto this dream for dear life — after 17 years apart their desperation to be together is completely understandable. But it is a dream and one that implodes way before Trish shows up.

Trish is the one who kills Alisa, and I respect Jessica Jones‘ choice to take out Alisa with a whimper, not a bang. But before the Hellcat-to-be arrives at Playland, Alisa has already realized that she and Jess will have to part ways sooner rather than later. She hears Detective Costa begging Jessica to turn her mother in.

“You’re one of the good ones,” he says. The significance of those words don’t sink in for Jess, but they sure do for Alisa. She knows in that moment that her daughter really is a good one, but won’t stay that way if Alisa sticks around.

Alisa plans to tell Jessica as much at Playland, aboard the ferris wheel, the pair’s favorite ride from back in the day.

“You are far more capable than I ever was,” she manages to say before Trish shoots her in the head. There, poor Jessica loses her mother for the third time.

Jess loses her sister, too. Trish is right: the situation with Alisa was always going to end in her death. But Jessica is right, too: Trish had no business doing the killing. Trish had to play the hero and save Jessica from something she didn’t want to be saved from.

“I look at you now and all I see is the person who killed my mother,” Jessica remarks before closing her apartment door in Trish’s face.

Trish obviously feels some remorse for murdering her best friend’s mom, but the guilt is wrapped up in self-justification. She believes she did the right thing as much as Jess thinks she did the wrong thing. I don’t see Trish devoting much of her future time to self-reflection. Judging from the small smile on her face in the elevator, she’s going to be too busy testing out her new powers of agility. One could even say Trish looks like the cat that ate the canary.

The new and improved Malcolm is also looking pretty self-satisfied — apparently a haircut and all-black attire can do wonders for self-esteem. Tying up one of the season’s loose ends, the new and improved Malcolm helps Jeri blackmail her partners into doubling her severance and letting her leave the firm with all her clients in tow. Jeri being Jeri, she passes on hiring Malcolm as her new firm’s PI. But Malcolm’s a resourceful dude. Plus let’s not forget, one who is done with Jessica. He gets a job with Pryce Cheng, which is enough to convince Jeri to assign him the “tasks for which Jessica Jones is not well-suited.”

I would be annoyed at Malcolm’s ethical about-face, but the man has been verbally berated, fired countless times, coerced into using a highly dangerous drug, pistol-whipped and locked in the trunk of a car. If anyone on Jessica Jones deserves to indulge his dark side, it’s him.

Still, seeing Jessica and Malcolm cross paths in the hallway with barely a head nod is deeply upsetting. Hopefully they’ll be able to patch things up sometime in season 3.

Next: Jessica Jones S2E12 recap: AKA Pray for My Patsy


  • Jessica’s diner conversation with Oscar is my favorite part of the episode. Her comparison between Oscar and Vido and herself and Alisa is such an eye-opener. “You connect yourself to your son with every thought,” Jess tells him. “You have no idea how isolated I’ve been.”
  • My heart is broken for Jessica, but I am genuinely happy she’s trying to open herself up a bit. Maybe by season 3 she, Oscar, and Vido will be their own little, weird family.
  • Jeri, burning it all down: “You should be very afraid of the woman who has absolutely nothing left to lose.”
  • Jessica stopping a robber by throwing a bottle of whisky at his head is Jessica Jones in a nutshell.
  • This time in Jessica Jones‘ Marvel references (and jokes):
    • “You just used up two of your nine lives,” a doctor tells Trish.
    • “If you say, ‘With great power comes great responsibility,’ I swear I’ll throw up on you.”
    • Jessica: “Do you want a unitard and a cape, too?” Alisa: “I would totally rock a unitard.”
  • That’s it for Culturess’ Jessica Jones season 2 recaps! Thanks for reading and remember, leather jackets will never go out of style. Never ever.