Jessica Jones: 2.07 AKA I Want Your Cray Cray
After the shock discovery that Jessica’s Mum is still alive and well (depending on your definition of health), Aka I Want Your Cray Cray took a step back from the narrative to reveal exactly what she has been up to all these years. It also focused on Jessica’s younger years, delved into her relationship with Trish and a traumatic incident which further explains her current anger and isolation.
Instinctively, I disliked this episode because Trish’s ridiculous ‘Cray Cray’ song has been in my head for the last 24 hours now and I am about ready to go Mama Jones levels of violence on someone. Realistically though, it stands alone as an one-off episode (as it consists almost entirely of flashbacks) and seems to fit quite nicely in the middle of the season giving the audience a break from the slow narrative so far.
So, Alisa Jones is alive following the car crash that almost killed her entire family. She wakes up in a hospital, realises that something terrible has happened and is unable to contain her anger upon seeing her severely burnt face and body. She makes a break for it, hurting young Jessica in the process, is sedated and returned to the hospital bed. The next time we see her, five years have passed. Dr Karl Malus (the very same Dr Karl Malus whom Jessica has been trying to track down) explains that he has been experimenting with her DNA, and that this experimentation has saved her life. It’s also given her unexpected side effects - one of which is uncontrollable anger when she feels upset or emotional.
Naturally, the act of telling Alisa this makes her emotional and upset. She feels trapped, unable to make any decisions for herself and ultimately helpless to the whims of a man who is experimenting on her without her consent. I feel for her. There’s this notion that she should be grateful for her life being saved, but she has been saved at a significant cost, and one that she never signed up for.
Meanwhile, Jessica and Trish are living out their younger years mostly in nightclub toilets it would seem. Trish’s post-Patsy career is starting to take off alongside her severe party drug addiction. This leads to the two of them falling out and Jessica beginning a life of petty crime in order to tide herself over for money. We find out that Jessica had been in college (doing rather well) and Trish had been covering her tuitions fees, rent, expenses etc. When they seperate, Jessica ends up living with her new boyfriend, Sterling, a young man in his twenties who wants to open a nightclub. Original.
It’s already clear what it’s in store for Stirling as there’s an approximately 0% chance that him and Jessica had an amicable break-up, and that he is running a successful nightclub across town called ‘Alias’ and she is running ‘Alias Investigations’, causing confusion for customers everywhere. What we didn’t know was that Mommy Dearest was the one to land the final blow. Jessica finds Stirling very dead in an alleyway behind their favourite bar and assumes that the culprits are several thug-ish men who she had previously beaten up for threatening Stirling. Consequently, Jessica is heaped with a dose of guilt, self-blame and grief at losing the one person she considered to be family.
Krysten Ritter is at her best in this episode. She portrays a softer, more vulnerable side of Jessica that we have never seen before whilst maintaining those hardened edges that we've come to know her for. She's particularly brilliant in the scene of Stirling's death - the pain she is feeling resonates completely with the audience.
Aka I Want Your Cray Cray is a good chunk of additional backstory and motivation for our main characters, but the episode itself ultimately didn’t lead to anywhere we didn’t already know we were going. We know that Sterling isn’t alive in the future, that Trish and Jess will make-up at some point, and that Alisa doesn’t ever manage to escape properly and find Jessica. Having said that, Janet McTeer is excellent as Alisa Jones, conveying the perfect character that we can both identify with and be terrified of at the same time. As for what happens now, who knows? The appearance of Alisa has thrown a bit of a curveball at Jessica (and us) so it’s anyone’s guess what the rest of the season has in store.