As a reviewer, it is pleasantly surprising to not have to be forced into verbosely reaching for ways to describe a show I am hating. Jessica Jones has begun the end of the Marvel Netflix Universe on a rocky start but actually picks up with “A.K.A. Customer Service Is Standing By.” As slow as the previous three episodes were, there’s some actual meat to this installment. It’s not without issue, but it definitely works towards ramping up this arc’s tension and my own interest.
Reviewer service is standing by to let you know all about the fourth episode of the third season of Jessica Jones. As always, beware of spoilers and here are five thoughts on “A.K.A. Customer Service Is Standing By.”
A trigger warning should also be made as this episode deals with difficult subject matter that some may find emotionally staggering.
1. Houdini In the Drink
The burger guy Erik Gelden is easily one of the most interesting characters of the season so far. His mastery of ground beef concoctions and an “asshole radar” make him an intriguing addition to the cast. We begin the episode finding him at the bottom of a pool–much how I felt beginning this season–and clawing his way out.
Erik is clearly a character with tenacity, something attached to Trish in “A.K.A. Customer Service Is Standing By” but much more deserved of the burger guy. He’s got hutzpah, but something rings untrue about this character. If he’s super-anything, he’s a super-con-man. I don’t trust him and it feels like that is the mentality the show is feeding us. So, who knows? Maybe the twist is obvious.
2. Child Pornography
I’m going to be very frank and personal here. I am a victim of childhood molestation.
I know, heavy.
This episode touches on this subject by having one of Erik’s marks being a kiddy porn creator/distributor. Though it is a small part of the episode this rang heavy for me and I feel it was handled quite well. Jess does the right thing, locking him in a closet and making a call to law enforcement with the evidence in plain view.
People who have not been victimized should still find this scene resonating with them, but not in the same way I did. I pumped my fist when Jess did the right thing, but a part of me wanted to see her rip out his spleen and maybe even remand him to the care of the pun-wielding Doctor Purks. Ah, one can dream, eh?
Many who have been scarred by attacks of a physical and sexual nature have difficulty viewing something that might reignite their personal traumas. I, personally, find moments like this to be cathartic. Knowing that Jess put this scumbag away for his crimes bring me to tears, for all the right reasons. I may have a lot of criticisms of this season, but this spot hit me in all the right ways.
I want to offer a personal thank you to this show and its showrunner Melissa Rosenberg for having tackled such a difficult subject matter with the touch they have. For those who have suffered at the hands of others, moments in media like this make a big difference. I wish someone like Jess had been around for me.
3. The Surgery Was a Success
If only this season was as big of a success. Trish’s transformation into Hellcat has been, at most delicate, laborious. The side players of this drama have been done a disservice in this season. The relationship between Trish and Jess was one of the driving factors of the first two seasons but is surgically slaughtered here, neutering their kinship in a way that lobs off an offered hand of solace to the audience.
Trish is so far out of character that it is jarring and Jess feels more guarded in that respect than she was in the first season. Where character development should exist devolution only is substituted.
4. Worth It
Not to belabor these out-of-sync aspects for the cast members but Malcolm’s descent is also wildly disturbing. A character experiencing trauma and becoming more withdrawn is trope-level but Malcolm is basically amoral here. It is unnerving to see how this show has treated him and feels absolutely tone-deaf in regards to people who suffer at the hands of others.Continued below
For Malcolm to be manipulated by the Purple Man only to later become arguably as ethically devoid later on feels hackneyed and without deeper introspection of his character. Where once he was nuanced he now feels one-dimensional and without depth. This is deeply disappointing to see from one of the central members of this dysfunctional outfit.
5. Want, Want, Want
Where some feel off-balanced, Jeri Hogarth feels every bit the manipulative self-centered actor she should be. Hogarth is ruthless, controlling, twisting, but as vulnerable and deep as she has ever been in this series. A character who never views herself as the good guy but also believes she’s not the worst, this is the most accurate she has felt in the last few episodes.
Attempting to destroy her former lover’s marriage is hardly the least heinous thing Hogarth has done throughout this series, but it has a huge weight to it after the last episode. One can only assume how much this series will lean into this storyline but, so far, it is one of the more interesting aspects of the final season of Jessica Jones.
I’m pleased to be more pleased by this episode but also deeply distrusting considering how wildly laborious these reviews have been thus far. Hopefully this is a good sign, but I’ll be side-eyeing my television screen before you see a standing applause from me.