Jessica Jones season 3, episode 12 review: A.K.A A Lotta Worms


Trish Walker and Jessica Jones play a dangerous game of cat and mouse over the fate of Gregory Sallinger in this tense penultimate episode of Jessica Jones.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. In episode 11 of Jessica Jones, we got a glimpse into the life of young, innocent actress Trish Walker and how that led her to becoming the violent vigilante Hellcat. With Erik’s help, Trish set out to take out the evil in the world and make it a better place, but in doing so ended up just becoming the evil herself, going by Erik’s bad headache after Trish’s episode-ending kill.

Trish’s continues her bloodlust by going after Sallinger, the one guy who’s murder will likely put her fate in stone. Knowing this, Jessica does her best to protect Trish from herself by protecting Sallinger, but her best friend may prove herself to be already beyond help.

Becoming the evil

Trish is on a high after that last kill, believing herself to be truly doing the world a favor by getting rid of these bad people and taking on the burden of being a murderer so no one else has to. This episode really lays out the differences between Trish’s definition of heroism and Jessica’s. Jessica knows that straight-up murder is wrong, but Trish sees her actions in a gray light. She admits that what she’s doing is not the most heroic thing, but the ends justify the means. By killing one bad guy she is saving would-be future victims.

But from a morality point of view, is it okay to become judge, jury, and executioner all on your own terms? This is Malcolm’s question to Trish, who says that there is a line you don’t cross. He believes that what Trish is doing is going to blur that line through a slippery slope, but she doesn’t think so. She doesn’t want to kill all bad people in the world, just the ones who are killing and/or raping and/or abusing others. But to quote Jake Peralta from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, one might think, “Cool motive, still murder.”

After spending the episode trying to kill Sallinger and eventually getting locked up by Jessica, Erik, and Malcolm, you would think Trish would be done trying to kill him when Jessica gets Sallinger arrested and justice is going to be served. But after Trish goes back to work, she gets confirmation that her belief is right when someone mentions they’d rather see Sallinger dead after all he’s done. She’s a hero for the people, the ringleader of mob justice, the total opposite of Jessica Jones.

Jessica Jones’ truth

This episode really highlights the differences between Jessica and Trish and their approaches to being heroes. Jessica is forced to face the fact that she knows she’s not the upstanding, moral superhero like Captain America is, but deep down she wants to be. She knows the difference between right and wrong and what makes a hero, and when she tries to teach Trish that, Trish is too steadfast and firm in her beliefs to listen.

It’s all Jessica can do to stop Trish from becoming this kind of dark vigilante. She has to protect Sallinger, this psychotic murderer that Jessica would love to put a beatdown on herself, from Trish. Because Jessica knows that killing him, despite everything he’s done, is wrong. It’s not for them to decide who gets to lives and who dies. As a citizen, he has as much right to go through the justice system as anyone else.

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But of course, while trying to protect him from Trish, Sallinger betrays his guardian by deciding to put her in front of the camera and have her be his next victim. But Jessica, smart as a whip, had actually planned for him to do that. She willingly put herself under the limelight so she could catch him on camera confessing to the murder of Dorothy.

Sallinger is arrested, and Jessica protects Trish’s secret identity by erasing all of the evidence Sallinger had on her. When she thinks it’s over, she gets a call from Sallinger, who spends his prison phone call mocking her over Trish’s turn to the dark side. While the impulsive Trish would want to kill him over this, level-headed Jessica doesn’t let Sallinger goad her. That’s the difference between Trish and Jessica. Despite everything Sallinger has done, despite all of the comments he’s made to her, despite his being a soulless psychopath that the world would be better off without, Jessica is not a murderer. She’s not going to stoop to his level because she knows it’s wrong. If there is any proof Jessica needed to show that she really is a hero, this is it.

The in-between

We also get a brief spotlight on Erik this episode, who shows himself to be not as bad as he once was, or perhaps never was. While previously being on Team Trish, interested in getting rid of the bad guys, even he recognizes she’s gone too far and switches over to Team Jessica. While he’s not quite the hero Jessica is, he’s also not the killer Trish is, showing himself to be the ultimate anti-hero who, through Jessica’s good influence, is well on his way to becoming a full-on hero.

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The last part of the episode shows the possible final break of Trish and Jessica’s relationship through Trish’s murder of Sallinger. Even though Jessica tried so hard to save Trish and get through to her, Trish’s hard-headedness prevented that. This is who Trish is now and there may be nothing that Jessica can do, but given their strong bond and relationship, I doubt there’s much Jessica won’t do to still save her best friend and sister.