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Jessica Jones Could Do Without Her Damsel
Trish Walker is a great friend, but as of S01.E11, she's also a huge liability.
Trish Walker is a nice girl. I like her. She is, on the surface, a great friend to broody supergirl Jessica Jones -- a voice of reason, a warm hug, a loved one to fight for. Plus, she has a radio show, which makes remote communication with fugitive psychopathic rapists pretty easy! But imagine for a moment what Jessica's life might've looked like if Trish's mother had never forced the two of them together.
In Episode 11, "AKA I've Got the Blues," we learn that the beginning of Trish and Jessica's relationship wasn't all sunshine and vigilantism. Trish's mother -- the consummate evil stage mom -- adopted Jessica after her parents died because it would make for good press for her child-star daughter. The girls started off with a heavy truce: Trish would keep Jessica's super-strength a secret, and Jessica would keep Trish's child abuse a secret. "I don't tell and you don't save me," says young Trish. Seems logical -- the girls who live to protect each other, keeping deep dark secrets that probably should have been told to an adult early on, so that they could both get help and not internalize all of the misery and frustration of their respective issues. But I digress.
Eventually, Trish's mom finds out about Jessica's powers, so Jessica is free to save Trish. Forever. You can only reveal someone's powers once, but a vow to save someone is something you have to stick with. How is that fair? Over time, with a lot of therapy (I assume -- we didn't see much of that part), Trish swallows a childhood full of abuse, rides her wave of fame as far away from her crazy mother as possible and becomes a smart, self-assured, independent woman. Jessica tries to be a half-assed superhero in a hoagie suit, got tangled up and repeatedly mind-raped (and actually raped) by a mind-controlling monster, and then descends into alcoholism. Where is Trish during all of this? Apparently dyeing her hair from red to blonde, making hideous costumes for Jessica, and enabling her BFF's bad habits by keeping a bottle of bourbon in the cabinet. Not helpful, Trish. But at least she's safe, which is all that matters to Jessica.
Fast-forward to the return of Kilgrave. He makes a classic supervillain first move: go after the superhero's loved ones. Using his mind control, he dispatches Simpson to kill Trish. Luckily, Jessica is there and knocks Trish out, faking her death and breaking Simpson's curse. Once he realizes what he has done, Simpson is suddenly a teddy bear, mewling that he lives to take care of people. He shows up at Trish's door again to protect her. Here, he says, take this tiny gun and let me into your heart. After some pillow talk through her steel reinforced door and a romp in the sack, bygones are bygones.
When Jessica arrives to make a plan with Trish and finds Simpson in Trish's bed, she tries to flush him out. Jessica certainly doesn't need him, and she knows Trish doesn't, either. Who is this guy, anyway? He doesn't know who they're dealing with. His spec ops tactics are not enough to take down Kilgrave. Take a hike, Combat Ken!
But no, Trish thinks he might be "useful." Behind Jessica's back, and with Trish's blessing, Simpson goes on a good old-fashioned stakeout. When he moves in to save Jessica from Big Bad Kilgrave's clutches, he and his buddies come face to face with a bomb-toting neighbor lady. He is the only survivor. "How? Is he 'gifted,' too?" you may ask. Not quite.
In the hospital, a mysterious military doctor named Dr. Koslov brings Simpson red pills that turn him into the killing machine he was before he was lovable, fuckable, protection-driven Combat Ken. Just what we needed! Cue rage-driven, hulky Murderer Ken storming Jessica's apartment to eliminate the obstacle preventing him from killing Kilgrave: Jessica. Trish, in an effort to save Jessica (for once), snags one of his pills and proceeds to kick his butt, nearly killing herself in the process.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this is Trish's fault. Of course, none of it is. She liked the guy, he showed her genuine compassion, and she deserved that. Goodness gracious, with a mother like that, and such a strong commitment to her friend, Trish deserves all the care in the world, from everyone. But if she hadn't been around in the first place, think of what wouldn't have happened. No Simpson. No damsel for Jessica to save -- although, if we have to have a damsel, it's refreshing to see a female superhero save another woman. Their friendship is beautiful and dynamic. But when it comes to defeating a supervillain, that's not entirely useful.
Bottom line: Trish is -- and always has been -- a liability for Jessica. As much love and compassion as she brings to the table, it's not enough to outweigh the problems. Jessica might have been better off without her. That said, to pluck her from the equation now would send Jessica into a downward spiral that no one can afford. Plus, there's more in store for her than meets the eye. But until she dons those Hellcat ears and can pull her own weight, she needs to stay out of the way.