WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Jessica Jones Season 3, streaming now on Netflix.
Staying true to its noir influences, the finale of Jessica Jones doesn't provide anyone with a truly happy ending. However, the last moments of Season 3 -- and, alas, the series -- does resurrect a character so many fans had longed for. Well, sort of. No, not Luke Cage -- he appears briefly earlier in the episode; we're talking about Kilgrave.
Showrunner Melissa Rosenberg dropped a cryptic tease in February an appearance by the Season 1 antagonist, who looms so large in the memory of Jessica, and of the audience, long after his death. Portrayed by David Tennant, Kilgrave continued to haunt Jessica in the second season, as a hallucination. The villain, who could control the minds of others with the sound of his voice, returns in similar fashion in the final scene of the series, but this time it's to inspire Jessica Jones.
The Rise, and Fall, of the Masked Vigilante
Season 3 follows two primary storylines, which intersect repeatedly, before colliding in a bloody spectacle: the pursuit of Gregory Salinger (Jeremy Bobb), a serial killer who targets those who perceives as "cheats" and "frauds," from a celebrated chef who overcooked a steak to a certain private investigator with enhanced abilities and a bad attitude; and the path of Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor) from hocking a line of clothes on the American Retail Network to fighting crime as a costumed vigilante.
Intertwined are threads about Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss) coming to terms with her declining health while desperately trying to salvage her firm's reputation following a scandal, and Malcolm Ducasse (Eka Darville) suffering a crisis of conscious after serving as Jeri's fixer for too long.
However, Trish becomes the nexus for all of the stories: She breaks into Jeri's office to steal information on clients, whom she then targets in her vigilante crusade. When that's not enough, she uses Erik Gelden (Benjamin Walker), Jessica's hook-up turned romantic interest who uses his ability to sense "darkness" in those near him to blackmail particularly nasty criminals. That's how Salinger enters the life of Jessica -- he stabs her while following his blackmailer Erik -- and, by extension, Trish.
When Trish unintentionally kills one of Erik's marks, a dirty cop who murders drug dealers for their money, Jessica is arrested for the crime. But when Trish and Erik try to establish Jessica's innocence by attacking a property developer responsible for several deaths in a building fire, Trish accidentally murders him too. It's clear that, like Will Simpson before her, Trish's newfound enhanced abilities bring with them a lack of self-control.
Therefore, it's no surprise that, after Salinger kills Dorothy Walker (Rebecca De Morney) in an effort to strike at Jessica, not even imprisonment can protect him from Trish. Striking as Salinger is being escorted underground by police, from holding cells to the courthouse for arraignment, Trish beats him to death.
Jessica's Big Choices
While most people might have been troubled by their third murder in a matter of days, Trish is more concerned about returning to work at ARN, to maintain her cover. When confronted by Jessica, she rationalizes the killing of Salinger, saying, "Look, if you don't like my methods, fine. But I know there is a part of you that is relieved he's gone." After all, no one else was going to protect people from him -- certainly not Jessica. That Trish sounds more than a little like Salinger doesn't escape Jessica or the audience.
When Jessica asks Trish to turn herself in to the police, it's out of fear that she doesn't recognize her adoptive sister any longer, and doesn't know when, or if, she can stop. Trish is convinced that her crusade is right, and that no one else is able, or willing, to do what she can. Salinger warned Jessica that Trish is a "true believer," and he was right. She's a lot like him.
Despite Trish's effort to flee the country, using Jeri and her connections, it comes down to a fight between sisters, which Jessica wins. Trish, the former child star turned "masked killer," is turned over to the New York City Police Department, which then loses jurisdiction to "them." It's never specified who "they" are, but we can presume it's the government agency that operates the Raft, the Marvel Cinematic Universe's underwater prison for people with enhanced abilities. The last we, and Jessica, see of Trish, she's being escorted by men in nondescript black body armor onto an equally nondescript black helicopter.
Goodbye, New York, Hello ... Kilgrave?
Being touted as a "Bona Fide Hero" on the front page of the New York Bulletin isn't consolation for Jessica. Neither is the prospect of partnering with Erik, professionally or romantically. "You're a good man," she tells him, "but I don't trust you."
She says goodbye to him, to Alias Investigations -- she hands the keys to Malcolm, warning, "Don't screw it up" -- and, so it seems, New York. After watching Trish being escorted away, Jessica heads to the train station. She asks for a one-way ticket to El Paso, Texas, "the closest you can get to Mexico." As the agent slide the ticket across the counter, everything takes on a purple hue, and we hear the unmistakable voice of Kilgrave.
"Jessica ... You're right to give in. Give up," he whispers, seemingly giving voice to her thoughts. "It's someone else's job now."
But rather weaken her resolve, as he once did, Kilgrave's words strengthen it. The series ends not with Jessica leaving behind New York, but instead turning her back on the ticket agent and Mexico. Smiling faintly, she walks away, presumably to reclaim her keys from Malcolm, and to get back to work.
Streaming now on Netflix, Jessica Jones Season 3 stars Krysten Ritter, Rachael Taylor, Carrie-Anne Moss, Eka Darville, Benjamin Walker, Jeremy Bobb, Sarita Choudhury and Rebecca De Mornay.