Trish Walker used to be the person who pushed Jessica to be the best version of herself, but that all went out the window starting in Jessica Jones season 2.
We loved Trish in Jessica Jones season 1. She had overcome an abusive mother, the perils of celebrity, and drug addiction in order to become her own person. She cut ties with her mother, she used her platform to make a radio show where she felt like she was helping people, and she stayed sober.
In season 1, her focus was on being able to take care of herself and encouraging Jessica to do something — anything — with her powers. She was a good person.
She’s not anymore. She has become someone whose warped perception convinces her she’s a good person when she’s the exact opposite.
The worst part is, this is not out of character for her. Trish is extremely driven and headstrong; she doesn’t like being told she can’t do something. She’s already susceptible to addiction, so pairing that with an intense desire to help people and a fear that she’s not good enough, it’s no wonder she went off the rails.
Trish Walker’s descent
As much as we hate to admit it, Jessica’s presence in Trish’s life was the main driving force for why Trish went crazy back in Jessica Jones season 2. Jessica has powers! She can protect herself! She has the ability to do something and chooses not to! Trish Walker literally cannot comprehend the scenario and so she decides to take matters into her own hands.
But that’s no excuse for what she’s done. At the end of the day, Jessica is not responsible for Trish’s actions. Jessica has already lost everything — her family, her privacy, her anonymity. All she’s got is her whiskey and her computer and a nagging, severely unhinged sister who doesn’t understand how dangerous it is to be a powered person.
Trish would (and gladly did) take all those consequences and more just to have a drop of power. As our friend Nasim wrote, Trish’s character is indicative of a white savior complex. She thinks she knows best and will not listen to those around her when they tell her she’s wrong. We see this when, in season 2, she forces the ashes of Jessica’s family on her, despite knowing her sister’s trauma surrounding the accident, and we also see it when she encourages Malcolm to take a hit off of Simpson’s inhaler, despite knowing he’s a recently recovering addict.
She’s so keen to show everyone around her how okay she is that she’s willing to destroy them in the process. “How can you tell me there’s something wrong with me, when there’s clearly something wrong with you. Never mind the fact that I put you in that position to begin with.”
We were hoping Trish would learn her lesson by the end of the second season of Jessica Jones. She did some pretty stupid things throughout the course of thirteen episodes, including risking her life to be injected with chemicals she doesn’t understand in order to potentially gain powers. What was done to Jessica as a child was horrific and wrong, but at the end of the day it did save her life. That’s not at all the case with Trish.
Trish had a good life — money, influence, friends, love, health — but she wanted more. We don’t fault her for being ambitious, for wanting to help people. It would have been commendable if she hadn’t taken it to such an extreme. But she did, and now she looks like a whiny little brat who would be willing to give up everything that made her who she was in order to be something “greater.”
And the worst part? It worked.
Trish Walker, the murderer
The culmination of Trish’s narcissism and arrogance in the second season (before she really went off the rails) was when she showed up to the theme park and shot Jessica’s mom in the head, right in front of Jessica.
We barely have the words to explain how disgusted we were with the climax of Trish’s arc here.
Jessica wanted her mother to stay in her life because it was her mother. She also saw the good her mother could do with her powers, just like when they saved that family and the truck driver from the burning car accident. But Jessica never, not once, forgot how dangerous her mother was. And if Trish had just talked with Jessica, had given her time to explain the situation and had truly listened, she would’ve known that.
At the end of the day, Jessica’s mother was willing to give up a life she fought so hard to keep in order to ensure her daughter’s safety. She alerted the cops to their position so they could either take her in or take her out. It was a heartbreaking decision to make, but it was a decision she came to on her own. Jessica didn’t like it, but she knew it wasn’t up to her. It was her mother’s choice.
And Trish took that choice away from both Jessica and her mother. How does that make her better than Kilgrave? We recognize that his destruction was far worse and much more widespread, but at its basis, they both made decisions for Jessica without consulting her. Kilgrave was an evil bastard with mind control powers. Trish is (or, well, was… but we’ll get to that) her sister, her best friend. She knew how traumatized Jess was over losing her family the first time, and yet Trish thought the best solution was to shoot Jessica’s mother in the head right in front of her?
It’s a wonder Jessica didn’t beat the living shit out of her when she had a chance. We certainly wouldn’t have blamed her. But Jessica is all the better for keeping her rage in check.
The Hellcat cometh
We were desperately hoping this was the lesson Trish was going to learn. She made the wrong play and she lost her sister because of it. Jessica’s line about looking at her and only seeing the person who killed her mother cut deep, but the pain Trish felt after that statement was soon washed away by the euphoria that Trish started to come into her powers.
After everything she did, after all the pain she caused, she still got what she wanted. In her mind, it was all worth it because, at the beginning of Jessica Jones season 3, she could now call herself a powered person and “save people” in her own way and by her own ever-changing moral code.
What difference did it make that she alienated her friends and family? In her mind, they didn’t understand her quest for justice or desire to do something about the harsh injustices everyone else turns a blind eye to.
And so, even after losing her support system, the very one that saw her through the darkest days of her addiction as well as her rebuilding her reputation, Trish saw nothing wrong with putting all of her effort into her “training.”
In fact, apparently, increased agility, the ability to see in the dark, heightened stamina, and quicker reflexes are all it takes to ensnare Trish and make her choose her abilities over friends, family, and reason every time. After all, Jessica Jones season 3 reveals that Trish jumped into the powered life almost immediately following the shoe-cellphone catch in Jessica’s elevator.
We see her mourn a bit for her relationship with Jessica, but that mourning, as with most things with Trish, turns into anger and indignation. The more she’s left to her own devices and her own training, the more she convinces herself of her self-righteousness and the flaws of those around her.
By the time she and Jessica crossed paths at Andrew Brandt’s apartment, Trish was beyond saving. Jessica (and even us viewers) just didn’t know it yet.
Trish Walker: Judge, jury, executioner
At this point, Trish already believed the justice system to be inefficient and ineffective. Criminals operated outside of the system and so she must then too. She went so far as to rent out the apartment across the street from a mark in order to learn his schedule so she could go after him. Crafty and smart? Yes. Something a normal, law-abiding citizen should do? Absolutely not.
And yet, that’s probably the mildest thing she did all season. After all, even Jessica came around after a while and started being friendly with her again. (EVEN AFTER SHE MURDERED HER MOTHER.)
Though Trish’s view was irrevocably flawed, everything she did up until this point had some sort of root in reality. In her eyes, she prevented future harm from a woman who had lost control and stopped a dangerous abuser from hurting anyone else. Her methods were far from great, but we can all agree to some degree that the results of her actions were warranted to some degree.
But then Salinger came along.
Everything about the Salinger plotline, from the hunt to his constant escaping their clutches to the dead bodies left in his wake, slowly peels away all of Trish’s excuses, rationalizations, and attempts at logic to justify what she was doing. The longer she worked with Jessica on the case, the further exposed her warped sense of reality became.
Not only that, but before Salinger, all of her dangerous ideations and creeds were just sort of floating around, untethered and disjointed. She’d touch on one individual aspect of that darkness underneath at a time, but never all of it all at once.
Only when Sallinger murders her mother Dorothy does everything finally snap into place. Instead of sparking a course correction for Trish, the traumatic experience of discovering her mother’s murdered body toward the end of the season unlocked her darkest urges and unified all of those disparate pieces of her personality. Instead of breaking her down, her mother’s murder fueled the final stage of her transformation.
Not that we’re ever happy to see characters die or be brutally murdered, but when Trish first found her mother, we couldn’t help but think about how relieved we were that Trish was finally going to stop being terrible and harboring such dangerous notions. And so we can’t understate how devastated we were to witness her resulting spiral into madness.
Honestly, the only good thing to come out of all this awfulness was the moment she realized she’s the bad guy. Trish isn’t blinded by rage or self-righteousness, nor is her realization something she vehemently denies or rails against. It’s almost like she has come back to herself, at least a little bit.
There were no waterworks or screams. She didn’t break down in agony or pass out. Seeing through to an addiction is something Trish had done before, and so she was able to finally see the signs here and know it to be true.
It would’ve been a far cheaper and less powerful moment if she had thrown some sort of fit or started crying. With everything she had done and become, it would’ve felt inauthentic and like she didn’t actually feel the full weight of it.
But the immediate acceptance demonstrates a maturity we hadn’t seen from Trish in a long, long while. It also brings along with it a hope that, now knowing her position in the world, she can figure out her own way back. Or, if not back, just a new way forward.
’Jessica Jones’ season 4: Trish Walker/Hellcat redeemed?
In the comics, Patsy Walker suffers in literal hell before being brought back to the land of the living and trying to resume some semblance of her life. She knows she can’t truly go back to “normal,” as there is no “normal” to go back to, and so she works to carve out a new life for herself alongside her friends (including Jessica Jones and She-Hulk).
Our hope would be that Jessica Jones season 3 was Trish Walker’s descent into hell and a Jessica Jones season 4 would bring with it her atonement as well as her search for a way forward. Not only that, but we’d also love a real future for Hellcat as well.
None of that will be easy for Trish, nor should it be. She’ll need to sit with everything that she has done and feel the full weight of how her actions have impacted and hurt others, especially those she cares about. It will be a long while before she feels worse for the pain she’s caused than for the anger someone feels toward her. Though she realized she is the bad guy, she’s still an arrogant, self-centered narcissist.
Patsy Walker/Hellcat is one of our all-time favorite Marvel characters, and so seeing her turn into this warped, addicted, and deranged beyond hurt. But a Jessica Jones season 4 exploring Trish’s atonement and difficult journey back from being a villain is something we’d binge in a heartbeat. It may not currently be on the books over at Marvel Studios, but that moratorium from Netflix will lift sooner or later, making a new season possible.
Jessica Jones season 3 proved that Trish Walker is, in fact, the fucking worst and has a long way to go if she ever wants to prove otherwise.
And we’ll be here waiting for it.