(Note: This post contains MAJOR spoilers for “Jessica Jones” Season 2. Read on at your own risk!)
“Jessica Jones” Season 2 kicks into high gear in its sixth episode, when Jessica’s investigation turns up new information about the shadowy group IGH and what it’s been doing to turn people superpowered.
As Jessica (Krysten Ritter) digs into the question of what IGH is and what experiments it has done on people, she learns from a super-person named Robert Coleman, a.k.a. “The Whizzer” (Jay Klaitz), that someone is hunting and killing super folks. It appears to Jessica that someone is trying to cover IGH’s tracks and eliminate anyone who knew anything about the program.
In Episode 6 of “Jessica Jones” Season 2, though, Jessica learns the truth: IGH, the program that saved her life after the car wreck that killed her family, also had another patient from that accident. That patient is Jessica’s mother, Alisa Jones (Janet McTeer), who was legally declared dead in the accident’s aftermath.
Like Jessica, Alisa was a victim of experiments by IGH doctor Karl Malus (Callum Keith Rennie) that were made in an attempt to heal her body. The accident badly disfigured Alisa, and it took years of genetic manipulation and treatment to repair her face — which also changed her appearance, the reason Jessica hasn’t recognized Alisa before. And like Jessica, Alisa’s treatment manifested serious side effects: She’s also super strong and super durable, like her daughter, but Alisa suffers violent mood swings that have caused her to become homicidal.
Both the IGH plotline and the resurfacing of Jessica’s mother are stories unique to the Netflix version of “Jessica Jones.” In the Marvel comics, Jessica got her powers from a car accident that killed her family, but it was your standard “splashed with dangerous chemicals” kind of situation. There were no secret experiments and no dangerous, clandestine military group.
In fact, in the comics, Jessica’s original surname was Campbell, not Jones, and her birth mother was never given a first name. She was later adopted by Alisa Jones and her husband (not Dorothy Walker, the mother of Trish [a.k.a. Patsy], as in the show), and took their last name.
Jessica’s relationship with Alisa in both the comics and show is strained, and neither version is an especially good mom to Jessica. But the comics about Jessica never featured her birth or her adoptive mother returning from the dead. The comics version of Alisa Jones is still alive, in fact, and babysits Danielle Cage, Jessica’s daughter with husband Luke. But neither of Jessica’s mothers have any special abilities.
So that means “Jessica Jones” Season 2 is blazing new territory all its own with the return of Alisa and the ramping up of the involvement of IGH. We also get a bunch of new insight into Jessica’s past in Episode 7 thanks to Alisa’s memories. The show explains the inspiration for the private investigation agency at the center of “Jessica Jones,” Alias Investigations, and the traumas that started Jessica down the path toward her current life.