“A.K.A The Double Half-Wappinger” reveals some uncomfortable truths, as things get finally get physical.
This Jessica Jones Season 3, Episode 7 recap for the episode titled “A.K.A The Double Half-Wappinger” contains spoilers. You can check out our spoiler-free thoughts on the entire third season by clicking these words. You can also check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these ones.
Jeri Hogarth can always be relied upon to do whatever benefits her and her firm — especially now that the firm’s reputation has been dragged through the mud by accusations of unethical practice. Thus, it makes perfect sense, to the audience if not to Jessica Jones, for Hogarth to defend Sallinger in “A.K.A The Double Half-Wappinger”. He’s a sort-of celebrity who stands in stark opposition to Jessica Jones and her superpowered ilk — he’s exactly the kind of client Hogarth had been accused of not defending.
It also gives Sallinger an excuse to spout his nutcase incel rubbish about Jessica being a “feminist vindicator” and his own lowly, underprivileged status as a white man. What I like about Sallinger as a villain is that he’s really good at leaning into this; if babyish white dudes are the villains of the moment, he’s a perfect snapshot of finger-pointing cultural clashing, as the old guard cede more and more ground to people whom they don’t respect or even understand. As a debate between ordinary people and “supers” this might be less representative of what’s happening now online and in the real world, but for Sallinger to explicitly frame Jessica in this way — as a woman, as a feminist, as someone who isn’t a white man — it scarcely matters that she’s superpowered at all.
All this attention means the phones at Alias Investigations are ringing constantly, but Jessica and Trish need to come up with more significant proof that Sallinger is their man. They travel to his home town of Wappinger, a tight-lipped rural community immediately protective of their own secrets and suspicious of Jessica’s big-city superpowers (I don’t believe it’s stated outright, but there’s an obvious sense that the idea of powered people is a kind of newfangled modern trend). The residents — including the local cops — are protective of their own in general and of Sallinger in particular, whom they see as something of a homegrown success after the unfortunate death of his brother, for which he was allegedly blamed by his father, whether he was responsible or not.
Of course, he has to be responsible for something, and some enjoyable sleuthing — including a distraction from Trish-as-Patty, which remains the best use of the character — digs up a clue, quite literally. During his days on the wrestling team, Sallinger had a best friend who has been missing for the last 15 years. (The episode’s title, “A.K.A The Double Half-Wappinger”, refers to a wrestling technique the two had made up in honor of their hometown.) The kid’s parents are still grieving, but have more or less come to terms with the idea that, after so long, their son isn’t coming home — but the revelation is that he never left. He’s buried under the gazebo in the back yard. He was Sallinger’s first kill.
As Malcolm and Zaya’s relationship continues to hit obstacles and he begins to dig into Sallinger for himself, disgusted that Hogarth’s firm is defending him, Jessica, armed with DNA evidence of Sallinger’s crimes, goes to visit him at wrestling practice. In an overdue moment of catharsis, she’s able to beat him physically but also emotionally, by letting on that she knows about his long-dead childhood friend. Was it slightly corny and ridiculous to see Sallinger’s own, ostensibly loyal students cheer on Jessica as she tosses around their coach? I guess, but it was fun nonetheless. The problem is that Sallinger, pinned or otherwise, probably isn’t going to take this lying down.
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Just fyi–the town Jessica found Nathan’s body in is Wappingers Falls NY, not Wappinger.