Who's John Raymond In 'The Defenders'? Jessica's New Case Is More Complicated Than She Expected
When The Defenders first finds Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), she's back to her old tricks: getting Trish out of trouble (this time, it's an impounded car rather than a mind-controlling sadist, luckily), taking on cases as she likes, and passing out at bars. She's presented with a new mystery almost right away, though, when a distressed wife and daughter show up at her doorstep in the premiere. Spoilers for Episodes 1 and 2 ahead! Who's John Raymond in The Defenders? His disappearance puts a sequence of pivotal events in motion.
In the first episode of the crossover series, Jessica is rolling back to her apartment with her sunglasses on and spiked coffee in hand when she's confronted by John's wife Michelle, and his teenage daughter Lexi. "Something is wrong, and I know it," Michelle tells Jessica, who's not looking to take on any new clients. Jessica's quick to brush her off with the obvious answer to her husband's changes in behavior and eventual disappearance. "He's cheating on you," Jessica announces, bluntly. But mere seconds after the mother and daughter leave, she's hit with a voice-modulated voicemail: "Jessica Jones," the voice says, "Do yourself a favor and don't look for John Raymond." And of course she's going to look for John Raymond after that; who wouldn't?
Thanks to some help from her friend Malcolm, Jessica traces the call back to a payphone — to an area that Malcolm recalls from his days shooting up heroin, as a good place to "go off the grid." This leads Jessica to what looks to be John's secret office — except it's deserted. Still, it's where she finds her next clue — a whole bunch of C4 explosives.
By the second episode, Detective Misty Knight is on the job, and Jessica quickly excuses herself from the crime scene — but not without nicking some important info first. That leads her to a records room, where she traces shell company back to older shell company — until she reaches back all the way to 1820, and a dead end. Former employer Jeri Hogarth finds her there and tells Jessica to give up the case, because it's dangerous. The government is getting involved, because apparently there was "enough C4 in that building to level a city block," according to Jeri.
At the end of episode 2, the audience and Jessica finally, finally meet John Raymond. He's broken into Jessica's apartment, and he's got a gun to Malcolm's head. But it quickly turns out that he's not so much supervillain as he is super scared. "Are you with them?" he asks her, in a shakey voice. He tells Jessica that he was only trying to stop "them," that "they" are going to come after his family — and right as he's saying all of this, "they" — the Hand, in this case — show up. Or, at least, their secret weapon, Black Sky (AKA the dearly departed Elektra Natchios) does. And as soon as she comes at him with her double swords, he promptly shoots himself in the head. Jessica chases Black Sky out of the building, at which point, Misty shows up again, and arrests her. Misty's in the midst of questioning her, when her lawyer shows up, and guess who it is? One Matthew Murdock.
Here's the question moving forward, though: How deep does John's involvement with the Hand go? Before he kills himself, he tells Jessica that he knows "too much" about the secret operation. It seems very likely that the Hand is the reason that those explosives were in his apartment, though it's not clear what they were holding over John's head to force him to do their bidding. Jessica's sleuthing digs up that he was the architect tasked with building the new Midland Circle building — which you might recognize as the giant pit in Hell's Kitchen from Daredevil. Was he going to blow this one too?
So though he died without revealing much about himself, John Raymond is the thread that entangles Jessica Jones in the Hand's ever-extending web across New York City. And for that, fans have to thank him. Because who knows if she'd ever have met Matt Murdock (and later, Danny Rand) without him?