Spoilers ahead for Jessica Jones Season 2 up to Episode 5. Though it's been more than two years since Jessica Jones first premiered on Netflix, the name "Kilgrave" probably still sends chills down your spine. In the new season, there is a new threat, but she's even more shadowy than David Tennant's creeping obsess-ant. Who's Janet McTeer's mystery woman in Jessica Jones Season 2? At the beginning of the season, she doesn't even have a name.
McTeer's character first appears in Episode 3, claiming to be a "Dr. Leslie Hansen" who was affiliated with both Metro-General Hospital and the mysterious IGH where Jessica Jones was brought back to life after the crash that killed her family and her super powers were born. But while Jessica goes to meet her, Trish and Malcolm quickly discover that the woman who contacted them is not Leslie. She actually killed Leslie.
And it's also not long before this woman reveals that she has powers of her own. She's even stronger than Jessica. She can scale walls. She's not, actually, that good at piano. She also wears a wig — a good wig, but a wig nonetheless that could be a clue to her identity and/or the nature of her powers.
However, it seems clear that she is the one targeting IGH patients and doctors. Is that her "monster" face that Jessica vaguely remembers from her past? Because of this woman's powers, it's easy for her to frame Jessica for these crimes and pin them on her. The unnamed character is a loner and struggles with anger management. Jessica was already existentially wrestling with not wanting to self-identify as a killer. It's almost like a villain she can relate to is thematically perfect for this season.
"I would describe her as very driven," McTeer said in an interview with Variety of her unnamed character, "very intense, very goal-oriented and very, very, very complicated." She hints that she could be a friend to Jessica as well of a foe.
She's only a mystery to the audience, however. "They told me everything about my character," McTeer said in the same interview, "where she was going, what the storyline was for her, what that meant. They were still writing some of the episodes, but I kind of knew where everything was going and what was going to happen. I knew all about it before I started off." McTeer promised Variety that 'eventually" we will learn her name — and knowing Marvel, that is probably significant.
Who could she be from Marvel comics? The biggest clue is her companion at the end of Episode 5. Jessica goes to visit an IGH janitor who has been committed (and likely framed for murder) named David. He tells Jessica about a doctor named "Karl" that used to take him to look at octopuses. When Jessica tracks down Dr. Karl, that woman is with her and he calls her "my lady" — gross!
Most likely, this is Dr. Karl Malus, a comic villain sometimes known as Karl or Carnage. A paraplegic surgeon, he became obsessed with super powers. He appears in some team-up comics that include Klaw from Black Panther as well as, was personally a fan of the Fantastic Four canonically, and also appeared in Spider-Woman comics. Sometimes his evil deeds are just supplying weapons and aiding criminals. Sometimes all he really wants is a superpowered friend. Sometimes his brain gets taken over by aliens. He's never a good guy, but he's not exactly twisting his mustache.
Back to this mysterious woman. Could she be somehow connected to Jessica Drew, also known as Spider-Woman? There are a couple of Spider-Man jokes and references in the season, which could be clues instead of Easter Eggs. There's also the option of Karla Sofen, also known as Moonstone, another super-villain/anti-heroine who started as a psychologist.
What about Sharon Ventura, also known as She-Thing, who at one point becomes Ms. Marvel, but who in the comics Malus experimented on and drugged to the point of dependency? That would explain the monster face, if she at times resembles the Thing from Fantastic Four.
It would certainly be interesting for Marvel to introduce older generations of these characters to the Netflix Universe, the way Ant-Man has done with Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne on the big screen, and even Howard Stark and Peggy Carter.
That said, there's a lot more to learn about Janet McTeer's character on Jessica Jones yet besides her identity. What does she want? Why does she accuse Jessica of being ungrateful? Would she really kill a baby for crying during her piano practice? Marvel comics or not, her name is probably just the beginning.
SPOILERS FOR EPISODES 6-7
At the end of Episode 6, McTeer's character is revealed to be Jessica's mother Alisa, presumed dead by her for years, face reconstructed after the car accident that killed the rest of her family. Dr. Karl Malus and Dr. Leslie Hansen saved her life, though she was in a coma for five years.