Will Malcolm Go Bad In ‘Jessica Jones’ Season 3? He Wants More Than Jessica Can Give Him, Says Eka Darville
While the events of Season 1 affected everyone in the private eye's orbit, Season 2 of Jessica Jones pushes characters to make even more drastic shifts. Spoilers for the entire second season ahead! By the end of the season Malcolm has become a very different version of the kind-hearted assistant that fans met in Season 1. "Malcolm is really about finding who he is" in Season 2, according to actor Eka Darville, speaking over the phone the day before the release. And as he takes on a job with Pryce Cheng and Jeri Hogarth in Episode 13, it looks like Malcolm could go bad on Jessica Jones. If he does set aside his morals, will Jessica be able to save him? They're no longer on speaking terms.
Malcolm started out his Jessica Jones journey as a man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. A hopeful social worker, Malcolm was eventually forced by Kilgrave to rely on the mind controller for drugs. Kilgrave used Malcolm to spy on Jessica on his behalf. After getting sober, Malcolm served as Jessica's ally and assistant. However, the events of Season 2 have caused everyone's lives to turn around again. And amidst the chaos it appears that Malcolm has been seduced by the possibility of forging his own path.
"It's very much a coming of age story for Malcolm," Darville says of Season 2. "He’s finding himself as an individual and exploring questions of identity and where he belongs and who he is outside of being an addict." After becoming frustrated with Jessica and Trish's actions, Malcolm seems to determine that where he currently belongs is in the employment of Cheng, Jessica's P.I. rival.
While working with Cheng and Jeri doesn't necessarily make Malcolm evil, it does reveal that his priorities have shifted. Darville says that the reason that Malcolm stayed with Alias Investigations for so long is because "he fundamentally believes in Jessica." Part of Malcolm's dedication to Alias came from a sense of loyalty, but some of it came from his hopes for himself.
"Their relationship and his attachment to working with her and supporting her is because he sees himself in her," the actor says.
However, once Malcolm's view of Jessica shifts, as it does over the course of Season 2, his allegiance to his former boss slips away. In the Season 2 finale, Malcolm dons a haircut and a suit and shows up at the doorstep of Jeri Hogarth. He delivers her blackmail on one of her employees, namely that her co-partner is a closeted homosexual. Earlier in the season Malcolm promised this partner that he would do no such thing, but it looks like he's determined learned that there's little room for ethics in this profession.
Up until now — and when not under Kilgrave's control — Malcolm has proven to be one of the few trustworthy men in the show's universe. And the actor believes it's his identity that sets his character apart from Kilgrave, Will Simpson, Max Tatum, and other toxic men on the show.
"As a black person, Malcolm knows the struggle," Darville explains. "He knows what it’s like to be on the other end of not being in this role of assumed privilege. And therefore there is a real kinship of the suffering that is wrought as a result of male-dominated society that doesn’t leave a lot of space for the feminine."
While Malcolm may not become the same kind of chauvinist Jessica and company have faced in the past, he's also not the idealistic social worker he used to try and be. Jessica saved Malcolm from being an addict, but by pushing him away, she may have turned him into an enemy. At least professionally.
"I think Malcolm is an inherently compassionate," Darville says. "But I also think on a darker tip — there is a desire to prove that he’s not [defined by his addiction] now, that is driving him to be more ambitious than we’ve seen him."
This ambition places Malcolm in the employment of Cheng, who is in turn employed by Jessica's sometime-friend and sometime-fore Jeri. And whether or not he retains his principles, Malcolm is just one of many people who Jessica Jones has alienated herself from in Season 2.