Image Source: Netflix
Spoilers for Jessica Jones season three below, FYI!
Prepare yourself, because the third and final season of Jessica Jones will leave you with a ton of highly important questions just a few episodes in. Like, why do hot, charming strangers never offer to make me hamburgers in bars? Why can’t we all have a friend like Gillian? And was the budget for season three so low that Trish’s vigilante “disguise” really had to be a bedazzled beanie from Forever 21 and a lame scarf? Of course, in all seriousness, we also need to discuss season three’s incredibly dangerous new villain, Gregory Salinger.
We’re first introduced to the character, played by Russian Doll‘s Jeremy Bobb, when he stabs Jessica in the abdomen outside of her apartment and escapes as she bleeds out in the hall. We later learn that Gregory was initially after Jessica’s hookup, Erik (The Choice‘s Benjamin Walker), who was blackmailing Gregory because he’d deduced he was a killer of some kind (Erik’s power is that he can sense if someone has done evil things just by being near them).
As Jessica soon comes to discover, though Greg Salinger is a normal human man, he’s an extremely formidable foe. He also makes an appearance in some Marvel comics, though he and his TV counterpart are quite different. Let’s break down who he is and why he’s the perfect foe for Jessica.
Who Is Gregory Salinger in Jessica Jones?
In the TV series, not only is Greg hyperintelligent (he has medical and law degrees all over his apartment walls), but he’s also extremely vengeful. He deems all superheroes “cheaters” and “frauds” who have never had to work for their success. Jessica in particular rubs him the wrong way, since she’s an abrasive, unapologetic alcoholic, but more importantly, because she’s a woman whose strength clearly threatens and terrifies him. “You were given every advantage,” he tells Erik at one point after kidnapping him. “[You were] allowed to make mistake after mistake.” He also chides Jessica for having “no discipline, just brute force.”
“Salinger is a deeply scarred individual, and he just, by coincidence, crosses paths with Jessica,” series creator and showrunner Melissa Rosenberg explained to Entertainment Weekly of Salinger’s motivations. “For him, everything about her offends him, [specifically] the fact that she’s got these powers not through hard work but through some other means . . . This is someone who has worked very hard himself. But he’s a very twisted dude.”
So, Greg Doesn’t Have Any Superpowers?
Nope, he’s just a regular — albeit highly trained and psychotic — dude. He has a special gun in the comics (which you’ll read about ahead), but it’s nowhere to be seen in the show.
Image Source: Marvel
Who Is Greg Salinger in the Comics?
In Marvel comics, Greg appears as a mercenary who is more commonly known as Foolkiller, but he’s not the only one — three characters in the comics use that code name, including Salinger, Ross G. Everbest, and Kurt Gerhardt. Everbest, a religious fanatic of sorts, was the first, who was notable for his choice in weapon: a “purification” ray gun that disintegrated his victims. Next up was Salinger, who took over the mantle after he got out of prison and acquired Everbest’s gun, which helped him carry out his mission of executing criminals. Salinger was more of a Punisher-like figure rather than a straight-up villain, gruesomely murdering only those who broke the law. He actually joined the Defenders for a time, before deciding they were too soft and destroying their headquarters. He later went on a killing spree and was institutionalized for his crimes.
Salinger mentored and passed on the mantle of Foolkiller to Kurt Gerhardt, a fellow criminal. Gerhardt took things too far, killing not only criminals but also celebrities and industrialists, before ending up locked in the Raft. With Gerhardt out of commission, Deadpool recruits Salinger to resume his Foolkiller persona on the Mercs for Money team. Salinger agrees and even earns a degree in Psychiatry so he can be Deadpool’s therapist. S.H.I.E.L.D. also hired him to help counsel violent criminals, but it didn’t take long before Salinger began wantonly killing those he saw as unable to be rehabilitated.
Does Greg Salinger Fight Jessica Jones in the Comics?
The short answer is no, the two never cross paths. However, he does fight Hellcat, since she’s a member of the Defenders at that time (along with Doctor Strange, the Hulk, Valkyrie, and Nighthawk). As you know Hellcat is the alias of Trish Walker, who now has powers in the TV series. Without giving too much away, Trish and Salinger have a very violent interaction in the back half of the season that leaves both sides of the fight deeply scarred (though not necessarily physically).
Image Source: Netflix
Is There Any Way Jessica Can Defeat Greg Salinger?
As we see in season three, Greg is just as difficult to put away as Kilgrave but for very different reasons. This time around, Jessica has trouble proving that he’s a serial killer in the eyes of the law, even with a train car full of body parts and a rescued kidnap victim; he might not be super, but he is thorough, and absolutely ruthless. If she can somehow turn his intellect against him, similar to a storyline in the comics that sees him about to use the purification ray gun on himself following a fight with Spider-Man, that might be the only way to get rid of him without destroying her own life in the process.
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