New recaps of Jessica Jones post Mondays and Thursdays. You can read all past recaps here.
I mentioned in prior write-ups that “AKA Sin Bin” was my favorite episode of the series, and now we’ve reached “AKA I’ve Got The Blues,” which is my least. The series could have benefitted from cutting a few episodes, and this Will-centric episode is the best example of that. When you have an overarching storyline, taking a detour from that is going to require something on its level when it comes to Kilgrave and Jessica’s past. But here, we’re given a battle between Jessica, Trish, and Will (a.k.a. Nuke) in a struggle in the office of Alias Investigations. Now don’t get me wrong, this episode is still good, it’s just not as good as some of the others.
While watching “AKA I’ve Got The Blues,” I was trying to think about what would have fixed this episode. To start, I didn’t feel great about Will tagging along with the rest of the group, offering the perspective of killing Kilgrave versus merely capturing him. Honestly, it wasn’t really a perspective that was needed, as the audience could tell that killing Kevin Kilgrave was probably the best course, but not one that could be easily taken with the fate of Hope in the balance. It was a struggle, but not one that necessarily needed to be manifested here, and so Will felt clumsy at times. With the revelation that Will was in fact the Marvel villain Nuke, we were thus introduced to a new villain who just didn’t necessarily pose the same kind of threat that Kilgrave does, making it feellike padding. (Further, maybe adding a personal relationship with Will and the gang wasn’t the right way to go). This episode had decent action, but it was a stopgap along the way to a much better storyline.
And while the story wasn’t the best that it could be, I will give the episode props for delivering the action. I think that some of the action set pieces in previous episodes left something to be desired, but the physical fight between Jessica and Will, and the eventually Will and Trish, felt good. It was satisfying to see several superpowered individuals wreck one another in an enclosed place. It was somewhat reminiscent of the hallway scene from the second episode of Daredevil (though ultimately nowhere near its level, truth be told). The resolution was interesting, presenting the idea that the pills sent you into such a rage spiral that your body would forget to breath, causing Trish to nearly die after having to take the red pills in order to stop Will. Will’s anger here could have been explored a little better, or perhaps refined, as opposed to “kill everyone who doesn’t agree to kill Kilgrave … or just anyone!” I think if you wanted to go the “berserker route” it should have been done on a much grander scale.
All is not lost in this episode though, as we are presented with a great look back into the lives of Jessica and Trish growing up. Trish’s mom is someone that you love to hate, and you’ve met someone like that in your life. I’m using her as an example for what Robyn could have been versus what she was — a cartoonish pain in the ass for the cast. Trish’s life as Patsy, and Jessica’s impotence at being able to save her from both that life and her mother despite her strength, felt real. It felt like a fantastic layer to add to Jessica’s role as a victim in the series. This wasn’t something she could simply brute force her way past, much like Kilgrave. It also adds additional depth to Trish, in so much that her livelihood in the world of entertainment is also a representation of her terrible childhood. It makes for an interesting dynamic.
Moving along to the next episode, “AKA Take A Bloody Number,” things get back on track with Luke Cage and Jessica reuniting after Kilgrave had blown up Luke’s bar with him still inside. Seemingly, Kilgrave had ordered Luke to stand inside his bar when it exploded, not realizing that Luke had abilities of his own. This actually made for a really neat scene in which Luke walks out of his bar still on fire, extremely nonchalant about the whole thing. Of course, Luke still remembers that Jessica was the one who killed his wife under Kilgrave’s control, so it makes for some tense exchanges between the two, though the chemistry is still undeniably there. I mentioned it before when discussing the relationship between these two, but it’s unbelievably refreshing how they work so well as the de-facto couple of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was also fantastic to see Luke forgive Jessica, realizing himself just how impossible it was to break free from Kilgrave’s influence.
As the two manage to track down Kilgrave to a nightclub, it’s revealed the (SURPRISE!) Luke was under Kilgrave’s influence the entire time. Jessica and Luke throw down in a great one-on-one super-strength brawl, making for yet another well-choreographed action scene. When their fight spills out into the street, they’re confronted by two police officers, and Jessica manages to grab one of their guns and uses it to cleverly take out the possessed Cage, though unfortunately severely injuring him in the process. Krysten Ritter sells the hell out of the conflict within herself in having to possibly kill Luke in order to stop him, and Mike Colter has proven himself to be the perfect man for the job in bringing Luke Cage to the screen. Curt, serious, and to the point, Colter even has managed to sell “Sweet Christmas” over and over again throughout the series. Great acting from all parties involved.
On the other side of the spectrum, Trish has a confrontation with her mother, who attempts to bury the hatchet by giving Trish the information about Jessica’s accident that granted her superpowers when she was a teen. IGH, the company seemingly behind the chemical spill, is discovered by Trish and sets up potentially a bigger, badder threat for Jessica and company to tackle down the line. Perhaps this will be the rallying point for all the Marvel Netflix heroes to assemble as the Defenders when that series gets going in a few years time. This episode acted as a nice crescendo for Trish and her relationship with her mother, and heck, we even got a nice finale for Robyn in her discussion with Malcolm, annoying and terrible as her character is. It acts as a fantastic buildup for the finale of the series.
While “AKA I’ve Got The Blues” was the weakest entry of the series, “AKA Take A Bloody Number” brought things back to form and was another excellent installment.
“AKA I’ve Got The Blues”: ★★★ Good
“AKA Take a Bloody Number”: ★★★★★ Excellent
AKA Purple Notes
– Is there any doubt that David Tennant as Purple Man is the best Marvel Cinematic Universe villain at this point? His creepy use of his powers throughout this episode, such as telling a poor nightclub goer to permanently plant himself in front of a fence, and nearly forcing his father to shove his hand into a running blender, was some tense stuff to be sure. Tennant is just a delight to watch, especially with scenes like the nightclub where he’s hamming it up and chewing the scenery.
– I really wish Nuke had the American Flag makeup strewn across his face here. Don’t know if there was much of a story reason for that though.
– Bye Robyn! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!
– Come back next time for our review of the series finale, and the series overall!