New recaps of Jessica Jones will post Mondays and Thursdays. You can read all past recaps here.
Jessica Jones‘ fifth episode, “AKA The Sandwich Saved Me,” begins with Jessica in an office job, generally not working and being, rightfully, harassed by her boss. After revealing that she knows about his “extracurricular activities” with the company’s bank account, Jessica is let go with a six month severance package and a snide comment from her boss about how proud her parents must be of her, which of course sets her off and has her knocking a few cabinets over. While you can certainly notice the difference between Jessica pre- and post-Kilgrave, it’s great to be given a first-hand view of who she was prior to being damaged beyond repair. Granted, Jessica is still a sarcastic wanderer, attempting to find her way in the world, but she’s hardly broken in the way we see her in the present. In the past, after a lunch meeting with Trish, the seed is planted that perhaps the best route for Jessica may be to become a superhero, so as not to let her super strength go to waste.
In hands-down the funniest scene in the series, Jessica decides to get a new job, handing out flyers in a giant sandwich suit. It’s here that Jessica saves the life of a little girl about to be hit by an oncoming car, all while still being in the hoagie costume. Finding herself hooked on the hero gig, she discusses it further with Trish, who has created a costume and persona for Jessica to use moving forward as the newest hero on the scene, Jewel. The costume is straight out of the Marvel comics, along with the codename, though in the Netflix series, we don’t ever see Jessica wear it, and thank God. Some things just don’t translate that well from the comic book world into the real world. As Jessica hits the streets to begin helping the innocent, she encounters a group of thugs robbing a man who turns out to be Malcolm. It’s here that Kilgrave first encounters Jessica and immediately wraps his talons around her, without letting go for eight months.
Meanwhile, during these past segments, we’re thrust into the present, where Jessica is following Malcolm to try to get the drop on Kilgrave. Both Malcolm and Kilgrave meet once a day in order for the, against his will, heroin addict to supply Kilgrave with photos of Jessica on a regular basis.
The level of how twisted the antagonist of the series is continues to grow, with David Tennant’s Kilgrave waving his hand in boredom, and causing depraved acts and damaging people for something as small as not allowing him to freely take magazines from a newspaper stand (Kilgrave has the owner of the stand throw hot coffee into his own face as “punishment”). While you certainly love to hate “the Purple Man,” you also can’t help but begin to think how sad and pathetic he is, creating this entire world for himself where he gets everything that he wants, but ultimately has nothing at all. The ability to simply have a normal conversation with anyone else, or be able to take any external input from the outside world is lost on Kilgrave, and you begin to understand how he turns into the monster he is, without necessarily being sympathetic to it.
After awaiting another meeting between Kilgrave and Malcolm, “Team Jessica Jones” — consisting of Jessica, Trish, and the newly added Will the Cop — begin to put together a trap to capture Kilgrave and place him into a safehouse where his powers will be useless. The plan works perfectly at first, as they manage to drug Kilgrave, but unfortunately realize that nothing is ever that easy as bodyguards begin springing out of every corner to save their “employer.” I had mentioned in a previous recap how Kilgrave presented an environment akin to John Carpenter’s The Thing, and this episode is no different. Even when he’s unconscious, you can’t help but feel sorry for the heroes as they struggle to fight off Kilgrave’s influence on the world around them. The one nitpick I had with this scene was that the choreography of when Kilgrave’s goon squad fought Team Jess was just really off, and could have been developed more.
From here, though, we swing back around to Hope, still in prison and asking Jessica for money to give to a fellow prisoner. It’s only revealed later that Hope needed the money in order to pay said prisoner to beat her. The reason behind Hope wanting a beating is for her to miscarry as she’s currently pregnant with Kilgrave’s child. YIKES. Remember how I said this show was dark? Well, it’s dark. Hope is given a pill by Hogarth and the baby is seemingly disposed of, until it’s then revealed that Jeri managed to keep the remains in hopes of using Kilgrave’s power for herself. It’s still amazing to me this all falls into the realm of “Disney’s Marvel,” with its super-powered fetuses, induced abortions, and psychological rape. It’s hard to imagine that somewhere in this same universe, Groot and Rocket Raccoon are palling around on a spaceship.
Leading into our next episode, Luke Cage breaks onto the scene once again, asking Jessica for help in finding a missing person. Luke is hoping to get more information from said missing person with regards to the death of his wife, who was actually killed by Jessica herself while under the control of Kilgrave. This episode brings us to a merry little chase, with some much needed levity, as Jessica and Luke fight with a few gangsters over the fate of Antoine the loan shark.
Krysten Ritter and Mike Colter as Jessica and Luke respectively, have great chemistry, and it’s great to know that the two are essentially “the couple” of the Marvel Universe moving forward. Following the action scenes of Episode 5, Episode 6 (“AKA You’re a Winner”) manages to step things up a notch, as Luke delivers some amazing haymakers to the hired goons he encounters, even causing one to spin in the air, followed by crashing hard to the ground.
At the conclusion of their investigation, Luke discovers the identity of the bus driver he believes to have hit, and killed, his wife Reva. Jessica attempts to stop him as he literally throws the poor driver through the front window of the bus, only to finally give him pause when she reveals that she was the one who killed Reva. In one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the series, Luke informs Jessica that she truly is “a piece of shit” and leaves her to stew in her troubles once again. The life of Jessica Jones is a rough one to be sure, but this episode was a fantastic “breather” in terms of exploring the relationship between herself and Luke Cage, while also moving the plot forward outside of Kilgrave’s influence. Rest assured though, he’ll be back.
“AKA The Sandwich Saved Me” – ★★★★ Very good
“AKA You’re a Winner” – ★★★★★ Excellent
AKA Purple Notes
– You may be wondering how differently things went in the comics versus in the television show with regards to Jessica’s origin. Well, to start, Jessica did in fact wear Trish’s superhero costume and became the hero “Jewel”. Her time as a costumed vigilante was, as in the show, put to an end by Kilgrave, though instead of him being hit by a bus, Kilgrave simply grew tired of Jessica and sent her off to go head-to-head with the Avengers themselves. The Avengers made short order of Jessica, realized what was happening, and returned her to her now broken life where she vowed to not put on the costume again.
– That poker game Kilgrave invaded was something else. As I mentioned, Kilgrave leads a twisted, but also horrifyingly lonely life though every time you may somehow feel sympathy for him, he orders someone to start slamming their head into a wooden beam until it breaks.
– Cannot be said enough but wow this show is dark. The Hope twist was something else that even the comics didn’t really touch on, though Purple Man did in fact have a ton of “Purple Kids” who still trouble the Marvel Universe to this day.
– Little girl: “The Sandwich saved me!”