New recaps of Jessica Jones post Mondays and Thursdays. You can read all past recaps here.
Following last episode’s heart-wrenching breakup between Jessica and Luke Cage, Jessica does what comes naturally: drinking herself into oblivion before being tossed into a pile of garbage by the bartender. From here, we learn a little bit more about Jessica and Trish’s past, with Jessica being the black sheep of the new family, and Rebecca DeMornay playing the abusive mother of the pair. Jessica is brought into Trish’s life as a tool to help bolster “Patsy’s” career, showing what a kind heart the young girl has in adopting someone who had just lost their family in a car wreck. It’s pretty sick when you think about it, which again is par for the course for a series filled with extremely damaged individuals. Speaking of sick however, Kilgrave returns once again, snooping around Jessica’s office, only to encounter Ruben, one of the “McPoyle siblings” who have generally been weirding Jessica out (and me!) throughout the series. Poor Ruben declares his love for Jessica, not knowing who Kilgrave is, only to experience a grisly demise as David Tennant’s character has Ruben slash his own throat, leaving Jessica a ghastly present.
It’s with this discovery that Jessica, in a panic, manages to create a plan she believes will finally put Kilgrave away for good. Talking it over with Malcolm, she decides to turn herself in for the murder of Ruben so she can hopefully be placed in a maximum security prison called “SuperMax.” When Kilgrave comes a calling, he’ll have to use his powers on camera to snatch Jessica away, which will hopefully be enough evidence for Hope to be admonished for her crimes. The idea behind not wanting to kill Kilgrave is a sound one, though I can hardly think that even with all the evidence in the world, would a jury be able to buy the idea of a man having super powers which allow him to control anyone around him? Even though they are living in a world of gods and giant green monsters, I would imagine these things take time. Who’s to say that everyone wouldn’t start blaming their crimes on mind control moving forward? It’s an interesting angle to think about for the budding Marvel Cinematic Universe in terms of power regularity among its citizens.
As Ms. Jessica Jones strolls into the police station with Ruben’s head in a plastic bag (gross), she’s immediately freed during interrogation by an officer. Confused, Jessica walks outside of the interrogation room only to see every officer in the station either holding a gun at the person in front of them, or at themselves, with Kilgrave waiting in the wings. Trapped in yet another of his twisted games, Jessica learns that Kilgrave is truly, head-over-heels in love with her, promising to not control her by any means. Kilgrave’s personality and motives here once again cement him as hands-down the greatest Marvel Cinematic Universe villain we’ve yet to encounter. The idea that he needs even more of a grip on Jessica’s life than he already had is heartbreaking for our protagonist and lets the audience hate Kilgrave that much more. It also once again demonstrates how dangerous Kilgrave is in that he simply orders the officers under his control to believe it was all a joke so they wouldn’t follow him. Scary stuff to be sure.
After discovering a clue as to Kilgrave’s whereabouts left in her apartment by the villain himself, Jessica goes to her childhood home to encounter a domesticated Kilgrave, wearing something you’d expect to see on a suburban dad, and not a homicidal mind manipulator. Episode 8, and subsequently Episode 9 which we’ll discuss next time, is my favorite episode of the series. It’s almost on the same level of shows like Breaking Bad in terms of creating an environment where viewers find themselves on the edge of their seats with the tension building with every scene. Kilgrave attempting to create the perfect life for Jessica by recreating her childhood house to the letter, but also having bodyguards and kitchen staff who are under his control, can’t help but make your skin crawl.
It’s in this episode that we’re presented with an original; interesting idea that Jessica has to wrestle with, which is something that wasn’t even explored in the comics. Kilgrave loves Jessica and is trying to gain her affection, and control her in a roundabout way, but considering his power, Jessica has to decide the best — albeit seemingly worst for her — route of action. Convincing Kilgrave that the best thing for him to do with his life is be a hero, Jessica takes him on the road to a hostage situation where a shotgun-totting father is holding his family captive in their home. Kilgrave hand waves away the police, walks right into the house, and frees the family, promptly telling the father to place the shotgun into his mouth and pull the trigger. Jessica of course manages to stop him, but at what cost, she wonders? The horror of the situation isn’t lost on her, and it’s one she chooses to discuss with Trish, albeit still under the threat that Kilgrave will kill the two hostages he’s been holding onto this whole time. Kilgrave was a monster and had Jessica under his complete control, but the opportunity has presented itself for Jones to, in a way, flip the tables and control Kilgrave as if he were a loaded gun, pointing him at problems that needed to be dealt with.
The idea that Jessica would have to resign herself to essentially being locked into Kilgrave’s presence is one of the most interesting ideas to not only come from the series, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe in general. There would always be the chance that Kilgrave simply snaps at any given moment, but the idea of being able to harness his power in a specific direction is one that is just too big to ignore. Apparently, Jessica makes a decision, returns to Kilgrave’s “new home,” and sits down for dinner with him. After a few directions, the two eat, and a satisfied Kilgrave thinks of the possibility of the two becoming the newest crime fighting pair. That is, until Jessica blindsides him with a shot, knocking him unconscious before he can utter a word.
These episodes continue to explore a road that hasn’t been ventured on by Marvel prior to this point. The best television not only keeps you on the edge of your seat, but it has you questioning what you would do in a situation that presents itself to the protagonist, as the Kilgrave deal did here with Jessica. “AKA Top Shelf Perverts” and “AKA WWJD” were nail biters, and the perfect representation of what Marvel’s deal with Netflix has to offer.
“AKA Top Shelf Perverts” – ★★★★★ Excellent
“AKA WWJD” – ★★★★★ Excellent
AKA Purple Notes
– Ironically enough, “SuperMax” was originally going to be the name of a DC Comic movie that starred the Green Arrow trying to escape from a super villain prison. Of course, like many other comic book properties, it never came to pass, though we did eventually get the CW series!
– Poor Will. Honestly, he didn’t have the wrong idea here. Kilgrave is far too dangerous to live and despite Jessica’s pleas to help Hope, sometimes you need to look at the big picture and think about everyone else who’s falling under Kilgrave’s reign of terror.
– A fitting end to Jessica’s nosy neighbor. Everyone knows someone like that, and it was a fantastic little scene to see Kilgrave tear away Jessica’s neighbor’s pettiness in one fell swoop. Though maybe she didn’t entirely deserve blowing up, that at least gives us a hint about who Will turns out to be in the following episode …
– I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss Carrie Anne Moss’ subplot of trying to finalize her divorce with her wife, using Jessica as a pawn in doing so. Ultimately, I wouldn’t say that this subplot is bad enough to bring down the scores of either episode, but it just doesn’t have the impact on the overall plot that I think the showrunners were looking for, and it takes away valuable screen time from the other cast members who are otherwise doing more than fine lifting the show to new heights.
– Kilgrave: “I WANT CAKE!”