Welcome to Part Two of the Jessica Jones Binge-Watch and Blog-Along! This post will cover Episodes 4 through 6. You can find reviews & reactions to previous episodes in Part One.
Warning: Spoilers below! (Also contains mild spoilers & discussion for the Jessica Jones comic, Alias. Ye be warned!)
Episode 4: AKA 99 Friends
Wooooow. Ugh. Well, that killed me. I did not expect the spy to be Malcolm.
This was a fantastic episode! Probably my favorite since the pilot. (This episode also utilized the voiceover stuff better than episodes 2 and 3. Coincidence? I vote no :P)
I really like Officer Simpson. The stuff with him and Trish, and just him trying to atone for what he did, were really well done. I’m sure his law enforcement connections will be useful in Jessica’s investigation. Should be interesting to see where the character goes.
On that note, it’s cool to see us gathering more Kilgrave victims. Though “cool” probably isn’t the right/appropriate word in this case, haha. The scene where they winnowed out the actual victims from those who purported to be mind-controlled by Kilgrave was great. Some were obviously not legitimate claims (some humorously off-base), and it became a kind of game to try and pick out the real stories. I hope they utilize the “support group” more throughout the series. Just hearing snippets of each of their interactions with Kilgrave helps paint a bigger picture of what a cruel megalomaniac he truly is.
The other main plot throughout this episode was the case of Mrs. Eastman. I was pleasantly surprised that she was not involved with the Kilgrave situation. It would’ve been so easy for the writers to cop out and make everything tie together, but they chose the much more interesting route.
The slow exposure of gifted/enhanced/powered people in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is noteworthy in how and when it’s depicted in the main timeline across different properties. It seems as though most of the general population are at least aware of the Avengers, with more stories of powered people slowly coming out of the woodwork. In Agents of SHIELD, news of the Inhumans are leaking out to the public, and in this series Luke mentioned that Jessica was the first other gifted he had met. All of this is sure to come to a head in Captain America: Civil War with the Registration Act.
In addition to its ties to the MCU as a whole, I really enjoyed this plotline because it felt straight out of Alias. The discrimination against and maltreatment of people with powers was a big theme throughout the comic series, and I’m glad it made an appearance here. While Fox’s X-Men films have heavily featured the anti-mutant prejudices, the MCU has not really dipped into that too much yet, for the timeline reasons above. I’m sure the blowback against powered people will become a greater theme throughout the MCU properties following Civil War, but it was cool to see it here first.
Episode 5: The Sandwich Saved Me
What does it mean to be a hero? What does it mean to be strong?
The use of flashbacks in this episode was really great. (I’m a sucker for good flashback sequences.) We got to see Jessica as a hero saving a little girl from getting hit by a car and Malcolm from getting beaten to death. Plus, as a bonus to comic readers, we get to see the Jewel costume as Trish tries to convince Jessica to become a superhero. More importantly, we also see how Kilgrave first came upon Jessica and took her under his control.
The main brunt of the episode was Jessica, Trish, and Simpson’s plan to capture Kilgrave. In this, we get some pointed criticisms between Jessica and Simpson on each others’ version of heroism, and a bit of a sense of disillusionment from Trish as she feels more helpless than she thought herself to be. Where the Officer Simpson from last episode did what he could to apologize and atone for his actions, the man we see in this episode is much more macho. I like that Trish stood up for herself and for Jessica even while encouraging her friend to accept Simpson’s help.
“I can help.”
“Thanks, but I don’t need you.”
“Uh, yeah, you do!”
“No, she doesn’t. …But seriously, he could be useful.”
There are a lot of interesting ideas about strength being explored in this episode, and the interactions between these three characters views it under the lens of friendship, perceived gender roles, how strength is viewed based on one’s individual experiences, etc.
Through Jessica’s interactions with Malcolm specifically, we see the connection between strength and sacrifice. We see in flashback that Jessica saved Malcolm from being beaten to death, and he tells her that she can’t save him again. Jessica turns this around on him, however, stating that because Kilgrave used Malcolm to get to her, by letting himself fall on his own devices, he is letting Kilgrave win. She tells him that it’s a choice, and that by choosing to clean himself up, he would now be saving her.
This is later echoed in the final chilling scene as Kilgrave offers Jessica a deal: he’ll leave Malcolm alone if she continues to send him pictures of herself. Jessica is, of course, appalled and upset by this, as she doesn’t want to be subservient to Kilgrave’s whims once again. But when she sees that Malcolm has chosen to suffer through withdrawal rather than crawl back into the drug-addled state Kilgrave had put him in, Jessica swallows her own pride and sends Kilgrave the first picture.
David Tennant’s portrayal of Kilgrave is really interesting. At many moments, he seems like a somewhat normal, albeit whiny and selfish, man. But at the very end of the episode, as he goads Jessica into doing his bidding, you see his manipulative side come out in a much darker way. In many ways, it’s similar to how Vincent D’Onofrio portrayed Wilson Fisk in Daredevil — a seemingly normal, yet a tad intimidating gentleman with a much more twisted and cruel version of himself lurking just beneath the surface. Super creepy, super effective. I think Tennant’s doing a great job so far, and know that it can only get more intense from here on out.
Excellent episode, overall. I think each one keeps getting better and better! Thematically, this was really well-written. Props to Dana Baratta and the rest of the writing staff for penning the episode.
Episode 6: AKA You’re a Winner!
Ugh. Wow. Hope you all enjoyed the feels trip!
Kilgrave looking at the Zillow page, convincing the man that he wanted to buy his house… I didn’t see it coming. It wasn’t until the last scene following Jessica’s therapeutic mantra that it hit me. “Oh nooo… is that her old house?!” And sure enough…
I find it interesting that there is actually a big difference between Netflix’s Kilgrave and the comic-book Purple Man, Killgrave. (Aside from skin pigmentation and the number of L’s, of course!) The MCU Kilgrave is obsessed with Jessica. He is constantly watching her, wanting her to know he’s there. Meanwhile, while Jessica was Killgrave’s favorite plaything in the comic book, he made it very clear that she meant nothing to him. He degraded her and spoke to her with utter contempt. In all honesty, I’m not sure which Kil(l)grave is the scarier of the two. Both versions make Jessica feel like she needs him, like she wants to please him; it’s his attitude that makes them different. But I do think this interpretation of Kilgrave was a smart one for the television series. In Alias, Killgrave is in prison and Jessica seeks him out for some clients. In the Netflix show, however, Kilgrave is on the loose and comes to Jessica. This ultimately makes for a more dynamic villain with more agency, which is a better choice for a live-action series than the more understated (yet equally threatening) version in the comic.
Back in my reaction to Episode 3, I opined that the revelation that Jessica killed Luke’s wife would be utterly devastating. Welp. It was.
The team up between Jessica and Luke was great. They compliment each other well, and their teasing chemistry is adorable. That made it so much harder to watch as Jessica’s secrets caused it all to explode in her face. I know it will all work out in the end — both from knowledge of the comic book characters and because deep down Luke knows Jessica is a good person. But that doesn’t make it any easier to watch! My throat clenched up during their confrontation scene, and when it was over, I just wanted to wrap Jessica in a giant bear hug and tell her it would be okay ;_;
Best episode yet? Best episode yet. I know I’ve said the same thing for each of the previous episodes, but I can’t help it. This is a stream-of-consciousness blog-along. If they keep trumping themselves, I’ll keep on saying it: Best episode yet!
Thanks for joining me for Part Two of the Jessica Jones Binge-Watch & Blog-Along! Coming soon: reviews and reactions to Episodes 7-9…
‘Til then — “Get outta the road, you stupid sandwich!”
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