Welcome back to my recaps of Marvel’s Jessica Jones. Last time, I took a look at the show’s initial four episodes and analyzed, evaluated, and shared a comic fan’s insight into the characters and events.
In part 2, I’ll do the same with Episode 5 “AKA the Sandwich Saved Me,” Episode 6 “AKA You’re a Winner!”, and Episode 7 “AKA Top Shelf Perverts.”
The more I watch this show, the more I become convinced that it’s about choices—the choices a person makes, the choices others make for them, and how they handle the consequences of both. That’s a recipe for some potent and powerful drama, and it lead to some fantastic scenes. So, let’s dive in and take a specific look at the characters, some of their pivotal choices, and more.
In these episodes, we see Jessica (Krysten Ritter) making a lot of choices about who to help and whether or not to allow herself to be helped. I really enjoy how much she went out of her way to aid her neighbor, and Kilgrave's (David Tennant) unwilling drug addicted spy, Malcolm (Eka Darville). In Episode 5, she said she did it because she needs to believe people can come back from Kilgrave's manipulations, and I think that is true, but I don't think she's being completely honest with herself.
In earlier episodes, she was always looking to help Malcolm when she saw that he was in some sort of trouble. Episode 7 also showed her giving a homeless man the closest thing she had to money in her pocket. So, Jessica clearly tries to aid the less fortunate when she can.
Plus, in the flashbacks in Episode 5, we see her use her powers to help an innocent man (who, unbeknownst to her, was Malcolm) being beaten by thugs and a little girl who almost gets hit by a car.
So, while Luke Cage (Mike Colter) may have called Jess a piece of shit out of spite in Episode 6, we viewers know that's not true. Sure she drinks too much and often makes poor decisions fueled by anger and fear, but I think these 3 episodes show that Trish (Rachael Taylor) is correct when she says Jessica is the hero she always wanted her to be.
Speaking of Trish, I also think she is on a pretty fascinating heroic journey herself. I mentioned last time that Luke Cage is one of my favorite Marvel Characters, but another is Captain America. I think the concept of justice that Trish articulates when talking about Kilgrave in Episode 5 would do Cap proud.
These episodes are really starting to make me hope that Trish is being set down the path towards adopting the Hellcat identity that she uses in the comics. Maybe a visit to Daredevil's tailor, Melvin Potter, is in order?
Also worth noting, the costume that Trish shows off in the flashbacks? That is Jessica's old hero costume from the Alias comic, sans the mask. And the heroic moniker, Jewel? You guessed it—she also donned that “alias” in the aptly named comic.
As I grow to like Trish more and more, I like the man in her life, Officer Will Simpson (Wil Traval), less and less. I really hated how he went out of his way to bash Jessica to Trish in these episodes, and when he lied about finding Kilgrave in Episode 7, it infuriated me.
Granted, Simpson's military skills are proving useful, but I think he still hasn't really forgiven himself for attacking Trish, and that's causing him to think and act like he knows what's best for her—not cool.
I want to like you Simpson. I want you to have some sort of redemption in upcoming episodes, but if you don't, Trish needs to kick you to the curb.
I was excited to see the main man in Jessica's life return in Episode 6. Welcome back Luke Cage! I missed you. I also missed the chemistry Krysten Ritter and Mike Colter have together. Although Jessica spends quite a bit of the second half of the episode trying to hide the truth of her role in Reva's death from Luke, it was great seeing them back in each other's arms earlier in the episode—even if only for a little bit. I especially appreciated Luke telling Jess, “Good for you” when she said she had to face Kilgrave alone. It's another line lifted straight from the Alias comic.
Note: There was a great storyline during Brian Michael Bendis's run on Marvel's Daredevil comic where Luke and Jessica worked as bodyguards for Matt Murdock. Hmm…I wonder if we might see that happen when Jessica, Luke, Daredevil, and Iron Fist all join forces for the in-development, team-up series The Defenders, which features all four characters.
When Episode 6 kicks off, Jess doesn't want to work for Luke, and recommends that he hire a private investigator named Angela Del Toro instead. This was definitely an Easter egg for comic fans, since a few years back, Del Toro was a prominent supporting character in Daredevil as the costumed hero known as the White Tiger.
The way Episode 6 ends with Luke lashing out at Jessica, telling her that he was wrong and that she is a piece of shit, may have some people wondering if Jess should have insisted Luke hire Angela Del Toro and not worked with him in the first place. It broke my heart to see that happen, but I'm glad the truth is out in the open because:
1) It will be interesting to see what Luke does with it.
2) It gave Colter some fantastic material to work with.
His angry outburst showed that Luke is another Marvel character you don't want to make angry. Colter's piercing glare in that scene—as well as the one before it when he confronted the bus driver he thought killed Reva—was powerful and incredibly bad-ass.
Although her romantic relationship was derailed in a major way in these 3 episodes, Jess's friendships grew. I’m glad to see Malcom kick his drug habit and become one of Jess's valuable friends and confidants. His friendship with Jess feels believable and real, and I loved the way Ritter and Darville interact and play off each other. They had some great scenes together, particularly the when she's trying to get him to quit drugs cold turkey and down at the dock involving…poor Ruben (Kieran Mulcare).
I was just starting to appreciate Ruben's good, trusting, and protective nature when in Episode 7, he runs afoul of Kilgrave who uses his powers to make the sweet kid slit his own throat—didn’t Kilgrave know he was sensitive about his neck!?
So, while he may have been monstrous in the first few episodes, Kilgrave really stepped up his evil villain game in Episodes 5-7. What’s sickening is that he's gone from Machiavellian manipulator to lovesick (I use that term loosely—I don't think Kilgrave is quite capable of real love), emotionally abusive stalker.
As Kilgrave, David Tennant gives a master class in bringing to life villains that people love to hate. He's ruining lives and murdering innocent people all to emotionally isolate and break the only person who's ever told him no. Of course, I don't think he'll get what he wants, but you have to wonder what he would do if he was able to bend Jess to his will. I'm guessing the rot and viciousness in his soul would lead to her death.
I'm hoping when Kilgrave goes down he goes down hard. I have to admit that I smiled when Jess punched him in episode 5—and again when we later saw the damage she did to his face—but I want an even more emotionally satisfying end to his story when it comes. Yes, I'm that invested in seeing him taken down.
Of course, Kilgrave wasn't the only monster in these episodes. We also finally get a glimpse of Trish's biological mom, and Jess's foster mom, the nasty Dorothy Walker. In the present day scenes, she comes off as a pretty awful person, but it was the flashback of the day Dorothy took Jess away from her parents’ house that made me truly hate her. She was an emotional bully.
Also, Jeryn Hogarth may be a morally complex and somewhat reprehensible character, but I have to wonder if she's heading down the path to monsterhood as well. In Episodes 6 and 7, she admits to and exhibits some truly unethical and nasty behaviors like bribing a prison guard, jury tampering, and getting Jess to bully her poor wife.
Although, what has me truly worried about Jeri is what she did at the end of Episode 6—she collects the remains of Hope Schlottman's fetus. Not only is that horrifying alone, but it's also a bit chilling given Jeri’s comments on the usefulness of Kilgrave's abilities during Episode 4. What exactly is your game, counselor Hogarth?
So once again, Jessica Jones provides another batch of exciting, well written, beautifully acted, and character driven episodes that left me desperate to find out what happens next. So much so that I'm going to go find out now! See you next time for my penultimate recap where I'll take a look at episodes 8-10!