Marvel's Jessica Jones
I’ve been enjoying how Jessica Jones attempts to take the fantastical and ground it in reality. There’s no joy in the “gifts” that Jessica and Luke carry. Instead, their powers lead to isolation, violence, and suspicion.
But also: really hot superhero sex. When two gorgeous, strong, unbreakable people find each other, why wouldn’t they go a few rounds in the bedroom or against the wall? Pearl-clutching viewers might see the sex scenes in this episode as gratuitous, but to me, it feels more true to human nature than Marvel’s big-budget projects ever have. If people had superpowers, this is what they would do. All the time.
“AKA Whiskey” opens where the last episode left off: Luke just ran a power saw across his stomach, which is essentially superhero foreplay, and Jessica can barely keep her hands off of him. She can, however, keep his hands off of her. As Luke reaches for her, she stops him, revealing that one of her powers is super-strength. He tries to move his arms, but her grip is too strong. They stare silently at each other for a moment, like they’re competing in the world’s sexiest arm-wrestling contest.
Later, they grab dinner at a food cart and get to know each other’s gifts. Luke’s unbreakable skin was caused by an experiment; he’s not really sure of its limits. Jessica gained her powers from an accident; she’s strong, but she can’t fly. (“It’s more like jumping and then falling.”) During their conversation, they allude to the Avengers — a.k.a the “big green dude and his crew” — and Jessica explains her policy on disclosing her otherness. (“I’m not hiding, but I’m not advertising.”) After dinner, they rush back to Luke’s apartment to hook up like giddy teenagers. The mood changes, however, when Luke finds Jessica staring at the picture of the woman in his medicine cabinet. “Bus crash,” he explains. Jessica bolts.
To forget about Luke and his lost love, Jessica dives back into the Kilgrave case. Hope’s mind-control defense isn’t faring well in the court of public opinion, so Jessica confronts Jeri to protect her from the vitriol. Jeri says that Hope needs more people to come forward, or else nobody will believe that mind control exists. Taking her advice, Jessica asks Trish if she would advocate for Hope’s case. Trish doesn’t want to risk her lifestyle brand, but she does accept Jeri’s offer to conduct a radio interview from the mental ward where Hope is imprisoned. (So “Trish Talk” is radio, not television.) Jessica, of course, thinks the interview is a terrible idea. Will it attract Kilgrave’s attention?
The interview scene — Jeri and Hope at the psych ward, cut with Trish and Jessica in the studio — is riveting stuff. After Hope describes what it felt like when Kilgrave took over her mind, Jeri derails the interview by saying, on air, that she’s deluded. Trish is forced to go on the defensive, publicly admitting that she believes Hope’s mind-control story. Jessica flips out and tries to stop the interview. She knows Kilgrave will be furious about Trish’s statements. Unsurprisingly, the next person who calls into Trish’s radio show has a familiar English accent. It’s Kilgrave, pretending to be a concerned fan. “Aren’t you worried he might make you kill yourself?” he asks.
After the interview ends, Jessica escorts an anxious Trish out of the building. They realize that Jeri purposely cornered Trish so she would be forced to help Hope. As they’re leaving, a strange man approaches Trish from behind; she uses her Krav Maga training to take him down. Turns out he’s just a fan with a comic book called “Patsy Walker,” though. He wants her to sign the comic, and says he misses her red hair. Patsy … Patricia … Trish: this character just got a lot more interesting. Back at her apartment, Trish isn’t too worried about Kilgrave. She’s got a new security system, bullet-proof windows, and a panic room to keep her safe.
This pretty much guarantees that Trish will be in trouble.
Meanwhile, Jessica continues her search for Kilgrave’s kryptonite — surgical anesthesia. Dr. Kurata has split to India, so he’s a dead-end. So is Jeri’s soon-to-be ex-wife, who wants to prescribe Jessica an anti-psychotic instead of anesthesia. When Jessica gets more desperate, she takes advantage of her sweet but drug-addicted neighbor, Malcolm. She takes a high Malcolm to the emergency room. Her plan — throw Malcolm into a cart to create a distraction — is kind of unsatisfying, as it’s unclear why she would even need him for this ruse. It works, somehow. She gets her drug, but not without also getting a disappointed glare from Malcolm as she leaves. Even in his druggy haze, he knows he’s been used.
Remember that fan Trish knocked down? He wants to press assault charges, according to a police officer named Simpson who appears at Trish’s apartment. He wants to question her, and Trish reluctantly lets him in. Under Kilgrave’s influence, he attacks. There’s a brutal fight, and just as Officer Simpson gets the upper hand, Jessica arrives — from the balcony, naturally — to stop him. While Jessica checks to see if Trish is okay, she goes still. Jessica tells Officer Simpson that he’s killed her. Trish isn’t actually dead, though. Jessica injected her with her stolen anesthesia to fool him. With his task accomplished, he goes back to Kilgrave as commanded — but not before Jessica slips Trish’s phone in his jacket pocket.
Using Trish’s phone, Jessica follows Officer Simpson to track down Kilgrave. He walks into a large, modern townhouse and there Kilgrave is, shouting at the telly about a football match. He seems like a harmless puppy — until he casually tells Officer Simpson jump off the side of the building. When Jessica blows her cover trying to prevent Simpson from killing himself, Kilgrave stares at her with dagger-heart eyes. He slips away, then Jessica rushes through the townhouse trying to find him. As she searches, different people keep popping out to attack her, like it’s some kind of haunted house. There’s something very creepy about Kilgrave’s mind control — anyone could be under his thumb anywhere, at any time. Jessica stumbles into a room that’s filled with photos of her, all taken without her knowledge. (Why do so many TV shows and movies use “a room full of photos tacked to the wall” to reveal a character’s obsession? Hasn’t anyone thought of something new?)
As if the day hasn’t been stressful enough, Jessica ends it by severing ties with Luke. He thinks it’s because of his dead wife. And, in a way, he’s not wrong. Luke’s wife didn’t die in the bus crash. She died because, for reasons yet to be explained, Kilgrave forced Jessica to punch her in the chest. Earlier in the episode, Luke made it clear that he thinks mind control is for the “crazies,” so she can’t bring herself to explain the truth to him.
Jessica exits Luke’s building, looking at the fire escape where she spied on him. She pulls out one of Kilgrave’s photos, then realizes it was taken from the exact spot where she’s standing. Now she knows what it’s like to be on the other end of a stakeout.
- Why couldn’t Kilgrave control Jessica’s mind when he saw her? Does it requires more than physical proximity?
- I couldn’t help but think of The Naked Gun during this episode: “I … must … kill the Queen.”
- Does any other show have such tenacious and powerful women dominating its storylines?
- There better be a good payoff for the quirky neighbor twins and their foil-covered windows.
- I’m with Malcolm. It’s weird that trophies are just little men and women.