Marvel's Jessica Jones
Although Jessica Jones has been free of Kilgrave’s influence for some time, he still exerts a disturbing amount of control in her life. Each morning, her phone alarm rings, reminding her to send him a picture of herself. Jessica spends the remaining minutes of the day planning his demise.
At least she has a sober post-Kilgrave Malcolm to help her figure out ways to defeat Kilgrave. Malcolm is curious about Kilgrave’s origin story, but Jessica couldn’t care less. She just wants to stop him. A knock at the door interrupts their planning. It’s Luke, who asks Jessica to help find a missing person, “discretely and fast.” A young man named Antoine disappeared. Antoine’s sister, Serena, thinks it’s related to a large sum of money he owes to a loan shark. The mention of the sister doesn’t escape Jessica’s notice: “You only protect what’s yours,” she says. “Is she yours?” Okay, so Jessica hasn’t quite gotten over Luke. The feeling seems mutual, though, as he tells her how hard it was to even ask for help in the first place.
They put aside that awkwardness and begin their search for Antoine at his apartment. Jessica notices that his toiletries are missing, which suggests a planned trip rather than an abduction. She also introduces Luke to the “holy grail” of private investigator’s work: the trash can. Inside, she finds rolling papers and a lottery ticket, which inspires Jessica to leave a fake message on Antoine’s phone, telling him he’s won a free Xbox. Will that draw him out of hiding?
As if Jessica and Luke teaming up didn’t create enough tension, Antoine’s loan shark ends up cutting a deal with Luke. Jessica is going to find Antoine for them. As Luke later explains, he and Jessica don’t have time to both find Antoine and “brawl” with loan sharks. After Luke gives Jessica a ride home, he runs into Malcolm, who wants to make sure Luke hasn’t been Kilgraved. Luke’s clean, but the conversation piques Luke’s interest in this Kilgrave fellow. He asks Malcolm to tell him more.
Meanwhile, Kilgrave is doing very well for himself. He’s playing high-stakes poker in a private club, and he doesn’t need to “try” to win. As he says, “Assholes try. I do.” He then proceeds to compel everyone to fold, raking in a little more than a million dollars in a single hand. Kilgrave is such a fun villain because he gets off on the act of control as much as he enjoys what that control can yield. He could walk into any bank in the city and have them transfer money to him, but where’s the fun in that?
Turns out, Kilgrave wants the poker money to buy a house. He approaches one homeowner, offering to pay double the house’s value if the owner vacates within two days. (Why doesn’t he mind-control this dude into giving him the house? Is there a greater strategy at play here?) He wants the transaction to be above board, and has even had his lawyers draw up a contract. Although Kilgrave lets the homeowner choose for himself whether to sell, he’s made the offer too good to refuse.
If only Kilgrave let the other people he compelled — especially women like Hope — also have a choice. Right now, Hope is choosing to pay a fellow prisoner to beat her up. When Jessica visits her in the hospital, Hope reveals that she’s pregnant with Kilgrave’s child. She can’t see a doctor in the prison for months, so she’s hoping the beatings will cause a miscarriage. “Every second it’s there,” Hope says. “I get raped again and again. My parents are shot again and again … I won’t give life to this thing.” It’s a powerfully performed scene and a frank charge of Kilgrave’s crimes. Later, Jessica gives Hope a pill to abort the pregnancy.
Luke swings by Jessica’s apartment to apologize for the way he acted when she tried to tell him about Kilgrave. Jessica, of course, knows there’s more to the story than Luke realizes. She stil can’t bring herself to tell him about her role in the death of his wife, Reva Connors, so instead, she simply says, “I’m a piece of shit.” Luke won’t accept that: “Jessica Jones, you are a hard-drinking, short-fused mess of a woman, but you are not a piece of shit.” It’s hard to resist a line like that, especially coming from someone as sexy as Mike Colter, so, unsurprisingly, Jessica and Luke hit the sheets.
The next morning, Jessica gets a call about the Xbox from someone claiming to be Antoine. Luke, lying in bed next to her, admits that he doesn’t know Serena very well. He’s only tracking this kid because Serena, an administrator with the MTA, has proof that Riva’s death “wasn’t an accident.” Moreover, when Luke went through Riva’s belongings after she died, he found instructions from Riva. She wanted Luke to go to a warehouse on the corner where she died, and retrieve something she buried. A flashback to the night of the bus accident shows Jessica using an ax and her super strength to break concrete. Beneath the foundation of the warehouse, Jessica finds a box with a yellow flash drive stored inside. She hands the drive to Kilgrave. I know Kilgrave is evil and terrible, but at times, I find him so delightfully amusing. The look on his face as his precious Jesssssicahhhhhh busts through the concrete is priceless.
Jessica and Luke, riding his motorcycle, use the Xbox ruse to tail the faux Antoine back to a warehouse. (I don’t buy that an investigator like Jessica would follow someone on such an obnoxiously loud vehicle.). The warehouse is a pot farm, and it’s guarded by snarling dogs. It’s good thing Luke’s skin is unbreakable. While he faces off with the mutts, Jessica finds Antoine, who is working inside the warehouse. He’s trying to make enough cash to pay off the loan shark. Unfortunately for Antoine, the loan shark and his friends show up to collect. He doesn’t have the cash, though, so they want to take him — but Luke needs Antoine to get his evidence. A fight breaks out, and Luke takes on several men at once. Instead of staying to help, Jessica grabs Antoine rushes off to Serena. She wants to trade him for the evidence before Luke has a chance to see it.
With Antoine delivered, Serena is about hand over the evidence, when Luke shows up and demands to see it. Jessica braces for the worst. It’s a file folder with documents confirming that the bus driver, Charles Wallace, was drunk at the time of the accident. The MTA covered it up, and, as Serena notes, Charles is “still driving the same route as if it never happened.” The evidence has nothing to do with Jessica or Kilgrave.
Jessica may have caught a lucky break, but Charles Wallace did not. Later that evening, Luke sits on the back of an MTA bus and stares at Wallace with what must be a close approximation to Jessica’s “laser eyes.” It’s the last stop and Wallace asks him to exit. When Luke reveals who he is, Wallace apologizes. He tells Luke he’s trying to turn his life around. In response, Luke throws him through the bus window. Jessica arrives at the scene moments later. To stop Luke from killing Wallace, she pulls the only card she has: she confesses that she killed Riva.
She tells him the whole story. How she and Kilgrave brought Reva to the warehouse because she had something he wanted, and how Kilgrave forced Jessica to get rid of her. As Luke angrily pushes Jessica up against the bus, he lays into her: “You slept with me…You touched me with the same hands that killed my wife.” He asks her if she would have ever told him the truth, if he hadn’t found out about Wallace. She closes her eyes in shame. “I was wrong,” he says. “You are a piece of shit.”
The episode ends as Kilgrave inspects his new house. He runs his hands gingerly across patterned wallpaper, when some strange markings across a door frame catch his eye. He pulls back a portion of the wallpaper. The markings are from a child’s homemade height chart. The child’s name? Jessica. Cut to a shot of the street sign outside: Higgins Street.
- This show balances the B storylines well from episode-to-episode. Just as I’ve had a little too much Simpson and Trish, they bring back Luke.
- It’s interesting that Jessica breaks things off with Luke after realizing he wouldn’t believe her about Kilgrave, and only gets back together with him after he opens his mind to that possibility. It’s never really been about the role Jessica played in Reva’s death. It’s about Jessica being heard.
- Of course Jeri would propose at work.
- “I don’t hurt dogs,” says Luke, seconds before beating up a group of men.
- Mike Colter slayed this episode. He effortlessly shifts from unbreakable fighter to a crumpled, devastated widow.