Marvel's Jessica Jones
The episode begins with Kilgrave locked in a hermetically sealed room, where he’s effectively neutered. There’s four more episodes to go after this one, so in terms of storytelling logic, there’s no real chance he’s imprisoned for good. But that knowledge doesn’t make “AKA Sin Bin” any less enjoyable or suspenseful. Kilgrave’s captivity actually heightens the tension. When will he escape? And whose lives will he destroy when he does?
Kilgrave wakes up from the anesthesia and, through the room’s glass observation panel, sees Jessica sitting at a table. “Smile, Kevin,” she says as she projects one of his childhood lab-experiment videos onto the wall. She rags on Kilgrave for his crimes and his evil pseudonym. (“Kilgrave? Was Murder Corpse already taken?”) Kilgrave isn’t just trapped in the box; there’s a foot of water covering the floor, which acts as a conductor to a live wire. When Jessica presses a red button on the table, it delivers a shock that knocks him out cold. Kilgrave is impressed by this torturous idea. “I never realized you were such a bitch,” he says. “Yeah, well, this bitch is in control of you now, asshole.” It’s a predictable zinger, but I am decidedly Team Jessica (who isn’t?) and welcome any chance she gets to gloat.
As the videos play, Kilgrave covers his ears to block out the sound. Jessica interrogates him, but her questioning is interrupted by Jeri, who’s appalled by the scene. (If Jeri is questioning your choices, that’s not a good sign.) Pragmatically, Jeri points out that any confession will never hold up in court. Jeri says the DA has offered Hope a decent plea deal, but it’s only good for 48 hours. To put Kilgrave away, Jessica needs to find someone with legal authority to witness Kilgrave’s mind control before the plea deal expires.
Meanwhile, Jeri is tasked with watching Kilgrave. She gets a text from her lawyer, informing her that Wendy now wants 90 percent of her assets. While Jeri bickers with Wendy on the phone, Kilgrave — whose box is in soundproof mode — watches the call intently. When Wendy hangs up, Kilgrave beckons Jeri to turn on the audio to his box. (Don’t do it, Jeri. Don’t do it.) She does it. He caught most of her conversation with Wendy through lip reading and boasts how his powers of persuasion can “make any problem disappear.”
Jeri’s not buying what he’s selling, for now. But she does need to resolve the Wendy problem. Wendy is emailing evidence of Jeri’s juror bribes to the firm’s general inbox. Luckily, Pam catches them all in time, but she’s had enough. There’s a very sexy scene where Pam puts Jeri’s hand between her legs and begs for her tough-as-nails Jeri to seal the Wendy deal. To properly motivate her, Pam pushes away Jeri’s hand. “I don’t like ultimatums,” Jeri warns.
Running out of time before Hope’s plea deal expires, Jessica decides she has no choice but to be a witness herself. The camera records as she enters Kilgrave’s box, while Jeri and Trish stand watch. Jessica tries to goad him into using his mind control by calling him names and throwing punches. Kilgrave keeps his cool, though, and plays the victim. Trish is worried that Jessica might kill Kilgrave, so she pushes the red button and knocks out both of them. Later, Jessica watches the footage in shame. “I just helped his case,” she says glumly. Jessica’s not ready to give up, though, so she comes up with another plan to get at Kilgrave: Find his parents.
Jessica and Trish review the experiment videos for clues. In one of the videos, Kilgrave’s dad mentions a “sin bin,” which leads Jessica to link Kilgrave to a rugby club of a university in Manchester. She calls the university and gets the names of Kilgrave’s parents: Albert and Louise Thompson. They mysteriously abandoned their teaching posts in the mid-1980s. (This sequence felt rushed and, as a result, less believable. I prefer it when Jessica investigates over the course of an episode.) Trish and Jessica track down a photo of Louise that reminds Jessica of someone familiar. When Jessica accidentally steps on the photo, a boot mark covers half of the woman’s face. Jessica remembers where she had seen her — and why.
Louise is the woman with the large facial scar who came forward as a Kilgrave victim, and has been attending Malcolm’s group therapy sessions. Jessica follows Louise from one of those sessions back to her hotel, where she’s staying with Kilgrave’s father, Albert. After she confronts them, they admit to experimenting on Kilgrave because he had a degenerative neural disease. If left untreated, he would have died by age 12. “I wish I had a mother-of-the-year award, so I could bludgeon you with it,” Jessica snaps. Albert and Louise say they didn’t abandon Kilgrave right away; they only left after they couldn’t bear his torture anymore. (Louise’s facial scar is the result of a Lil’ Kilgrave ironing tantrum.) Jessica convinces them to take responsibility for their son. They agree to help her take Kilgrave down.
If only Jessica can get there in time. Jeri arrives at the facility and suggests that Trish, who’s on Kilgrave duty, get some fresh air. (Trish uses her break to call Simpson, who’s made a miraculously recovery from the bomb explosion, thanks to a mysterious doctor and even more mysterious pills.) Alone with Kilgrave, Jeri turns on Kilgrave’s audio and tells him she’s listening. Looks like Pam’s pep talk worked a little too well.
The final ten minutes of this episode are my favorite ten minutes of the series to date. The sequence starts with Jeri opening the first of two hatches into Kilgrave’s box. Jeri and Kilgrave silently stare at one another. Whatever she planned to do is interrupted when Jessica arrives with Albert and Louise. Soon after that, Detective Clemons arrives, gun drawn. (Jessica texted him the address and a video of Kilgrave being beaten.) Then, Trish steps out of nowhere with her gun pointed at Clemons, who’s forced to drop his weapon. Jessica handcuffs Clemons to a pipe. She wants him to witness Kilgrave’s mind control.
Louise and Albert enter the box and approach Kilgrave. Louise hugs him and apologizes for leaving. Kilgrave embraces her with relief. At this point, Clemons and Jeri have seen enough, which is to say, nothing out of the ordinary. But then, Louise pulls out a hidden pair of scissors and stabs Kilgrave in the shoulder. She says, with a voice wracked by heartbreak, that it’s their responsibility to stop him. This betrayal undoes Kilgrave. “Pick up the scissors, mum,” he says coolly. He then commands Louise to stab herself for each of the years she abandoned him, which she begins to do. Jessica is overjoyed at having caught Kilgrave in the mind-control act and hits the red button to knock everyone out.
Except the red button doesn’t work.
Jessica orders everyone to leave and heads into the box. She’s not moving quickly enough to save Albert — who Kilgrave told to “cut out” his heart — so Trish tries to shoot Kilgrave through the glass panel. She hits Kilgrave (yay) but also shatters the glass (boo). Kilgrave, clutching his wound, steps out of the box and heads for the door. “Put a bullet in your head, Patsy,” he spits without even giving her a second glance. She puts the gun to her head and pulls the trigger, but thankfully, there are no bullets left. Kilgrave then tells Clemons to come with him, so Clemons painfully rips his hand out of the handcuff.
Jessica reaches Kilgrave as he’s fleeing and grabs him. “Let go of me, Jessicaaaahhh,” he screams. She briefly looks down at her hands, which are still holding him. Then, Kilgrave demands that Clemons get Jessica off him. He tackles her, but Jessica quickly knocks him out. She runs outside to look for Kilgrave. Thinking of the night of the bus accident when she walked away for the first time, Jessica breaks out into a small, knowing smile.