Jessica (Krysten Ritter) can’t trust anyone with a penis in 1×11 ‘AKA I’ve Got The Blues’ and 1×12 ‘AKA Take A Bloody Number’. Let’s bitch it out…
As we close in on the end of the season, it’s time to start wrapping up loose ends. First up: Will (Wil Traval), whose erratic behaviour comes to a head when he goes off on Jessica because he believes that she’s not doing enough to stop Kilgrave (David Tennant)…or something. I’ll admit that Will’s motivation is ‘AKA I’ve Got The Blues’ strong suit, as Will goes from zero to sixty out of nowhere. At least we get an awesome fight scene thanks to his pill-popping madness (if you thought Jessica’s apartment couldn’t get messier, this encounter pretty much guarantees that she will never get her damage deposit back).
The fact that the fight ends up involving Trish (Rachael Taylor) is both significant and meaningful. While much of the series has focused on Jessica’s relationship with Kilgrave, it has also been concurrently about her reticence to let anyone in. The exception is, of course, Trish, her defacto sister since her family’s death. The episode offers us some pretty significant flashbacks to build on those in ‘AKA WWJD?’ when it was revealed why Jessica feels responsible for the death of her family. ‘AKA I’ve Got The Blues’ explores the aftermath: the rough adjustment period as Jessica learns the darker side of life with the ‘It’s Patsy!’ star and her abusive, overbearing stage mom Dorothy (Rebecca De Mornay). We know that Jessica already had her super strength before the accident (hence the broken game boy against the window), but the extent of her powers is revealed when she breaks the marble vanity in the Walker bathroom listening to Trish’s abuse. Violence ultimately ties them together, despite Trish’s demand that Jessica not interfere.
The flashbacks aren’t particularly revelatory – we’ve guessed most of this via dialogue throughout the series by this point – but the reinforcement of the sisterly bond confirms how important Trish is to Jessica (and vice versa). Will’s abrupt turn from Trish’s “wrong romantic partner” to full-blown Hulk doesn’t really work because it’s too abrupt, but seeing Trish and Jessica work together to defeat him is great stuff. Throw in Jessica’s reaction when Trish nearly dies after taking Will’s red pills and this is the closest that Jessica has come to losing a loved one. As we narrow in on the finale and the stakes continue to rise, it’s likely that those closest to Jessica will be the ones who suffer the most. If this episode is any indication, Trish will be front and center in the climactic battle to come.
- So much of this episode centers around the connection between physical and emotional exhaustion. Kilgrave fails to appear in person, but his spectre once again looms large over the episode, driving Jessica and Trish to eschew their personal safety and undertake extreme actions that nearly end up killing them (Jessica’s car accident; Trish’s decision to take the red pill).
- Jessica’s text to Trish after being hit by a truck: “Ow. Pick me up?” Lol. Never one to mince words, even in a text.
- Jessica’s dismissive “They do” to Malcolm (Eka Darville) when he insists that she owes the bar survivors from last episode an update is also humourous. She’s not disagreeing with him, but she’s not prepared to help them out when there are more important things to do.
- Luke (Mike Colter) returns after being sidelined for several episodes, though his return is immediately accompanied by an explosion in his bar while he’s still inside. Thank goodness for impenetrable skin!
- Robyn (Colby Minifie) continues to be the worst, encouraging Malcolm to give up on humanity and kill himself if he doesn’t like the state of the world. I get that she’s in a dark place after her brother’s death and her own near-death experience, but seriously FUCK OFF ROBYN
- As a result of his conversation with the apartment’s bad seed, Malcolm opts not to tell Jessica about the sketchy government folks crawling around her apartment. Hope that doesn’t mean trouble later on.
- Finally, I like how the cursive writing on Jessica’s list of morgues looks like the font from the Alias graphic novel on which the series is based. Nice Easter egg.
- Robyn (following through with Jessica’s lie after Hope’s death): “I really hate mental illness”
- Trish (placating the morgue attendant): “You really have to try the duck confit, it’s amazing.”
- Jess (when Trish asks if she would save a bunch of nuns or kill Kilgrave): “They still make those?”
- Jessica (after Trish is revived in the ambulance): “You just had to be a hero, didn’t you?” Trish (smiling): “I learned it from you.”
1×12 ‘AKA Take A Bloody Number’
‘AKA Take A Bloody Number’ works hard to set everything up for the finale, so it’s a credit that it manages so many quiet moments between Jessica and Luke before Kilgrave blows their relationship to hell. If 1×11 dealt with Will’s exit*, this penultimate episode is most interested in bringing Luke Cage back into the fold. Aside from a brief flashback explaining how Kilgrave got to him, the majority of the episode keeps Luke and Jessica side by side, positioning them as a superpowered team that, now combined, will finally take down Kilgrave.
*Will doesn’t appear in this episode at all aside from a mention that his body has disappeared, along with the dead men in Trish’s apartment.
Naturally, in tried and true Jessica Jones format, Luke’s amorous role is all a deception. The end of the episode reveals that Luke is actually operating under Kilgrave’s influence, echoing the worst deceptions of the series’ other male characters: he reports on Jessica’s behaviour (like Malcolm did) and, when Kilgrave is endangered, he turns into a homicidal murderer (like Will did). It’s actually a pretty ingenious way to bring back the themes of voyeurism, rape, invasion of privacy and the dangers that men can pose to women from earlier in the season. Obviously the dangers Luke poses are magnified since he is basically indestructible, which evens the odds of going up against Jessica. The tender moments between the pair throughout the episode re-establishes the romance (Trish even comments on their chemistry when she swings by), which helps to make it all the more painful when Luke is revealed as Kilgrave’s puppet at the nightclub. What I love is that despite Jessica’s love for him, she refuses to ease up when they fight. The resulting battle between the lovers is just as impressive as the one with Will from the previous episode, if not more so. I love the one move where Jessica uses the wall as a launchpad to knock Luke sideways into a wall. It’s a great superhero visual representation in a dynamic, destructive fight scene (Luke’s Terminator-style grab through the wall is also great).
The proof of our investment in their romance, however brief, is revealed when Jessica implores Luke one final time to fight Kilgrave’s compulsion. After an epic smack down involving a police cruiser door, she’s left holding the barrel of a police shotgun under his chin. Ritter and Colter do great work selling both the extreme violence of the confrontation, as well as the pain when he gently tells her to do what she needs to do before his violent impulses take over. Jessica’s immediate response after pulling the trigger – jumping on top of him to tell him she loves him – confirms how important he’s become to her. The immediate cut to black / credits is a great finish for the second last episode. Kilgrave has once again managed to take someone significant from her; now it’s time for this to come to an end.
- Kilgrave spends most of the episode hanging around the rooftop terrace of another appropriated condo, forcing his father Albert (Michael Siberry) to devise a way to expand and increase his powers. I’ll admit that I spent all of these scenes waiting for Albert to make a move against his son, but he never does. I guess the cure was a MacGuffin, which is another unexpected development. Despite the familiarity of Jessica Jones‘ genre trappings, the series continually manages to counter my expectations and zig when I expect it to zag.
- I am glad that Malcolm doesn’t end back up under Kilgrave’s influence. Watching Malcolm lock up his apartment, glance at Jessica’s, then slowly walk to the elevator suggests something bad will happen to him. The cut to the inside heavily infers that someone is waiting on the inside, so it’s a nice bait and switch when no one is there and Malcolm simply leaves to investigate noises from Robyn’s floor.
- It’s nice that the writers continue to make an effort to ensure that Ruben’s death is not in vain, but by this point, I barely make it through Robyn’s scenes without fast forwarding. Her impromptu eulogy with Malcolm and the iPhone charger made my eyes glaze over.
- Dorothy Walker shows up (in the present this time, not just flashback) to provide Trish with information about Will’s mystery organization IGH. She then immediately confirms what a terrible person she is by trying to profit from her daughter once again. Dorothy is actually really good at manipulating people, so it’s a relief when Trish (once again) throws her out.
- Who drew a worst short stick: the poor gays who have their apartment taken over by Kilgrave and his father or the guy from the club whom Kilgrave orders to stand facing a fence indefinitely? I guess I’ll go with the couple since they seem likelier to come to bad ends. Side bar: They’ve got a great view from their rooftop terrace.
- Actually, I stand corrected – the courier who kills himself in Central Park by impaling himself in the head with a large pair of scissors got it worst. Ick.
- Finally, not a ton of humour in this penultimate episode, though I did laugh at how Jessica automatically accepts the bribe from the nightclub owner when she and Luke pose as undercover liquor inspectors.
- Jessica (when Luke observes that it smells like fire in her apartment): “Guess we’re both lousy renters”
- Jessica (when the landlady laments that she was unable to sell Albert’s chemicals): “Well, I’m sorry for your loss”
- Malcolm (asking Robyn what Ruben put in the banana bread): “Was it crack?”
- Kilgrave (stating the sad truth as Luke attacks her): “You always choose wrong, Jessica”
Your turn: what did you think of Will’s sudden turn to the dark side? Is he dead? Is Will dead? Did you appreciate the parallels in Luke’s actions to the earlier actions of Malcolm and Will? Is Robyn the worst character on the series? Is Trish the character most likely to end up in danger in the finale? Sound off below, but please refrain from spoilers from the final episode.
Marvel’s Jessica Jones is available in its entirety on Netflix. Check back Tuesday for our review of the finale, ‘AKA Smile’