Jessica Jones: AKA Top Shelf Perverts

"No one else will die because of me. I'm taking myself out of the equation."

When Jessica's friend is added to the list of those murdered by Kilgrave, Jessica comes up with a desperate plan to evade her stalker and stop the growing number of victims–despite the best advice of her friends and frenemies.

It's my belief this series is heavily symbolic. So what does that mean for an opening like this one? The wolf is answering the door, and our heroine is being thrown drunkenly into the trash. This might just be the lowest we've seen Jessica Jones so far this season. The encounter with Wendy on the train platform and Ruben's murder just punctuate how low she has gone and how powerless she is against Kilgrave.

It also helps me understand the door metaphor. Jessica's been cavalier about her door being locked all season so far. It seems stupid, given how many are after her, but I ask you: what's the point of worrying about a lock when you know people who can snap a lock open... or tell someone else to? There's a greater level of security needed when you work against someone like Kilgrave. Taken to its logical extent, Jessica's decision to try and get herself locked up in a maximum security prison seems like an obvious conclusion–if a stupid one, like I'm hopefully going to show.

Malcolm, Simpson and Trish are the friends trying to save Jessica from herself, with Jeri Hogarth doing the same in her own way. I'm totally with them-maximum security means nothing to Kilgrave from the outside, as events in the police station prove. Once Jessica gets past the best hurdles her friends can throw at her she's going to be in the hands of the system: and the system is exactly what Kilgrave manipulates best. And this is what makes no sense to me, unless Jessica is simply really terrified: her plan involves putting a lot of defenseless, innocent (and insane) people between Kilgrave and herself. This is her plan? Make people with even less power and knowledge than she has into, essentially, living targets? Stupid. And in the end absolutely moot, and all the sturm und drang is pointless. Kilgrave has her checkmated.


This show has been pretty thick with the violence but what it does best is creep you out. That penultimate silent scene in the police station–from Jessica's desperate, frustrated attempt to get herself incarcerated, to Kilgrave and Jessica chatting while everyone else is a frozen statue? Well staged. Kilgrave's moment of raving gave my jeebies serious heebie. It sort of proves my point too: Kilgrave has no scruples about attacking anyone, a lesson the death of Ruben should have driven home. Nobody dies today; instead Kilgrave sends Jessica home with orders to find a special gift, which leads her to her childhood home, where Kilgrave awaits. So the episode starts with Kilgrave in her office; it ends with Kilgrave occupying the most intimate part of her memory. Symbolism and metaphor, anyone? And rhetoric aside: has Jessica really given up and given in? And if so, what does that mean for her and for the future? Is that little voice inside still fighting?

Bits and Pieces

Simpson and Trish are continuing their explicit relationship. Am I the only one who thinks Officer Simpson is on the hot side? Whatever your opinion, I can't be alone in liking how this show writes relationship dialogue.

Malcolm is growing into a very interesting character now that he's been released from dependency on drugs.

Jessica's behavior in getting Wendy to sign divorce papers is actually sort of helpful. Now Jeri realizes how much Wendy knows, remembers and is willing to use.

We're learning more about Trish's mother, who seems heavily into verbal control and, very possibly, physical abuse.

Luke watch: he isn't around this week and his stand-in at the bar gives Jessica a little slice-of-life talk, advising her to forget him.

The scenes with Ruben's sister, Robyn, were poignant and hilarious at the same time. She reminds me very much of a certain type of New Yorker.

Nothing new about Hope or the baby?

Quotables

Homeless man: You stink.
Jessica: Well, I'm a piece of shit, and shit stinks.
Homeless man: Got a dollar?
Jessica scoffs and searches her pocket.
Jessica: Blimpie's punch card. Two away from a free sub.

Simpson: Some people need to be removed from this earth, and Kilgrave is one of 'em.
Trish: We don't get to decide that. Killers decide that. That's what makes them killers.
Simpson: That is naive–
Trish: And idealistic, and futile. But I want justice for my friend. For that girl in prison. For you and me. I want Kilgrave to live long and alone and despised until he wants to die, but can't. Because that's justice, and I'll fight like hell for it.
Simpson: Wow. You just need a flag and a horse.
Trish: I'd look goddamn good on it.
Simpson: Mm-hmm.

Kilgrave: Crappy fluorescent lights and cockroaches and loud cell phones and the smell of piss! I am trying to profess eternal love here, people!

Overall

Five out of five: a riveting episode which kept me on the edge of my seat until the final moments. I can't wait till they bring back Luke, though I fear that ship has sunk.

10 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Excellent review of a heavy episode, Joseph. At least we know now what Kilgrave is up to and why he's not Kilgraving Jessica: he wants her to love him, like that could ever possibly happen. The way this show keeps echoing a non-superhuman abusive relationship is chilling.

Poor Ruben. I thought he was going to turn out to be a killer or something, but now he's just dead and Robyn will be devastated. BTW, Ruben and Robyn? Worst twin names ever. :)

migmit said...

OK, that's an episode in which EVERYBODY (with some minor exceptions) acted stupid.

Jessica — well, her plan was really stupid, but there were other things. For example: if she can punch someone so that xer heart stops — I'm sure she could punch Kilgrave in this police station so that he loses consciousness. OK, maybe it won't release the officers from under his control, but she can inject him with medical anesthetic AFTER that.

Kilgrave — OK, he removed the surveillance video; I'm pretty sure that the verbal testimony of EVERY SINGLE ONE of those officers would be just as good. Maybe now they think it's a joke; but in ten hours they'll come to their senses.

Trish — you're in a middle of a crisis and you don't answer your goddamn phone? Well, I'm used to Trish acting stupid, that's her MO, but still.

Side note about Trish: if she was able to get those guards talking about their other client — she must be possessing the same kind of power as Kilgrave.

Simpson — he is going after that psychopath ALONE? Slightly justified, as his intentions are clearly different from the team's... but he knows all too well what Kilgrave can do. He needs at least some support (and from the next episode we know he can easily get it).

Ruben... OK, that's kind of the point of his character.

Malcolm — why the hell didn't he just TELL Trish about the body? She would know then what to expect, and would keep quiet.

Stupid, stupid, stupid... I don't like stories about stupid people.

Patrick said...

THIS is the episode where the show lost me. And it happened right at the moment when Kilgrave declared his love for Jessica. Up until that point, he was an incredibly evil, sadistic guy with powers who got off on torturing Jessica psychologically and otherwise inflicting pain & suffering. But the moment we learned that Kilgrave was yet another deluded psycho who thinks that despite all the truly horrific things he's done he can somehow convince the object of his obsession how much he loves them, and to love him back, I got bored. I disconnected from the story, and was never able to get back into it.

Billie Doux said...

I thought Kilgrave loving Jessica made sense of a lot of what happened until this point. There had to be a good reason why he wasn't using his voice on her. It doesn't mean that Kilgrave is capable of love -- just that he *thinks* he is.

JRS said...

I think so much of this hinges on Jessica seemingly briefly escaping Kilgrave's control after being forced to murder Luke's wife. He was using his powers and she was not responding, and then Kilgrave got hit by a bus. Before, Kilgrave's obsession seemingly began and was centered on her powers. Now, it's centered on the core of Jessica and her ability to resist. He needs to somehow maintain control-subvert her resistance, if you will. And he has to make sure that control is inviolable. He describes this as 'love' because it's an obsession and obsession is indeed one way to look at love. But as a psychopath he has no way to respond to Jessica which takes her feelings and viewpoint into account. He'll cheerfully kill her best friend to take the necklace she's wearing to give Jessica as a gift and not understand why this doesn't work. Because of this I'm not sure that Kilgrave or anyone in that state is truly capable of more than the obsession part of love.

However, I think there is more to the story of 'love' here. Kilgrave had a plan and purpose for Jessica prior to her defection. I think this plan had to do with reproduction and having a miniKilgrave. Maybe he wants to set up a League of Evil, who knows? The obsession came because Jessica's outside his control but that original plan whatever it is is still out there.

Josie Kafka said...

He needs to somehow maintain control-subvert her resistance, if you will. And he has to make sure that control is inviolable. He describes this as 'love' because it's an obsession and obsession is indeed one way to look at love. But as a psychopath he has no way to respond to Jessica which takes her feelings and viewpoint into account.

JRS, wow! Can I come to you for relationship advice?

(That sounds sarcastic. It's not sarcastic.)

Docnaz said...

I really, really liked this episode. It creeped me out as much as anything I have seen recently.

Docnaz said...

Billie, I hate to disagree with you, but those were not the worst twin names ever. I knew a person who was very troubled. His twin brother and sister were named Romeo and Juliet.

Billie Doux said...

Docnaz, you win. Seriously?

Lamounier said...

migmit, I hear you. I’m a little more forgiving of Jessica’s stupid plan because she clearly wasn’t thinking straight. But on the police station I kept waiting Jessica to knock Kilgrave out and it never happened.

That long shot showing everyone under Kilgrave’s control was terrific, but I too wondered why he would expose himself like that. His control will wear off and then it will be a matter of time until that detective puts the pieces together and goes after him. So either the writers will ignore that development or Kilgrave just pulled a dumb move. Bad either way.

In any case, this show is working well enough on an emotional level for me that I’m willing to keep watching in spite of some of the flaws. For instance, I was with Jessica the entire episode, even if it was clear her plan was too crazy. I wanted her to succeed at something, anything, on her chase to catch Kilgrave. She definitely needs a victory. I loved that the loose ends she went to take care of were emotional. She wanted some kind of closure with Luke and she made sure Trish’s mother would stay away from her. Jessica heavily implied Trish’s mother used her as a teenage prostitute. Now that’s a terrible mother.

If there is one thing that didn’t work for me was Kilgrave revealing he wants to be with Jessica. Yes, he is obsessed with her, but if he just wants them to be together, why would he set Hope to murder her parents in front of Jessica? Or leave Ruben’s dead body in Jessica’s bed? His actions read more “I’m a psychopath who wants to emotionally torture you” than “I’m a psychopath who wants us to live happily ever after”. I hope there’s more to his intentions than just having Jessica play housewife.

“I want Kilgrave to live long and alone and despised until he wants to die, but can't. Because that's justice, and I'll fight like hell for it.”

I loved this line and the delivery. Trish is really growing on me.

Not twins, but I know two sisters and a brother whose names are Nature and Moon (the girls) and Sun (the guy).