Kilgrave's history begins to come to light, and Jessica begins to question her own motives and reactions as a result, reaching out for help to her best friend. Meanwhile, Simpson is making plans of his own.
What would Jessica do? I actually think that's a smart question. At times Jessica's extremely reactive, not proactive. I don't mean that in a cheesy new-age way, but more from observation. Every action Jessica takes is in reaction to someone or something else. Even her previous failed plan - hide in prison - was in reaction to Kilgrave. So what does she do?
At the end of the previous episode I pretty much figured three things:
- Kilgrave doesn't love anyone. It's more that Jessica simply appears to have broke his control at one point. He cannot fully control her involuntarily. The challenge for him now is to control her voluntarily, by choice. Once he has a few pins set up-she makes a choice to take photos for him, to do what he says to save a life-it becomes easier for him to convince her to do what he says without the bait. Simple Pavlovian training, but something which must be a quantum leap for someone who's basically a grown-up version of Anthony Fremont from the Twilight Zone episode "It's a Good Life." When, for your entire life, you've just had anyone do whatever you say, figuring out the nuances of interpersonal relationships and normal behavior must be hard.
- Simpson is working with Jessica to take out Kilgrave and he figures in her long term plan.
- Kilgrave has some kind of contact with Hogarth by now.
Jessica seems to feel like she has a choice to make. She goes to Trish to ask her: should she play the mentor-behind-the-scenes, turn Kilgrave into a hero? Trish's response is spot on. Kilgrave is a psychopath. What he did to Mrs. de Luca at the end of the episode will happen again and again. It's not just about learning the words not to say, or to go after the bad guys. It's about letting go of a need to control and punish which is bigger than the both of us. Kilgrave's power may cause him to be a psychopath; it may be his nature which cause his use of his powers. The combination is an unbelievable danger however, and Simpson's right to worry, sealed room or no. So does Kilgrave love Jessica? I'm willing to admit he's obsessed with her - but, as with many abusers in abusive relationships, he mistakes obsession for love and control for caring. I also think there has to be some sort of ulterior motive behind his pursuit of Jessica: a child, or a steppingstone to power. Something.
As for the second point, I was totally off. Simpson's a lone commando and, like Jessica, seems determined to protect others at his own expense. I assumed he was working with Jessica because of a fleeting car clip at the end of the last episode. It turns out he's gone commando, bombing Kilgrave's basement and endangering whatever Jessica's plan is. I loved the moment with Jessica telling Simpson to get out and immediately turning and using the bomb to her advantage. She really is a PI, and while she has super-strength, it's her keen sense of strategy which has done a better job keeping her alive. She gets a team of security people replaced, earns some of Kilgrave's trust, and exploits his blind spot – a lack of caring for others or ability to understand that care. After all, he can't see Jessica's playing the long game and interested in getting Hope free. He only sees she saved his butt. All of this impacts Simpson's psyche; his discussion with Trish about the need to get out of the way of superheroes and let them save the day was definitely from the heart. Either he's full of BS or Trish has gotten to him, though, because by the end of the episode he's making Attempt #2 (Poor Mrs. de Luca. And wasn't that a gory explosion?) Well, it seems a break has finally shown in the Trish/Simpson relationship, but it remains to be seen if Simpson's survived the 'neighbomb.'
And my third point? No contact between Hogarth and Kilgrave that we've seen yet. Poor Hogarth is really suffering in this divorce. I don't sympathize with her obviously–she seems cold and distant–but she almost seems human while arguing with Wendy, and I thought the acting here was marvelous. I think I was wrong though; it looks as if Hogarth is going to be Jessica's secret weapon. Recording his childhood story was smart; we'll see how much Jeri can dig up. Although if the divorce issues keep spiraling downwards, and Jessica doesn't see the specious message Kilgrave sent Hogarth over Jessica's phone, all this may be moot. Remember, Hogarth still has Kilgrave's fetus. Maybe there's a way she can make some sort of anti-Kilgrave serum?
Finally, what do the revelations about Kilgrave really change? About Jessica? Jessica's family died in a stupid car fight. Kilgrave's situation was arguably far more dire. But his experiences as a child don't argue for excusing his decisions as an adult. They argue for poor rationalization instead. So what did Jessica do? Jessica's decision-to knock out the cook and housekeeper in a bid for the king-was entirely the right one, though I wish she had done it earlier, instead of entertaining so much of Kilgrave's self-indulgent whining.
Note: I originally thought Jessica had killed the servants. Several commenters pointed out to me that Jessica could simply have knocked out the cook and housekeeper so they would not have seen Jessica harm Kilgrave, therefore being impelled to kill themselves. So I made the edit to the final version above.
Bits and Pieces of Mrs. de Luca
Why don't they talk to the nameless guy and find out why he was holding his family hostage and then see if they could make a good person somehow? Those voice commands of Kilgrave might be more subtle than even he knows. Maybe Hogarth has a point; he doesn't use his powers effectively. Oh well, at least he lived.
We see the first real break in the Simpson/Trish relationship, and it's over a philosophical difference they don't even have. She's the woman who did krav maga to keep up with Jessica after all.
The dream Jessica has of her brother and parents coming to her. Warning or motivation?
Jessica can fly! (Sort of, as you may recall from a previous episode.)
Kilgrave: How do you people live like this? Day after day, just hoping people are gonna do what you want. It's unbearable.
Simpson: Everyone wants to be the hero, right? But now I see that we can't be... because there's us, and there's them. And that's okay, but it just means that we can't always help. You can't always help. Not without getting hurt and becoming some extra problem.
Trish: You're saying this like it's about me, but this is about you. You're abandoning her.
Simpson: No. I'm getting out of her way. Both of us should get out of her way.
Kilgrave: Well, now that's out of the way, put the barrel of the gun into your mouth.
Jessica: You can't kill him.
Kilgrave: No, but he can kill himself. The man's clearly insane. He is never gonna be a productive member of society.
Jessica: That is not for you to decide.
Kilgrave: He will go to prison and feed off the tit of the taxpayers––
Jessica: You've never paid a goddam tax in your life.
Kilgrave: What would Jessica do?
Jessica: Make him turn himself over to the police.
Even better than the previous episode, and with more smartness than stupidity. Five out of five Simpson Explosives.