Jessica Jones S1 Ep. 7-9 Analysis & Review

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Episode 7 “AKA Top Shelf Perverts” opens on the unnerving image of Kilgrave in Jessica’s apartment. He goes through her things, uses her toilet and leaves a surprise for her when he is interrupted by Rubin, Jessica’s neighbor. Jessica, in the meanwhile, is drunk, and is still reeling from her encounter with Luke. She is overcome with shame and struggles with how to deal with these feelings throughout the entirety of this episode. Often Jessica’s way of dealing with her shame is to make ‘not so great’ decisions. The first example of this is her decision to finally take on the task of getting Wendy to sign Jerry’s divorce papers. Drunk and not in a healthy state of mind Jessica dangles Wendy off a train platform in an attempt to scare her into signing them but she accidentally drops her on the tracks just as the train is coming. Jessica manages to save her but pauses just before jumping out of the way herself, as though considering whether or not to let the train hit her and end her suffering. The next morning, Malcolm helps Jessica back into her apartment where they find Rubin lying in her bed, his neck slit. The terrified Jessica has had enough. Shame at her role in Rubin’s death leads her to her next ‘not so great’ decision: she wants to get herself locked up in super-max.

The rest of the episode mainly centers around Jessica tying up loose ends before getting herself arrested. She informs Jerry that she will need a lawyer and asks her what kind of thing she’d need to do to get locked up in super-max. She visits Trish’s mom, Dorothy, to tell her to stay away from Trish and visits Luke’s bar to apologize. Malcolm and Trish attempt to discard of Rubin’s body and talk her out of her decision but Jessica’s mind is made up. That night she walks into the police station with Rubin’s head to turn herself in. But things don’t go according to plan. The detective is skeptical of her claims and just as her frustration grows, she is released. Kilgrave has arrived at the police station and is holding everyone in the building hostage. Kilgrave and Jessica finally confront each other face to face and when they do, Kilgrave reveals the surprising motive behind his obsession with her: He’s in love with her and wants her to come to him of her own will. In the end, Jessica leaves the station and turns herself in to a different form of imprisonment.At the episode’s end Jessica returns to her childhood home where Kilgrave is there to greet her.

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In episode 8, “AKA WWJD” we learn a great deal more, not only about Jessica’s childhood, but of Kilgrave’s as well. Jessica has returned to her childhood home where Kilgrave has restored it to exactly the way it was, down to the tiniest detail. He insists that she is not a prisoner and promises not to use his abilities on her but the servants and body guards are not as fortunate. If Jessica tries anything, they will kill themselves. After an awkward dinner, Jessica returns to her bedroom to discover Simpson. He has been watching the house and planted a bomb in the basement. Not wanting anyone, including Kilgrave, to be blown up Jessica informs Kilgrave of the bomb and Simpson escapes. The next day, Jessica is struck with inspiration after talking to Kilgrave. She wonders if the reason Kilgrave is bad is because no one taught him to be good, and takes him on a trip outside. With her guidance, Kilgrave ends a hostage situation using his abilities. When they return home, Kilgrave is excited about the potential new “team” that he and Jessica will be but Jessica is horrified. The only way this will work is if she stays with him for the rest of his life. Jessica asks to take a walk and goes to see Trish. She informs her friend of what has been happening and poses the question: What Would Trish Do? If she were able to harness Kilgrave’s power for good at the expense of staying by his side forever; would she do it? Jessica returns to the house and decides to do things her way. She knocks out the servants and kidnaps Kilgrave. After she jumps off with him Simpson and his men charge the house, but are met with a surprise. Kilgrave is gone and the next door neighbor has a present for them: Simpson’s bomb.

Episode 9, “AKA The Sin Bin” opens with Kilgrave waking in the hermetically sealed room. He is genuinely upset about being betrayed but it doesn’t phase Jessica who is on a mission to get a confession from him. Jerry arrives to oversee the confession, but she doesn’t like the plan at all. Jerry also informs Jessica that Hope has been offered a plea deal: a confession in exchange for a lighter sentence. Jerry wants Hope to take the deal and is required to inform Hope about it. With a new deadline Jessica has to race against the clock to get a confession that will be admissible in court. When her first plan to force a confession goes wrong, Jessica has to find a different means.

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She gets a clue from something Kilgrave’s father says in the video recording of their experiments, and she follows the lead, tracking down Kilgrave’s parents to the lab they worked out of. Jessica tracks down Kilgrave’s mother and learns that she has been attending the Kilgrave support group meetings. She confronts her and her husband and urges them to take responsibility for their son. However, this plan to goes horribly amis. When Kilgrave’s mother attempts to “take responsibility” and stabs him, everything goes wrong. Betrayed, Kilgrave makes his mother stab herself repeatedly with the scissors, Jessica attempts to shock the room but the wire has been tampered with, and Kilgrave escapes when Trish attempts to save the father by shooting Kilgrave. However, the struggle reveals a major development. Kilgrave can no longer influence Jessica. She has been immune to him since the accident.

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Although there were quite a few interesting revelations over the course of these three episodes, there are only a few that I want to go in to.

To begin, the peripheral stories revolving around Trish and Simpson have become increasing relevant to Jessica’s journey. In episode 7, the pair is first scene in Trish’s bedroom. I find it interesting how much this show conveys character through sex. Trish feels a need to be in control, at the mercy of no one including Simpson, which is evident in their sex scene. For the most part, Simpson appears to be fine with letting her take control, but there are glimmers of defiance. This plays out, likewise, in their interactions outside of the bedroom. Trish tells Simpson that she found Kilgrave’s security detail but want’s him to sit on it until they have a new plan. Simpson voices his opposition but appears to go along with her plan. However, the next time we see Simpson, he finds Kilgrave at the house after following his security but lies to Trish about it and forms his own plan to blow up the house. This power play between them is fuelsed by a difference in ideology. They have very different definitions of Justice. To Simpson, justice is killing Kilgrave to make sure he can’t hurt anyone ever again. He has no problem with doing ‘bad’ things for a percieved greater good. This is further evident by his willingness to blow up the entire house to get Kilgrave. Trish, on the other hand, believes that justice is locking Kilgrave away somewhere he can’t hurt anyone again. His capture would free Hope from prison and force Kilgrave into a life of solitude. She sums it up best when she says,”I want to lock him up until he wants to die, but can’t because THAT is justice.”

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Of course the other main two-some in this series, Jessica and Kilgrave, also had some major revelations and noteworthy discussions these three episodes. Mainly, they revolved around their connection to each other, their upbringing, and the idea of rape and of free will.

For starters, in episode 7, Kilgrave reveals his motivation behind everything he has done thus far. He says that it is because he is in love with her. Until now, Jessica has been sure that his obsession with her was anger that she left him for dead during the accident and he was out for vengeance. However, in Kilgrave’s twisted view, this was simply a means to get her attention. A demonstration of his power so she will understand that they belong together. What Jessica experienced as a traumatic event; a rape and violation of her mind an body, was a wild romance to Kilgrave. A romance that Kilgrave yearns to regain, but this time, of her own free will. However, his manipulation of her environment (the hostages at the police station, the hostages at the house, etc) ensure that Jessica acts in accordance to his wishes. She is not able to act of her own free will.

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In episode 8, Jessica begins to see a bit more of Kilgrave’s world and how he became the person he is. There is a scene where they are eating breakfast in the backyard and are interrupted by a neighbor. The neighbor takes it upon herself to gossip about Jessica’s family, including fact that may or may not have actually been true. It’s hard to tell whether she was lying to have more to talk about or if what she was saying was true and Jessica didn’t want to believe it because her family would be forever idolized in her memory. Either way, when she goes too far Kilgrave uses his ability to force her to tell the truth;  that she says the things she does.in order to make herself feel important. Despite herself, Jessica seems almost grateful for Kilgrave’s intervention but when he touches her hand she becomes angry. This leads to one of the most interesting interactions between the two thus far. For the first time, Jessica confronts Kilgrave directly, saying that he raped her. Kilgrave seems offended by the very idea and says something in response that I wasn’t expecting. He says “How am I supposed to know?”He insists that he took her to all the places she liked and did all the things she wanted to do, but Jessica insists that she didn’t want any of it. For a moment, I was taken out of a Marvel show and transported into an episode of Law & Order SVU. The “He Said She Said” (even though it’s clear that what She Said is the truth) was one thing but it made me pause. Until this point, I had been under the assumption that Kilgrave’s power was like a faucet that could be turned on and off at will. However, if he’s not able to control it; if he can override a person’s will regardless of whether he wants to or not, then he is also a victim of his power. He can never tell if a person’s affections towards him are genuine. This idea continues to play as he goes on to describe the painful experiments his parents subjected him to and his feelings of abandonment. Although it doesn’t excuse any of his actions, it made me feel sorry for him in episode 9, where he is betrayed twice. At the beginning of the episode where he wakes up and realizes that Jessica has betrayed him after “making [him] think [he] could be a hero”, and at the end of the episode when his mother betrays him by stabbing him with scissors after he believed they were going to be a family again.

Throughout the three episodes, Jessica makes decisions that may be considered questionable; from her attempt to get locked in super-max, to her method of getting a confession from Kilgrave. However, none of her actions are unreasonable. They are, and have been, reasonable reactions, even if they aren’t the best. In episode 7, when Jessica is tying up loose end, she attempts to apologize to Luke, but he isn’t there. Instead, she asks the elderly worker there to pass on her message for her. The elderly worker passes on a bit of advice. He says, “if you’re going to burn a bridge, you’d better learn to swim… or fly”. At the end of episode 8, she burns her bridge with Kilgrave, foregoing any potential to use Kilgrave’s power for good, and quite literally flies off with him into the night. Whether or not that was the best course of action is debatable, but this show thrives on it’s celebration of the moral grey areas of life. Whether it’s Jessica’s decisions, Simpsons vs. Trish’s definitions of justice or the relationship between Kilgrave and his parents – the truth may not be on one side of the other but somewhere in between.

 

 

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