Marvel's Jessica Jones Review by John Keegan

Marvel's Jessica Jones 1.04: AKA 99 Friends

Marvel's Jessica Jones 1.04: AKA 99 Friends

Written By:
Hilly Hicks, Jr.
Directed By:
David Petrarca

Ever since Kilgrave made his "public" appearance on Trish's radio show (then followed up by appearing in the flesh to Jessica Jones), there has been a degradation of trust in people. The nature of his mind control powers is amazing in terms of its scope. Just in this episode alone, he influences a little girl to threaten both Jessica and Trish! A lot of people come out of the woodwork, claiming to Hogarth's law firm that they were also under the influence of Kilgrave in order to do the most heinous of things. Yes, part of the interrogation montage is done for comedic relief in the midst of all this darkness, but there are kernels of truth in all of the craziness.  

The "survivors of Kilgrave" group is really a two-pronged approach to how the show deals with the psychological scars and trail of damage Kilgrave leaves behind for his victims. It's a way for Jessica to confront what exactly happened in her time under Kilgrave's influence (a notion she rejects outright) and also something that she can use to garner more information on Kilgrave's whereabouts and activities within the city. The latter is the driving force for the episode. 

Coming off of the creepy picture room Kilgrave created in that home he invaded, she's resolute in trying to find the person who is photographing her for the monster who is always in her life. Being photographed so regularly feels like a complete invasion of her privacy, which is ironic since that's a vital part of her job as a private investigator. Jessica's job brings her into close contact with some people who are at their worst moments in their lives or they're just desperate. Audrey Eastman seems like one of those people. Kilgrave's presence keeps Jessica's paranoia on a high level along with the fact that the last person who was referred to Jessica ended up being under Kilgrave's control and murdered her parents. Jessica tails Eastman long enough to wonder if she's another one of Kilgrave's victims.

All of the signs are there. The anger at her husband, the tragic backstory, and hiding a shooting gallery on the edges of the city. It's been drilled into us that Kilgrave's powers have its limits that includes time and distance away from him. When it becomes clear to Jessica that Eastman is just a scorned wife and not someone who is doing Kilgrave's bidding, it seems like her guard is dropped. So that's when the truth is revealed: Eastman has a prejudiced view of "gifted" individuals like Jessica or the Avengers, and blames all of them for the death of her mother in the middle of the Battle of New York. 

This seems to be the very first time that a Marvel property has acknowledged the human toll of a major event in the MCU. Daredevil did so in an oblique manner with Kingpin's exploitation of the fear coming out of rebuilding the city following what happened in The Avengers. Here, Jessica gets the brunt of Eastman's pain and anguish, which then invites opposition. It could almost be understandable, relatable even if it weren't for the fact that Eastman used her grief as a pretense to capture and kill Jessica. Jessica takes out all of her pent-up frustration and hostility on the Eastman apartment, and I think a part of that is anger in being so duped by the Eastmans and a part her inability to properly combat Kilgrave on her own terms.

It's much more healthy to take Trish's approach in dealing with the fallout of Kilgrave's terror. Officer Simpson seems very remorseful in trying to kill Trish, and genuine in trying to get her forgiveness. Like Jessica, she is so paranoid and guarded at the beginning that she won't let him into her apartment. She can only talk to him through her reinforced security door. When he proves that he's actually got his control of his own faculties, she lets him into her home. But the ending of the episode proves there should be a limit as to who both women let into their lives. It's slowly revealed that the photographer who has invaded Jessica's private life is none other than her drug addict neighbor Malcolm. How she deals with that news is going to influence her ability to combat Kilgrave in the future.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • Jessica‚Äôs sense of paranoia is rampant in this episode, and entirely justified
  • Some nice connections are made to the wider MCU
The Bad:
  • Jessica seems to drop her guard awfully fast

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

Marvel's Jessica Jones by - 12/15/2015 10:57 AM2089 views

Your Responses


Grade: A-
Yeah the scenes tying this series in with the cinematic universe were pretty great. It's nice to hear that there were repercussions. Of course that also come front and center in the new Civil War movie too, but it was teased here first. I could do with less Purple Man controlling little kids though, thanks.

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