Marvel's Jessica Jones Review by Henry Tran

Marvel's Jessica Jones 1.07: AKA Top Shelf Perverts

Marvel's Jessica Jones 1.07: AKA Top Shelf Perverts

Written By:
Jenna Reback and Micah Schraft
Directed By:
Simon Cellan Jones

There is a lot of convincing going on in this episode. Jessica needs to convince others of the viability of her plan to expose Kilgrave, foolhardy as it may completely seem. She needs to convince herself that she shouldn't shoulder so much of the blame for murdering Luke Cage's wife under Kilgrave's control. The convincing and desperation at the heart of Jessica's ongoing quest is a direct parallel to the nature of Kilgrave's influencing powers.  

The episode opens with a literal home invasion, as Kilgrave makes himself (a little bit too much) at home in Jessica's apartment/office before getting interrupted by a well-intentioned (at least compared to Kilgrave) Ruben. Coming on the heels of Luke's rejection of her after revealing that she was responsible for Reva's murder, Jessica is trying once again to drown her sorrows in alcohol. She's ably multi-tasking, as this bender comes while she's following Hogarth's wife Wendy. But Jessica takes things too far by mixing her far-reaching self-loathing with the case and proceeds to threaten Wendy by (accidentally) dropping her on the subway track in front of an oncoming train. Jessica saves her from the tracks, and would have jumped out of the way immediately as well, but there was that long second where she hesitated. Is that the show telling the audience that she had long thought about suicide? Perhaps since Kilgrave made her kill Reva Connors.

So it would be understandable that she'd go home and shut herself off from the world for a little while. It isn't even enough that she use her super jumping ability to get to her apartment instead of passing out in the elevator. Still, all of this doesn't prepare her for finding Ruben's dead body in her bed, complete with his throat slashed. It's an altogether extreme example of how much Kilgrave has infiltrated and taken over Jessica's life. She's now reached her breaking point. It's gut-wrenching to see her wail in anguish, almost to the point of cowering in the corner and shutting out the world. All of this trauma makes it obvious that she isn't thinking clearly when she comes up with the plan to imprison herself in a supermax prison.

For the briefest of moments, I did think that perhaps she could survive the rigors of being put in a supermax prison because of her super strength, but that was negated by the sheer craziness of such a plan. Everyone in her life can see it, and they do their best to try and get her out of going through with it. Indeed, that was the primary weakness of the episode in my eyes. Trish, Hogarth, and Jessica's adopted mother Dorothy (a thoroughly unrecognizable Rebecca De Mornay) aren't all that effective in stopping Jessica from going through with her insane plan to get Kilgrave. At first, my thought was that she would kill Clemons, the detective she was set to meet when he comes on duty at a specific time. It's a bit too standard for her to decapitate Ruben's head and bring it to Clemons. But their brief interrogation leads to the terrific and incredibly eerie centerpiece scene where Kilgrave forces everyone in the precinct to point guns at each other while he convinces Jessica of his true motives.

All of his actions are rationalized by him to be a demented declaration of love towards Jessica. This declaration gains more disturbing levels when we think of notable examples throughout history of such actions (John Hinckley justifying the attempted assassination of President Reagan in order to get the attention of actress Jodie Foster is a major one I'm thinking of). This is the longest Kilgrave has ever gone in talking face-to-face with Jessica in the series. 

Oddly, his physical presence reduces his intimidation and creepy factor. She's understandably repulsed by this, with all of the death and human destruction left in both of their wakes. It's definitely not something that anyone would want their name to be attached to. Kilgrave leaves her with an impossible choice: Be with him (in her childhood home, no less), or everyone else in the city will continue to suffer. She goes along with it in the end, though I have the hope that there is something she has up her sleeve to take Kilgrave out. She would just need to get over her extensive psychological demons in order to properly execute it. I did find myself asking this question at the end: Would the Supermax prison have been preferable to this?

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • Kilgrave’s gambit with Jessica hits a new level of disturbing
  • Jessica’s breakdown is compelling to watch, to say the least
The Bad:
  • The Supermax plan is a little over the top

Henry Tran is a regular contributor of review for Critical Myth; The Critical Myth Show is heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @HenYay

Marvel's Jessica Jones by - 1/5/2016 8:25 AM126 views

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