Marvel's Jessica Jones Review by Henry Tran

Marvel's Jessica Jones 1.08: AKA WWJD?

Marvel's Jessica Jones 1.08: AKA WWJD?

Written By:
Scott Reynolds
Directed By:
Simon Cellan Jones

When Jessica accepted Kilgrave's invitation to come back and live in her childhood home, there was both the worry that she would fall under his influence again and a simultaneous sense of relief. Relief meaning that she could take care of herself and that there had to be more to this than just willingly submitting to Kilgrave's control. We've already seen what that is like through snippets of flashbacks. It resulted in the death of Reva Connors and set this story in motion.

               


 

This episode uses that unpredictability and mines loads of tension out of it. There were several moments where I thought or was afraid that the hammer would drop; That Jessica would be unable to resist Kilgrave's mind control and submit. The immediacy of which is dealt with swiftly when Jessica lays out the ground rules of their arrangement. Suffice it to say, Kilgrave is looking for Jessica to willfully submit to his control of her own accord.

 

That's easier said than done, apparently. It's a real joy just to watch the two of them operate. The show boils down to these two characters and seeing what makes each of them tick. We get insight into what Jessica's childhood was like (largely normal up until the accident that killed her entire family in one fell swoop), and surprisingly, we also get a brief glimpse of what Kilgrave's childhood was like. There's an inherent tension and a sense of real claustrophobia and creepiness with all of this occurring inside Jessica's childhood home, made up by Kilgrave to resemble her younger days down to the smallest detail.

 


 

As was established in the previous episode, Kilgrave is doing all of this out of some twisted notion of affection for Jessica, and while we got the declaration at the police station, that "love" of Jessica gets a reality manifestation in the dollhouse that he created here. Like the police station, it's all done with the threat of intimidation and the use of innocent people as both fail-safes and collateral damage in case Jessica tried anything to disable Kilgrave. But there's something much more insidious going on. Kilgrave still holds to the fact that he didn't rape Jessica while Jessica sees it completely different. He violated her in every way imaginable, and then used his terrible parenting past as the primary excuse for that violation. It's classic victim-blaming and makes him an even more reprehensible figure.

 

For a large part of the episode, we have no real idea what Jessica's plan is. She keeps insisting to Trish and Simpson, who drops in for a brief time to attempt a rescue, that she knows exactly what she's doing by staying with Kilgrave. She has a plan, and she needs to stick by it. Looking at it from a larger standpoint, it's a much smarter tactic for Jessica to take on Kilgrave one-on-one. The plan to snatch him and put him in the safe room failed miserably because the threesome couldn't account for variables out of their control. Going at Kilgrave alone minimizes collateral damage and allows for Jessica to maintain full control of her actions instead of having to account for others.

 


 

The wrench in the plan is an interesting conceit, though. Perhaps it was out of a bit of sympathy for how Kilgrave's parents experimented on him as a child, thus giving rise to his mind control powers by accident, Jessica decides to test something out. She and Kilgrave use their combined powers to defuse a potentially fatal hostage situation. We've only ever seen Kilgrave's powers through the lens of being evil or being a total violation of a person's free will and so it's a real shock to see it twisted around and used for good. Kilgrave's ego is so massive that he would totally get a rush from using his powers to do good instead of fulfilling his own selfish desires. That's the question, though: How much good would he have to do in order for him to truly "balance the scales", as they both repeatedly talk about? He's run amok for so long, leaving so much damage in his wake that he would probably have to spend the rest of his lifetime doing good in order to balance the scales.

 

This is all a ruse, confirmed by the argument that the both of them have before going out on the crusade, but for the briefest of moments there, it really looked like Jessica was down with the idea of reforming Kilgrave. It's a huge relief then to reveal her actual purpose at the end: She wanted Kilgrave to let his guard down, ply him with Chinese food, knock out the hostages in the house, then drug and kidnap Kilgrave. What will happen next? What is she going to do with Kilgrave?


Our Grade:
A
The Good:
  • Jessica’s gambit is very well played, especially since her ruse is fairly convincing
  • Kilgrave’s story actually manages to generate some sympathy
The Bad:
  • There is no turning back now

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 - 1/12/2016 8:19 AM147 views

Your Responses

ssj100matt
ssj100matt
CONCURRING OPINION

Grade: A
This was one of my favorite episodes of the series. The entire time I felt the like the shoe was going to drop and Kilgrave was going to snap. Instead Jessica bided her time and the ending was a little bit of a surprise. For a brief moment I felt bad at the end because I thought that he turned over a new leaf and could be changed. Such a good episode

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