TV Review: Marvel's Jessica Jones - S1 Ep 12 "AKA Take A Bloody Number"
EPISODE 12: "AKA Take A Bloody Number"
SYNOPSIS: The hunt for Kilgrave reunites Jessica with Luke. Trish receives some unexpected information about Simpson and Jessica.
BREAKDOWN: It is not easy setting up the final episode of a season, but penultimate episodes have the difficult task of getting all of the pieces in order for the big finish. With Marvel and Netflix doing a solid job with Daredevil's freshman run, it seemed like Jessica Jones would do the same. With a great eight episode run before the quality started to waver a bit, I was expecting a lot of more out of this hour. While this episode is still a solid entry in the season, it ends up feeling much more like a structure that should have popped up in the first half of the thirteen episodes rather than the final pair. But, it does showcase a great fight sequence and some significant universe building for future seasons.
After blowing up his bar at the close of the last episode, Luke Cage and Jessica return to her apartment to determine what had happened. We learn that Luke ran into Kilgrave as he escaped with his father a few episodes back and was taken by the villain. Kilgrave learned that Luke and Jessica were lovers and ordered the superhuman to kill himself where Jessica could see it. Not knowing he had powers, Luke survived but wants to help Jessica stop the mind controller. Jessica makes Luke wait the obligatory 12 hour window before they start investigating further. During their searching, they learn that Kilgrave's father had been using chemicals purchased from a local medical supplier and that the villain was working on a way to expand his abilities in an effort to control Jessica again.
Kilgrave tests his powers at a nightclub where he is able to control a crowd of people at once and for longer than twelve hours, but the serums his father is devising are not quite working the way he wants them to. Kilgrave is mad with desire to control Jessica again and even threatens to force his father to mangle his hand in a blender if he complains about being tired again. Kilgrave is definitely a madman and his focus on controlling the woman he wants revenge on makes him one of the most chilling villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date. It is also nice to see Luke and Jessica hitting it off and working well as partners as they investigate Kilgrave's plan. I am not sure what the plan will be for the Luke Cage series, but I can already see these two super-strong heroes making a great on screen pairing.
With Will Simpson taken by Dr. Koslov last hour, I wondered what else we would learn about the pills he was taking. Trish, recovering in the hospital, shares with Jessica that Will's doctor was working for a company called IGH, which doesn't seem to exist. Rebecca DeMornay returns as Trish's mother Dorothy who wants to rekindle her relationship with her daughter. Trish isn't interested, but Dorothy produces documents that show that Jessica's childhood medical bills following the accident that killed her family were fully paid for by IGH. Did the shady company somehow give Jessica Jones her powers? Could this be a new group that will have a connection to either HYDRA or the Inhumans? Could they have given Matt Murdock his powers as well? As Jessica says in this episode, she only has time for one big bad at a time. IGH will have to wait for season two.
While Malcolm decides it is time to go home to get away from Jessica and Kilgrave, he runs into Robyn and tries to help her cope with everything she has been through. The two share a nice moment where they bid farewell to Ruben by where his body was placed in the river. As for Jessica and Luke, they head to the nightclub where Kilgrave tested his powers and are soon confronted by the villain on the mike. His powers still do not work on Jessica, but we do find out that Luke Cage has been under his control since before the bar explosion. Kilgrave's powers now work up to 100 yards and for 24 hours. Jessica and Luke throw down, showing that these two are on par with each other to battle, but Luke's true invincibility seems to give him the edge over her. Kilgrave orders Luke to kill Jessica before running from the club. Jessica avoids Luke as long as possible, leaving the club where he takes out two cops. Jessica grabs the shotgun from the police car and begs Luke not to make her do it. He tells her to and she pulls the trigger.
While we all know that Luke is not dead, this episode closed with one hell of a fight between the two heroes. It was gritty and brutal and one of the best on this series, but doesn't make up for the feeling of treading water that this hour had, it definitely helped. The chemistry between Krysten Ritter and Mike Colter definitely makes it feel possible to see Luke and Jessica as a couple in the long term, but the fact that Luke was so major in the first few episodes before being gone until the end of last week felt similar to how Rosario Dawson appeared in the beginning and end of Daredevil's debut run. While Daredevil didn't do much to set up a villain for season two, IGH feels like it is being force-fed to us this hour rather than developing more organically as it had been in earlier episodes. Here's hoping that the finale ties up everything appropriately as this hour came off as a bit wasted.
MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES: Not a direct connection, but a key scene in this episode takes place at Bethesda Fountain, also the location from the closing scene of THE AVENGERS.
NEXT ON JESSICA JONES: Episode 13 "AKA Smile" - Jessica and Luke get help from someone else in the neighborhood. Kilgrave gears up for a major test of powers against Jessica.