TV Review: Marvel's Jessica Jones - Season 1 Ep 6 "AKA You're A Winner!"
EPISODE 6: "AKA You're A Winner!"
SYNOPSIS: Luke hires Jessica to help him find someone who may have skipped town, but she fears he’ll learn too much about her history in the process.
BREAKDOWN: In an earlier review of Jessica Jones, I said that this series circumvents the need to address the gender of the main character and she is able to exist as a superhero rather than a female superhero. But, with this entry in the series, gender becomes more prevalent and important than ever before. At it's core, Jessica Jones can be interpreted as a representation of abuse and rape with Kilgrave an embodiment of sexual predators. Every character that Kilgrave comes into contact with is sullied and becomes a victim. There is even a survivor's group for those who have been violated by the villain. But, abuse begets abuse when the actions Jessica Jones was forced to do come back to haunt her.
With Malcolm recovering from his addiction, Jessica finds Luke Cage at her door. But, Luke is there to hire his former fling to help him find the brother of a friend who owes money to some bad people. Jessica is reluctant, especially with all of the Kilgrave mess on her plate along with the creeping knowledge that she is the person who killed Luke's wife, Reva. But, Jessica cannot say no to Luke and the two begin investigating. As they do, it becomes clear that Luke is hunting for the missing Antoine because the missing guy's sister has evidence about Reva's death and that it wasn't a simple bus accident. Jessica, paranoid of what the truth will reveal, tries to stay a step ahead of Luke as they investigate.
Meanwhile, Kilgrave has a plan of his own involving buying a house in the suburbs. His first appearance opens the episode where he forces a bunch of poker players to fold and give him a million dollars. The playfulness that David Tennant brings to Kilgrave is alluring and scary all at once. We next see Kilgrave at a coffee shop looking at home listings online. He even makes the loud shop hush simultaneously so he can concentrate. Later, he approaches the homeowner of the house he wants to buy but refuses to use his power, even though he is tempted to. Kilgrave wants to buy the house the right way, eventually revealing that it was Jessica's childhood home. All the while, Jessica is frantically remembering to send Kilgrave his daily photo. When she is minutes late, he chastizes her. Once again, even though he is not mind controlling her, Kilgrave's abusive power has her under his sway again.
Jessica also gets a call that Hope was attacked in prison. When she confronts the inmate who did it, Jessica learns that Hope paid for the beating because she is pregnant with Kilgrave's baby and wants it gone. This is another brutal reminder of how his power is both a metaphor for rape as well as the literal act. Jessica works with Jery to get the morning after pill for Hope so she can get rid of the baby. While many may find the abortion to be distasteful, it comes with it the set of questions about whether a victim should be forced to have her rapist's child. As Hope writhes from the effects of the medication, Jery requests a nurse collect the fetus for testing. Whether Jery wants to prove it is Kilgrave's child or something else remains to be revealed.
Luke and Jessica find Antoine and have to fight off the loanshark and his goons at the pot farm Antoine was holed up in. Jessica and Luke, who reconciled earlier and had sex after he learned who Kilgrave was, fight off the goons easily. Jessica's strength is definitely something to behold, but it is also very cool seeing Luke Cage in full action. Jessica watches Luke get ganged up on, but she runs with Antoine to try and get the evidence about his wife before Luke can. Luke revealed that his wife left him a clue to find something buried at a building and in flashback we see more to Reva's death: Kilgrave forced Jessica to dig up a flash drive until her knuckles were bloody and then he had her kill Reva. When Jessica arrives at Antoine's sister, Luke is right behind her. The evidence shows that the bus driver at the accident that night was drunk and Luke heads to kill the man. After launching him through the bus' front windshield, Jessica helps him escape and reveals the truth that she killed his wife under Kilgrave's influence.
Luke's reaction to learning this is heartbreaking. It also comes with the added fact that Jessica knew all along that she killed his wife, even if it was under Kilgrave's spell. Luke is disgusted by this notion and Jessica has, in a way, violated Luke in a way similar to how Kilgrave violated her. It is a rough scene to watch but kudos to Mike Colter and Krysten Ritter for adding some gravity to this intense episode. The hour closes with Jessica reciting her PTSD mantra of her street names near her home while we see the creepy visage of Kilgrave as he enjoys his new house. Overall, this was the strongest episode to date and evokes some serious psychological questions about trauma and sexual consent. Deep issues for a comic book series which is why Jessica Jones is shaping up to be a hell of a lot more than just a comic book series.
MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES: The private investigator Jessica recommends is Angela Del Toro, better known in Marvel Comics as White Tiger.
NEXT ON JESSICA JONES: Episode 7 "AKA Top Shelf Perverts" - Malcom, Simpson and Trish go rouge to prevent Jessica from carrying out an extreme plan to outwit Kilgrave.