TV Review: Marvel's Jessica Jones - Season 1 Ep 7 "AKA Top Shelf Perverts"
EPISODE 7: "AKA Top Shelf Perverts"
SYNOPSIS: Malcom, Simpson and Trish go rouge to prevent Jessica from carrying out an extreme plan to outwit Kilgrave.
BREAKDOWN: Jessica Jones had her plan to incarcerate Kilgrave thwarted, so her new plan involves incarcerating herself. If that seems counterintuitive, this entire episode hinges on a plan that makes literally no sense. It is a shame that Jessica gets bogged down in such a pisspoor plot because the closing act of this episode could be the strongest of the series to date. With this hour, we get some new insight on Jessica's childhood and we meet Trish Walker's mother played by an almost uncrecognizable Rebecca DeMornay. But, before we can really analyze the final batch of episodes that this one sets up, we need to discuss Jessica's brilliant plan to get herself arrested.
The episode opens with Kilgrave sneaking around Jessica's office int the dark. Like a creepy stalker, Kilgrave looks through her work files, photos, clothes, and even takes a piss in her toilet. He is there to leave something for Jessica but is interrupted by Ruben, the guy upstairs who likes Jessica and keeps bringing her banana bread. Kilgrave opens the door for Ruben who reveals he does nice things for Jessica because he is in love with her. Before we can see what happens next, we find Jessica getting thrown out of a bar as she drinks her sorrows away about Luke. She then spots Jeri Hogarth's wife, Wendy, and follows her to the subway where she serves her with divorce papers. Wendy refuses to sign and drunk Jessica dangles her over the train platform, accidentally dropping her. Jessica quickly saves Wendy and has to use her power to jump away. Wendy is frightened but Jessica's job is done. She returns home where Malcolm finds her passed out in the elevator and helps her home.
Inside, Jessica and Malcolm find Ruben in her bed with her throat slit, obviously by Kilgrave. Malcolm says they need to call the police, but with three bodies linked to her, Jessica knows there is only one solution: to get herself locked up in a supermax prison where she can lure Kilgrave and get him. Why this is her logical next step seems baffling to me, but it really serves simply to allow the supporting cast to move around and set up the final act of the episode. Jessica feels guilty about Ruben but convinces Malcolm this is their only move. Jessica needs to tie up loose ends before she can fulfill her plan which includes enlisting Jeri as her attorney, leaving a goodbye message at Luke's bar (he is gone for awhile according to his employee) and paying a visit to Trish's mother, Dorothy. Jessica reminds her adoptive mother to stay away from Trish. Dorothy claims she is no longer the abusive monster Jessica says she is, but when Jessica threatens her if she comes within 500 yards of Trish, Dorothy says taking Jessica in was the biggest mistake of her life. Clearly there is something looming in the backstory we have not seen yet, but whatever it could be (beyond the obvious abuse Dorothy committed against Trish) remains to be seen.
Trish and new boyfriend Will Simpson are still banging like jackrabbits as she continues to avoid Jessica's phone calls. Trish has tracked down the new security detail Kilgrave is using and Will volunteers to see how it pans out. As he watches Kilgrave move into Jessica's childhood home, he lies and tells Trish he hasn't spotted the villain yet. He clearly wants to get revenge himself but is biding his time. Trish arrives at Jessica's and finds Malcolm there who shows her Ruben's body. Trish is horrified but Malcolm explains Jessica's plan and says they need to stop her. Trish sends Malcolm to dump Ruben's body in the river while she tells Jessica that the plan is insane. Jessica rrives too late, but seeing as she has powers, she dives in and takes Ruben's head with her as she turns herself in at the police station. She tries to make herself out to be a murderer worthy of being sent to a supermax facility, but the cops are a bit confused. Jessica sends Jeri away after she arrives late, dealing with her marital strife as Wendy blackmails her for 75% of her assets. Still not sure how the Hogarth divorce plays into the big picture, but now have the excellent final act of this episode to deal with.
While confessing to the crime she didn't really commit, Jessica is abruptly freed. When she makes her way to the exit, she finds the entire precinct full of cops frozen in place, guns drawn on each other. Jessica knows what is going on and Kilgrave presents himself. She lobbies for the cops to be freed and awaits Kilgrave's mind control, but he insists he is in love with Jessica and wants her to come willingly. He seems to honestly feel something for her since she has strength and power, but he still acts like a pedantic child when a cell phone goes off during his speech to his beloved. Jessica is disgusted by Kilgrave, who doesn't feel any guilt for murdering Ruben, and tells Jessica he will be waiting when she finds his gift in her apartment and comes to him willingly. After deleting all security footage from the precinct and telling the cops they will all come to and think everything happend was a joke. Jessica returns home and finds her childhood diary and knows where Kilgrave is. She packs a bag and runs into Ruben's possessive sister who implores Jessica to help her find Ruben, but Jessica leaves. She heads to her home and imagines Dorothy leaving with her and Jessica seeing bruises on young Patsy's neck. Kilgrave then walks out and usher Jessica inside while Will Simpson watches from his car down the street.
What really makes this series unique is the fact that Jessica and Kilgrave are showing down over a much smaller scale reason. There is no master plan to wipe out the human race or take over the city. Kilgrave is not Wilson Fisk, Loki, Ultron, or Red Skull. Kilgrave is a sociopath along the lines of Hannibal Lecter. He is alluring and sexual while brimming with overconfidence thanks to his powers giving him whatever he wants. But, all he wants is a woman he considers on his level. From the closing moments of this hour, it feels like the showdown set to unfold between these two superhumans is going to be more psychological and intimately violent than a metropolis wide warzone or even a slugfest in an alleyway. Hold on to your seats for what is coming next.
MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES: There were no overt references in this episode.
NEXT ON JESSICA JONES: Episode 8 "AKA WWJD" - Jessica experiences a strange homecoming courtesy of Kilgrave. Hograth’s conflict with her estranged wife reaches a tipping point.