TV Review: Marvel's Jessica Jones - Season 1 Finale "AKA Smile"

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EPISODE 13: "AKA Smile"

SYNOPSIS: Jessica and Luke get help from someone else in the neighborhood. Kilgrave gears up for a major test of powers against Jessica.

BREAKDOWN: In the end, Jessica Jones doesn't feature a battle encompassing New York or a showdown with any artificial intelligence. There is not massive fight on another planet or helicarriers swarming the skies. When it comes down to it, Jessica Jones completes it's first season with a conclusion worthy of the stellar twelve episodes that led up to it. We get the conclusion of Jessica's relationship with Kilgrave and we are not disappointed. Wrapping up the major loose ends and plot points set up this season, the thirteenth episode of Jessica Jones leaves up feeling excited for what comes next for the superhero but also for what this series has done for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Rushing Luke Cage to the hospital following the shotgun blast she delivered to his head, Jessica runs into Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson), the lone medical specialist who isn't freaked out by Luke's unbreakable skin. Claire agrees to help Jessica save Luke as she deals with the enhanced powers of Kilgrave siccing the entire hospital on her. Jessica barely makes it out and heads home to assist Claire in draining cerebral fluid from Luke's ocular cavity. Claire confides she has a gifted friend who could help her fight Kilgrave, but Jessica once again says she has to do it on her own. Enlisting Trish, Jessica tracks Kilgrave to a penthouse he has been holed up in as his father tests a stronger serum to enhance his mind control. For a split second, we see Kilgrave turn purple, a nod to his comics namesake, The Purple Man.

Jessica finds the penthouse's occupents dead, one of whom is trying to shove Kilgrave's father's severed arm down the garbage disposal. Jessica hears Albert's final words as he warns her of Kilgrave's powers. Jessica has Trish come up using their code phrase "I love you" to confirm she is not under mind control. They call Jeri Hogarth who reveals her partners are forcing her out of the firm. Jessica gives Jeri a hard time because it is the fetal tissue from Hope's aborted pregnancy that helped Albert formulate the new serum, but she calms quickly. Jessica tells her to fight back as she is an asset as an attorney before heading to the dock where Kilgrave is preparing to disembark but not before a final showdown with Jessica. Jessica also asks Trish to tell her what she had learned before and is told about IGH and their potential role in Jessica's powers, but this is quickly tabled and will probably not be revisted until season two.

Using a cliche switcharoo, Trish buys time to try and get the drop on Kilgrave at the dock terminal, but the cops open fire nonetheless. Jessica makes a massive leap across the terminal and locks the gate as she heads to face Kilgrave. At the dock, the pier is full of civilians whom Kilgrave orders to start killing each other. As they fight, Trish's headphones are knocked free. Jessica approaches Kilgrave who screams for everyone to stop. Jessica complies and Kilgrave assumes she is faking. He brings Trish and threatens to take her with him as a slave. When Jessica lets them go, Kilgrave believes she is under his spell and she complies with his requests for her to smile. When he asks her to say she loves him, Jessica knowingly looks at Trish and says their safe phrase. She grabs Kilgrave, asks him to smile, and snaps his neck, instantly breaking his control over the crowd.

Jessica is arrested but Jeri is able to negotiate her release after the countless cops, civilians, and even her own experience with Kilgrave. Jessica is shocked to have gotten freed so quickly, and the bond formed between the lawyer and P.I. will likely have crossover potential in both the next season and on Daredevil. Luke awakens and meets Claire who tries to tell him his relationship with Jessica is worth fighting for, but when she turns her back, Luke bolts. Their brief interaction likely teases Rosario Dawson's appearance on Luke's solo series next year. Trish returns home and finds multiple boxes of IGH documents from her mother and begins to sift through the paperwork. Jessica returns home to find Malcolm cleaning her kitchen. On her cell, Jessica has a dozen voicemails from potential clients. She deletes each one and pours a drink. As the phone rings, Malcolm answers it and says "Alias Investigations. How can we help?"

After the massive mind games between Kilgrave and Jessica this season, it was great to see their battle not come down to a superpower showdown but rather a fitting conclusion to their story. Jessica, never quite comfortable being a hero, still retains her anti-hero nature and becomes one of the few Marvel characters to kill even when she could choose to let the bad guy live and be imprisoned. Jessica Jones has a lot of potential going forward and now that her first tale has been told to completion, it still feels like there is a lot of plot to be mined in her saga. We still do not know where her powers came from or what IGH has to do in the grand scheme of things. But, giving her entire first season to such an intimate fight really delivers on a series that stayed unique in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and delivered on all fronts.

MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES: Claire Temple references having met someone else with super-powers, a reference to Matt Murdock.

Episode Final Verdict:

Of the four members of The Defenders, Jessica Jones was the least known to general audiences. Hell, even comic book fans likely never expected this character to get her own series over the countless other Marvel Comics creations out there. Plus, making a female-centric superhero that isn't Wonder Woman was a daunting task in any regard. With the success of Daredevil earlier this year, Netflix and Marvel Studios could have easily copied that series and delivered an adequate comic book show. Instead, they flipped the script entirely and created a series that is not only unique to the Marvel Cinematic Universe but also to American television. Jessica Jones is a solidly entertaining serial drama that deals with heavy concepts like rape, sexual predators, PTSD, child abuse, and more. With a calculating and evil villain in Kilgrave and a strong supporting cast, Krysten Ritter headlines a series that ranks as one of the best of 2015 and will most definitely be getting a second run of episodes. If you haven't already binged this series, you owe it to yourself to watch something pretty damn special that will prove that female superheroes can kick ass with the boys each and every time.

Season Final Verdict:

NEXT ON JESSICA JONES: While Jessica Jones has not been renewed for a second season (yet), Daredevil returns in 2016

Source: JoBlo.com



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