Sunday, 22 November 2015

Review - 'Jessica Jones', S01E05 - 'AKA The Sandwich Saved Me'






The fifth episode of Jessica Jones provided us with the best indication we have seen, so far, of the damage that Kilgrave does to the people he preys on. That could, in fact, even be the predominant theme of the episode, as a whole - with Jessica, herself, drawing attention to the 'Before Kilgrave/After Kilgrave' distinction as she looked at a picture of her drug-addled neighbour, Malcolm (Eka Darville), from only a few months earlier. The picture showed a healthy, and happy, young man working toward a career as a social worker - though, now, he is a drug addict set to spy on Jessica, and to take photos of her for Kilgrave.

While Jessica knows that Malcolm is just another of Kilgrave's victims, and while she readily acknowledges that he needs her help, there is still the small matter of Malcolm providing her with her only means of tracking down Kilgrave. So, for the second time, Jessica finds herself (however reluctantly) using Malcolm for her own ends - effectively turning him into bait with which to lure Kilgrave into a trap.

While the previous episode seemed to suffer from being too unfocused, this episode's clear focus on Jessica's plan to capture Kilgrave makes it the strongest we have seen, so far. There is some fantastic interaction between Jessica, Trish, and Officer Will Simpson (Wil Traval) as they work out the details of their hastily constructed plan - a plan which, of course, involves attempted to incapacitate, and kidnap, Kilgrave in broad daylight. Jessica and Will, in particular, butt heads in a very entertaining way as ex-soldier's training kicks in, and he shows signs of attempting to take over the whole operation - there is an obvious, and hilarious, level of tension between the two which is only further complicated by the fact that Trish and Will seem to have entirely gotten over the time that Will tried to kill Trish, and entered into a relationship.

The actual kidnapping operation, as they seem to succeed in drawing Kilgrave out, is also a wonderfully tense sequence - since, of course, a single slip-up could leave any one of them vulnerable to falling under Kilgrave's control. Though, of course, with this only being the fifth episode, it probably doesn't even need to be said that things don't quite go according to plan.

To round out the episode, we also have flash-backs to Jessica, herself, 'Before Kilgrave'. What we see, here, is a woman bored by a series of jobs that she loathes - one gifted with special abilities, and inching toward a decision to use them for good, with Trish's enthusiastic support. It's also here, in a scene that is both funny and genuinely heart-warming, that we get the bizarre title for this episode - though, I don't want to spoil it by giving away the details.

Another amusing little detail that we were given is that, unlike in the comics, it seems that the MCU's version of Jessica Jones never quite got as far as becoming the costumed superhero, 'Jewel'. Trish had clearly wanted her to, though - going as far as having the costume made (which Jessica hated), and picking out the name (which Jessica also hated). Instead, Jessica's first encounter with Kilgrave happens by chance, when she puts her considerable strength to use stopping a mugging. It's only a small change, really - and, one that does seem to fit with Jessica Jones as she has been portrayed, so far, by Krysten Ritter. Unfortunately, though, it does seem unlikely that we will ever get to find out what superhero identity Jessica would have picked out for herself.

Some attention was also given to Hope, with the new revelation that, on top of everything else that has already happened to her, she is also being abused by another prisoner - a new plot-thread that culminated with a scene in which Hope was awoken during the night simply to be severely beaten. I'm going to make an effort to give Jessica Jones the benefit of the doubt, here, and assume that this new development is actually going to lead somewhere interesting - because, at the moment, it looks like exactly the sort of 'purely for the shock value' nonsense I mentioned not wanting to see in my review of the first episode. Hope is already a victim of mind control who has to live with the fact that she unwillingly murdered her own parents - she is already as sympathetic as she could possibly be. So, if we really have to watch even more abuse being piled on her, then it had better lead to something worthwhile.

For now, I'm not going to let this little development spoil what had been, over all, a fantastic episode of Jessica Jones.

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