Monday, 23 November 2015

Review - 'Jessica Jones', S01E07 - 'AKA Top Shelf Perverts'






The seventh episode of this first season of Jessica Jones was strange. Very strange. That's really the only word I have for it.

After Jessica was forced to confess to her part in the death of Luke Cage's wife, to prevent him from killing an innocent man, Luke seems to have decided to leave town - and, Jessica is even more of a wreck than usual. Feelings of guilt and self-loathing have clearly taken a heavy toll on her, at this point - and, we even join her just as she is being tossed out of a bar.

But, Jessica wasn't at that particular bar just to drink. She was also working on fulfilling the favour that she owed to Jeri Hogarth - trailing Wendy and trying to convince her to sign the divorce papers. Jessica's attempts to frighten Wendy only result in Wendy being knocked to the subway tracks just as a train approaches, though - leaving Jessica with little time to save her.

As strange as this whole scene was, I do have to admit that it was good to finally see the impending divorce of Jeri and Wendy go somewhere interesting. Rather than let herself be intimidated, Jessica's drunken attempt to threaten her backfires in a spectacular fashion. Instead of simply signing the papers, Wendy manages to turn things around on Jeri by digging out some old e-mails that offer proof of the time that Jeri once bribed a juror in order to win a case - and, now, Wendy intends to blackmail Jeri for a fairly significant percentage of her total assets before she will even consider going ahead with the divorce. It's great that this plot-line is finally being given a little extra attention - but, at the same time, it still remains a very strangely handled sub-plot. Still, though, this is the first time that I have actually been interested in seeing where this sub-plot is heading - so, there is that.

While this was all going on, though, Kilgrave was busy poking around in Jessica's apartment - where he was interrupted by Ruben (Kieran Mulcare), Jessica's neighbour, who arrived at her door with banana bread. By the time that Jessica arrives home (still drunk and, in a turn that was more sad than amusing, needing help from Malcolm to make it into her apartment), Ruben was lying dead in her bed - having been murdered by Kilgrave.

From there, things start to get really strange. Jessica, seemingly finally driven over the edge, immediately pieces together a desperate plan - one that involves herself being arrested and sent to a maximum security prison, in the hope that Kilgrave will be drawn out, and that there will be security footage of him using his abilities to get to her. It was a truly terrible plan, and everyone knew it - even Jessica, herself. But, the one thing that became very clear as this episode progresses was that Jessica was far from rational. We were, at this point, basically watching her completely falling apart - and, it was occasionally difficult to watch.

Then, this whole sequence of events got to a point so bizarre that I couldn't even be truly disturbed by it, anymore. Ruben, and his sister, have always been a odd presence on the show - but, his death still felt like something genuinely tragic and entirely unnecessary. But, when Jessica's insane plan culminated in her arriving at a police station with Ruben's head in a plastic bag, set on taking responsibility for his murder, Jessica Jones came awfully close to losing me, entirely. It was simply too outlandish for me to take seriously.

Thankfully, though, this baffling development soon gave way to something a little more interesting, when Kilgrave arrived at the police station. That whole scene, with police officers forced to point guns at themselves and each other, was fantastic - and, it was great to see Jessica and Kilgrave confronting each other, for the first time. Kilgrave, had ever clear reasons not to want to use his mind-control abilities on Jessica - and, what had seemed set to be a fairly routine confrontation between mortal enemies suddenly took on a much stranger, and significantly more disturbing, tone. Honestly, that one scene was, easily, the true highlight of this episode - Krysten Ritter and David Tennant were each fantastic as they had their first real opportunity to play off of each other. Kilgrave, as played by David Tennant, is a vile human being, certainly, but he is a genuinely charismatic figure - but, the clear revulsion that Jessica feels toward him managed to come across as very real.

This episode was, admittedly, a bit of a mess - some elements worked quite well early on but, as we progressed with Jessica's insane plan, it all started to reach a point where I just couldn't take what I was watching seriously. But, that wonderfully tense confrontation between Jessica and Kilgrave went a fair way toward bringing everything together, at the end.

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