Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Review - 'Jessica Jones', S01E09 - 'AKA Sin Bin'

Given everything that we have seen and heard about Kilgrave, and the horrible things he has done to the people unfortunate enough to cross his path, it is probably fair to say that he was never going to be a sympathetic figure, even after the recent revelations about his childhood. But, this episode does continue with the trend begun in the previous one of trying to make him understandable.

Finding himself locked away in the hermetically sealed cell that had been prepared for him earlier in the season, complete with a watery and electrified floor, Kilgrave is likely the most vulnerable he has been in years as the ninth episode of Jessica Jones begins. Despite Jessica's best efforts, though, he still refuses to give her the confession she would need to prove Hope's innocence. He also, again despite Jessica's best efforts, manages to avoid giving her a recorded display of his abilities - instead, seeming to take a perverse delight in playing the victim for the camera as she beats him.

Clearly, Jessica needs another way to get at Kilgrave. Fortunately, it turns out that Kilgrave's own parents, the ones who had experimented on him as a child and who he has been looking for since they abandoned him, are also in the city - so, Jessica plays on the lingering guilt they feel for their role in 'creating' Kilgrave to convince them to help provoke him into displaying his abilities.

There were a couple of points in the episode when it looked as though Jeri Hogarth intended to do something extremely stupid, by letting Kilgrave out of his cell on the condition that he agreed to use his power against Wendy. This would have been a terrible development for a couple of reasons. First, it would have been an inexcusably stupid decision for a character as intelligent and capable as we were led to believe Jeri was supposed to be - it's the sort of thing that would have completely ruined her credibility for the audience. Second, it would have left us with the implication that the entire 'divorce' sub-plot really one existed to put Jeri in the position of being the one responsible for letting Kilgrave escape.

Fortunately, those moments amounted to little more than deliberate misdirection. Unfortunately, though, the actual circumstances of Kilgrave's inevitable escape proved to be, somehow, even more ridiculous. Kilgrave didn't escape due to his own cleverness, or an act of betrayal that set him free, or anything of the sort - in the end, Kilgrave's escape was caused by faulty wiring.

That the electricity would suddenly fail right when Kilgrave needed to be subdued is, of course, not the first contrived coincidence that this episode depends on - since we still have the matter of how, and why, Kilgrave's parents turned up in New York right when their presence would be most useful. Sure, there was some attempt at an explanation, with Kilgrave's mother stating that they had heard about Hope and assumed that it must have been their son, and that they came hoping they could help in some way. But, it still doesn't make a lot of sense - especially when you consider that they hadn't actually done anything useful in their time in the city, beyond occasionally attending the 'Victims of Kilgrave' support group.

Before the over-reliance on coincidence began to take its toll, though, this had been shaping up as another fantastic episode. It was definitely fascinating to see a role-reversal, of sorts, between Jessica and Kilgrave - even if it had seemed, at first, as though Kilgrave still had the upper-hand. Krysten Ritter and David Tennant were, as usual, each fantastic as they played off of each other - and, Carrie-Anne Moss and Rachel Taylor are also drawn more directly into the action as Jeri and Trish each come face-to-face with Kilgrave.

Will Simpson's arc, meanwhile, takes another interesting turn as we learn a little more about his time in the military. For fans of Marvel's comics, of course, those red pills seem to provide clear confirmation of Simpson being the MCU's version of the character, Nuke - though, I'm not familiar with the character, so the moment didn't have the same impact on me. Still, though, it is certainly an interesting development.

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