Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Review - 'Jessica Jones', S01E12 - 'AKA Take a Bloody Number'

For the penultimate episode of this first season of Jessica Jones, this was a rather restrained episode. Luke Cage's return at the end of the previous episode, after an extended absence, wasn't exactly a surprise - but, it was certainly welcome. I've enjoyed the interaction that we have had between the Luke and Jessica, so far - and, Mike Colter's performance has me fairly convinced that his own series is going to be well worth watching when it is finally released next year.

The idea that Kilgrave had got to Luke, and that Luke had been ordered to kill himself in front of Jessica, was also another disturbing little twist - perfectly in keeping with the increasingly long list of horrible things that Kilgrave has ordered people to do. Of course, in Luke's case, it didn't actually work - since his own enhanced abilities meant that he was perfectly capable of surviving the explosion that destroyed his bar. But, the loss of the bar, itself, clearly still hurt - since it represented the last connection he had to his dead wife, Reva.

Now, Luke is insistent that he wants to help take on Kilgrave - but, Jessica has no way of knowing if he had been left with any other orders. So, before Jessica is willing to risk trusting Luke, they have to wait out the full twelve-hour period it takes for Kilgrave's abilities to wear off.

Jessica, also, takes this opportunity to finally hand over the flash-drive that has been the source of so much trouble. It does seem that the contents of that flash-drive are going to remain a mystery for a little while longer, though. We have already seen some of what it contains, of course - with it holding footage of a variety of strange experiments, including the ones performed on Kilgrave. That is why Kilgrave wanted to flash-drive, of course. But, the one thing that hasn't been revealed is why Reva had it in the first place - and, why she had left it buried for Luke to find. Presumably, one of the other files, that Jessica left unopened out of respect for Luke's privacy, will be footage of Luke, himself. Though, it's possible that we may have to wait for Luke's own series before we find out, for sure.

While this is happening, though, Kilgrave has been driven by desperation to keep his father, Albert (Michael Siberry), alive. He knows that Jessica is after him, and that he has no real power over her - so, he is understandably concerned. With his father's help, though, Kilgrave believes he may be able to find a way to enhance his own abilities - increasing the ranger and the potency of his mind-control, in the hope that it might allow him to overcome whatever resistance Jessica has developed. Regarding this resistance to Kilgrave that Jessica has developed, though - I am going to have to assume that the nonsense about Jessica's guilt giving her the strength to push Kilgrave out of her head is just Jessica's own speculation. It just makes a lot more sense, to me, to believe that it's simply just her enhanced immune system gradually building up a tolerance (especially since it was established, by Kilgrave's parents, that his power is actually based on a form of virus).

Another interesting development concerns IGH, the mysterious organisation responsible for developing the combat enhancement drugs that Will Simpson used. The fact that this same organisation covered the medical bills for Jessica's recovery after her accident clearly suggest some sort of connection - perhaps, indicating that Jessica's enhanced strength wasn't actually the result of an 'accident', after all. But, for now, there still aren't any clear answers.

Robyn is a character that continues to bother me. I understand that she was, obviously, meant to come across as abrasive and unlikable - but, even with that in mind, I still think that the writing and the performance took it too far. Still, though, she and Malcolm did get to share a couple of nice, quiet, moments in this episode - with Malcolm taking Robyn to the spot where he had dumped Ruben's body so that she could say a proper 'goodbye', and Robyn deciding to forgive Malcolm for the role he had played in deceiving her. If Robyn is a character who is going to be returning in the future, then hopefully this moment can trigger some much needed character growth for her. Malcolm, on the other hand, has been a consistently great presence on the series as he has struggled to move beyond what Kilgrave did to him - so, he's welcome to stay.

Of course, there is no way I can talk about the best part of this episode without completely ruining a rather entertaining twist - so, if that's a concern for you, you might want to stop reading, now.

With Kilgrave clearly already working on enhancing the potency of his own mind-control abilities, the episode's final revelation probably shouldn't have come as much of a surprise - though, thanks to some clever misdirection, it was still a bit of a shock. Kilgrave's abilities, it turns out, have already been significantly enhanced, thanks to Albert's experiments - meaning that the effects of his mind-control actually lasts quite a bit longer, now. Which, of course, means that Luke Cage actually turns out to have been under Kilgrave's control the whole time, after all. The revelation, itself, wasn't really anything spectacular, of course - it might even have been something you could guess was coming. But, the results of this new development (a direct confrontation between Luke and Jessica) was fantastic - a tense and dramatic confrontation that managed to improve on what we saw with Will Simpson in the previous episode. And, it was definitely a great way to end what had, up until that point, been a fairly slow moving episode.

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