[Review] Jessica Jones Episode 1×03: “It’s Called Whiskey”

written by Jamus

Well, we can dispense with the swooning, I guess. We’re well past that stage now. Oh, come on. You kids need to quiet down with all the noise you’re generating from the friction of those bums of yours. No, don’t do that, you’ll break the be–SEE?! What did I just tell you?

A few other things get broken in this, Episode 3 of Jessica Jones: bed frames, hearts, microphones, household objects, and a few other details that I’d rather have remained intact. Let’s have a look at the damage.

There be spoilers here, yar.

Right off the bat, I question the sudden “you have powers tooooo?” discovery when it comes to Jessica and Luke in the bedroom. I don’t want to question a couple’s level of, uh, ability when it comes to this sort of thing, but wouldn’t they have figured this out a little earlier? Maybe Luke wouldn’t have had to waste a perfectly good power tool when he could have just been showing off his own power too–AHAHAHAHAHAHA. HAH. Aaaah, okay. Moving on.

The process of proving Hope’s innocence takes a bit of an odd turn in this episode with the ever-so-helpful Jeri insisting that her powers are limited until she has more to back up her claims. It makes sense from a lawyer’s perspective, I suppose, but it doesn’t make me enjoy the company of this character any more. It’s becoming very clear now that Jeri is out for Jeri: never mind any sense of justice or compassion at this point. Between her outright rejection of her wife (whom we also get to meet properly in this episode) and her attempts to try and drag Jessica into a confession regarding Kilgrave’s powers, Jeri is even less of a good person than I might have hoped. Unfortunate, but we can’t all be heroes. Maybe she’ll finally figure things out after she hooks up with Morpheus and smuggles herself out of the Matrix.

Speaking of smuggling, it’s been Jessica’s latest pastime to research more of the “MacGuffin Drug”: fabled to have amazing knockout powers for someone even as mentally active as Kilgrave. Still pretty doubtful about the true efficacy of the drug at this point in time. It’s true that the stuff might be powerful enough to knock out a rampaging elephant, or that it claims to be “500 times more powerful” than your average sedative used for a similar purpose. It still begs the question of being able to successfully inject the bugger with it. I suppose I’ll let that slide for now and expect the worst later on when she finally gets the chance.

Getting the drug out of a local hospital proves to be more than a few handfuls of trouble, however. This was a neat little set of escalating acts as we see Jessica first trying to score the drug via legitimate means, including speaking to Jeri’s wife, who happens to be a nurse at that same hospital. It’s a convenient little connection that made me arch an eyebrow in question, but in the end it proves to be a fruitless endeavour. Just think, we might have actually had some manner of compelling counter-alliance against Jeri. Oh well.

Jessica’s tactics become a little more desperate when she finally resorts to outright theft, at the expense of another fragile friendship. Using her consistently-high friend Malcolm Ducasse (Eka Darville) as an unwilling accessory to her thieving ways, she manages to obtain a small handful of her MacGuffin Drug and we’re treated to a long camera shot of Malcolm’s disappointment as she walks away from the ruckus in the hospital hallway. I can’t say I sympathize with her friend all that much, but I do appreciate this being a demonstration of just how far Jessica might go: getting what she needs even at the expense of another’s dignity? Their life? I have a feeling we’ll see that tested again in the future.

We move on to an interview scheduled on Trish’s talk show, with Jeri and her new client Hope as the guest stars. Now here’s where I start to take issue with some of the indecisiveness of a few of these characters. It wasn’t so long ago that Jessica was pressing to have others hear Hope’s message and to reveal the existence of this elusive “Miiiinnnd Controllll” wielded by an unseen monster named Kilgrave. Now she’s getting her wish (granted, not quite in the form I expected) and she’s suddenly 100% against it. What? Did she honestly think the entire process was going to remain quiet? Or, looking at it from a different perspective, this could also be the result of Trish’s absolute naivety in thinking that Kilgrave won’t mind having a few shots taken at him on public radio. In either way, the interview turns out to be the worst idea ever, and we are again treated to a neat audio segment of Kilgrave’s response. Effective enough to make every single bloodstream drop a few degrees and emphasize one of my absolute favorite phrases when it comes to hunting monsters. Don’t go looking for snakes: you just might find them.

Kilgrave’s act of retribution isn’t quite as immediately obvious as you might think, as even I forgot that this man could slip into anyone’s head as he wishes. The well-meaning cop at Trish’s door reveals himself as a mind-controlled assassin who quickly makes useless the “steel-reinforced door frame” and nearly chokes the life out of her. It’s damned effective for at least a little while before Jessica shows up and saves the day. Not the most pulse-pounding fight scene I’ve witnessed, but eh. There’s a bit of a fake-out technique here with Jessica using one of her precious doses of the MacGuffin Drug on poor Trish to simulate a near-death state while she quickly plants a phone on the controlled police officer, using the signal to trace the unfortunate puppet back to Kilgrave’s current residence. Funny, given that Jessica seemed to have zero trouble tracking the clueless cop the old-fashioned way. Whatever.

Say, did Kilgrave get himself a new place? It’s nice. But what happened to the old one? I suppose he’s the sort of guy that could get himself a new pad every single night if he wanted. Thinking on it, this is another sort of facet to our beloved villain. He’s petty – in the sense that he has amazing, overwhelming powers, but chooses to use them for truly selfish means. I mean, look at this guy berating the football match like a tosser and ordering his clutch of slaves around like…well, slaves. It serves as a polar opposite to Jessica, who’s using her own powers only to a fraction of their full capacity, and for the sake of punishing the trashbags she encounters on a daily basis. Some good hero-villain contrast here so far.

Now, here’s the part of Episode 3 that let me down. We get the big dramatic reveal of Kilgrave’s face – yes, it’s the familiar scruffy and adorable face of David Tennant, but I realized something. Up until this point, we only had the presence of his voice and a few silhouettes to work with, and that did fairly well for a while to build up the shadowy presence of the man. Somehow, seeing his face seemed to diminish things a little for me. Not sure my readers will agree with that one, but it feels like we’ve lost a bit of the aura here. I know it had to happen sometime, but the reveal didn’t seem to add anything to the scene at all when Jessica is then forced to fight off a family of controlled individuals with the various bits of furniture and decor throughout the house.

And of course, Kilgrave gets away. Of course he does. Why would he stay? But then we’re exposed to what I can only describe as a “creep cave” in the lower levels of the house – hundreds of pictures, hundreds of surveillance photos, all with Jessica in the frame. Again, this doesn’t surprise me. Kilgrave is anyone and everyone, and happening to have a camera or two on hand is hardly a stretch in this day and age. I love this little message of “Oh, what? You have a syringe full of drugs? That’s cute. I have a room full of pictures of you and a printer that never seems to run out of ink. Come at me, bro.”

(Spoiler here, rargh)

That about wraps up the big points of the episode, but a quick flashback sequence with Kilgrave’s newly-revealed face also unveils another tidbit of information regarding Jessica’s involvement with him. We’ve heard a few times about Jessica regretting “doing something terrible”, and now we can finally put a face to the crime. We see her shoving an innocent woman to the pavement – probably with enough sheer force to shatter every bone in her body – and that woman happens to be Luke’s dead wife. Interesting connection; might help explain why she’s been so interested in Luke beyond his…abilities in recent days. Still, I wonder why Kilgrave wished to have her killed beyond a whimsical request and the comment of “You should totally kill this chick. That’d be hot.”

(Spoilers be done)

Putting that aside, let’s pick up the broken pieces and get to the Bigs and Littles.

The 3 Big Good Things

  • Restraint on Jessica’s part to get her MacGuffin Drug. This was well played out; that sort of rising levels of desperation to get what she needed – at least she tried to play it legal before she had to resort to a smash-and-grab.
  • Even with Kilgrave revealed as an ordinary-looking man, his actions and his methods are still fairly high on the creepy scale. Hoping that doesn’t diminish with time.
  • …ah…crap. Well, the title sequence is still brilliant. Don’t change that, now.

The 3 Little Bad Things

  • The entire episode was so…predictable. Betcha Kilgrave will call in after Trish’s talk show to taunt them. Yep. No Trish, don’t open that door – could he be a controlled assassin? Yep. Pretty sure Kilgrave will get away before Jessica can find him in the house. Yep. I’m not saying a show has to be completely unpredictable to be successful, but I wasn’t digging this trend here.
  • What was with the pillow talk scene between Jessica and Luke? Why the hell was the “It’s not a racial thing, is it?” brought up or even relevant? If the writer was trying to make the conversation bloody awkward and confusing, spot on. Otherwise, caused me to tune out there pretty quickly.
  • I have to say, the description and demonstration of Kilgrave’s powers seem to be a little inconsistent. Sometimes he can control the denizens of an entire house. His range seems unlimited, but wait – he seems to lose focus and let someone “drop” out of that control at times. Some people seem easily affected, some others seem able to snap out of it at random intervals. I suppose that’s adding to the unpredictability of his abilities, so I will let this one go for now…

Overall, I wasn’t totally impressed with Episode 3. Hoping that the next one will pick things up a little.

Be kind to your beds, kids. They’re not cheap. See you next time.

Jessica Jones is available now on Netflix.

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One thought on “[Review] Jessica Jones Episode 1×03: “It’s Called Whiskey”

  1. Pingback: [Review] Jessica Jones Episode 1×04: “99 Friends” | Made of Fail Productions

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