written by Jamus
Well, Episode 6 opened up in a smoky room. I could hazard a guess that the smells of wine and cheap perfume were thick in that room – maybe not that cheap. Playing that sort of game, well, some will win and some will lose, and some like the poor fellow with the cigar were just born to sing the blues.
As for poor Jessica, this episode will have her livin’ for emotion, but her actions might lead her to hidin’ somewhere in the night. My references here don’t end. They’ll go on and on and on and on.
Now that I’ve officially pissed off Dayna*, let’s move into Episode 6 of Marvel’s Jessica Jones.
No world-ending spoilers this time…but always read at your own risk!
I am a sucker for poker scenes, I will admit. It’s a classic crime drama setting and I love it. I’ve also won a few pots with even worse hands than that, but a 2-7 off suit is pretty damned bad. Not that it matters when you’re Kilgrave, though. Oh, now. Buddy. There’s no need for you to bash your head against the wall in frustrat—oh, okay. All right. Wow, you’re just going to town on the mahogany there, aren’t you. Well, just clean up after you’re done, okay?
It took me a moment to recognize Malcolm’s voice with the opening quote which felt it was pulled right out of Loki’s book. This idea that there’s a strange “freedom” when you’re under Kilgrave’s control: no guilt, just do as you’re told. It’s been a few days since Malcolm has flushed the junk out of his system, and he’s able to speak coherently with Jessica about his recollections of Kilgrave. The conversation is going as one would expect: the victim remembers very little beyond what Kilgrave allowed them to, and the antagonist is careful enough not to leave clues for someone to pick up on.
A knock on the door brings our good buddy Luke back into the picture with a new case for Jessica – tracking down the location of a missing kid by the name of Antoine. Loan sharks are involved, money is owed, and Jessica reluctantly takes the job, even after swearing off contact with our indestructible friend at the end of Episode 3. Come on, we all knew that wasn’t going to last, right?
Next, I find myself having to retract my statement of calling Hope’s attack as “fluff and filler”, because we’re actually given some context to the assault. What baffled me at first was the truth that she had actually paid one of the local inmates to pound on her – $50 and a carton of cigarettes. I still wasn’t hooked on the relevance until we discover that Hope is with child, and got it into her head that literally getting beaten into a miscarriage was a brilliant idea.
(Look, that’s a discussion I don’t even want to touch. The lady has the right to decide what happens to her own body, and that’s all there is to it. But geez, I would hope there was an easier way. Desperation provides fertile ground for extremism, as it is said.)
Oh, and Jeri is here again. I’ve missed you too, you heartless harpy, you. Her own story arc takes another few steps into awful with her continued pressing for blackmail against her ex-wife. This little deadline gets another application of urgency when Pam, her secretary who has a name now, tells her to “close the divorce first, then I’ll marry you”.
I guess I need to stop ripping on the train wreck that is Jeri and Pam so much. It’s already obvious that the entire relationship and its proceedings has the words “tragic, doomed and bad news” written all over it. At this point I’ll let the whole thing ride and promise not to be surprised when something awful tumbles out of it and into the spotlight. Yeah. That’ll make me feel better.
Ugh. Moving on, we find Kilgrave house-shopping in a noisy, crowded restaurant. Well, wait, not so noisy anymore. This little research project confused me. Here’s a man who can have any home or apartment he wants just by telling the current owner to “go away and live on the street”, so why the formal searching? More on that in a little while, as it’s time for him to get his daily photograph from Jessica. A collection of them shows he’s got nearly half a dozen by this point, and that smile still looks painful.
Getting back to Jessica and Luke, they meet up at Antoine’s last known address and start rifling through his trash and files about the house. I swear that Jessica’s ability to mimic your classic “valley girl phone operator” is another superpower in her arsenal. Although really? An Xbox One? I wouldn’t have bothered answering the phone for anything less than a PS4, thank you.
Oh hey, random goons! The random encounters of the streets of NYC. Turns out that Antoine’s loan sharks are also on the hunt for Antoine, and a hasty bargain is struck to track the wayward son down, if only to keep the goons off their trail and buy them enough time to find Antoine first. With the sharks satisfied for the moment, we find out that Luke owns a Harley like a real man; good on him. I also think it’s the law to actually strap on the helmet properly, kids.
I swear this episode is content with jumping around like a cricket in a jug. Just look at this.
Kilgrave has found his dream home, and is…legitimately trying to purchase the house without using his powers. With a pile of cash in a bag. What?
We also get pills for Hope (why do they always look like candy when it’s a terribly effective toxin?) which she affirms she’s 1000% percent ready for and begins the process of making herself sick enough for a miscarriage. Wonderful.
Also Jeri speaks calmly with Hope’s attending physician and asks her to…send the aborted fetus to her. Jeri. Jeri? You can’t do that. You just can’t. Just stop. Stop before it’s all too late. I don’t care how good you are at your job.
And then Luke pays Jessica another visit that results in – yes, more snuggle time. Called it.
Oh, but wait. Wasn’t there a thing that Jessica did to Luke’s wife in the past? Something about shoving her into the street with full strength and leaving her to die? Yes, that. It turns out that Luke took up the task of finding Antoine because Antoine’s sister has “a secret truth” that reveals some details about Luke’s wife’s death and my god that was a convoluted sentence to try and type.
There’s a moment of terror in Jessica’s eyes as the realization comes crashing down that Luke might figure it out: that Jessica was the one who did the deed (even if it was by Kilgrave’s callous suggestion). Maybe the snuggling wasn’t a good idea in the first place. Tracking the disappointed recipient of the “Xbox One” leads Jessica and Luke to – what else? – a grow-op in a warehouse guarded by rottweilers. Antoine gets himself dragged out by Jessica while Luke shows his blatant disregard for the preservation of “good herb” by throwing tables at the overeager loan sharks who showed up to find Antoine first. Another flicker of fear as Jessica speeds Antoine home to try and claim the files before Luke does.
The files, as it turns out, don’t implicate Jessica at all, but instead claim that the bus driver (the one who decided to give Kilgrave a cuddle) was intoxicated and caused the apparent death of Luke’s wife. Whew! Dodging a bullet there, I’d say.
Oh no, wait. What? The bus driver is still alive? Still working the same job? Luke’s off to kill him now? Now this is the highlight of the episode: Jessica is faced with a serious moral dilemma. Either let Luke kick the bus driver’s head in and keep her secret, or come clean to save the man’s life? Remember what we’d said about having “hero” as a job title? The one that doesn’t pay? It’s true here as well, as Jessica is heartbroken to see Luke storm away after the truth finally comes out.
Finally, we check in with Kilgrave’s Adventures In Real Estate™ to find that he’s purchased an ordinary home on a quiet street. I’m still not quite understanding why he’s chosen this place…when it becomes clear that he’s been here before. His fingers peel away a section of wallpaper and a child’s height chart is revealed with the name “Jessica” written on it. Kilgrave has purchased the childhood home of Jessica Jones. Unsettling to say the least.
OKAY. Big and Littles.
The 3 Big Good Things
- The opening argument presented by Malcolm was compelling for a bit there. This idea of a “freedom of enslavement” might be a theme for the whole series. It would certainly make things more simple. Resisting and fighting against Kilgrave is becoming horrendously complicated!
- I could almost see the gears turning in Jessica’s head as she tried to get herself out of the situation with Luke throughout this episode. A serious moral conundrum, and a character-defining moment. Nice.
- Aaah. Well, Jessica dodged death even after all that? That’s good?
The 3 Little Bad Things
- Jeri wants to purchase the [Aborted Fetus of Hope]. I think I felt ill typing out that little sentence.
- Looking back on my notes and observations for this episode, it really jumped around a lot. Felt like one of those episodes that was trying to push a lot of plotlines along all at the same time, and those are generally not going to get the best of reviews.
- An Xbox One. Really. Well, I can see what brand the Marvel writers are getting a paycheque from this quarter.
Again, not my favorite episode. Too many little bits to try and keep track of. I will continue to be dutiful in my task to review the rest of the series, and I resolve to not stop believin’ until the series is done. See you folks next week for Episodes 7 and 8.
*EDITOR’S NOTE Yes, yes he did:
Jessica Jones is available now on Netflix.