[Review] Jessica Jones Episode 1×07: “Top Shelf Perverts”

written by Jamus

Oh, Lordy. Look who found his way into Jessica’s house! No, literally. He’s in your base, using your toilet, claiming your banana breads, and…yeah, killing your manz. Episode 7 starts off with a bit of a shocker and launches Jessica into this sort of “insane crazy plan” mode for the rest of it. There will be tears and frustrations and laughs abound. Let’s have a look at Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Episode 7.

Spoilers ahoy!

Getting right into it with a spoiler that is…well, I’ll be honest. I care about this situation not because I found the sudden death of a character to be shocking. No, I hated that guy and he filled me with contempt for his existence. I cared about this situation because it was a neat way to raise the stakes in the great Jessica vs. Kilgrave battle royale. Suddenly, BAM: a man is dead in Jessica’s apartment and it continues to underline the sheer amount of chilling power and influence that this antangonist has. This is the Roman dictator sending his rival a broken spear which has been lodged into the torso of a messenger that he just killed. It’s a statement that just resounds with “What now, sucka?”

I realize that I’m a handful of sentences in and I’ve still danced around the point. Right.

Ruben is killed by Kilgrave. Jessica finds his slashed-up corpse all snuggled cozily in her own bed when she returns home from a night of blackout-inducing drinking and stalking Jeri’s ex-wife. I am glad that the whiny git is dead and we can salvage a plot device out of his absence. There, I said it.

Coming back to the dead body in the room in a moment, we catch up with Jessica patronizing a new bar (well, she had to) while waiting for Jeri’s ex-wife to leave her place of employment. After being berated by a local hobo to find her own warm trash pile, Jessica follows the woman into the subway in a change of tactic which really paints our heroine as being not only frustrated, but downright menacing. This is a side of her we don’t see all that often, and it is truly shocking at times to see her sort of slip into that mindset. With that said, I’ll cut her some slack. She just had a rough time with Luke in the last episode and…well, the woman just fell onto the subway tracks now. Oops. Jessica’s dusty conscience kicks in just in time to save the innocent woman, but fails to enact what could have been the very first train-suplexing moment in Netflix history. Ah, but I can dream.

So this was a stakeout while being mildly intoxicated. Somehow an awesome idea thematically, not a great idea if you’re trying to regard stealth as a priority. I got some really nice noir vibes in the first ten minutes of this episode, which I truly enjoyed. The detective on the edge who’s had enough of waiting decides to just knock back a bunch while the target takes their sweet time. Nice. I’d read more of that.

Getting back to the dead-man-in-your-bed situation, this is where I detected warning signs with Jessica’s sanity meter. Realizing that Kilgrave has been able to violate her own home and murder an innocent man in one afternoon, she starts to concoct a desperate plan: going to prison. But not just any prison – her incarceration vacation spot of choice is an American Supermax, which is the place where all the “worst of the worst” head to. Her logic goes something like this: in a place that has multiple security systems, constant monitoring, and armed guards, even someone like Kilgrave would be hard-pressed to get inside to find Jessica – and even if he did, he could be easily overwhelmed by the security on-site.

What?

Let me recap for a moment. Our heroine’s great plan is to get herself into a super-high-security prison and hope that the antagonist won’t just, say, continue terrorizing other people after he’s grown bored of her and moved on? I don’t doubt that Jessica has a great deal of knowledge of Kilgrave’s motives, but this is just flimsy as all hell. There is not a single one of Jessica’s contacts (minus Luke, I suppose) who would think this is even close to a great idea. Speaking of Jessica’s circle of friends, let’s check in with Will and Trish.

Well, we find them in the bedroom again, doing things I shall not elaborate on. I will let your own imagination colour in if you haven’t bothered to watch this. Trish loses some points here because she’s still banging on (HA!) about the situation with the van abduction back in Episode 5. It’s a significant event for the character, I agree; but this feels like something that occurred ages ago, and pales in comparison to the current deal of this show – someone just got himself murdered and planted in the heroine’s bed, for crying out loud. Trish turned her attacker and would-be-murderer into a soulmate and defied a demigod-like villain, and she’s still concerned about the van thing? Oh, but wait. Never mind, points are restored! We learn that Trish has been doing her own line of investigations into Kilgrave’s new security detail. That certainly makes her even more effective than Jessica in the last while.

Meanwhile, Jessica is out enjoying her self-imposed “last day of freedom” before enacting her plan to turn herself in to the authorities – confessing to a crime so horrible that they need to put her into a Supermax prison. Towards this end, Jessica spends a fair bit of time tying up some loose ends. It’s during this montage that we are introduced to Dorothy Walker, Trish’s mother and Jessica’s former foster parent. It does help illustrate more of the connection between Jessica and Trish, as well as how Jessica was basically ripped from her childhood home by the Walker family after she had become an orphan. It’s made me curious to see exactly what happened to suddenly brand her with “orphan” status, I will give it that. We quickly realize that Dorothy Walker is, well, not a nice human being. Not entirely certain how or if this will come into play later.

One really great (and really, it is) panorama shot of the Manhattan skyline later, Jessica returns home to her apartment to find the rotting corpse in her bed has been removed, and the walls and floor look freshly scrubbed. Her mystery cleaner turns out to be Trish, who points out (not for the first time in this episode) that her plan to get herself arrested is awful and terrible. Ignoring this plea for sanity, Jessica tears out into the NYC evening to track down Malcolm, who was given the task of dragging the body and dumping it into the river.

The scene then shifts to a blank-faced Jessica walking into a local police precinct, looking to connect with the same detective who had interviewed her all the way back in Episode 2. Being the kind young lady that she is, Jessica has brought her local policemen and women a fine present in a filthy plastic bag: the severed head of the man she just recovered from the bottom of the river. Jessica Jones is a driven human being, I will never deny that.

Even with Jeri’s brief attempts to submit a defense for Jessica – likely “insanity”, and really, what else would she have? – Jessica waives her legal rights and demands to be sent to Supermax. I started to wonder just then if all of this was really going to work when there’s a knock on the interview room door, and another officer arrives to tell Jessica she is free to go.

Well, of course. How else could this have possibly ended? Kilgrave has successfully controlled every single person in the office to put a gun to either their own heads, or that of a colleague, and to hold still while he chats with Jessica. Now that is some serious influence, but it really hammers home the point I was twitching about a few paragraphs earlier: Jessica’s plan sucked. It always sucked. There was no way this would have worked, and now Daddy Kilgrave is going to spell it all out for us. Videos get deleted from the record, guns are put away after he’s left the room, and everyone affected only remembers this as a big old practical joke.

The episode ends with Jessica returning to the home Kilgrave has purchased – her old childhood home, with what must be sheer terror running down her spine as she endures that pleased grin on his face. He’s gotten what he wanted, after all: Jessica to come back to him willingly. Just beyond the driveway, Will Simpson is watching from his vehicle, looking absolutely dumbstruck as the door closes behind Jessica and Kilgrave.

Time for some Bigs and Littles to clean up.

The 3 Big Good Things

  • Maybe I am just a sucker for some of the graphic or tense moments, but I found myself weirdly compelled by the “action” in this episode above all else. The office standoff was indeed one of the scenes I’d already seen from the season previews, granted, but it’s nice to see it given context.
  • Trish gets MVP of the episode with another display of her independence – it really stands to reason that this lady can take care of herself, thank you very much. She’s been a better detective than Jessica for this entire episode.
  • Malcolm’s line when he dumps the body in the river: “A beautiful funeral doesn’t guarantee Heaven.” That is sheer class, and I love it. I might just keep that quote handy for a rainy day.

The 3 Little Bad Things

  • Jessica’s plan sucked. I understand desperation and what I’d call a tactical retreat, but this was just stupid. This was a character acting against what I’d come to expect from her up until this point – where was the fighting spirit which said “I’ll figure this out” from episodes past?
  • So Kilgrave hired out a new detail of security guards and some other rough-looking dudes with the mountains of cash that he has…and they didn’t notice Will Simpson in his vehicle across the street?
  • Did we need to be introduced to Dorothy Walker? Maybe this will be ironed out better in the next episode or two, but I can’t help but think we could have skipped this part entirely. Could be wrong on that one.

Overall, this wasn’t my favorite episode. Too much time spent dwelling on a doomed course of action which was rendered moot and pointless in a matter of minutes, even with Trish, Malcolm and even Jeri telling her what a terrible idea it was. Here’s hoping Jessica finds herself a better game plan in the second half of the series. See you guys Saturday.

Jessica Jones is available now on Netflix.

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