written by Jamus
Here’s an analogy for you. Let’s suppose you’ve got a serious jones (heh) for cookie dough ice cream. Let’s suppose you’ve been hearing advertisements for said frozen treat all day, and now after a hard day’s work, you’ve arrived at your local ice-cream-getting-place (Dairy Queen, Cold Stone, whatever) to get some. But then the person who is serving up that sweet stuff says “Oh, we have it. But we can’t let you have any until next week because we want to get rid of all this butterscotch first.”
Now, butterscotch is still a fine option in the land of iced creams. You can still go home reasonably satisfied with what you have to work with. But it’s the principle of the matter. They have what you want in the back, but they just won’t serve it until an arbitrary time limit has passed, and not until they clean out the rest of the stuff on the shelf.
That’s basically how I felt after I finished watching this episode. Grab yourself something sweet to snack on and let’s find out what went wrong in Episode 11 of Marvel’s Jessica Jones.
No big spoilers, but a big fight. That’s okay, right? You guys are cool with that?
We start off with a flashback to Jessica’s teenage years, and we’ll be doing this a few times throughout the episode – three times, in fact. Suffice to say it illustrates three points:
- Trish’s mother was an unfathomably terrible person.
- Jessica is awfully reluctant to use her superpowers, even in a case where might would make right.
- Jessica and Trish were always friends, or at least cared for each other, because they both had situations of “saving” each other – a powerful friendship from the beginning, if you will.
To wrap it into a nice package: I would complain that we already knew that Trish’s mother was a terrible person, and we didn’t need to have this explained again. The second point is at least interesting, because it would suggest that Jessica always exercised some manner of restraint, even in the early days. Three is relevant to this episode, but again…we already knew this stuff. I’ll dispense with the full details of the flashbacks because it’s pretty much that – Trish’s mom sucked, superpowers must be used in moderation, Jessica and Trish are BFFs. Moving on.
We flash-forward to the restaurant where just about everyone was either dead or in the process of dying at the end of the last episode. Once again, we are faced with the dilemma of “nobody will believe Kilgrave had anything to do with this” and now “we have to come up with a story to explain this away”. It’s not the first time Jessica has had to ask other individuals to help hold up a collective lie because Kilgrave left a body on the floor in a puddle, but….Robyn. Robyn! Robyn, just shut up. Your face should already be as red as that head of hair and you’re still balking at Jessica for all this? No, really. This character is just aggravating. This isn’t even cute anymore that she’s searching for her long-gone brother – this is just bloody annoying.
So one application of “Jessica Death Stare” later and Robyn and the other members of the would-be lynch mob decide to stick to the story. While the corpse in the restaurant is carted away in silence, Jessica catches up with Trish to discuss their next move. Kilgrave is gone with Albert (his dad, remember?), and it will only be a matter of time before Albert’s body ends up on the pile. The pair decide to start canvassing the local morgues in anticipation of the old man showing up on a slab. It’s almost like we have to resort to good old-fashioned detective work again. How refreshing!
The first morgue turns out to be a dead end, and so now we have to start looking into all of the morgues. It’s at this point that Jessica briefly goes solo to start searching throughout the night. I have to wonder: for all the ground she has to cover, why does she not consider using this…jump-flying-whatever power that she’s been keeping up her sleeve this whole time? Would that not be the better way to cover ground in a situation where time could be critical? I know, I know, restraint and great responsibilities and all that, but sheesh. She’s already promised to tear Kilgrave’s throat out – I say go all-out if that’s the goal here.
Jessica, in her sleep-deprived state, decides to have an altercation with a truck, apparently breaking a rib or two in the process and prompting Trish to retrieve the wounded heroine from the streets. It’s just before Trish picks up her friend that we have Will wandering back into the picture with an awkward and creepy smile on his face and a twitch in his eyes. We remember that Will isn’t quite in the right mindset after the good Doctor Koslov got him onto some really powerful drugs – the “combat enhancers” as Albert hypothesized earlier. Will’s being an insistent bugger, questioning Trish about Jessica’s whereabouts and we can already see where this is going.
See now, this is where my ice cream analogy comes into play. I wanted there to be this desperate pursuit to catch up with Kilgrave, as it’s still the most important plot point at this stage of the game. The trail was going cold fast, and there’s the funny feeling in the back of my head that no, Albert wasn’t going to die right away because there was still something Kilgrave could have used him for – visiting that item in cold storage, perhaps? This was the flavor I wanted to indulge in.
The show, or the ice cream shop, decided I should get a mouthful of the “Will has gone nuts” side-story instead. That we should explore and redefine the relationship between Trish and Jessica which has already been well-established in episodes past. It’s not that this is a terrible option, but it is not what I expected or hoped would be covered. This feels like a delay before getting into what is the most pressing storyline. Just saying.
Eventually, it’s not the body of Albert that arrives in the morgue, but the charred remains of Kilgrave’s mother and Detective Oscar Clemens. I say “charred remains”, but that is by no means the method by which they died. Before the fire left them in that condition, they were both already dead – something Jessica realizes right away and makes the connection to our murderer. Will was the only other person who could have known about the setup with Trish and Albert, and he was the only other person in her little squad who had access to police-issue ammunition and weaponry.
And it’s on. Jessica’s apartment receives yet another thorough trashing as the combat-enhanced Will and the still-wounded Jessica have it out. That poor door glass for Alias Investigations, once again reduced to pieces. Round Two involves the late arrival of Trish, who gets it into her head that taking one of Will’s “Red Pills” will enable her to exit the Matrix…er…give her the same crazy strength. The pills work immediately, and Will ends up taking a nice nap beneath the wreckage of the kitchen – cabinets, fridge and all. The warning about not taking the “Blue Pills” to counteract the effects of the drug prove true as Trish is rushed to the hospital, barely surviving the chemical cocktail.
Well, that was dramatic. About an hour later, Malcolm returns home after a very depressing conversation with Robyn (Just stop hanging out with her, man. Seriously. Chick is just a downer, yo.) and hears Koslov’s men rummaging around inside Jessica’s apartment. Deciding not to get involved this time, Malcolm retreats to the inside of his apartment and promptly locks the door.
Finally, Jessica receives another text while watching over Trish in the hospital – something about an “Unknown” seeing “her boyfriend” and needing to rush to a place before it’s too late. I have absolutely no idea how she made the connection that this was Luke sending the message, but we are then treated to watching Luke calmly walking out of the burning wreckage of his own bar and collapsing in the street. Bit of a left turn if nothing else, and I don’t know what else to call that.
All right, let’s allow the dust to settle and get into the Bigs and Littles.
The 3 Big Good Things
- Bonus points awarded to Super Trish and Jessica for taking out the big lug with impunity. It was oddly satisfying to see him go down.
- While I didn’t find the flashbacks to be incredibly necessary, the teenaged Jessica struggling with sudden superpowers was interesting. Even as a young girl, she was quick to realize that this was something to be guarded and kept quiet, but more compelling is the question of how she suddenly got them. With only two episodes left to go, I’m hoping we get to see that explained.
- Always makes me smile to see Luke stride back into the picture, and there’s something badass about walking out of a building on fire and saying “this is fine”.
The 3 Little Bad Things
- I’ll never be an advocate for violence against the ladies, really. But someone just needs to punch Robyn in that stupid ginger face of hers.
- Two little things that irked me. During the first meet-up with Jessica and Trish, it’s Trish who comments “you need to clean up before we go to the morgue”. Jessica agrees to this and says, “let’s go home first” – and in the very next scene, we’re at the morgue anyways. So what was the point of that little discussion of hygiene, hmm? Second, how did Jessica know it was Luke when the sender was listed as “unknown”?
- Overall, the whole episode just felt like a mess. Felt like a “tying up loose ends” episode and a brawl with a secondary enemy. Not my favorite flavor.
Well, as I continue to sulk with my butterscotch for lack of sweet cookie dough, we look ahead to the final two episodes of the season. It’s my hope that we have something a little more substantial to chew on by then. For those of you celebrating the holidays today and tomorrow, enjoy with family and friends, but please come back tomorrow for Episode 12. Cheers.
Jessica Jones is available now on Netflix.