[Review] Jessica Jones Episode 1×12: “Take A Bloody Number”

written by Jamus

A humble confession on this day, the day of Festivus or whatever other sacred day you choose to honour: I got the feeling as I watched this episode that it was intended to be viewed alongside the previous one. A lot of events transpired around the same time, and quite honestly I think this episode was the more interesting of the pair. If you were wondering where Kilgrave was hiding in the last while, or why Luke has suddenly reappeared in the picture, then we have a good episode here for you. Join in as we unwrap Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Episode 12.

Spoilers are here, lurking within the paragraphs.

So I’d foolishly surmised in the last episode that it was Luke who had sent the “Unknown” text before his bar detonated and ruined his nice jacket. In truth, Kilgrave sent the text, and was referring to the impending fate of our indestructible friend. Turns out that while Jessica and Trish were doing boring things like visiting morgues or fighting a combat-enhanced cretin, Luke had cut out the nonsense and just followed Kilgrave to the restaurant where he was holding Hope and the other hostages. Naturally, his attempts to give Kilgrave a big ol’ man hug were cut tragically short by Luke’s very first “I’ve been controlled” moment. Well, there is a first time for everything.

I’d wondered briefly why Luke would have suddenly put Kilgrave on his to-do list, when I remembered the fate of Reeva, his ex-wife. Here was a factoid that had fluttered out of our recent memories, to be truthful, but Luke managed to find the cretin and was hankering to put him in the ground. There seem to have been a number of people who are suddenly beholden to Kilgrave’s powers and realizing “maybe Jessica was right.” I suppose the only way to learn is the hard way at times. Anyhow, with Luke finally rejoining the party with a slightly higher level and respectable equipment, Jessica takes him to her apartment, which by contrast is…not on fire, but isn’t in the greatest of shape.

Meanwhile, Kilgrave has been working with his dear old dad to increase his powers. Unlike your usual superhero or villain who might hit the gym in high Earth orbit, or maybe go on some legendary quest to faraway lands, Kilgrave’s method of gaining more power is strictly scientific: injecting himself with more and more drugs produced by his father, Albert. For now, Kilgrave’s goal is to attain enough sheer power to control even Jessica – who still hasn’t gotten around to explain how she’s managed to build up an immunity. Interestingly, Kilgrave has been using the Delaney Hall as a testing ground for his abilities, and he is now able to control a few hundred people simultaneously. At this point, if we hadn’t already thought of Kilgrave’s powers as frighteningly powerful (and bloody inconsistent), they are due to get worse.

Jessica and Trish pull a few hours in classic “Detective Mode” (see, I knew there was something about this show I was missing terribly; now I remember). This includes heading back to Albert’s motel room and uncovering evidence of an odd compound being utilized by Albert – the so-called “AAV1” biochemical. On the other side of curiously powerful drugs, Trish has made a speedy recovery after dropping some serious Red Pill action and is…visited by her mother. Great. Another character interlude we could have done without.

Can I address this quickly? Between Trish’s mother and the bro-sis combo of Robyn and Ruben, I feel like this series is just plagued with unnecessary characters. Does the mother serve any other purpose than to be an aggravation and…oh, pardon me, the keeper of important documents that are…or okay, maybe they’re not that important. Did we really need the brother and sister of questionable relationship to lurk in the background and cause me to twitch every time I heard Robyn’s voice? At least Jeri Hogarth had the job of being Jessica’s handler; a thing she needed to have in order to keep her persona as a “Private Investigator”. I feel like I need to get on the microphone and discuss this properly. Maybe some other time.

Successfully locating Kilgrave’s latest courier, Jessica and Luke track the bag-toting man to Bethesda Fountain in Central Park. (Hey, I actually recognized that landmark – go me.) Before she can get a bead on the man in purple and intercept him, the courier interrupts Jessica’s train of thought and decides to have a nice afternoon snack of garden hedge clippers. Mmm. With the trail cold again, it’s back to the apartment to regroup.

I feel like this was something out of L.A. Noire here. Is that too old of a reference now? I don’t know what you kids play these days anymore. The Grand Theft Auto IV clone where you were actually a cop in the 1940s? Awful driving sections, amazing motion capture tech, faithful reproduction of Los Angeles? Ah, whatever. My point is: if you came to a point where you screwed the pooch and missed all possible clues, the game might sometimes drop you a random hint to get you back on track, because if you were like me, you were likely as thick as concrete-flavored Jell-O. Random hint appears, and Jessica and Luke zip on over to Delaney Hall where Kilgrave was last sighted.

Before I get to our spoiler-fueled conclusion, I will pull in my horns slightly regarding Robyn and her newfound connection with Malcolm. I will admit that bringing her to the place where Ruben was “buried” and interring one of his belongings (blatant littering!) in the water was rather touching. It was appropriate, and it finally brought a bit of closure to a really spiky subject that’s been haunting this series for a good six episodes now. Robyn may have been disturbed, but it conveys that she did have a heart.

Right, and now we offset the sweet tenderness with knock-down, drag-out brawling. While there is no real shock that even Kilgrave’s enhanced powers aren’t enough to control Jessica, they are more than enough to ensnare Luke for an extended period of time. In fact, Kilgrave has been a busy puppeteer for the entire episode, the sneaky bugger. The fight between Jessica Jones and Luke Cage is a match that I figured would happen at one point or another, and we have some serious property damage to consider writing off in this one.

But then…something bad goes down.

After taking the fight to the streets, Luke trashing a pair of police officers, and Jessica trying to arm herself in the fight, Jessica manages to grab hold of a police-issue combat rifle. Here we see the greatest internal struggle thus far, as Luke’s fists clench and tighten, while his face twists into painful sorrow – and Jessica pulls the trigger.

But that’s okay. Luke is indestructible, right?

He’ll be just fine. Right?

Luke?

…buddy?

Enough of this madness. I just might tear up. Time for another few Bigs and Littles.

The 3 Big Good Things

  • The side story of Robyn, Ruben and Malcolm seems to have come to a place of peace at last. As much (and as often) as I have complained about the brother and sister in the past, I’m willing to forgive a fair bit after seeing this one. I say a “fair bit” only. This disbelief about using nutmeg in your banana bread is just unforgivable – of course you use nutmeg. Only fools neglect this spice and it is those fools who suffer with sub-par baking results.
  • I have truly missed the old-fashioned detective work in these episodes, and we always saw good portions of this when Jessica and Luke teamed up. Why didn’t we have more of this? It was always enjoyable.
  • The showdown in Delaney Hall was a great bit of work, from the purple lights behind Kilgrave on stage (made him look damned imposing), to the crunching of fists and feet through the walls of brick and solid wood floors. Sweet.

The 3 Little Bad Things

  • So, okay. Trish’s mother was in possession of Jessica’s medical files, indicating that IGH picked up the bill for her procedures, and maybe helped explain things that happened, and…well, Trish is just walking away with them. Bad teases are bad. Episode 12 loses points for it.
  • More psuedoscience. First we had biochemicals, then the mention of stem cells for Kilgrave’s enhancements. This show is not great at just making up its mind when it wants to either delve deeper into science or just leave it be.
  • Blatant littering in the troubled waters of New York City. Shame on you guys.

Twelve down, and only one to go. Enjoy your holidays, wherever you may be spending them, and come on back tomorrow, December 26, for Episode 13 and my conclusions for Jessica Jones Season One.

Jessica Jones is available now on Netflix.

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