The Momentum Blog

Jessica Jones Episode 3 AKA It’s Called Whiskey

Posted December 10, 2015 by Sophie Overett

Featured blog image

If the last episode started to hint at Jessica’s desperate need for connection, this episode builds on the theme dramatically, exploring the way those connections are used with both the best of intentions and the worst. Almost no one leaves this episode unscathed (except perhaps Kilgrave and Hogarth, but more on that later).

Last episode ended with the reveal of Luke and Jessica’s powers to each other, and this episode picks up right where we left off. Confronted with the other’s abilities, they put each other to the test in the sexiest possible way. Afterwards, they have dinner and they talk about higher callings, simultaneously echoing and rejecting their brother-from-another-mother Spider Man – great power might come with great responsibility after all, but how you interpret that doesn’t necessarily mean donning a suit, something Jessica alludes to having tried once. Not that it worked out.

Screen-Shot-2015-11-21-at-8.16.01-PM

Luke and Jessica are the emotional epicentre of this episode and cast a lot of the things happening in other scenes and with other characters into a harsher light. With Luke, Jessica’s often at her finest. Smart, sexy, loving, tender. We know her relationship with him is complicated, but for a lot of this episode it’s the easiest thing in her life. Krysten Ritter and Mike Colter have such a natural chemistry, and such a nuanced understanding of their characters, that the scenes where they’re together are a genuine pleasure to watch. So much so that we know it’s not going to last.

Jessica’s past is a mangled beast, and it seems to darken her present more with every scene. She’s haunted by the photograph of Luke’s dead wife in his bathroom cabinet, and by the shadow of Kilgrave, who she finally talks to Luke about, however elusively. The two storylines come together in a not unexpected, but still heartbreaking, way when, through flashback, we find out that Kilgrave had ordered Jessica to kill Luke’s wife. The act seems to have been a severing point for Kilgrave’s hold on her. The memory comes back stark for Jessica, and she breaks everything off with Luke at the end of the episode. The reprieve their connection made in the series was just that – a reprieve, and Jessica has other work to do.

Meanwhile, Jessica continues her search for Kilgrave and her defence of Hope, who continues to sit in prison while the media runs wild with her story. Jessica talks to Hogarth about stopping the latter, but Hogarth isn’t quite ready to step up. Turns out Hope told Hogarth everything, and by everything we mean everything. Now with the knowledge of Kilgrave’s control of Jessica, Hogarth’s surer of her case, but still, she’s not biting on the mind control defence. The case is still weak, and Hogarth risks looking as delusional as Hope sounds.

Jessica takes the conversation to Trish, asking her to talk about mind control on her radio show and telling her about the fact that surgical anaesthesia can knock Kilgrave out of the game. Trish has a reveal of her own – namely her new prowess with krav maga. (Trish is the best, right? We can all agree on that now?) The next day, Trish interviews Hope live on air, giving Hope the platform to plead her case, Hogarth by her side. Hogarth talks about delusion, and Trish takes the bait – talking about mind control and insults Kilgrave’s manhood. Jessica stops the interview, but not quickly enough. Kilgrave calls up the show, charming in his threats or threatening in his charms, depending on how you look at it, and Jessica and Trish flee the building.

jessica-jones-episode-3-trish-walker

Interestingly, Kilgrave’s evil feels both very present and elusive on the show, his danger removed. It’s not like it is with Kingpin in Daredevil, where we see his violence and his power. Kilgrave is yet to bloody his own hands, but David Tennant plays a brilliant threat in his call to Trish here and in the loom his presence has, weighing on Jessica’s shoulders. Jessica’s desperation is clearest here, and she tries to keep Trish safe by confining her to her fortress apartment before heading home herself.

One of the other major threads of the episode is Jessica’s continued search for the surgical anaesthesia. She tries Hogarth’s soon-to-be-ex-wife, Luke, contemplates holding up a hospital. Her solution comes now in the form of a very high Malcolm, who stumbles into her path. Jessica takes him to the hospital and flings him into a nurse, giving her the opportunity to steal what she needs.

Back at Trish’s, a police officer shows up, breaks in, tries to kill her under Kilgrave’s instructions. Her krav maga can hold him off, but it’s not enough to save her life. Luckily, Jessica is. They fake Trish’s death and Jessica follows the cop back to Kilgrave, who’s looking lavish in a luxury, glasshouse apartment. He’s pleased with the news of Trish’s death and promptly orders the cop to kill himself too. Jessica saves him, and we get a charged look between Kilgrave and Jessica as they finally see each other. Kilgrave escapes, but not before throwing a few attackers Jessica’s way and leading her down into a room covered with photographs of herself, her every move observed and caught, and a note – see you later. The only question is when.

Tagged: , , ,
Leave a comment

Jessica Jones Episode 2 – AKA Crush Syndrome

Posted December 2, 2015 by Sophie Overett

Featured blog image

One of the things both Daredevil and Jessica Jones have been criticised for is a stalled pace. Both have thirteen episodes but operate more as one long film than the usual episodic format. It means the episodes appear less tightly told, but the reality is the opposite – without the usual ‘monster of the week’ that often accompanies these sorts of shows, Jessica Jones and Daredevil are aiming for something a little more complex and a little more carefully plotted.

That fact is on point in this episode, which is much more subdued than the previous, but still manages to move us substantially forwards. Ultimately, it’s an episode about legwork (often literally), but it’s not a sprint towards answers or a climax – if anything, it asks more questions.

Kilgrave
The bulk of the episode is devoted to continuing the search for Kilgrave. Jessica interviews Hope at the police station, who tells her in no uncertain terms to kill herself and seems unable to do much beyond wallow. Jessica visits Hogarth instead, begging her to represent the (no pun intended) hopeless case. Hogarth does on two conditions – first that Jessica finds some sort of evidence that Hope was under mind control, and second that Jessica will owe her a favour.

tumblr_nycjbhTZ081qd82nyo3_1280

The hunt begins. Almost immediately we flashback to Jessica, bleeding from the face, staggering across the road. Kilgrave behind her, yelling at her to come back. A bus gains speed, flips, knocking Kilgrave out in the process.

Back to now, Jessica talks to a mechanic on the same street about where injured parties would be taken and ends up at Metro-General Hospital. She steals a nurse’s outfit and searches computers, but no one matching Kilgrave’s description was taken there on the night of the accident. Instead, she tracks down the ambulance drivers, discovering one who went AWOL leaving the bus flip scene. Jack is now living with his conservative, overbearing and religious mother. Young, on virtual life support (a machine provided to him by a mysterious benefactor), Jack’s had a stroke after donating both his kidneys and being left in an alley. Jessica tells him she knows, and he writes something down for her Kil… ‘Kilgrave,’ Jessica says, only that’s not what he’s writing. Kill Me. Jessica can’t and she leaves, shaken.

She ends up tracking the life support machine serial number to David Karada, who she finds lecturing at a university. He bolts when he sees her, and she chases him to the basement of the building. He’s terrified, and Jessica reveals that Karada had forged Kilgrave’s death certificate in the same sentence Karada reveals Kilgrave still alive and carting around photographs of Jessica. Karada performed the surgery on Jack, transferring his kidneys over to Kilgrave who sat awake the whole time. Turns out surgical anaesthetic weakens Kilgrave’s mind control, and that’s enough of a win for Jessica today and enough evidence for Hogarth to represent Hope.

In one of the most notable shifts away from Jessica’s POV we’ve had so far, Kilgrave gets his first real appearance, where he takes over a family and an apartment and settles himself in for what is seemingly the long haul. The scene is eerie and uncomfortable, but does a good job of setting up a villain we’ve only seen so far in hallucination and flashback.

Luke
The episode opens with Jessica at the police station being interviewed about the death of Hope’s parents. She’s not forthcoming, and even less so when the detective presents her with a photograph of Luke, the tall, handsome barman from the night before – a photograph the detective lifted from Jessica’s office. She goes to warn Luke, or apologise, but Luke’s not having it. He doesn’t do drama, and at Jessica’s reveal that she’d been investigating the woman he hooked up with, Gina, from episode one, for her husband, he’s even less inclined.

Later, Luke confronts Gina who in turn confronts Jessica about the photographs while her husband heads to the bar with friends to perform the typical scorned husband beating. Jessica leaves Gina behind and runs to the bar, getting us to one of the most fun fight scenes I’ve seen in a while. Jessica is unbridled fury and strength, and we really see her superhuman abilities in action for the first time. She’s powerful in this scene, erratic, but powerful, and Luke beside her is a different sort of strength, flipping people as easily as, say, wiping down his bar.

If Jessica acknowledges this, she ignores it, but Luke isn’t quite so willing to turn a blind eye. He shows up at her apartment at the end of the episode and takes an electric knife to his own arm. It doesn’t even cut skin, and Jessica and Luke see each other for perhaps the first time. Jessica’s reaction will have to wait until the next episode.

960

Trish
One of the broader themes of this episode and indeed, the season, is Jessica’s desire to protect those she cares about. Just the only way she seems to be able to think to do that is by cutting them off entirely. If we know one thing about Jessica in these early episodes, it’s that she views herself as Enemy #1.

The storyline with Trish and Jessica is one of the most compelling currently. Trish spends a lot of this episode following Jessica, no matter how much the latter tries to push her away. Trish has turned her house into a fortress for Jessica, she’s taking intensive self-defence classes and devotes a big portion of her energy to trying to get the door and lock of Jessica’s office/apartment fixed. Jessica furrows away mostly, but the thing is, no matter how much she tries to isolate herself, she still clings to moments of connection – she did by going back to Luke’s bar (twice), and she did by telling Trish about her detective agency – Alias Investigations – after bullying her out of her office only seconds before, and later asking her out for a drink. It seems no matter how hard Jessica tries to remove herself entirely from existing and possible relationships, something in her fights to have these connections felt, and the show does a terrific job of representing that.

Other Things
I’m really interested in where Hogarth’s affair is going. That plot is only lightly peppered throughout episodes, but it’s compelling and obviously building to something a lot bigger.

The scene with the twins upstairs is interesting and adds to the texture of the apartment building where Jessica lives. I wonder what’s going to happen to the clearly one-sided crush brewing there, and I also wonder how this oddball crew of characters are going to fare in the inevitable Kilgrave confrontation by the end of the season.

What did you think of episode 2?

Tagged: , ,
Leave a comment

Jessica Jones Episode 1 – AKA Ladies’ Night

Posted November 25, 2015 by Sophie Overett

Featured blog image

Jessica Jones tells us who and what she is from the first line of dialogue. In the opening scene, her sardonic voice over sets her up as a freelancing private detective with an eye for ‘the worst in people’. The scene is straight out of a forties noir, from the eerie jazz score to the voyeuristic window shots, to the Hitchcockian sense of shadow.

It sets the scene, but more than that, it sets the tone of the entire series. Jessica Jones has more in common with the detective pulp fiction novels you find at second hand stores than with previous Marvel Studios properties, and it owns that every step of the way.

This first episode has two cases and the way Jessica comes into them is classic detective story tropes. The first case she gets after cajoling Jeri Hogarth, a lawyer Jessica’s worked for before. After a bit of banter revealing the pair’s spotty professional history, Hogarth asks Jessica to track down Gregory Spheeris, a strip club owner, and hand him a summons for a personal injury lawsuit.

The second case is even more typical and plays with the trope of many classic crime stories that balance pay cheque cases with more nuanced and intriguing ones. A couple walk into Jessica’s office trying to find their missing daughter, Hope. Hope has uncharacteristically dropped out of college, and her parents are worried. Jessica’s interest isn’t overwhelming, but it’s piqued enough to take the case.

In between receiving the two, one of Jessica’s stakeouts is disturbed when she finds herself watching a tall, dark and handsome stranger leaving a bar with a woman. She’s intrigued by him for reasons we don’t quite know yet – whether it’s simply attraction, which is well and truly acted on later in the episode, or if the man is in some way related to Jessica’s currently ambiguous history. We know they don’t know each other, they introduce themselves later in the episode, although when they have sex it’s both hot and angsty, almost brutal in the emotional intensity of the scene. Their chemistry is basically off the charts. Afterwards, Jessica ends up in the bathroom, rifling through his medicine cabinet only to find a photograph of a woman. Her reaction is so grief-stricken that perhaps this is the connection she has with the stranger, or if it’s not, the episode lingers enough on it that it must be important.

2015Marvel_JessicaJones_Getty474823804090915.article_x4

Jessica heads out, vomits, and has a restless night of sleep on her couch. Her insomnia, drinking, panic attacks and powers are peppered throughout the episode and currently serve less narrative purpose than they do character setup. Her powers in particular are portrayed as just a fact of her – in the same way as having a natural aptitude for sport might be, or being able to pick a lock. Useful, sure, but not something that makes life all that much easier. She leaps up two flights of stairs, throws an alarm clock through a roof and lifts a car off the road to stop Spheeris escaping the court summons Jessica needs to hand him (and thus solving case #1).

Her panic attacks are a little different. They come up only a few times throughout the episode and are always coded the same way. With a shift into purple lighting and a faceless man leaning close, his coy, British voice asking her to do things. In these scenes Jessica either freezes or scrambles, and repeats street names like a mantra – Main Street, Birch Street, Higgins Drive, Cobalt Lane.

But back to the case.

Jessica speaks to Hope’s best friend, who’s still pissed at her for bailing out on rent. She reveals that Hope met a guy, and Jessica steals a credit card bill that reveals Hope’s been buying up in terms of sexy undies and expensive dinners. Jessica follows the latter to a restaurant she immediately recognises. Flashback to our purple mood lighting, Jessica all dolled up, sitting opposite the British man from her panic attacks. He tells her she’ll love it. Jessica loves it. He tells her to smile and she does.

VLT106-14800R.01

The same man was there with Hope, days before.

Jessica panics. Jessica repeats her mantra. Jessica finds Hope’s parents. The police didn’t recommend Jessica to them, but someone else at the station did. Someone with an English accent. Jessica tells them to pack, and then she does. She tries to book a ticket to Hong Kong, but her card doesn’t work. Hogarth hasn’t paid her yet for the Spheeris job, and won’t for another few days, so Jessica ends up at Trish’s.

We’ve seen ads for Trish’s radio show throughout the episode, and they’ve all been met with bite and regret. This conversation doesn’t go any differently. Jessica asks for money, and Trish gives it without hesitation, but not without anger.

He’s back is the only answer Jessica can give her. The lingerie, the restaurant, all the things this (now named) man, Kilgrave, is doing with Hope, he did with Jessica. Jessica needs the money to run, before he comes after her, but Trish doesn’t think she should leave Hope with him. ‘You’re still the one who tried to do something’ Trish tells her, but Jessica isn’t having it. ‘I was never the hero you wanted me to be.’

Jessica leaves with Trish’s wad of cash and Trish’s words, and suddenly Jessica makes a detour. She finds Hope at the same hotel the man took her to, sprawled on the bed. Kilgrave is not there but he’s told Hope to stay and she’s physically unable to move to the point where she’s wet the bed. Jessica knocks Hope out to get her back to her office, lugging her over her shoulder in one of the more useful examples of her superhuman strength. Hope’s parents meet them there, and there’s a tearful, sweet reunion as Jessica tells them to clear out back to Omaha, to get as far away as possible to let Kilgrave’s mind control powers wear off.

For a second, it feels resolved. That maybe today the good guys win, only Hope and her parents get in the elevator and Hope pulls out a gun. By the time Jessica gets to them, Hope’s parents are dead and Hope’s left pulling the trigger, again and again. ‘Smile’, she tells Jessica, who backs out of the apartment building, staggering to the cab. Jessica knows there are two options – keep denying it or do something about it.

Jessica walks back into the building.

One theme’s made very clear in this first episode, and it’s something that I’m sure will thread throughout the series – not of healing, but recovery. They’re two words that sound the same and are often used interchangeably, but Jessica Jones knows that their differences are stark for survivors of trauma. Jessica’s never going to heal, or be the person she was before all this, but she can recover. If the first half of this episode shows a woman in retreat, or in survival mode, the moment she makes the detour to the hotel shows a woman who’s, well, doing something about it, and I’m excited to see the way it shapes up in the next episodes.

Other Things
Interestingly, Jessica’s sardonic voiceover only falters twice – once when she sees the ad for Trish’s show on the side of a bus, and once when she’s reminiscing. It’s a simple and clever tool that’s rarely used in narration, but is used very effectively here.

Jessica’s neighbour, Malcolm, is a total doll. The line with him offering Jessica the TV he stole made me hearteyes forever.

So Jeri Hogarth’s cheating on her wife with the secretary! I highly doubt that’s going to be a standalone plot line and I’m interested to see how it threads with the Jessica and Kilgrave plots.

What did you think of the episode?

Tagged: , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

Blog authors


Popular posts


Latest Tweets