Three episodes in, and Jessica Jones is already breaking new ground… and breaking one bed. But in all seriousness, it’s doubly refreshing to see innovation in the superhero realm, especially when the culture is so saturated with this kind of story. It wasn’t just the amount of sex “AKA It’s Called Whiskey” had — which was a lot — but also how thoughtfully it was handled.
Because if you think about it, yeah, sex between two superheroes would be the most satisfying intimate experience for either one.
The scenes between Jessica and Luke weren’t superfluous and only there for the shock value, either. (Although, I appreciate any justification for working “Sweet Christmas!” into the dialogue.) While there is a genuine mutual attraction between the two heroes, there’s something much more complicated going on just beneath the surface. For as much as the third episode of Jessica Jones was about getting down, it concurrently was a look at how these characters handle personal trauma. Some drink. Some (literally) pick people up at bars. Some convert their apartments into fortresses and take personal defense classes.
Speaking of those last two, “AKA It’s Called Whiskey” dove deeper into the character of Trish Walker than ever before. Anyone capable of typing her name into Wikipedia should have no problem discovering more about her past and her — let’s say — troubled history with her mom. (I mean, whose mom hasn’t tried to sell her soul to the devil?) What’s clear strictly from the content of the series so far is that Trish has had her share of trouble in the past, some of which probably came via her mother. But there’s also the strong suggestion that Jessica may have hurt her friend while under the control of Kilgrave. (Readers of the comic book will no doubt see some parallels forming.)
What’s most interesting about Trish, with her strong desire to go after Kilgrave through a radio interview with Hope Schlottman, and that (Hell)cat-like reaction to the unsolicited touch from a fan, is that she works as a foil to Jessica, who’s coping methods she sees as destructive.
Everyone has their traumas, and we’re beginning to see the conflicts that arise when two pasts rub up against each other. (Get your mind out of gutter.) For Jessica and Luke, the overlap comes in the form of that picture he keeps in his medicine cabinet, Luke’s now-deceased wife, as we learn. It now seems that Reva Connors, the only person to die in the bus crash on the night Jessica escaped from Kilgrave, was married to Luke. And it wasn’t the crash that killed her. Kilgrave ordered Jessica to “take care” of Reva, and the super-strong woman super-punced Luke’s wife back into the street. In one heartbreaking moment, we have the explanation for Jessica being able to break free from Kilgrave and her fascination with Luke.
NEXT: Jessica fights back[pagebreak]
The wedge issue between Jessica and Trish, on the other hand, is even more complicated. Hope Schlottman is Kilgrave’s latest victim, and both of the women have ideas about how to fight back, even if they started in similar places. Now that the media has picked up Hope’s story, there is some widespread doubt about the girl’s explanation for why her parents are dead. (Weren’t the radio clips we hear painfully hokey?) Jessica wants to change that, and she sees Trish’s profile as a means of doing this. The radio host balks at the idea at first, but comes around once Hogarth gets involved. The plan is to do a live remote interview with Hope about the killings, which would have gone smoothly if both Hogarth and Trish didn’t change up their strategies. The lawyer puts forth her clients clearly delusional state as evidence that she couldn’t have understood the consequences of her actions. Meanwhile, Trish thinks this is as good a time as any to personally call out Kilgrave on the radio.
Yes, smarter things have been done.
The villain’s response, at first, is surprisingly civil. It’s the next step where he takes things too far. Calling into a radio show to voice your opinion and then hanging up for a response is a polite and civil means of discourse. Sending a brainwashed police officer to Trish’s apartment to kill her and then ordering the cop to jump off of a building is less constructive.
Thankfully, Jessica is around to stop the cop from actually completing his mission with the help of the surgery-grade anesthesia that she stole from the hospital…
TANGENT: What is the point of Malcolm as a character? Three episodes in, he is nothing more than a target for cheap (racism-tinged) jokes and oh-we’re-clever references. Requiem for a Dream? Yes, because New Yorkers always name check Darren Aronofsky movies when you upset them.
Anyway, the attack on Trish leads to a pretty great confrontation between Kilgrave and Jessica. I’m already dying for them to really square off. No more brainwashed upper class families attacking her. I want superhero versus supervillain, which actually brings up an interesting point. Unlike Fisk, Kilgrave isn’t surrounded by sub-baddies that can match Jessica’s skill set. Matt had plenty of people to fight on his way to the Kingpin. (That ninja fight!) What will keep Jessica busy as she works her way to Kilgrave?
Once Jessica incapacitates the family and saves the unwillingly suicidal cop, all is still not well. Coming face-to-face will Kilgrave brought the memory of Reva Connors back in an un-ignorable way. It doesn’t matter how amazing the supersex is. She can’t see Luke anymore. Their pasts are too complicated, and Jessica has other things to worry about, like how Kilgrave had photos of her as she staked out Luke’s bar.
The final moments of the episode were some of the most powerful of the series thus far. Because of the angle in the photo of her, Jessica would be able to more or less figure out from where the picture was taken, but that doesn’t really help her. Danger is all around her, often unseen and never stopping. This is a reality for women, superpowered or not, and the acknowledgement of that reality is one of the series’ best features.