Jessica Jones vs. Luke Cage: Dawn of the Lovers' Quarrel
It’s kind of reassuring in these tough times that there are still things that can unite us, like Star Wars or the fact that everyone — well, except Jessica — can get Kilgraved. Yep, even Luke Cage can fall under the way of the mind-controlling villain and be forced to blow up his own bar.
I say this because Luke Cage was forced to blow up his own bar at the end of the previous episode. Kilgrave never does his own dirty work after all, so it was Power Man that made the watering hole go kablooey. The Purple Man got to him after Luke followed him to the restaurant where Hope met her bloody end, meaning to kill him. Kilgrave sees him coming and has enough sense to take the very, very strong man with him for later use.
Their conversation was an entertaining one for some dark reasons. Luke explains to Kilgrave that his connection to Jessica is more than a friendly one. They were lovers, in fact, a detail that doesn’t sit well with Kilgrave. “Did you bugger my chances with her?” he asks, sounding more and more like a little boy. One of the smartest aspects of this is that the superhero drama is born out of actual human and societal flaws, taken to their absurd extremes. Everything that we’ve seen play out in this season, all of the death and the misery that Jessica and those around her have had to experience, boils down to a single question from Kilgrave: “Why doesn’t this girl like me?” Instead of any kind of self-awareness, Kilgrave and the real-life men like him have to externalize the problem. For them, it’s not “What’s wrong with me?” It’s “What’s wrong with them” or as it relates to Luke, “Why him?”
Back at Jessica’s apartment, the two can take a minute to actually catch-up after their massive falling out. Luke tells her that he forgives her for Reva, now that he knows what Kilgrave is capable of. The healing is helped further by Jessica’s revelation that she’s immune to Kilgrave’s virus and that it was Reva who helped her get away from him. It’s a nice moment of reconciliation for them, but Luke needs to take a rest. It still hasn’t been 12 hours, so Kilgrave could still be controlling him. But how crazy would that be?
Speaking of crazy, Trish’s mom was kind enough to visit her in the hospital, and all she did was act like someone who’s only reference for how a mother should behave was a VHS copy of Mommie Dearest. Everything about Mrs. Walker feels like a bit of story bloat, meant to get the show to its 13-episode order without really adding much, and what she does add comes a bit out of left field. Before Mrs. Walker enters, Trish is on the phone with Jessica, talking about IGH, Dr. Kozlov’s non-existent medical affiliation. Jessica tells her that she can only handle “one big bad at a time,” which is a pretty funny on-the-nose way of saying “We’ll deal with that in season 2.”
The potential for an IGH-heavy season 2 comes later when Mrs. Walker delivers some of Jessica’s medical records, from when she was first adopted. All of Jessica’s medical bills were paid for after the accident by a mysterious benefactor, and I bet you can’t guess who it was.
Oh. You guessed IGH? Huh. I thought that would have been a bigger surprise. Anyway, let’s never talk about Mrs. Walker again, or Robyn for that matter. I understand that she’s gone through some terrible things this season and that there is something important to say about the survivors of violence but I just. don’t. care. Robyn and the actress playing her are straight out of another TV show, and it’s a much more annoying TV show. Let’s be done with Robyn.
NEXT: Stab on Delivery
On the assumption that Kilgrave is trying to increase his power — though I’m not quite sure how she’s able to reach that conclusion — Jessica and Luke travel to Albert’s old hotel room to look for a clue to Kilgrave’s whereabouts. It’s there that they meet the world’s snappiest and exposition-delivering-y hotel lady. (This is another small problem I have with this show. Not everyone in the world is wry and filled with valuable information.) The hotel lady tells them that the chemicals are for treating a brain disorder, but that’s all she knows! Luke and Jessica decide that they can track Kilgrave down if they stake out the chemical factory, which is conveniently located in New York City.
Though Kilgrave doesn’t show at the plant, which — fun fact — smells like poop inside because of the Kilgraved employees, a likely courier leaves with a bag full of something or other. Jessica and Luke follow this guy all the way to Central Park. If Kilgrave is in there, Luke is still vulnerable, so it’s up to Jessica to continue to tail solo, but some “breeders” get in her way and she loses the guy. By the time, she picks the trail back up, the courier has ditched the goods and is preparing to impale his own head with a pair of shears, which, though unseen, is really, really gross.
It turns out that Jessica is completely right about the power enhancing that Kilgrave is trying to do. His father has been working out the kinks and has been able to increase his son’s ability incrementally, but not exponentially. The work is taking a toll on Kilgrave’s dad, though, but that’s not what the maniac wants to hear. He tells his pops to insert his hand into a whirring blender during a scene that’s absolutely terrifying for anyone who has made a smoothie.
After Jessica’s crazy guess that Kilgrave was trying to increase his powers, it was apparently Luke’s turn, because he comes out of the shower with an idea of his own. Back when Luke got his strength and indestructible skin, people saw him testing his powers out and assumed it was magic. Maybe Kilgrave is taking the same approach. Wow, Luke. That’s quite the leap to make. Your story seems very specific to you and — just kidding that’s exactly what Kilgrave is doing.
And so the duo travels to a concert venue in the area to find it locked up but with the lights on. The camera footage from the other night has been erased. Oh, and Kilgrave has taken the stage. Jessica, knowing that Luke is one suggestion away from turning on her, sends her friend away with the club owner and heads to the balcony to face the bastard. Those treatments that Albert has been giving him from the stem cells in Hope’s aborted fetus have strengthened Kilgrave, but he still can’t control Jessica. He can, however, control someone for a full 24 hours without re-exposure. That means that Luke is still and has been for the past day under the sway of the Purple Man.
The fight between Jessica and the possessed Luke is absolutely brutal. She’s doing what she can to defend herself without hurting Luke too badly. Her pleas for him to fight the mind control don’t work, and their brawl takes them all over the concert venue. The bout ends momentarily as Jessica runs outside and straight into two police officers arriving at the scene. Luke takes them out easily enough, but he quickly returns his focus to Jessica, who has to use the door of a cop car as a shield.
Pushed to her limit, Jessica grabs a shotgun from inside the car and plants the barrel squarely beneath Luke’s head. She begs him to stop, but he only tells her to “Do what you got to do.” She fires, and we are left totally stunned.