Jessica Jones recap: AKA WWJD
Jessica takes up tutoring and offers Kilgrave some lessons in being a hero
It’s pretty safe to say that Kilgrave is sufficiently messing with Jessica’s head now. For proof, look no further than the opening moments of episode 8, “AKA WWJD,” which starts with a literal trip into Jessica’s mind.
A young boy is rushing his sister to come out of her room and get into the car with their parents. The girl has the beginnings of the attitude we know well, one that will darken significantly after she loses her family in a car crash. Running out the door, young Jessica passes the older version of herself, and we’re back in the present.
As expected, Kilgrave has created Jessica’s childhood home, but added an armed, mind-controlled guard, Hank. “Hi, Hank.” True to his word, the Purple Man isn’t going to make Jessica reveal everything she’s carrying. He won’t, however, allowed her to go unchecked. A quick search reveals her phone in record mode. It appears that Jessica wanted to get Kilgrave’s confession for the Schlottmans’ deaths. “I came here to end the collateral damage you’re piling up around me,” she says. The recording was a last-ditch effort, but you can’t blame her for trying.
All around Jessica are memories of a past that was taken away from her. There’s the height chart, pictures of her family, and even the same couch from Sears. As creepy as the gesture is, it’s coming from the right place. When Kilgrave had Jessica captive, she told him (unwillingly, of course) that her happiest memories were of her home.
The trip back through time has naturally left Jessica a bit tired, so their next stop is her bedroom, which Kilgrave has meticulously recreated. He even used a magnifying glass to identify the CDs she had in her room.
Trish calls wondering why Jessica isn’t in jail for, you know, ripping off Ruben’s head with her bare hands. It’s a fair question. Jessica insists that she’s fine, but Trish has had a lot of people disappearing on her lately. Simpson, she tells Jessica, is missing. He took a leave of absence from the police too, which means he’s definitely off scheming somewhere after watching Jessica walk into the house with Kilgrave.
It suffices to say that the new arrangement isn’t working out wonderfully. Jessica slams the door on Kilgrave and then tears up the purple dress he gave her. It’s kind of like the first act of Beauty and the Beast, but with a lot more drinking and murder. Soon, however, Kilgrave loses his patience. The chef and housekeeper he’s paying enter the dining room and hold razor blades to their own necks. Jessica counted on Kilgrave not being able to handle her, and she wanted to see where the boundaries stood.
After a fun meal that will no doubt convince Jessica to stay — Kilgrave is really bad at this — she’s heading upstairs for the night, unless there’s a cop hiding in her dead brother’s room. Would you look at that! It’s Simpson, who has promoted himself from outside stalker to breaker and enterer. He’s there to break her out. Oh, and also to blow up the house with the bomb he put in the basement. The problem is that Kilgrave can’t die until Hope is exonerated, so that means the bomb has to go. She alerts her captor, and he correctly guesses Officer Simpson. He’s less correct about why Jessica stopped the bomb, which he sees as a sign of compassion. Not quite, dude.
Since planting a bomb that would have killed a few innocent people alongside Kilgrave, Simpson has continued to act sketchy. When Trish catches up with him saying goodbye to two of his buds from back in the day, he lies, telling her that Kilgrave has left the city for good. Hooray? He follows that up with suggesting that Trish stay away from Jess entirely, that it’s the former superhero’s problem.
But Jessica has a lot of problems. For example, she’s having dreams about her dead family visiting her, bleeding profusely, and blaming her for their deaths. Things aren’t all bad, though. At least there are pancakes and light breakfast chitchat, covering topics like “Kilgrave, did you hate your parents?” and “Why did you kill Hope’s parents?” Jessica managed to turn on her recorder, before her nosey neighbor Mrs. Deluca stuck her nose in, spilling memories and false predictions of the Jones’ deaths. Kilgrave mitigates the situation by making her tell the truth, but then he touches Jessica and ruins the scene.
“We used to do a lot more than touch hands,” he tells her.
“Yeah, it’s called rape.”
It’s the subject that the series has only alluded to thus far, but now Jessica is leaving no question about the depths to which Kilgrave went. Her rape went beyond the physical. It was emotional and affected every cell in her body.
NEXT: Could the Purple Man and Jessica work together?
“How am I supposed to know if a person is doing what they want or what I tell them to?” asks Kilgrave, giving us our first real glimpse at his humanity. For him, his powers are always there. It’s simply how he exists in this world. People do what he says, no matter if he wants them to or not. But that doesn’t doesn’t explain the rape, which he attributes to not having the upbringing that Jessica had.
His childhood was much different, as we see in the evidence from that little yellow flash drive that Jessica excavated for him before executing Reva. Kevin Kilgrave — hey, he’s Kevin too! — was created by his parents in more ways than one. They were scientists, who experimented on their son and forced him to undergo surgeries that eventually resulted in his powers. Poor, Kilgrave.
Just kidding. He’s terrible.
The point is that he doesn’t have to be terrible. Sure, his parents messed him up and stuck him with powers against his will, but now that he has them, he could actually do some good. For instance, there’s this hostage situation that has been playing in the background on the radio and TV throughout the morning. Jessica suggests that they take a brief field trip — no more than two hours lest the servants peel each other’s faces off — to see if maybe they can go help some people. A man is holding his wife and daughter hostage at gunpoint, so Jessica tells Kilgrave to set the people free and make the hostage-taker turn himself in.
The experience is entirely new for Kilgrave, who is quick to suggest that he and Jessica team up as a crime-fighting duo in order to make good for all of the destruction he’s caused. But that’s not how it works, as Jessica explains. Why can’t he just superhero on his own? Well, because Kilgrave thought the right thing to do was for the shotgun-wielding husband to kill himself. Basically, the Purple Man is so demented that he requires Jessica to act as his conscience. They could do great work together, but that would doom her to a life with him.
One more flashback shows exactly why Jessica blames herself for her family’s death. It turns out that she and her brother were fighting over his Gameboy, when she broke it and distracted her father, who was driving.
When Jessica arrives at Trish’s door, she has a hankering for booze and a question on her mind. If she can stomach dedicating her life to the task, she has the ability to change the world by teaching Kilgrave to channel his powers toward good. They could influence the minds of the world’s most powerful people and bring about real change, and she’s the only one who can do it. But should she?
It’s easy to see why it’s tempting, but when Hogarth floated a similar line of thinking earlier in the season, Jessica reacted violently. There is no way to use Kilgrave’s powers without taking away someone else’s freedom. That’s why we see her do what she does next.
Much to the relief of Kilgrave’s unblinking servants, Jessica returns. And she’s brought Chinese food! Maybe they can balance the scales, like Kilgrave suggested, and it starts here, with treating the help decently and LACING THE FOOD WITH SUFENTANIL.
Okay, that was a pretty sweet move.
Jessica grabs Kilgrave’s unconscious body and carries him outside. Simpson and his crew are there to support backup when one of Kilgrave’s security guards tries to stop her exit, but things get tense, when Jessica won’t let the guys execute Kilgrave then and there. Her solution: fly away. Yes, it looks like Jessica can legitimately fly, and good thing, too.
Because Mrs. Deluca was about to deliver a bomb to Simpson, which takes out a car and an untold number of men.
That’s what we call a cliffhanger.