10 Thoughts on Jessica Jones – It’s Called Whiskey

On today’s episode, we got a bit of an information dump about what’s going on in the world of Jessica Jones. Jessica is still trying to prove Hope’s innocence, this time by getting her friends to help. Jeri the big time lawyer is representing her and talk show host Trish is taking up her defense in the public sphere. But this proves dangerous when she directly goes after Kilgrave, putting him into a rage and her life in danger. Meanwhile, Jessica gets tantalizingly close to catching Kilgrave and she realizes his obsession for her goes deeper than she thought.

Here are some thoughts.

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1. Boy, there’s a lot of sex in this episode

The very first scene of the episode picks up right where the last one left off. Jessica has just discovered that Luke’s skin cannot be broken and boy howdy does that turn her on. So they proceed to have raucous, athletic sex. And that’s not the last time. They have sex at least four time on camera over the course of the episode. Which, I have to say, is kind of remarkable. It’s a bit of a delicate thing to say, but it’s actually very rare to depict a sexual relationship between a black man and white woman in TV and movies. And it’s exceptionally rare to depict the actual act on camera. Kudos to JJ for avoiding that weird cultural stigma.

2. Luke and Jessica’s repartee is delightful

Apart from their sexual relationship, their interpersonal chemistry is ironclad. Watching them trade witty barbs is a joy.

3. We got our first mention of The Avengers!

Discussing their mutual “gifts,” as Luke calls them, he mentions “the green guy and that whole crew,” which of course is a reference to The Avengers. That’s the first time there has been an out and out reference to the movies and places us very firmly in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Up until now, we’ve sort of had to take the word of the writers that it’s the same universe. But of course New York City was almost destroyed in the first Avengers movie. Everybody we meet on the show knows that superheroes and aliens exist. It’s a bit surprising to me that there haven’t been more specific references to what must have been a hugely traumatic experience for every one who lives in the city.

4. A lot of exposition in the first quarter

We discover that Jessica tried to be a superhero, but it didn’t work out for her. We discovered in no uncertain terms that this is indeed a post-Avengers world. We learned that Luke’s wife died (how she died I’ll get to in a bit). The first two episodes mostly let the exposition come naturally through circumstance. Today, a lot of it came out in one burst from just on conversation between Jessica and Luke. But the writing is so damn good, it didn’t feel like clunky exposition.

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5. Trish is becoming one of my favorite characters

At the end of yesterday’s episode, we saw that Trish was learning some sort of martial art to protect herself. Jessica got a first hand demonstration of Trish’s new skills when she flipped her over her shoulder and onto her back. It was quite an impressive feat, especially considering Jessica’s own considerable strength. And it comes in handy later when a police officer under Kilgrave’s thrall assaults her in her own home. She’s able to hold him off for awhile, but Jessica eventually has to come and save her. She convinces the officer she’s dead and then she follows him back to Kilgrave. Even though Trish was eventually bested, she really held her own against this guy. She has a quote early in the episode that was sort of a ra-ra moment for women everywhere: “No one touches me anymore unless I want them to.” Fuck yeah, lady.

6. The relationship between Jessica and Luke’s wife is revealed

Well, it turns out that while Jessica was being controlled by Kilgrave, she ended up killing Luke’s wife. That probably puts a major damper on their relationship and I assume sometime later in this season she’s going to have to reveal to Luke what exactly her situation is. In the meantime, it’s probably a good idea that they stop boning.

7. Trish is also being kind of a moron

While she is a major badass, calling out Kilgrave on the air for being a massive asshole and coward is a really stupid thing to do. She knows very well that he can control people’s minds and could send someone to kill her. He calls in to say just that on her show! With all her training and precautions, you’d think she had enough sense to not bait a psychopathic murderer who can control people’s minds.

8. The door has become a running gag

There has got to be some sort of big payoff when it comes to Jessica’s door. After sending an unhappy client through it in the first episode, there has been a rotating cadre of men coming to try and fix it. And now that it’s finally fixed, she has to go retrieve the keys from the assholes who fixed it. What could the next step be? Maybe Iron Man will show up and break it.

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9. Jessica really should have let that cop die

She has finally found Kilgrave. After following the cop who tried to kill Trish, she found the scumbag’s hideout. But when Kilgrave compels the cop to go kill himself, instead of letting him do it, she goes to rescue him, giving away her position and allowing Kilgrave to escape. Now I know it’s a little heartless, but honestly she should have let him die, come back with reinforcements, and forced a showdown between her with a whole bunch of people and Kilgrave. If she had been a little more calculating, she could have ended this thing right now. But alas, she couldn’t bear to watch somebody else die because of him. That is her greatest weakness: her compassion. It also happens to be her greatest strength, if we’re going to be anal about tracking well-worn character tropes.

10. Kilgrave is a coward

Kilgrave’s greatest strength/weakness, however, happens to be almost the inverse: he’s a total coward. There’s always going to be at least one person between him and Jessica. If he can help it, he’ll never have to actually fight with her one-on-one. It’s what makes him so dangerous. He’s willing to use anyone and everyone as a human shield or weapon against her. My guess is that it will ultimately be his downfall. Somehow. I don’t know how. It just seems thematically neat to me.

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