10 Thoughts on Jessica Jones – AKA 99 Friends

Hello, all, and welcome back to our ongoing reviews of Marvel and Netflix’s Jessica Jones. It’s been a minute since we’ve been able to dive back into this world, but I’m excited to be back. Today’s episode had Jessica trying to figure out who was tracking her under Kilgrave’s thrall while Trish and the Sergeant try to come to grips with the fact that he tried to kill her. Meanwhile, Jeri continues to deal with her messy divorce and help Jessica round up all the people who may have been victims of Kilgrave’s mind control.

Here are some thoughts.

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1. I just need to acknowledge the opening credits

I don’t think I’ve mentioned them as of yet, but they really are stunning. The animated images are incredibly striking, with little nods to the plot littered throughout. This combined with the beautiful music makes for a light, almost playful noir-ish opening that feels somehow foreboding at the same time. My hat is off to Eric Demeusy, who designed the opening. Credit where credit is due.

2. Jess is becoming paranoid

Honestly, I can’t blame her. Last episode ended with her finding Kilgrave’s stash of thousands of pictures of her. This triggers her suspicion of everyone around her as she tries to ferret out who it is who’s trailing her. In a way, Kilgrave is beating her by planting that seed of paranoia. Because of that, she will have a harder time staying close to her friends, which will isolate her. Then she’ll be easier to dispose of.

3. Bringing back the cop is an interesting angle

Last episode, we had an officer under Kilgrave’s sway try to kill Trish after she trashes him on her radio show. But after Jessica saves him from Kilgrave, he is determined to help. At first, she doesn’t want anything to do with him. But then Jessica gets the idea to pull police footage of all of her movements across the city in an attempt to figure out who’s been tailing her. He’s happy to oblige. And after he helps Jessica, he decides to go to Trish to try and make up for what he did. I thought for sure that cop was going to be written off the show after last episode. It’s an intriguing choice to allow him to stick around, and it says a lot about the goals of this show. I’ll get to that a little later.

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4. Why is there suddenly voice over in this episode?

If I recall correctly, there wasn’t any during the past few episodes. But suddenly, Jessica is narrating everything she’s doing. Sure, that feels very noir-ish, but it also feels like it’s out of nowhere. The plot of this episode did require understanding a lot of Jessica’s internal thought processes that there’d be no reason for her to voice out loud. But it still felt little bit lazy.

5. The montage of Kilgrave “victims” is a nice moment of levity

Jeri has been deluged with people claiming to have been under kilgrave’s sway when they committed crimes since Trish talked about it on her show. “It’s become the most popular alibi in the city,” Jeri says, clearly unamused. But watching the whole coterie of people lining up one by one to be interviewed was a nice little touch in the episode. Many of them clearly are lying (“He was Asian, and had red glowing eyes!”), others it’s not so clear (“He kept making me smile”). After interviewing everyone, Jessica compiles a list of people who are most likely telling the truth about their experiences. And, almost accidentally, sets up a support group for these people.

6. This show continues to do a great job of dealing with trauma

And it makes sense that they would form a support group. They are victims of a very specific kind of trauma. Nobody else really knows what they’ve gone through. It’s another example of the show understanding how trauma works and take time to create characters and situations to deal with it. Watching Trish and the cop try and make sense of what happened to them was another powerful example of showing the process of trauma recovery. It’s not something a lot of shows would take time with, but Jessica Jones makes it a top priority. And I think that’s important.

7. What was the point of the affair subplot?

Early in the episode, a distraught woman comes to Jessica’s office to get her to track down her husband, who she says is cheating, and catch him in the act. Instead, Jessica follows her to try and figure out if she is actually taking orders from Kilgrave. She finds no evidence of this, so she goes after her husband instead. She finds him in bed with a woman, but it turns out that woman is wife and they’ve set a trap for Jessica. Because apparently the woman’s mother was killed in the carnage during the first Avengers movie. Jess is having none of this and goes apeshit, destroying the room and calling out the couple for their bizarre duplicity. And the point of this plot was… what, exactly? To tie in the rest of the Marvel universe a little more obviously? Maybe it’s just laying the groundwork for future episodes, but the thing really felt like a waste of time. Maybe the show is going to start doing a “case per episode” kind of format where Jessica solves a different case every episode. That’d be kind of cool.

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8. 99 friends!?

When Jessica is screaming at the conniving couple, she mentions that she knows 99 people in the borough of Brooklyn alone that have powers. 99!?!? Holy crow, that’s a lot! And just in Brooklyn!? She must have been lying to scare them, because that’s a crazy number to just throw around. If she’s not, this season is going to get very interesting very quickly.

9. Of course it was Malcolm

Turns out the person tailing Jessica was her drug addict neighbor,Malcolm. Which of course it was. He’s the one she never suspected and always trusted implicitly. The cop even guessed at it earlier in the episode. I was kind of hoping for a stronger reveal, but I guess it does make sense.

10. Overall, the episode was a little dull

A lot of plot without a lot of action. Seemed like this episode was more of a set up for what’s to come over the next few installments. Hopefully those will be a little more engaging.

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