The second episode of Jessica Jones on Netflix follows the aftermath of Hope shooting her parents to death in the elevator (lift). Marvel can do dark brilliantly and Jones as protagonist just does not get much darker. This noir-like offering gives us strong women in spades, albeit all are damaged somewhat, and two “stronger” male figures. Cage and Kilgrave (the latter is strong in will and his ability to make people act against their nature) are both arguably stronger than Jones, but then she has vulnerabilities because of David Tenant’s character.
In terms of overly capable performers in the dark series, Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, Aussie actress Rachael Taylor as her sister (adopted) and Carrie-Anne Moss give us a trio of women who are strong, assertive and successful. (Although admittedly both Trish (Taylor) and Jeri Hogarth (Moss) are higher on the scale of “success” than Jones.)
The build up of Kilgrave (Tennant) is brilliant. Thus far, even though we have yet to see KIlgrave, apart from a very quick profile shot as he screams into Jones’ ear, the series is making him out to be a villain amongst villains. (This lack of appearance is rectified by the end of the episode when he takes over a family and shuts their children in a closet.)
As Jessica continues to track down Kilgrave we are treated to a number of moments that stand out. Apparently even his near death experience, being hit by a bus may not have killed the baddy but it certainly messed him up, did not lessen his powers of persuasion.
Such as the poor man who gives up both his kidneys to Kilgrave. This particular sequence in the episode was as blackly funny as it was horrific. Attached to a dialysis machine and trapped with his cloying mother, the man seems almost oblivious to his surroundings.
After his mother leaves to get Jessica a drink, she questions this victim of Kilgrave. The man motions for a pencil, taking the instrument, he then starts awkwardly printing on a scrap of a paper after Jones asks who did this to him.
“Kilgrave,” Jessica prompts.
This hapless victim of Kilgrave is clearly in his own personal hell with his devoted mother, who believes his condition is God’s punishment for his previous indiscretions, as the jailer. What makes this scene so ironic is Jessica’s statement to Jack the victim.
“God didn’t do this to you, it was the devil, and I’m going to get him.”
How can you not love this type of sly black humor? It is obvious that poor Jack wants to die, not because of what Kilgrave has turned him into, but to get away from his suffocating overly religious mother.
Later we learn just what happened the night that Kilgrave was injured. It is also made clear that Jones has a thing for Cage. She tells him about his married lover, whose husband, she says, hired Jessica to prove her indiscretions with Luke (Mike Colter).
Another stand out moment shows us the mythos of the bartender. A man who is “unbreakable.” Certainly the power-saw scene was goosebump inducing, as was Jones’ reaction to his little display, but the use of the phrase brought up visions of Bruce Willis and M. Night Shyamalan. (As well as a delirious Samuel L. Jackson shouting out, “They called me Mr. Glass!”)
This display of invincibility, against a power-saw at least, is one of the more overt shows of power. So far, the series has downplayed Jones’ power. It appears in snippets, such as Jessica stripping off locks from the hospital lockers in the changing room, or her fight in the bar when she aids Cage, who clearly did not need it.
Jessica Jones so far, is focusing on her relationships with Trish and the cool, aloof Hogarth (Moss) as well as her initial attraction to Luke Cage. There are brief flashes of life “under Kilgrave” and of course the Shlottman murders committed by Hope (Erin Moriarty) are part of Jones’ current workload.
The P.I. also discovers what may be Kilgrave’s achilles heel after learning that he underwent the kidney transplants sans anesthesia. She learns that certain drugs could leave him vulnerable. Propofol or Sufentanil were the drugs he turned down before the operation. She also learns what “Crush Syndrome” is; after one kidney is destroyed the other begins to shut down in sympathy.
The episode ends with Cage in her apartment, after Jones has that epiphany about the drugs being Kilgrave’s weakness and Luke get the last, and perhaps coolest line in the episode, with his, “You can’t fix me. I’m unbreakable.”
Jessica Jones is great small screen Marvel, darker than Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter, as both of these offerings contain an amount of overt humor, versus the black kind. So far, Krysten Ritter rocks it as the strong, P.I. who has a personal demon to slay. The series is on Netflix which means that the whole thing can be watched without waiting. Tune in for the dark humor and a storyline that promises much.