In the last episode, Jessica was trapped in her childhood home by Kilgrave. In this episode, Jess returns the favor, turning Kilgrave’s childhood against him. She traps Kilgrave in a quarantine cell, almost like he’s trapped in a microscope slide. To further underscore the point, Jessica projects video footage of Kilgrave’s experiments onto the wall above his bed. Jessica is our hero, but her attempts to torture and break him don’t work. Jessica violates Kilgrave physically, torturing and beating him until she can get his confession and exonerate Hope.
But it doesn’t work. As Jessica says, “He didn’t have to tell me to do a goddamn thing and he had all the control.” Even without his mind control powers, Kilgrave knows how to feast on people’s insecurities. He takes Jessica’s rage and uses it against her. He goads Jeri’s bitterness to her ex-wife as an escape route. It finally falls apart when he tries to play his mother’s need for an emotional connection. Unlike the room full of strangers outside, Kilgrave can’t fool her. Like Jessica, she bears Kilgrave’s scars, and knows him for the monster that he is.
In the meantime, Simpson is recovering from his bomb attack in the last episode. Trish frantically drives him to a hospital, where he is contacted by Dr. Koslov, a shady military doctor from Simpson’s past. He prescribes Simpson a pill that heals him very quickly, but amplifies his already extreme personality.
Simpson remains my least favorite character, but he still adds so much to the show. Like Hope, Simpson is a dark mirror of Jessica. Simpson is Jessica Jones’ rage, her single-minded quest for vengeance. His substance abuse mirrors Jess’ alcoholism. Hope is the worst case scenario for Jessica as victim, but Simpson is the worst case scenario for Jessica as an agent of vengeance (coming this fall to ABC).
For me, this is the episode where Jessica Jones stopped being “just” a great show and started being a full-bore masterpiece. This show is excellent at synthesizing drama and themes. And in the end, Kilgrave runs free again, wounded and vengeful. But for the first time, Jessica discovers that Kilgrave’s mind control no longer works on her. In the horror of the final scene, Jessica realizes that she actually has a weapon to use against Kilgrave: herself.
5 Clear Prison Walls out of 5. How many prison cells with glass walls have there been in the MCU? That’s like asking, “How many different kinds of mind control have been in the MCU?” Yet Jessica Jones has the best version of both.
Tonight’s the return of Clemons, played in the first episode by the supremely excellent Clark Peters. If the show has made a major misstep so far, it’s casting Peters as a cop. Peters played the best cop in the best cop drama of all time. Every time he’s onscreen, I just keep thinking how much I love The Wire, how much I wanna watch The Wire, how much I wish I was watching The Wire.
Jeri feeling up Pam in her office was great and sexy, but I was really amused that whole setup was for Pam to basically Lysistrata Jeri, cutting off sex until the divorce with Wendy is final. The young, bright-eyed Pam doesn’t have a lot of power in this relationship, but she’s using the one weapon she has.
I am very glad that Jessica Jones shows that beating a prisoner to extract a confession almost never works out. That’s more dramatic to me, and I hope the writing room of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. takes note.
Didn’t Kilgrave have a full security team when they kidnapped him a few episodes ago? Where are those guys? It’s not like they don’t know where Kilgrave could be: they rescued him right outside the facility.
I love how this show captures the tedium of investigations: going through footage, writing down notes, looking for connections.
Jessica to Kilgrave’s mom: “I wish I had a ‘Mother of the Year’ award so I could bludgeon you with it.”