Saturday, November 28, 2015

REVIEW: 'Jessica Jones' - Jessica Has to Compromise Her Values In Order to Get a Weapon in 'AKA It's Called Whiskey'

Netflix's Jessica Jones - Episode 1.03 "AKA It's Called Whiskey"

It won't be easy to acquire or deploy, but Jessica thinks she's found a weapon to use against Kilgrave. Luke and Jessica bond over their similarities.

Jessica's hunt for Kilgrave is all-consuming. She knows just how evil he is. He is not just speculation to her. She knows that he is the devil. She has seen what he can do firsthand because he controlled her mind for awhile. That lead to major devastation. And now, Jessica is personally motivated to stopping him once he returns to her life. She is paranoid at all times which creates an atmosphere of never feeling safe in this world. Jessica wants to explore the pleasures of this world. Her search for Kilgrave keeps her from doing that though. Every action she takes is morally compromising. She has to figure out how far she is willing to go; how bad she has to be in order to stop a monstrous evil such as Kilgrave.

Jessica knows of a weapon that can be used to stop Kilgrave's mind control powers. All she has to do is get her hands on the surgical anesthesia, sufentanil. That's easier said than done considering it is only found at hospitals where no one except trained professionals can get it. Jessica reaches out to her contacts to see if anyone can get this drug for her without her needing to corrupt her soul. She asks Jeri's doctor wife, Wendy, if she can give her some in order to help this case that Jeri is working on. Instead, she just wants to give Jessica a prescription for an anti-psychotic. Jessica then asks her new crush, Luke Cage, if he knows any drug dealers who can get it for her. That doesn't pan out either. Stealing it from the hospital is really her only option. And yet, that means needing to knock people out in order to get to it. She is easily able to overcome the consequences when it's just one person between her and the drug lockup. But as more medical professionals enter the scene, the odds and risk just become too high for Jessica.

Jessica does get her hands on the drug by stealing it though. However, she has to use her neighbor, Malcolm, and his apparent drug problem to do so. She gets the idea when she rescues him while high twice. First, it's in dealing with a cyclist that he hits on the side of the road. And then, she needs to get him back into his apartment once he wonders into someone else's again. Jessica is aware that he has this drug problem. But she uses it to her advantage. She doesn't really care what happens to him. When she helps him, he says that she is a good person. She doesn't believe that though. She simply responds with "You're high." That's how Jessica feels right now. That's what makes her comfortable with using Malcolm as a distraction in order to get the drugs that she needs to stop Kilgrave. Risking his safety and health is enough of a consequence for Jessica. And yet, that doesn't stop her from feeling bad once she emerges with her weapon and sees Malcolm being checked out by a doctor.

But again, that risk was worth it because Jessica now has sufentanil. It's something that she needs immediately too once Kilgrave starts targeting her friends who are trying to help prove that Hope is innocent. It's a very precarious idea of Trish's to have Hope on her show to properly explain her side of the story. Trish knows that Kilgrave is real. She saw what he did to Jessica. She's not afraid for her life because she has been rigorously training. But the interview doesn't go as planned. In fact, it works out perfectly for Jeri's defense of Hope. The public is still very incredulous of the idea that there is a man out there with mind control powers using them for nefarious purposes. It's easier to call Hope crazy and be done with it. Trish walks perfectly into the trap set by Jeri in order to help her defense. But that move also places a target on Trish's back. Jessica tries to step in before anything bad can happen. But something does nevertheless.

After the big interview, Trish is alone in her apartment. She has made this place into a fortress in order to keep all outside threats away. She is very cautious. And yet, she made a mistake. She feels the air of paranoia just as badly as Jessica does. This is a new feeling to her. She has to look over her shoulder at all times because Kilgrave is now targeting her. He makes that threat known when he calls into the station. As much as Trish wants to protect herself, she is still just in training. She is forced into a life or death situation very quickly. She opens her door to a police officer, Simpson, who wants to question her after she assaults one of her fans after the interview. In fact, Simpson is being controlled by Kilgrave with orders to kill Trish. It's a fight sequence that shows how capable Trish is. And yet, she still needs saving from Jessica. Trish doesn't have any powers. Jessica is able to fool Simpson into thinking Trish is dead. She protects her friend while also finding a way to get to Kilgrave.

Simpson leads Jessica back to the penthouse apartment Kilgrave is staying at. She is forced into confronting him right away too as Kilgrave orders Simpson to jump off of the building. He has done his job and is now no longer needed. Jessica can't just let that happen. She can't let anyone else die because of Kilgrave. That forces her into action. She intervenes which puts her face-to-face with Kilgrave for the first time this season. It's a fantastic reveal. So far, he has just been a very menacing voice. And now, there is a face to match to the evilness of the character. It's a terrifying sight to Jessica. But she's also incapable of ending this conflict now. Kilgrave has surrounded himself with people who can get in the way of Jessica stopping him. It's more potential witnesses to come forward to help Hope's case. But it also leads to a very brutal sequence. One where Jessica has to harm these people in order to protect them. She needs to knock them unconscious for their own good. They lash out because it's Kilgrave's orders. She has no trouble handling them. But that's what she needs to focus on. Kilgrave escapes because Jessica needs to focus on saving these lives. All she gets out of this is the sight of just how much Kilgrave has infiltrated her life. She discovers his shrine to her which is filled with pictures of what she is doing in life right now. It's a horrifying prospect because it's all the confirmation she needs to constantly be worried she's being followed and looked at.

That chilling final scene forces Jessica to end her relationship with Luke just as it was getting started. They learned that the other has special abilities at the end of the previous episode. It's a refreshing experience to them because they are able to open up about their similarities in a way that they can't with other people. They connect in a way that is thrilling and exciting. Luke is Jessica's escape from the reality of her life. It's fun that these secrets are out in the open. They don't share too much about their powers. Luke got his from an experiment while Jessica's was because of an accident. It's great that the show doesn't linger on the origins of their powers. It would rather live in the moment of these characters. That moment includes connection in a way that forces the rest of the world to disappear. And yet, Jessica is painfully reminded of all the pain she has caused. She killed Luke's wife while under Kilgrave's control. That's what lead to the big bus crash that forced Jessica to stop being a hero. She is reminded of that pain when she sees a picture of Luke's wife and when she sees Kilgrave for the first time since that day. Because he is constantly surveilling her, Jessica doesn't want Luke to get hurt in the crossfire. It's a devastating reveal. But it's also one where Jessica is taking control of her life. She knows how far Kilgrave has gone to make her paranoid. And now, she is more determined than ever before to stop him.

Some more thoughts:
  • "AKA It's Called Whiskey" was directed by David Petrarca with story by Liz Friedman and teleplay by Liz Friedman & Scott Reynolds.
  • It's great that the people on the radio think that Hope is delusional and crazy simply because Kilgrave can't be a real name.
  • Luke doesn't know how unbreakable he really is and he doesn't care to find out. He has no interest in being a hero. He just wants to live his life at the bar - and break his bed with Jessica. That might change in the future though.
  • Something is still up with the twins who live in the apartment above Jessica's. They apparently block out the sunlight from their windows. That's odd.
  • Why did Kilgrave want Luke's wife dead though? That's a mystery that still needs to be solved. Plus, it seems like the act of killing is the thing that snapped Jessica out of his influence.

As noted in previous reviews from this series, every episodic review was written without having seen any succeeding episodes. Similarly, it would be much appreciated if in the comments section, the conversation would only revolve around the show up to this point in its run.