Jessica Jones 1.03: AKA It’s Called Whiskey
This episode kicks off approximately five seconds after the last as Jessica and Luke throw themselves at each other in a scene that is at once raunchy, funny and genuinely touching – their physical excitement at finding another powered person is as much a psychological desire as it is purely sexual. And just how many windows does Jessica break in a week?
We say episode but doesn’t ‘chapter’ feel like a better word for Netflix’s novelistic approach to storytelling? Or, in the case of their Marvel collaborations, ‘issue’.
The early scene between Luke Cage and Jessica is again funny, sexy, and gives us more backstory. Their chemistry between Ritter and Colter is easy, believable and the excitement they share at finding another equally powered person is palpable. It's incredibly sexual - "did you keep the costume?" - but also genuine, they can open up around each other. And Jessica gives Luke enough of a workout to make him utter an old catchphrase.
This episode has a greater sense of forward momentum. Jessica knows what she needs to use against Kilgrave. The drive to absolve Hope of her parent’s murder gets going. And Jessica gets tantalisingly close to Kilgrave. Mysteries deepen as links between characters and Jessica’ tragic past become clearer.
Jessica is put in a position that potentially reveals her own powers and will do anything to avoid that. Jessica has found Kilgrave's weakness. Early doors Luke and Jessica talk about the good they do outweighing the bad and that dynamic is explored throughout the episode as Jessica tries to manipulate people to get what she needs. Her actions affect those around her and things are already starting to escalate. The show isn’t afraid to ask big questions about vigilantism and power, but grounds it in real, relatable moral choices. It will be fascinating to see how the events of Civil War may affect future series’.
Talking of the wider MCU, a talk radio show finally sets Jessica Jones in the timeline sometime after the Battle of New York. People are still sceptical about powered people but it’s nice to hear a mix of perspectives. Will all this talk of "the devil made me do it?" piss off Matt Murdock?
Elsewhere, Hogarth continues to be a slippery character, both ally and antagonist to Jessica. She is playing games and again the question of means justifying ends rears its head.
Trish gets much more to do in this episode and an encounter with a fan (with a Patsy Walker comic in hand) tells us there is more to her than meets the eye. She’s been training and though she gets beaten down here is likely to be joining Jessica in the fight against crime by the end of the season.
Those less familiar with Marvel’s roster of heroes might not realise that Patricia Patsy Walker has herself been a member of The Defenders and even The Avengers under the guise of Hellcat (though the Netflix version has less in the way of actual powers). Of course, as is the way of corporate synergy, she’s getting her own comic series in January titled Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat.
She’s a hard ass though and firmly refusing not to fall into the annoying sidekick trap. Her reply when Jessica asks here what she is afraid of may well be line of the episode; "Nothing anymore. Except clowns. That's just common sense."
That said, whilst the show talks good talk, the fight in Trish's apartment is fun but the portrayal of Jessica's strength is low budget and not handled very well. I’m also finding the music to be functional and at times a little irritating.
This is an episode about escalation so it’s surprising to see an almost lighter, funnier approach to Kilgrave here. Whilst his evil could be all the more shocking for his casualness, it runs the risk of undermining that creepiness of the previous episodes. (Must all British villains watch football?)
However, that chilling side of Kilgrave is quickly reaffirmed as he uses civilians as his henchmen, making it harder for Jessica - these aren't just faceless goons. That said the printer constantly printing pictures of Jessica is a bit much - did Kilgrave stop on his escape to set it going?
Not without its flaws, this remains a great episode that moves the story forward, gives us action and great character moments.