After the violence and chaos of last episode, “AKA I’ve Got the Blues” is almost like a different show, as we slow down to look back at Jessica’s and Trish’s shared childhoods before going full ass-kickery when Simpson shows up amped on Reds. And then, it’s the glorious return of Luke Cage. Sort of. So really this episode is all about Jessica (Krysten Ritter) and Trish (Rachael Taylor); their origins and their friendship. We open with Jessica coming in and out of consciousness in the hospital after the car accident that killed her family, only to hear Trish – sorry – Patsy (Catherine Blades) and her mom (Rebecca De Mornay) discussing how adopting the newly orphaned teen (Elizabeth Cappuccino) will be good for Patshy’s career. Not the best way to find out your entire family is dead… This segues directly into the aftermath of Kilgrave’s escape, as Jessica shakes off her shock and outlines the lie that everyone needs to stick to so nobody goes to jail and she can start tracking the psychopath responsible for all the death and destruction in all their lives. Robyn (Colby Minifie) isn’t down with that, but with Malcolm’s (Eka Darville) help is convinced to get onboard the lie train. Don’t get me wrong. I still think Robyn is an annoying character, and while her reaction to finding out her brother is dead is histrionic (not derived from the same root as hysterical, thank you very much), Minifie give the character all she’s got, making it her own. There’s a person underneath the crazy and that’s not an easy feat to pull off. Her police interviews are easily the most entertaining and yeah, I think I’m starting to like her. Go figure. A woman in Jessica Jones who isn’t a one-dimensional cut-out. It really is amazing to see what could easily have been a traditional superhero-type show just dismiss the imposed gender limitations of the genre and really strive to make every character multi-faceted. Although the men do kind of get the short end of the stick in that regard, with even Luke (Mike Colter) not really getting the chance to expand his horizons. Oh well. He’ll have his own show for that. With their cover story in place, Jessica gets down to business trolling morgues all night with Trish at her side, because surely Kilgrave will kill his father and then get back to the business of ruining her life, right? Wrong. After pushing herself to her limits and finding nothing, Jessica ends up exhausted, nearly hallucinating, and is ultimately hit by a truck. She may be powerful, but she’s not unbreakable. With broken ribs and a worse attitude she is determined to keep searching. And it’s a good thing she does, because that’s how she finds out Clemons (Clarke Peters) is dead. Which gives her a head’s up when a drugged up Simpson (Wil Traval) shows up at her office to kil- I mean question her about Kilgrave’s whereabouts. Of course by that time, it’s obvious to everyone that Simpson has lost it. Trish finds out first when he locks her in her training room after killing the guys from the secret project who came to collect him. Doc’s worried about him, but after scoring his super pills, Simpson doesn’t want to go back. This entire sequence, the downfall of Simpson, is interesting in the context of the rest of the series. I’d almost go so far as to posit Simpson’s reaction to Kilgrave’s control isn’t just a desire for revenge or an over-the-top representation of masculine aggression to contrast with Jessica’s attempts to deal with her PTSD. The loss of control that he felt under Kilgrave’s influence has set him off on a spiral of irrational hostility and hyper-masculinity that signals what I’d describe as a reaction to being emasculated. He was an object to be used and then, literally, tossed aside. The soldier/cop personality, already a masculine stereotype, can’t deal with that subjugation and seeks to exaggeratedly destroy the source of that oppression. And he does so by subjecting himself to influence of the pills that hype up his aggression and adrenaline. Then, in true Jessica Jones fashion, that traditionally male aggression is co-opted by the women as Jessica does her best to fight Simpson, but it’s Trish who swallows one of Simpson’s Reds and proceeds to beat the shit out of him. I don’t think it’s an accident that he ends up defeated in the kitchen, bludgeoned by a refrigerator. But that aggression isn’t sustainable, it isn’t feasible for a long game, and Trish nearly pays the price. The final moments move us from what could arguably be described as a calm before the storm to the storm itself as Jessica gets a text from Kilgrave summoning her to Luke’s bar. When she arrives, Luke sees her and then blows the place up, closing the episode with a frightening shot of him on fire, casually strolling out of the wreckage and collapsing on the ground at Jessica’s feet. Episode 1.12 “AKA Take a Bloody Number” picks up immediately from the conclusion of the previous episode as Jessica helps Luke get away from what is now a probable crime scene. In the process she discovers that Luke had been shadowing her and ended up under Kilgrave’s influence. He was there when Hope was dying (no pun intended). So Jessica takes him to her busted all to shit home to both help him out and keep an eye on him until 12 hours have passed and she’s sure he’s free of Kilgrave’s influence. (And hey look! Simpson is gone and nobody really mentions it!) But what she doesn’t know yet (though she figures it out fairly easily) is that Kilgrave hasn’t killed dear old dad, but has put him to work trying to strengthen his mind-control powers with drugs and harvested stem cells from his aborted fetus (thanks Hogarth). And things are looking up for the charming maniac. At the same time, Trish has done some digging (from her hospital room?) and discovered that Simpson was working with a corporation called IGH – which doesn’t stand for anything, although there’s some speculation online, of course. There’s an intriguing notion that it might actually stand for Inhuman Growth Hormone – a take on the Mutant Growth Hormone drug that was introduced to the Daredevil comics under Jessica Jones’ creator Brian Michael Bendis. I’m not sure I buy that one, but I am inclined to believe that IGH will become the MCU version of the Weapon Plus program from the comics, since Marvel Studios and Marvel TV don’t have access to the program thanks to the contracts and deals with Fox (who owns the rights to the X-Men universe). Whether this will tie in to other characters like Abomination (from The Incredible Hulk) and Mr. Hyde (from Agents of SHIELD) who also have ties to variations on the Super Soldier research, we’ll have to wait and see. Regardless of that, there is one interesting revelation about IGH by episode’s end: They picked up the hospital tab after the accident that gave Jessica her powers. Hmmmmmmm. But before she finds out about that, she and Luke are on the hunt for Kilgrave and discover a lead to a local Chemistry Lab where Killgrave has the scientists working non-stop to produce the drugs that will hopefully boost his powers to the point of being able to control Jessica again. While on their stakeout, Luke says some lovely things about forgiveness and does everything he can to make things right with Jessica. It’s actually pretty moving and lays groundwork for the future development of their relationship. At least, that’s how it seems at the time. More on that in a bit. It looks like that thumb drive with the video of Kilgrave’s childhood experimentation/torture had other files (that Jessica didn’t open) on it; in particular files that may be key to the secret origin of Luke Cage – which is why his wife had them buried. I guess we’ll have to wait until the Luke Cage series to find out just who she really was and why she had this info. In news of the damaged, Malcolm is determined to leave New York and go home, although while he keeps toting around his suitcase, he never really leaves. Funny that. While he’s not leaving he helps Robyn find some closure and they may be laying the groundwork for the future development of their relationship, too. I’m not sure if I care for that. While Robyn is an interesting character, she’s also one of the most annoying in the series. I wouldn’t cry if she wasn’t back for the second season. The final chunk of the episode is devoted to a showdown with Kilgrave and the revelation that Luke has been under his control all along. For someone with intimacy issues to the extreme that Jessica has intimacy issues, this is devastating. She was actually opening up to him earlier in a way that she would never have done with the Kilgrave Survivors Group, suggesting that talking about his pain might actually help him work through it. This sequence is both exciting and disappointing at the same time. Exciting, because Luke is powerful enough to actually challenge Jessica – who’s still aching from the showdown with Simpson last episode – and Kilgrave revels in letting her know that he crafted the words coming out of Luke’s mouth earlier. Disappointing, because once again the fight choreography leaves a lot to be desired. A large part of this is down to the fighting styles of both Jessica and Luke – they’re both brawlers with little finesse – but also suffers from direction that doesn’t really push any boundaries. While Luke lumbers after Jessica, Kilgrave escapes once again and our adventures end with a heart-stopping cliffhanger as Jessica unloads a shotgun blast point blank to Luke’s chin. Is he dead? Well, we know that’s not the case, but is he brain-damaged? Who knows! One more episode and all will be revealed! Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.