The season finale of Marvel’s Jessica Jones, “AKA Smile,” sees the return of showrunner Melissa Rosenberg co-scripting with Scott Reynolds, while directorial duties are handled by industry veteran Michael Rymer. If you’ve read any of my Hannibal reviews (and from the numbers I’ve seen, I’d say you haven’t), you’d know that I love Michael Rymer’s TV work. He not only directed some of the best episodes of the BRILLIANT Hannibal, but he was responsible for some of the best episodes of Battlestar Galactica, too. When you want intensity and precision from your director, Rymer is about as reliable a hand as you could ask for. And given that this episode jumps right into the shit with the aftermath of Luke (Mike Colter) taking a shotgun blast to the chin, I’m glad to have him behind the camera. This leads right into a scene straight out of the comics, where having unbreakable skin turns out to be a pain in the ass if you need medical care, as needles and cutting tools are useless. Luckily, Nurse Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) is on duty and we have our first real Netflix Marvel crossover, as Night Nurse and Jessica (Krysten Ritter) team-up to save Luke. As we saw last time, Kilgrave’s powers have increased thanks to his dad’s meddling. Now he can control people over intercoms and he’s powerful enough to rally an entire hospital full of people against Jessica. This does not bode well. And can I hear it for old-school needle and syringe effects work? When Claire drains fluid from Luke’s skull by sliding a massive needle along his optic nerve into head and sucks out a load of yellow liquid, it’s horrifying but you never really see anything. This episode also builds on one of the main strengths of Jessica Jones, female bonding. The time devoted to Claire and Jessica bantering back and forth while they treat Luke and then bandage up Jessica’s wounds, is smooth and seamless. They have as much charisma and chemistry as Ritter and Colter, to be honest, and I left this episode thinking that maybe, just maybe, Rosario Dawson is a much better actress than I ever really suspected. Her performance is casual cool and there’s no hint of artifice or noticeable craft. She’s totally natural. I’m kind of disappointed that she doesn’t have a larger role in the Marvel Universe now. I mean I liked her work in Daredevil, but in just one episode here she is now indispensable to me. Meanwhile, Kilgrave fantasizes about torturing Jessica the way he actually did in the comics, making her want her but denying her until she wanted to kill herself. It’s a bit of an odd fantasy – one I never really got in the comics either – but it doesn’t really fit the thematic approach that Rosenberg set out for the show, so while it’s nice to see the nod to the comics, I’m really glad they stuck to a storyline that was more believable and devastating. Is that the difference between a woman crafting the story and a guy? Maybe. In another nod to the comics, when Kilgrave gets shot up with a massive dose of power-enhancing drugs, his skin takes on a slight purplish tinge. It doesn’t last, but it does sneak back when he uses his power later in the show. The back half of the episode gets off to a gruesome start when Jessica tracks down Kilgrave’s hideout, where he’s forced a hedge fund manager and his boyfriend to kill his father, hack up his body and feed it down the garbage disposal before killing themselves. Well, one of them goes ahead and shoots up some Drano, so Jessica walks in on a stylish gentleman shoving an arm into the sink while Kilgrave’s dad lies on the carpet bleeding out with both of his arms missing. This leads to the grand finale, but not before Claire meets Malcolm (Eka Darville) and in one scene the Marvel Universe demonstrates more racial diversity than it has at nearly any other time (of course, having War Machine and Falcon in the Avengers was a nice start). The grand finale is a bit pants, to be honest. There’s no real reason for Trish (Rachael Taylor) to be there at all, but if she wasn’t there wouldn’t be an easy way for Jessica to demonstrate to Kilgrave that his powers affect her again. Of course, they don’t, so Trish is bait to lure Kilgrave in close enough to kill. Which means David Tennant gets to sleaze all over Taylor for a few minutes while we all have to watch. But surely Jessica wouldn’t let her best friend get slobbered on, right? Anyway, with a snap of the neck, Kilgrave is done. It’s for the best, since he’s apparently an idiot. The final ten minutes of the episode tie up most of the loose strings and set up elements that will be continued on in a Jessica Jones Season Two and Luke Cage. So while it’s not the strongest ending, it’s about par for the course with the Marvel Studios slate – it’s a better ending than Daredevil, anyway, and it stayed true to the intentions of the makers. Although I’m not sure about the irony of Jessica getting away with murder by claiming she was being controlled when it was the only possible act of intention that would free everyone under Kilgrave’s influence. And with Malcolm hanging around to act as her conscience, it looks like Jessica is in big demand after saving everyone at the docks. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Shawn EH Also feeling the Night Nurse love! Rosario had some of the best scenes in both Netflix series!