Jessica Jones 1.12: “AKA Take a Bloody Number” Review

Subterfuge

A Television Review by Akash Singh

NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!

The penultimate hour of Jessica Jones is a fairly busy one, centering its crux on the relationship between Jessica and Luke. The hour opens up with her sitting right next to him, making sure that he isn’t horribly injured from the explosion that tore his bar to bits. “Blow up your bar with you in it,” Luke breathes quietly. “Make sure Jessica sees it.” Those are hollowed instructions from Kilgrave towards the man that he sees as competition that is beneath him and the first warning bells for Jessica and the audience that are ignored until the climax of the episode, bathed in a suitable shade of purple. As symbolic as Jessica’s yellow dress was two episodes ago, the shade of purple has its own notable meaning. Kilgrave has improved markedly in the show’s handling of the character, primarily through his romantic connection with Jessica that makes him into a much more realistic and thusly terrifying figure. Coloring him with a shade of purple must have seemed a little too much for the production team and they noticeably turn up the references to purple as often as possible through the verbiage and visual aids without coloring Tennant himself. The color purple most ostensibly is associated with royalty and power, the specific dye having been remarkably rare to find and thusly terrifically expensive to purchase. To garner it, one had to probably be of the highest echelons of society, an echelon from where Kilgrave only sees those mere mortals that are beneath him. Like too much of anything, however, a largesse of purple signifies the onset of impatience, of arrogance that defines those echelons. In that hall bathed in purple, Kilgrave feels the most in control and he has every logical strain to believe that he is going to be victorious in this arena, leading to the unearned and frankly flat cliffhanger.

Luke trying to kill Kilgrave as he was getting into a car was the dumbest act Luke has yet to commit on the series, but it isn’t any dumber really than some of the stuff other characters have come up with in their quest for vengeance. He forces Luke into the car and what follows is one of the most deftly written sequence that gets to the heart of what Jessica Jones does best, exposing rape culture and the toxic masculinity that fuels it. Kilgrave has an inkling suspicion of the relationship between Jessica and Luke and he wastes no time in getting to the heart of it as soon as the car takes off. “What was it, a pity shag?” he mutters derisively, defensively almost. There’s a notice in his voice that he wants to believe, against all hope that he directs towards himself, that that was all what had been borne out of Jessica and Luke’s relationship. Anything more than Jessica fucking Luke out of pity hit at the core of what he thought about himself and of course any action that Jessica takes, Kilgrave switches it around and makes it entirely about himself. There’s a racial element barely disguised in the reaction he has to Luke. When he notes that there was something special between him and Jessica, Kilgrave can barely hide his absolute disgust that Jessica felt something for someone he saw as being so clearly inferior. Luke noting that Kilgrave was the one who destroyed his relationship with Jessica (the forming of it to begin with, the audience thinks) and that only aggravates his anger further.

What remains open-ended in its entirety is how much of the conversations between Luke and Jessica were authentic, what was inadvertently said due to Kilgrave’s influence, and how much of it was a direct quotation from Kilgrave’s mouth. It’s almost inadvertently tragic to see Jessica so relieved that Luke had forgiven her, that at last the guilt she had been carrying so steadfastly with her for so long could be discarded. There was no longer the burden of needing to keep Kilgrave alive and at those junctures Jessica thought that she could at last take that particular relationship forward at least. Kilgrave stands upon the balconies within the hall, having proven with his mass hypnotic act that he was capable of entrapping five hundred people at once. The media treats it as an incredible magic trick, the most significant reaction yet from a media that has often ignore the entrapment of Kilgrave as far as the show is largely concerned. It’s a magic trick of malfeasance but it is hardly the most disquieting thing Kilgrave does in the season’s penultimate hour. Kilgrave is cruel and he’s just as equally likely to be casually cruel as he is vindictive. He tells a man to go stare at a wall forever for interrupting a conversation, he has a courier fall on a pair of garden shears in a truly bloody moment and most disturbingly of all, his reaction to his father’s declaration of tiredness met with despicable vindictiveness. The serum to make Kilgrave stronger are working remarkably well but it isn’t enough for Kilgrave and he has his father slowly put his hand into a revolving blender before he commands him to stop. I have little sympathy for the father, here, however, just as I had no emotional catharsis to Jessica shooting a fighting Luke Cage in the throat. The father’s cruelties were given little shading beyond genuine regret and Luke is sure to survive in some fashion, even if the show abandons a bit of its own logic for the sake of a romantic, tragic moment it hasn’t duly earned.

Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:

+The purple blazer

+Is IGH the next bad? Seems like it.

+“You’re good at verbal abuse.”

+“I think you’re someone who’s trying to survive.”

+“Breeders.”

+“The chemistry was jumping off the two of you.”

+“Just followed the trail for misery.”

+“I’ll put some clothes on.” This scene was absolutely hilarious.

+/-“I hope they have free express shipping in heaven.”

-The Robyn plot where she mentions Pisces only serves to reinforce how awful her character is.

-“Pisces are the most forgiving in the zodiac.”

Great

8/10

Episode Title: AKA Take a Bloody Number

Written by: Hilly Hicks, Jr.

Directed by: Billy Gierhart

Image Courtesy: Digital Spy

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