Episode six of Jessica Jones, “AKA You’re A Winner!” starts off with another Kilgrave scene. His casual, thoughtless evil is really chilling. He uses his powers to win a high stakes poker game, and then deals with the player who gives him attitude about it in an offhand but vicious way.
At Jessica’s home/office, she and Malcolm are talking about Kilgrave’s power. Malcolm is trying to be rational and apply logic to the problem, map out Kilgrave’s weaknesses. Jessica is less than enthusiastic about this idea. Before they get too much further in the discussion, they get interrupted by a new client- Luke Cage. He and Malcolm glare at each other before Malcolm leaves. Luke, hearing part of their conversation, asks her what a “Kilgrave” is, but that’s not a discussion Jessica is going to have with him now. She tries to redirect him to Angela Del Toro (White Tiger in the comic books), but Luke says he needs her.
Luke is looking for a man named Antoine Greer. Greer is in debt with some loan sharks, and Luke wants to bail him out. They bargain over pay for a while, and leave at he’ll owe her a favor.
Jessica gets distracted before she even really gets started when Hogarth calls her. Hope has been beaten at the jail, which gets Jessica’s attention. Hope is completely unhelpful, refusing to talk about what happened. Hogarth, clever in her ruthlessness, has already bribed a guard to get some inside information. Jessica goes to confront the woman she’s told was behind the attack, but gets even more confused when the prisoner tells her who arranged for the beating in the first place. This is also one of the few parts where the writers screw up. There’s a comment about Hope can’t be protected because she won’t ask for isolation. That’s not how it works. Prisoners who have been fighting, or threatened, get moved automatically. But that’s a small quibble based on professional knowledge most viewers wouldn’t have.
On the subway, Jessica reflects that people missing this long tend to stay missing. Her phone alarm goes off, reminding her that it’s time to live up to her deal with Kilgrave and send him a picture. On his end, he’s happy with the picture, and has built up a collection. He’s also, oddly, looking at real estate listings, which seems like a weird hobby for a supervillain.
Jessica and Luke meet up at Antoine’s apartment. They have amusing bickering over how to search the place. Jessica proves that she’s a good detective, pointing to various indications that Antoine left on his own. Jessica also pulls a clever trick that gives us the episode title when she uses a fake perky voice to tell Antoine that he’s won an X-Box and they need to arrange delivery. Luke is amused. On the street, they meet some of the loan shark’s thugs, and then the man himself. He points out that kidnapping someone doesn’t get him paid, so why would he do this? They come to an uneasy truce, and then Jessica and Luke ride off on his motorcycle.
After Luke drops Jessica off, he and Malcolm have another conversation. Poor Malcolm is worried that Luke is under the influence of Kilgrave, and asks if he’s been approached by a British guy. The two of them end up talking about Kilgrave, which is sure to get Jessica annoyed when she finds out.
After a brief scene that shows Hogarth and Pam’s relationship developing, Luke comes around to visit Jessica again. He now knows about Kilgrave and is sorry he didn’t believe her concerns earlier. I’m guessing that, since everyone has such a hard time believing in mind control, that the Tesseract’s effects on various people during the first Avengers movie aren’t well known. Jessica is drunk and in a self-pitying mood, which Luke tries to talk her out of. After some more vigorous sex, Jessica and Luke’s afterglow is interrupted by Antoine calling her back about the X-Box, and Jessica goes back to her perky voice, which is a really entertaining transition. Luke also reveals that he’s looking for evidence about the death of his wife, Riva.
Luke’s description of the circumstances around his wife’s death trigger more flashbacks for Jessica. This is another ugly one, and the implications are pretty clear for the viewer, and probably for Jessica. She snaps out of it, realizes she’s late, and sends Kilgrave another picture.
Jessica has arranged for a special medication for Hope while she’s in jail. Hope is so desperate, she downs it before Jessica can even finish the warnings about it. Hogarth reluctantly agrees to stay with Hope for a while, in return for Jessica forcing Wendy, Hogarth’s wife, to sign the divorce papers. Hogarth really is the epitome of the slimy lawyer.
They continue to do a great job of making us wonder what Kilgrave is up to. He goes to the house he was looking at online before, and offers the owner a staggering sum of money for it. More interesting, Kilgrave is making a huge effort to not use his powers in the exchange, which is very different for him. It’s also some nice acting by David Tennant.
Luke and Jessica are on Antoine’s trail, following the man who showed up to claim the fictitious X-Box. Jessica argues with Luke about using his bike to follow the cab he gets into, which is one of the series’ least well-done scenes. What else was she going to do? Her flight power is unreliable, she doesn’t have super-speed, and she didn’t have a taxi there. I think sometimes Jessica argues just to argue.
Things get weirder and weirder when they end up at a huge grow house, which is a strange divergence for a loan shark. There’s a lot of fighting inside, with an obviously frustrated Luke using his powers more and more openly. That’s not good for two supers who are trying to keep a low profile.
Eventually, they end up at Serena’s (Antoine’s sister). What she has was information about Riva’s death. Officially, Riva was killed by a drunk bus driver. Luke sets off to get his vengeance, leading to a big confrontation between him and Jessica. It seems Luke is stronger than Jessica by a good bit. She finally tells him what she knows about Riva’s death, and that goes about as badly as you’d expect.
The wrap up scenes are interesting. Malcolm’s support group for Kilgrave survivors meets, and Malcolm wonders if Kilgrave made him into an addict, or if that was there all along. Hope has some bad reactions to the medication and situation she’s in, and Hogarth gets even more slimy, which is a trick. Jessica has more flashbacks to her time under Kilgrave’s sway. Kilgrave himself is happy with his new purchase, and we get to see exactly why he bought that particular house. It’s really kind of chilling.
What I liked: The character work continues to be fantastic on this show. Everyone involved turns in a great performance. I loved Jessica’s “You’re a winner” bit, both for the voice and because that’s exactly the kind of trick PI’s have to use to get things done since they don’t have legal powers like police. The scene with Jessica and Luke at the bus was grim but nicely done. Kilgrave is creepy and disturbing, but very well acted.
What I didn’t: I think all I didn’t like about this one was the bit with Jessica arguing over the motorcycle with Luke. That really did seem foolish and like she didn’t have another option lined up. I also think it’s a bit odd (actor contract, maybe?) that they do so many sex scenes with no nudity.
I’ll give this one a 4 out of 5. I thought it was really nicely done and the series is building some nice momentum.