The end of Jessica Jones’ first season is almost here. Episode 12 is “AKA Take A Bloody Number,” and shows events building to a head. Several parts of the series that have been separate so far collide in this episode, at times violently. The writers do a great job of balancing the various superpowers with very human reactions.
This is really driven home in the first scene. As the last episode ended, Luke Cage’s bar blew up with him in it. This isn’t anywhere near enough to kill Luke, but it seems Kilgrave doesn’t know that. Luke himself, while he’s used to his own powers, and Jessica’s, is very shaken by exposure to Kilgrave. Personally, I think being able to bend someone to your will with just your voice is a lot more scary than super strength or steel-hard skin, and it looks like Luke agrees.
In flashback, we see Luke and Kilgrave meet, and Luke’s surprise and possibly horror when he realizes what Kilgrave can do, is doing, to him. Kilgrave is more curious about Luke and Jessica’s relationship than anything else. He shows a complete inability to understand people having feelings that aren’t what he wants. Both of them learn a lot in this exchange.
Back in the present, Luke and Jessica go back to her place. It’s still a disaster from the fight with Simpson, but, as Luke remarks, “At least it’s not on fire.” Actually, I think fire is about the only thing that doesn’t happen to Jessica’s apartment/office throughout the series. They have a long talk about a lot of different things. Jessica has a plan for how to deal with Kilgrave and make sure Luke is free of Kilgrave’s influence.
While the heroes make plans, Kilgrave is working on his own schemes. He has his father now, which isn’t good on any level. Kilgrave is more than likely going to kill Albert, of course, which sucks for him. But Albert is a brilliant scientist who has been working on Kilgrave’s abilities for a long time, and now Kilgrave has access to that, which isn’t good. They test Kilgrave’s abilities, with Kilgrave showing more of his casual cruelty to a luckless passerby.
Not one to let others take all the risks, Trish calls Jessica to say she’s being released from the hospital. There are hints about what might be the big problem for Jessica’s second season. Trish gets a surprise visitor- her mother. That visit is tense and ugly, as every scene with Mother Walker has been. They bicker a lot, and, again points to the writers, Trish’s mom actually gets in a good line or two and makes a decent point. They talk more later, with more hints about a mysterious company that figures in Jessica’s origin.
Jessica and Luke get an idea or two about how to try and track Kilgrave down, but before they get too far, they have a run-in with Malcolm. It’s ugly and brutal and Malcolm isn’t pulling any punches as he lays into Jessica. Finally, Jessica and Luke get going, eventually tracing Kilgrave to a local chemical company.
They end up staking it out, waiting for Kilgrave, and talk more while waiting. Luke paints a horrifying picture of what Kilgrave had him doing, standing there, waiting for Jessica to show up. They disagree about forgiveness and blame, but the conversation gets another of those rare almost smiles from Jessica. Their lead doesn’t work out as they hoped, showing once again both how clever and ruthless Kilgrave can be.
Luke and Jessica meet up at Trish’s place. Trish’s amusement at Luke being there is almost as funny as Jessica trying to mother-hen Trish. Luke goes off to give the women some privacy, and they argue a bit. It’s not a bad argument, it’s kind of a friends disagreeing with each other affair. Trish is convinced Jessica has the potential for something good with Luke, and that Jessica will screw it up before it goes anywhere. Jessica, to her credit, doesn’t actually disagree.
Back at Jessica’s building, there’s a very emotional scene between Malcolm and Robin. I know she’s been through a lot, but I just can’t find much sympathy for Robin. She’s a tragic figure, but a lot of the tragedy is of her own making. I was a bit confused that this scene happened after what looked like Malcolm’s big dramatic exit after his argument with Jessica.
After a nasty scene with Kilgrave and Albert, we see Luke and Jessica try and figure out what to do next. Luke makes a great point about experimenting with powers, and this gives them a new lead. They finally find him… but that’s just what he wanted. Kilgrave has set a really nasty trap for Jessica, and what follows is both physically and emotionally brutal. It’s the nastiest fight so far on the series, and it’s a really sad one. By the end of it, when bystanders are in danger, Jessica has to do something desperate that leaves us on a nasty cliffhanger.
What I liked: The writing on this show continues to be remarkably impressive. Jessica’s sullen heroism is nicely balanced by Kilgrave’s puzzled sociopathy, and those two sides drive a lot of the show. Luke and Trish are both great characters. It was nice to see the writers were so confident that they planted scenes for a second series long before that was any official confirmation of that. Kilgrave is evil, but he’s an almost pitiable evil.
What I didn’t: Most of what I didn’t like revolved around two characters: Robyn (who as far as I know never got a last name) and Dorothy Walker, Trish’s mom. They are both amazingly annoying characters who, at this point, I don’t think really further the plot any. I’m also a bit confused about the timing of Malcolm leaving but then having the scenes with Robyn.
This was a tense episode with a lot of surprises. I really like how they’re bringing everything together. I’ll give this a high 4.5 out of 5. The series finale is going to be amazing.