Season One, Episodes Five & Six – “AKA The Sandwich Saved Me”, “AKA You’re a Winner!”
By Molly Jane Kremer. After the letdown that was “AKA 99 Friends”, Jessica Jones bounces back with two of its strongest episodes yet, and also two of its darkest. Jessica and Trish’s friendship gets a deserved focus, Luke gets some closure regarding the death of his wife, and someone finally nabs that tricksy Kilgrave (he escapes, primarily because we have another seven episodes left to be tormented by him). “AKA The Sandwich Saved Me” and AKA You’re a Winner!” both make the most of the freedom provided by Netflix’s “mature audiences” allowance, easing into weighty territories – emotionally and psychologically – rarely explored by parent company Disney. Jessica Jones is delving deeper into the grim corners of the MCU than Daredevil ever did. It continues to be a surprising, harrowing, and riveting series.
WHAT WORKED: Episode Five flashes back a year and a half previous to gives us a few key scenes between Jessica and Trish developing their friendship. Seeing Jessica before Kilgrave tore her life apart, looking to do good and make a difference in the world, is bittersweet, but it’s heartening to see the two women be so mutually supportive (ugh and finally not having to be talking about Kilgrave in almost every damn scene). The conversation and dialogue in their scenes together are witty and funny, and add a contrasting lightness to the tension of the present-day plot. Oh, if only we could all put skeezy bar dudes in their place like Jessica does…
The last thing I would have expected in a Disney subsidiary’s production is an abortion plotpoint used realistically and sympathetically (a mention of rape is made in a sensitive and nuanced way). I’m surprised either were included at all: it’s hard to imagine this level of reality in an Avengers movie, let alone this mature and compassionate handling of it. No one chastises Hope for wanting one, or asks her why, or questions its necessity. It’s one of the most mature and credible depictions I’ve ever seen, and I applaud show runner Melissa Rosenberg for including it, and for doing so tastefully.
WHAT DIDN’T: Officer Will Simpson, continuing his attempted valor like a poor man’s Steve Rogers, is probably the most unnecessary character on the show. While I’m all for letting Trish get a little (and hoo boy, it looks like she’s getting a lot), does it have to be this schmuck (who, if you recall, left handprints in bruise-form around Trish’s neck a couple episodes ago)? Though his gung ho ideas and reactions to their snatch-and-grab scheme are probably his way of coping with the trauma inflicted by being mind-controlled, his bruised ego and dopey arguments with Jessica are distracting and pointless at best, and at worst, glaringly out of place on the show.
Episode Five –
“What doesn’t line up are these missing funds. What is that word… ’embezzlement’? Or is it that other word, starts with an f… fuh, fuuh, felony?” – Jessica, already the sleuth, uncovering blackmail on her seemingly incompetent manager.
“It’s five o’clock somewhere, and I need to update my resume. Would you put day-drinking under ‘experience’ or ‘special skills’?” – Jessica always liked a little tipple.
Jessica: “I don’t get you. You have money, looks, a radio show, creepy – if not adoring – fans, and you’re a freaking household name. What more do you want?” Trish: “To save the world, of course.” I need to see some Hellcat, as soon as goddamn possible.
“Hey, last night was fun, but that doesn’t mean I want your opinion.” – Trish. You put that boy in his place.
“If I wear that thing you’re gonna have to call me camel toe.” – Jessica, on the very silly “Jewel” costume that she does not, in fact, ever put on.
Episode Six –
“Assholes try. I just do.” – Kilgrave. Newsflash, dude: you’re still an asshole.
Luke: “Are you high?” Malcolm: “I wish.”
“Sweet Christmas.” – Luke Cage, upon seeing a whole heckuva lot of marijuana where Antoine’s hiding out. (And yes, every single time Luke ever says “Sweet Christmas” it will end up here.)
“I was wrong. You are a piece of shit.” – Luke. (I’m gonna be real with you, Jess, this is a hard situation to come back from.)
BEST MOMENT: Who doesn’t like a good ol’ superhero team-up? The fight scenes in Episode Six—Jessica and Luke taking down gangs of loansharks and would-be weed kingpins (sorta)—are exhilarating and well-choreographed, and a great tonic for the episode’s other ridiculously dark plotlines. While technically a superhero show, Jessica Jones consistently avoids the type of narrative where you can punch your problems away: making those few useful instances of fisticuffs that much more exciting, and so very cathartic. If only more of the show’s baddies could be stopped with a strong right to the jaw.
Episode Five – Flashing back to seeing Jessica’s “secret origin” as a superhero really cements the tragedy of what happened to her at Kilgrave’s hands. She replies to his persuasive question about why she saved Malcolm by saying how good it feels to help people, and there’s poignance in her truthfully stated altruism; we know it’s now been replaced by a healthy amount of cynicism, distrust, and alcoholism thanks to her abusive ordeal in Kilgrave’s thrall. Their first meeting breaks your heart, while simultaneously making your skin crawl.
Episode Six – Mike Colter’s Luke Cage has been absent for a few episodes, and it’s a joy to have him back here. His character runs the gamut of emotion in this episode, especially in regard to Jessica. Withdrawn at first, compassionate and supportive when it comes to the Kilgrave reveal, then betrayed and full of spitting fury when Jessica is forced to give him the tale’s full addendum. He also punches the heck outta some bad dudes, multiple times. Colter is a wonderful addition to the show, and seeing him infrequently makes his appearance that much more impactful. Let’s hope that his and Jessica’s unhappy parting-of-ways doesn’t preclude a later appearance.
– Seeing a mock-up of the actual costume Jessica wore in the comics as Jewel (and how godawful goofy it looks) makes it very, very obvious why we never see her in costume on the show. We can save some things for the page, and spare the screen.
– Jessica and Trish talking about costumes and becoming a superhero makes me wonder (AGAIN) where exactly this takes place in the greater MCU timeline. It definitely takes place after the events in 2012’s The Avengers, but it could take place any time after that.
– Jessica’s first encounter with Kilgrave, after he witnesses her saving Malcolm from muggers, is absolutely chilling. He’s attracted to her power, wants it under his control, and takes it. As always, Jessica Jones’ metaphors are sharply honed and intensely affecting.
– Ok. I want to see a Heroes For Hire-type show, with Luke Cage and Jessica Jones just riding around together on Luke’s Harley, solving crimes and mysteries. Is that too much to ask??
– It’s very understandable for Luke to be upset that Jessica would sleep with him while he was unaware that she’d killed his wife. Mind-controlled at the time or no, putting down the roots of a relationship with the husband of a lady you killed was a bad, bad decision. But Luke did probably overreact. (ie, no need for the name-calling, dude.)
– The final shot, as we pull back to see the house Kilgrave just bought is at the corner of Birch Street and Higgins Drive is one of the most unsettling moments in the show so far.