Aka 99 Friends
The episode opens with a lady by the name of Audrey Eastman coming to Jessica for help on a new case. She suspects her husband of cheating and right away Jessica’s gut reaction is to ask if she’s had contact with Kilgrave. I know I’ve made mention of this fact before, but the subtle ways that Ritter’s character exhibits fear about someone we’ve hardly even spent time with but know is lurking out there in the city waiting for her is impeccable. Those moments of quirks where you can see her become physically tense at the mention of his name or even more so when she actually is in his presence briefly, as the viewer you are able to truly feel a portion of what she’s going through. I have to admit I’ve been extremely impressed by this. It’s actually been invigorating watching Jessica’s increased paranoia as she realizes Kilgrave’s reach which in turn creates an extreme amount of tension in each scene that she is exploring what his next plan is for her. It’s a sign of strong and creative writing and it has honestly made me forget sometimes that we are watching a “superhero” show.
I know some could probably argue against this but I actually like the police officer trying to help by inserting himself into the group. I also like that you get to see what happens to someone who is left alive after being under Kilgrave’s influence that’s NOT named Jessica Jones and his journey of trying to make amends with Trish. Given Trish’s training regiment and the knowledge of some sort of trauma that she’s experienced along her past, it is understandable that she would be reluctant to let him even get close enough to apologize, however, I love that by the end of the episode and hopefully for the remainder of the season they are becoming closer to one another. Hopefully this will be a step in a positive direction for Trish learning to trust again (more specifically a man). The only knock on her exchange with the police officer is the fact that she knew what it was like for someone to be under Kilgrave’s spell so you would assume that she would feel some sort of empathy towards him. Of course he didn’t actually mean to kill Trish and was acting against his will and she seemed to forget that whole aspect about him. However, I’m sure every time she saw him all that she saw were his hands around her throat so I can slightly understand her hesitation.
That being said, I can’t shake the feeling that there’s something more to him. Good or bad, I can’t quite get a read yet, but I just feel that they are building towards something with him and the group (i.e. Trish, Jessica & Luke).
The main weak point of this episode and the show so far came with the reveal of what Eastman’s case was really about. It was a set up for Jessica in order to kill her, but through the exchange between Jessica, Audrey and her husband (who was not having an affair) was something that I wish all superheroes would say. This is yet another reason of why she is quickly becoming more popular to me than LITERALLY ANY of the Avengers (sans Ant-Man, but he’s not there yet).
I loved the “Kilgrave Support Group.” That was a nice touch within the story of being able to hear how others were used, some for a true purpose, some merely for amusement. I believe it only helped bolster the creepiness factor for a man we’ve still yet to spend a great amount of time with, but again, that’s part of the allure and draw of this type of villain.
I actually had a sneaky suspicion of Malcolm being a part of it all. It made a lot of sense and once Jessica was able to retrace the timeline of when Malcolm moved in compared to how he looks now, it was evident of how much he was being used by Kilgrave and to what extent it reached.
I found myself taking a moment after this episode to reflect on the serious nature of this show. I say that not to sound pompous or preachy, but just trying to understand Malcolm’s story affected me more than all of the others that were in the support group. Here was a man that moved to New York, was healthy, happy, had a connection with his family and just because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time he gets swept up in this large revenge scheme and forced to take drugs in order to stay in this six month long haze of a memory all in order to appease the whim of the very man that destroyed Jessica. It’s all a lot to take in. And it was after this episode that I thought if there is anyone that attempts to make the argument that Marvel villains aren’t well thought out or written I could easily point to Kilgrave (and that’s after FOUR EPISODES of a first season!) and someone whom I would argue is the best Marvel villain to date, the Kingpin. These two antagonists have only been introduced to the Marvel Universe this year, but have somehow made more of an impression on me than any other Marvel villain. Mind you, that’s after TWELVE feature films!!!