Jessica Jones S:01 E:08

Episode Title: WWJD?

Original Air Date: 11/20/2015

Jessica experiences a strange homecoming courtesy of Kilgrave. Hogarth’s conflict with her estranged wife reaches a tipping point.

We get some more background for Jessica in this episode, mainly in relation to her family in relation to finding out how she became an orphan. We see that Jessica had a typical family dynamic and a quarrelling relationship with her brother and that this led to a car crash which killed her family when her dad took his eyes off the road in order to discipline Jessica during an argument with her brother. The feelings of guilt that Jessica feels as a result of this are brilliantly presented, with this helping to explain her fears over having anyone else die and this feeling of guilt is presented brilliantly by Ritter.

We also find out more of the backstory of Kilgrave, mainly in relation to how he got his powers. We find out that he was experimented on by his parents and these experiments gave him his powers, along with confirming that Zebediah Kilgrave isn’t his real name. This adds some new depth to the character, although it doesn’t justify anything that he did. We also see that Kilgrave has to be very specific with what he says due to the unintended consequences, with this making for some great dark comedy throughout the episode. This string of dark comedy also comes through when Jessica gets Kilgrave to save a family in a hostage crisis due to how narcissistic about the whole thing Kilgrave is and Tennant does an amazing job in these scenes. This comedy element is also seen in a great little gag making the most obvious Star Wars joke about Kilgrave’s powers that could be made that worked so well given the context of the scene. This comedy also leads to some great commentary regarding how relationships are presented in film as Kilgrave says he learnt about relationships from TV, showing the damaging view that culture presents of relationships, mainly many pieces of media presenting stalking as love and big romantic gestures being romantic instead of incredibly creepy. Along with this, we see the extent to which Kilgrave punishes those who annoy him, getting a woman who annoyed him and Jessica to blow herself up to kill Simpson at the end of the episode. The episode also answers the question of why Jessica just doesn’t kill him, we already know that she wants him alive to keep Hope out of prison but here we see that Kilgrave has safeguards in place so that, if he’s killed, others will die or mutilate themselves, which adds a greater level of risk to everything related to Kilgrave.

The rape metaphors for what Kilgrave does come up to the surface here with Jessica calling Kilgrave out on everything he does, explaining to him that what he does is rape. The anger and pain Jessica feels is brilliantly portrayed by Ritter whilst the attitude that Kilgrave has is textbook of the attitudes of people who are so ignorant and deluded that they don’t know they’ve committed rape despite it being blatantly obvious that he’s done so which keeps Kilgrave such an unlikable character, which Tennant portrays brilliantly.

The episode also shows the importance of Trish to Jessica’s life, Trish being the moral compass. We see that Jessica has a pretty skewed morality and feelings of uncertainty over what to do, mainly in relation to trying to reform Kilgrave (which Jessica realises will not work) and that Trish is needed to keep her on the right track. The chemistry that Rachel Taylor and Krysten Ritter have during their scene together is excellent and adds to the whole friendship dynamic the two share.

AKA WWJD is another strong character episode, adding a lot of depth and nuance to Jessica and Kilgrave, which works so well because of the strong performances of Krysten Ritter and David Tennant, continuing to prove that the characters are the best part of the show. If there is a problem I have with the episode it’s that all the stuff about Jeri and her divorce doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere and is really tedious at this point, although I’m sure this will become less of a problem in the next few episodes.

 

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