Jessica Jones Binge-Watch: "AKA The Sandwich Saved Me"

Tuesday, 01 December 2015 - 11:50AM
Jessica Jones
Tuesday, 01 December 2015 - 11:50AM
Jessica Jones Binge-Watch: "AKA The Sandwich Saved Me"
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Like many of you, I binge-watched the entirety of Jessica Jones last weekend, and it was amazing. It boasts a compelling central character, played perfectly by Krysten Ritter, the scariest villain Marvel has to offer, strong supporting characters, and sharp writing all the way through. Now that the binge-watch is over (boo-hoo), I'll be reviewing one episode per day, but for those of you who are better at this whole self-control thing, I'll be staying away from significant spoilers for future episodes (but obviously, spoiler alert for this one).

Stand-out moment of the episode

In one scene, Jessica's voice tells us, "There's before Kilgrave, and there's after Kilgrave." She's actually referring to Malcolm, whose life was ruined when Kilgrave got him hooked on drugs, but she's also clearly thinking about herself. Although she was always caustic, the Jessica in flashbacks is much more full of life, compared to the present-day Jessica, who's just trying to get through the next moment. Moments like these contribute to the show's sensitive portrayal of trauma and sexual assault; victims often feel as though their lives have been divided into the time before the trauma and everything that comes after, which is defined by that one event.

Marvel madness

Here are all the Easter eggs in Jessica Jones, if you're curious, but this episode had the most blatant references to Jessica's comic origins. I love when the show acknowledges that certain parts of the comic are a little cheesy, and especially wouldn't translate well to television, so having Jessica make fun of her own comics costume was a perfect way to please comics fans without sacrificing the realism of the show. And, in keeping with the show's feminist bent, this cute scene between Jessica and Trish served as a commentary about most female comic costumes (and names, for that matter). Because let's face it, most female superheroes' costumes are unnecessarily sexualized, not to mention impractical. I laughed so hard when Jessica made that crack about camel toes, because almost every female superhero would definitely have one!

Side note: I don't know about you, but I would totally read a comic about a woman who saves people dressed like a giant hoagie.

Let's talk about mansplaining

I have so many favorite lines of Jessica Jones, and most of them are delivered by Jessica herself, but the best line of this episode goes to Trish, after Simpson implies that she's not qualified to be the getaway car driver because she's a woman and a "lifetime radio talk-show host." Her response is perfect: "Last night was fun, but that doesn't mean I want your opinion."

Simpson is knowledgable about certain things, like exfiltration, so he actually is an asset, but as a result of his male entitlement, he often oversteps his bounds and begins to explain things to Jessica that she understands better than he does, like Kilgrave. Increasingly with every episode, Simpson is becoming a stand-in for toxic masculinity. He reacts to everything with aggression and hostility, he's arrogant, and he is often a little sexist. It's a testament to the writing that he remains somewhat likable, and it's more useful to the show's message. If every sexist person on Jessica Jones were as blatantly terrible as that moron who referred to his genitals as the "bald-headed bishop" (ew), then it would imply that sexism is a problem limited to a few terrible people, rather than a systemic prejudice that is engrained in pretty much everyone.

Kilgrave's mind control as addiction

Kilgrave's powers are generally a metaphor for both male privilege and addiction, and the latter is most explicit in this episode. Malcolm is actually addicted to drugs, so he would be under Kilgrave's control for more than twelve hours at a time, but Jessica can relate to him because she understands how difficult it is to free oneself from something that has so much power over you. As Jessica says, they've both been to hell and back, because they've both completely lost control of themselves and were deprived of their own free will. 

Kilgrave's powers also serve as an apt metaphor for both sexual assault and addiction, because they both invite victim blaming, both from society and from the victim themselves. "Everybody dismisses a junkie," Jessica says, because the general consensus is that it's the addict's fault. Malcolm is ashamed of himself because he "had a choice," even though he really didn't, and Jessica is tormented by her memories of fighting Kilgrave's mind control and failing to get out from under it, even though she wasn't really in control.

Jessica and Luke

Luke doesn't appear for the second episode in a row, and I'm starting to miss him! This is obviously Jessica's story, but the amazing chemistry between the two actors certainly doesn't hurt.

Pet peeve

Are we supposed to think that Kilgrave orchestrated Malcolm's attack in order to get Jessica to save him, or is this supposed to be one big coincidence? Not only would it be crazy if Kilgrave just stumbled on another superpowered human that way, but in general, superheroes stumble on crimes-in-progress far too often. I know this is supposed to be a seedier NYC than the one I live in, but come on now.

Annoying secondary character of the episode

It's Ruben again. Although the look on Jessica's face when he asks her to "see a movie sometime" is priceless, it doesn't make his presence any less jarring. I can't decide whether it would be better if it were confirmed that he's developmentally challenged in some way, just so there's a plausible reason he would behave this way, or whether that would be disrespectful to developmentally challenged people.

Best one-liners

"Would you put day drinking under 'experience' or 'special skills'?" - another thesis statement contender

"Jewel is a stripper's name. A really slutty stripper. And if I wear that thing, you'll have to call me Camel Toe."
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