Jessica Jones Binge-Watch: "AKA You're a Winner!"

Wednesday, 02 December 2015 - 1:53PM
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Jessica Jones
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Wednesday, 02 December 2015 - 1:53PM
Jessica Jones Binge-Watch: "AKA You're a Winner!"
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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 the Marvel Cinematic Universe 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).

Jessica Jones Takes on Abortion


Opening quote
"Every second it's there, I get raped again and again."
Closing quote


Poor Hope just can't catch a break. In a plotline that's very boldly political if you look at it closely enough, she finds out she's pregnant with Kilgrave's child, and pays a fellow inmate to beat her half to death in the hopes of inducing an abortion. It's not all that daring to portray a woman who wants to abort the product of rape, as many people who are generally against abortion are in favor of that exception. But this episode somewhat controversially draws a parallel to current events because Hope has access to abortion, it's just not adequate. She would be able to get an abortion in two months, that's just not good enough (and who knows if it would even be legal by then). In the ethos of Jessica Jones, it's Hope's body, and she should be able to get rid of an unwanted intruder that's growing inside of her whenever she sees fit, and without so many obstacles. Her botched attempt at inducing a miscarriage is analogous to the back alley abortions that used to cause women to get life-threatening infections or die horrific deaths, which would happen again if abortion were outlawed or end-arounds Roe v Wade limited access to abortion to an unreasonable degree.

Jessica and Luke


After being missing for two episodes, the Jessica/Luke element returned to the show in full force, and it was remarkable how much the relationship developed in just one hour. Couples often get boring when they're clearly endgame for the writers, but this episode demonstrates that the relationship is compelling enough to sustain itself without annoying external complications like a love triangle. In the course of one episode, Jessica and Luke are estranged and a little hostile, then making themselves vulnerable to each other, sleeping together, cuddling in bed, and then devastating each other. The fact that it all feels organic rather than melodramatic is a testament to both the chemistry between the actors and the insightful writing.

Luke gets to the heart of Jessica's character when he says this line from the trailer in full, "Jessica Jones, you are a hard-drinking, short-fused mess of a woman. But you are not a piece of shit." We can understand why Luke goes back on that when he finds out about Reva, because Jessica hurt him and he wants to hurt her back, but that doesn't make it any less true. Although the show makes it clear that Jessica's actions with Kilgrave weren't her fault, it doesn't let her off the hook for the myriad of shitty things she does to Luke of her own accord. She lied to him, slept with him, let him make himself vulnerable to her, and actively tried to stop him from finding out the truth. But ultimately, she comes through in the end, because she's not a piece of shit, although she is deeply, deeply flawed.

Kilgrave's mind control as a mirror for your flaws


Kilgrave's powers are a different, more complex kind of mind control, because they reveal the characters' worst fears about themselves. Malcolm says what Jessica is thinking: there was a freedom to being under Kilgrave's control, because you didn't have to make decisions for yourself or face any of the consequences. As a result, the characters are all afraid that they secretly wanted to follow Kilgrave's orders, or even if they didn't, that those actions are a part of their intrinsic character now. So it's even sadder that Luke went back on his kindness, 

Pet peeve


It's the same as last episode: Jessica's treatment of Pam. At the very least, this week Pam calls her out on her elitism: "Why would you be polite to a lowly secretary?" Jessica doesn't have to be perfect, but her dismissal of Malcolm was challenged, and Malcolm gets to become a well-rounded character, while Pam is still completely two-dimensional, which encourages the audience to dismiss her as well.

The Reverse Bechdel Test




I kind of love that Jessica Jones doesn't pass the Bechdel test for men. In this episode, there's one scene between Malcolm and Luke, and they spend basically the whole conversation talking about Jessica and Luke's relationship with her. I don't usually subscribe to the whole "two wrongs make a right" mantra, but in this case, it's pretty funny.
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