Jessica Jones: AKA 99 Friends
November 21, 2015 10:37 PM - Season 1, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Jessica gets to meet other Kilgrave victims. The cop from the last episode wants to make amends. Trish makes a public apology. Jessica's new client is weird, but not in the way she was expecting.

Trish's radio show has brought tons of possible Kilgrave victims into the law firm, and Jessica vets which ones actually were brainwashed (the poor cello player) for the list. The poor cop who got brainwashed in the last episode wants to make amends and starts helping Jessica by getting her security footage-- and gives Trish a gun so she can protect herself from him. They end up having kind of an adorable conversation while Trish hides behind her locked door. (I hate to say it, but by the time she opens the door it's kinda cute and hot.) Trish also gets off of Kilgrave's hit list (FOR NOW) by giving a public apology and ass kissing on the radio to him. Jessica finds this out via an 8-year-old girl who's told to tell her this and then cusses her out for the bus crash.

Jessica's paranoia level is upped right now, especially regarding strangers taking her photos, but she's more concerned with her weird new client Audrey who wants photos of her husband cheating, and does things like checking her referrals and watching Audrey to see if she's being brainwashed by Kilgrave. Audrey's not, but she's doing some target practice and acting weird....Turns out Audrey's got some kind of weird grudge against the "gifted" for trashing New York and having her mother die under a building. Also, her husband is the guy who Jessica lifted the car of in episode one. Jessica smashes some furniture and yells at them, but otherwise leaves them unharmed for this shiz. The title comes from Jessica claiming she has 99 other "gifted" friends, btw.

Jessica goes to the Kilgrave survivor's group meeting in a diner even though she's not into that sort of thing, and gets some information from a guy who got forced to be Kilgrave's chauffeur for a week and took him to a regular meeting daily. That, combined with security camera footage, gets us... MALCOLM THE NEIGHBOR. A tear drops down Jessica's face.

Oh yeah, and Jeri takes her new girlfriend/assistant out to the same restaurant she proposed to her future ex-wife in, while the ex is there. Awkward!

(Okay, I got one episode in despite having a houseguest who isn't into this sort of thing. We'll see if I get to any tomorrow, but if someone wants to move ahead and posts for other episodes, go ahead.)
posted by jenfullmoon (20 comments total)
 
"I couldn't hear you over that print"

One thing I think is odd (in a show about reluctant superheroes!) is the building where she has her office and lives. Who has their office in a low-rent apartment building? Isn't that against zoning laws? It would be more believable if she were stealth-living in her office building.

We learned that Kilgrave's powers wear off after ten hours. I hope there's a reason aside from your basic sadism why he forced that woman to smile for hours and the other woman to play the cello and that all the survivor stories tie up.

No Luke this week but the cop and Trish made up for it.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:24 AM on November 22, 2015


Damnit, how did I not see it was Malcolm? And what a little twist in the gut. There's literally nowhere Jessica can go and feel sae. So why go anywhere?

Love the Kilgrave survivors group idea. It makes perfect sense and helps ground the series. It also makes you wonder why there are such groups in any super hero universe. With literal gods and goddesses flying around or at least people with the power of such, it's got to leave common folk feeling feel small. The addition of the cop is a nice touch, especially the conversation with Trish. But you gotta wonder if there's a long term plan from Kilgrave there, is the cop really on the up and up. Or could he be found by Kilgrave again? Wondering about that really hits home about how rational Jessica's paranoia is.

Which makes the show's refusal to actually name the other superheroes in the universe a bit odd. It feels ridiculously forced and not worth the narrative trouble. But I suppose it's for the people who haven't seen the movies or aren't too interested in them? Which is still odd, considering how often the movies forced the various characters together.

Oh well, still enjoy the show, though the slow plod between Jessica and Kilgrave is a tad tedious at times. But Ritter's acting more than makes up for those slow beats.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:39 AM on November 22, 2015


Which makes the show's refusal to actually name the other superheroes in the universe a bit odd. It feels ridiculously forced and not worth the narrative trouble.

Yeah...I mean, calling the big green guy the big green guy is fine, because that's obvious and descriptive, whereas calling him "the Hulk" is less intuitive. I'm not sure even if the other MCU Avengers have even used that name? But calling Captain America "the flag waver" in a universe where Captain America has been A Thing since WW2 and has museum exhibits about him and where there are probably even History Channel specials about "Learn the Secret History Behind Captain America!" and all that just felt really forced and awkward.

That scene between Trish and the cop was totally adorable, plus, they let Trish be smart, and not just be won over by the guy's contrition.

I didn't see that it was Malcolm either, which I guess goes to the point that everyone really does dismiss junkies - in my case, I'd dismissed him as basically comic relief, and...it turns out there's more to the guy. Which should've been obvious, really, except that so often TV and movie writing is really shallow and there wouldn't be.
posted by mstokes650 at 9:58 AM on November 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


The more I think about it, the more horrifying the Kilgrave's Victims Support Group is. We rarely get to the see the aftermath or blowback from heroes and villains using the powers, but here, hell, throughout the who series, we immersed it. Malcolm was a somebody before he came Kilgrave came across him, now he's been fucked with so much everyone dismisses, from Jessica to even much of the audience. He's just comic relief or a background character to liven up the scenery. We, unwittingly, also made him just a thing and a prop.

I'm liking Trish and the Jeryn the lawyer a lot. So good to see different powerful female characters all on one show.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:31 AM on November 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


I guess I'm in the minority; I just could not like or trust the Simpson character.

There seemed to be some pretty specific foreshadowing in this episode, which is always fun to watch for.
posted by moira at 12:05 PM on November 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I hate to say it, but by the time she opens the door it's kinda cute and hot.

Yeah it was definitely a little heartwarming, but at the same time I'm like, the cop should not be around her at all. He's trying to make himself feel better at her expense, and that's especially clear in the beginning. I'm not sure if he's a long Kilgrave plot or not, but he's definitely a little bit of a jerk here.

And going along with the abuse metaphor the show has going on, I like how they included that guy who had to give up his coat as a gesture toward the idea that every violation matters, even the small ones.
posted by john-a-dreams at 12:17 PM on November 22, 2015 [11 favorites]


The thing with Malcolm was both heartbreaking and chilling. He had a real life, and it was destroyed *so* thoroughly.

More than that, the whole thing speaks to Kilgrave knowing how to leverage his gift. He doesn't *just* use his powers and call it good. He corrupts and destroys and uses sleeper agents to create this whole web of awful shit around him, making him dangerously genre savvy. (I'm glad for this. I want both the heroes and villains in a story to be smart.)

But calling Captain America "the flag waver" in a universe where Captain America has been A Thing since WW2 and has museum exhibits about him and where there are probably even History Channel specials about "Learn the Secret History Behind Captain America!" and all that just felt really forced and awkward.

I felt like this was partly because Jessica herself thinks codenames and costumes are silly, rather than a meta thing on the part of the show. I mean, she's qualified to wear one. She can jump hella high. She doesn't. And she doesn't while making no special move to hide her powers - she just doesn't think any of that is necessary.

Plus, if there was a superhero Jessica Jones was going to find hopelessly corny, it's Cap. The museum and History Channel specials would've done him no favors with her. (Honestly, it's a credit to their writing and Chris Evans that I don't feel that way about him.)
posted by mordax at 12:43 PM on November 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Damnit, how did I not see it was Malcolm?"

What surprised me is that in the previous episode when Jessica is examining the photos, her voiceover ham-handedly says something about Luke never being in the photos and that means he's safe from Kilgrave. And I thought at the time that this was too blatant of a clue that Luke was the photographer. So I was very pleasantly surprised that it wasn't Luke, but Malcom. Nice feint, show.

But, yeah, the show does a very good job here of making the audience question their TV assumptions. It works on both the textual level and the meta level. Within the context of the show, it forces us to recognize that anyone could be a pawn of Kilgrave and therefore all those stereotyped TV-characters that populate the fringes of the show might actually be someone important, we should pay attention. And then on the meta level, the show is just generally subverting our assumptions and reminding us that people -- even stereotyped bit characters -- are individually important, they're not tools to be used and discarded, as Kilgrave sees them.

I think the show does a good job with all of these minor characters. It kind of set the tone when from the beginning it made Trish more real and human than I expected. I mean, she just screamed stereotyped tv sidekick character to me at first, but there's more to her. Both the writing and the actor are responsible for that. But, more importantly, the show tends to do this with many of these minor characters.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:47 PM on November 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


What surprised me is that in the previous episode when Jessica is examining the photos, her voiceover ham-handedly says something about Luke never being in the photos and that means he's safe from Kilgrave. And I thought at the time that this was too blatant of a clue that Luke was the photographer. So I was very pleasantly surprised that it wasn't Luke, but Malcom. Nice feint, show.

I think the voiceover said something like "he was too busy focusing on me to notice Luke" and the picture shown was the time Jessica was taking pictures of Luke, which would've ruled Luke out.
posted by john-a-dreams at 6:49 PM on November 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Jessica's single-minded focus on Kilgrave is pretty evident when the client tries to murder her. She blows off some steam about it in the moment, but when Hogarth calls later, Jessica doesn't even think to mention what her firm's referral led to.

So the implication is that Malcolm was clean when he met Kilgrave? Man, that's rough.

I feel like we could do with a series of vignettes that show that all of the children caught up in Kilgrave's mayhem are TOTALLY FINE NOW, REALLY.
posted by ODiV at 3:02 PM on November 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm just four episodes in and already there is so much fun to be had with this show.
The much touched upon theme of the manipulative, psycho ex boyfriend, traumas and the overcoming (or rather trying to function while having) them, or just seeing Kilgrave through a psychoanalytical lense as "our worst urges lurking somewhere deep inside of us"-made-visual.

Which makes a lot of fun.
It's not entirely unthinkable a generally good-meaning person like Jessica Jones underestimating her strength, or lose one's head for a moment, and push someone a bit too strongly. Neither is stopping your car to threaten your whining child - this show just generally pushes these dark desires to a maximum (A push that kills, a child that is abandoned for good, etc).

But that's one general theme within the show, for me, so far: how to be recollect your thoughts, take control and be decent. From the seemingly banal to outmost extreme: I like john-a-dreams example of the guy giving up his coat, but I also loved the woman who was just asked to smile all the time. Somebody on the street asked her to. And with Kilgrave read as a part of our psyche, it's not unthinkable that this woman gets asked to smile by a lot of men over time...

Sure, it's a "banal microaggression" (especially so, if it's not part of your everyday life) and doesn't compare to murdering someone, abandoning your kid, or domestic violence (the Trish and cop scenes, if you wish) but that doesn't make it okay.

I guess that's one of the reasons this show has this heavy focus on infidelity, as it falls somewhere inbetween. It's something a lot of people have experienced, either as the perpetrator or victim - depending on which, it's then either trivial or absolutely devastating. And although this show focuses on the victimized, it doesn't necessarily moralize. Because ultimately it doesn't want to give you an easy answer but make you think what you would do in either of those situations.
posted by bigendian at 10:15 PM on November 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


I noticed here that Simpson's haircut is a Captain America special. Like it's trendy in New York to have his hair now? But he calls him the flag waver in a derogatory way.

I just thought it was interesting that his colouring, his bearing, his haircut and his background are kind of Cap-lite.
posted by tracicle at 1:30 AM on November 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am actually quite relieved that overt references to the other more famous superheroes are almost nil. Otherwise I think I'd write off the series in my brain and expect it to be cheesy Superhero fare. This feels so much different from the big Superhero movies (yet familiar to the Heroes TV show) so my brain doesn't try to fill in the blanks.

I like how now we get to see how high Jessica can jump, now that we were told that is one of her powers.

I also like how the door scene with Trish and the cop played out. It was one of those late night talk all night kind of dates that is so much more "love story for women" whereas if this was male gaze love story, they'd be sexing with a montage of Trish's naked body.

I also love how even the little girl was a POC. So often the minor characters are more white people.

As a parent, the victim who left his small child on the side of the road is just gut wrenching. The loss of control over yourself, especially when taking care of a young child, is frightening. And it had to have been devastating to see yourself do that - just completely abandoning your own child, with nothing you can do about it. Ack!

Is the assumption that the addict neighbor was clean before he met Kilgrave? I didn't think about it that way. But I can understand how you would need to find some kind of coping mechanism when you have regular bouts of mind control/loss of self.
posted by jillithd at 5:09 PM on November 28, 2015


And yes, looking at it now, that is totally a Cap hair style on the cop. Good call!
posted by jillithd at 6:25 PM on November 28, 2015


I'm loving the dialog in this show. I've laughed more watching this show than most sitcoms.
posted by octothorpe at 5:42 PM on November 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


[One comment deleted. To repeat the request from earlier threads, please don't bring in info from future episodes or other sources. Thanks.]
posted by taz at 11:08 PM on November 30, 2015


Nthing the relief that references to the Avengers et al are rare and oblique. There's so much to recommend this show on its own merits. And the superpower stuff is really only tangential to the drama, plot momentum and character development. If it were any other way, I would be much less interested. Yes, the characters have powers, but that's not what makes them fascinating.

Also, I like the affirmation that in a superhero universe, the mundane has significance as well.
posted by dry white toast at 2:15 PM on December 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


The chilling contrast between Killgrave's actual victims vs. the ones who were making up stories made my blood run cold.

The cop actually cheesed me off quite a bit because he was so That Guy! "I know the last time I showed up at your door I was a trojan horse hiding a MurderBot, but I'm going to make it right by standing here outside your door holding a Mystery Package and demanding your attention no matter how uncomfortable it makes you! Because I have Feelings! Feelings of GUILT! and I need you to understand that I am a good person! I need you to understand that MORE than you need me to go the fuck away and leave you alone!" But it was very consciously written that way, very deliberately. I can't believe that's an accident. I haven't watched later episodes yet so I don't know if/how/when that pays off, but I enjoyed having that perspective be part of the subtext.
posted by KathrynT at 1:34 PM on December 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


Oh man, the scene where the cop briefly accosts Malcolm suddenly makes sense. Jessica (and I, the audience) thought the cop was acting out on a junkie because of the Kilgrave aftereffects and the normal cop mindset, but I'm guessing he had seen Malcolm in the presence of Kilgrave?
posted by A dead Quaker at 9:17 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Man this episode! I actually really, really liked the fact that real people are angry about the superhero destruction though - that people are never just background. The little girl was chilling - like if he really wanted to, Kilgrave could just have kids walking into traffic or whatever.
posted by corb at 6:06 PM on January 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


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