Sunday, February 21, 2016

Jessica Jones Recap: "AKA Top Shelf Perverts" (1x07)

Trigger warning: This show is rated TV-M because it deals with realistic portrayals of sex, abuse, violence, swearing, and PTSD. Be warned before reading this recap or watching this show.

The episode opens to Kilgrave shuffling and snooping around Jessica's apartment without turning the lights on. He inspects a file of information on Hope and uses the toilet. (He didn't even wash his hands...or flush for that matter. Geez Kilgrave, are you trying to mark your territory or something?) He then stares at Jessica's empty bed debating what to do next; there is someone knocking on the door. The person, revealed to be Ruben, knocks all the more frantically upon seeing someone moving around the apartment. (I'm fairly sure that the only reason Kilgrave answers the door is to stop the noise.) Ruben, in an awkward yet endearing attempt at wooing Jessica has brought over another loaf of banana bread.
"What are you doing in Jessica's apartment with all of the lights off?"
"The lights are off to suggest that no one is here, but you couldn't take a hint."
"Because someone is here...but not Jessica?"
Kilgrave pries a confession of love from Ruben and stares intently. It seems as if fate has given him a new toy to play with.

Meanwhile, Jessica is getting thrown out of a local bar; she's apparently hit her limit and had made a bit of trouble for herself. (As she's laying in the garbage, all I can think of is Matt Murdock doing the same.)


(I love that this exchange is followed by the man asking for a dollar.)

Instead of a dollar, Jessica tosses the homeless man a nearly complete punch card for Blimpie's sandwich shop. He seems to appreciate the gesture. We see the true reason for Jessica's choice in bar. The soon to be Ex-Mrs. Hogarth exits a free clinic across the street after her shift. Jessica is making good on her deal with Jeri.

She follows Wendy to the Subway platform with the intent of serving her divorce papers. Wendy is reasonably startled by the fact that Jessica is asking her to sign the papers in a deserted subway station late at night. It becomes clear that Jessica is drunk and beyond caring. She holds Wendy over the edge of the platform; the light of the oncoming train illuminates the lunacy of the situation.

"Have you ever felt shame, Wendy?"
"Of course--"
"No, I mean real shame, Wendy. You know when you've done something--when you've hurt, disgusted someone so completely that you can see it in their eyes. The black, oozing shit inside you, you sweat it through your skin....until you would do anything not to feel it...anything."
Then, reflexes affected by her inebriated state, Jessica accidentally drops Wendy onto the tracks below.
"Shit! I didn't mean to do that."
Jessica leaps onto the tracks to save Wendy from the oncoming train and throws her to safety. This leaves her a moment to leap away from her own death. Their eyes meet through the train window and Wendy shakes her head in disbelief at what just occurred.

(I love that Wendy somehow keeps her cool through all of this. Also, I am glad that Jessica really didn't intend to throw her in front of a train. That seems more desperate than I'd ever assume Jessica to be. Although she intended to shake Wendy up a bit, it is clear that this exchange was primarily fueled by whiskey and Jessica's feelings for Luke.)

The elevator in Jessica's apartment building dings and we are treated to a bit of a role reversal. Jessica is the one propped up against a wall and Malcolm is helping her back to her apartment. He is dressed differently than we have ever seen him. Jessica comments that he looks like he's  heading to a Jazzercise class. He retorts that running is good for sobriety. (Happy and healthy Malcolm is delightful.) Malcolm is intent on making sure Jessica is hydrated and fed before he goes on with his plans for the day. Jessica stumbles toward her bedroom and undresses haphazardly before collapsing into bed.

We see what is possibly the shape of another person on the other side of her bed. Mid settling in Jessica notices that something is off. Her sheets are covered in blood. She leaps out of bed in terror as the source of said blood is evident. Ruben lays on the pillow next to hers, though not in the way he probably imagined. His throat is slit by the knife gripped tightly by his hand in rigor mortis.

Jessica stared at her bloodied hands in shock. Malcolm brings her back to the moment by dropping a glass. The two quickly piece together that Kilgrave forced Ruben's hand due to bloody footprints on the floor. Jessica spirals into panic; this is crossing the line, even for Kilgrave. Malcolm reminds Jessica of how capable she is and brings her to a clearer state of mind. She says that they can't call the police as this is the third death she's directly connected to. She closes Ruben's eyes gently and apologizes, she is having a hard time not blaming herself.

"I'm going to end it..."
"What? Yourself?"
"There's another option--I go to jail, but it can't just be any jail."
The jail in question is a Supermax prison that would be impossible for Kilgrave to enter without getting caught on camera and therefore provide evidence of his powers and existence. Enough is enough, Jessica is willing to try anything to end Kilgrave's reign of terror. So desperate that she attempts to reach out to the homicide detective that questioned her over the Shlottman murders. But first, she needs to tie up some loose ends.

Trish and Simpson are enjoying adult activities as the phone rings in the background. She feels as if losing Kilgrave was her fault but has a plan to make up for her misplaced self blame. Trish has gone out on her own to find Kilgrave's new set of body guards. The cogs of a new scheme are turning. Trish wants to go along with the old plan, but Simpson seems to believe that keeping Kilgrave alive is too idealistic.

One loose end is left untied for Jessica, so she proceeds to the next. Jeri and Pam are heading up the courthouse steps for a day of doing what a snarky lawyer does best. She definitely wasn't planning on Jessica asking her what exactly she would need to do to be put in Supermax.

"Supermax only houses the worst criminals, top-shelf perverts, cannibals, serial killers who make mosaics with their victim's fingernails."
"Well that's...very specific."
"It's a living hell with real demons. It is the last place you want to end up."

Malcolm walks back into Jessica's apartment to attempt to deal with Ruben's remains but heads out instead. He runs into the last person that he wants to see right now: Robyn. She is as paranoid as ever; a brief conversation about his previous problems result in Robyn congratulating Malcolm on his continued sobriety. She has no shortage of nicknames for him.
"I think Jones is hiding something about my brother."
"No, I don't think so."
"He's been drawing their initials with a big heart around them on his Etch-a-Sketch."
(Ruben and Robyn's quirks never cease to amaze me. I feel like the two may have some unmentioned childhood trauma that sparked their twisted relationship.)

Malcolm tells Robyn that her brother is in fact involved with Jessica in an attempt to get her off of his back.
"She's a sexual predator, he's just a boy!"
"Yeah, in his 20s."
(I think Robyn sometimes forgets she isn't their mother.)

Robyn goes on to tell Malcolm that he's better than doing Jessica's bidding.

Jessica heads to Luke's bar to find Luke's little helper tending the bar. We're led to believe that Luke takes time off every time he's had romantic troubles. The bar man says that the only woman Luke has ever missed is the one that's in the ground. Jessica tells him to pass on the message that the right people are going to pay for what happened. The old man responds simply:

"Do you know what happens when you burn a bridge? You gotta learn to swim...or fly."

(I think he's starting to realize there's something different about Jessica than other women Luke has been involved with.)

Jeri sits working at her desk as Wendy comes in presumably to deliver the divorce papers. It isn't that at all. Wendy is made of much stronger material than Jeri assumed. She brought print outs of their old email conversations that show Jeri admitting to having bribed a juror. Wendy wants 75% of Jeri's assets or she will tell the Bar association. Pam stands up for Jeri but is clearly frustrated.

"It's hard to defend you when she knows more of your secrets than I do."


The sign on the building reads "Stars and Tykes Talent Agency." A woman who looks startlingly familiar enters the lobby and calls out for an appointment--but is shocked to see Jessica in the lobby.

"Jessie, come in!"
"Our appointment was 30 minutes ago!"
"Welcome to showbiz, honey."

It becomes clear that this is Trish's estranged mother that we have heard enough about to know that neither of the girls have the warm fuzzies for her. Trish's mother, Dorothy, assumes that Trish is on drugs or some other kind of trouble. Jessica reminds her of an agreement that they have, an agreement that will remain iron clad no matter what happens. Dorothy took advantage of her daughter; Jessica goes as far as calling her Trish's pimp. She won't stand for Dorothy sneaking her way back into Trish's life, even from prison.


Jessica accuses Dorothy of doing everything that she's ever done for either of the girls for her own gain. She seems like a jerk, but I don't know how deeply Dorothy's transgressions cut. She claims to have gotten help for her problems...but something feels more than a little off.

"Taking you in was the worst decision of my life."
"Thanks, Mom."

Trish is on the phone with Simpson, who is staking out Kilgrave. We see that his eyes are on Kilgrave moving into Jessica's childhood home; he lies to Trish about it. Simpson has his own plans for Kilgrave in mind and isn't taking proving Jessica and Hope innocent into consideration. He likely thinks he knows best and wants to protect Trish as well as get revenge on Kilgrave for himself.

Trish heads into Jessica's apartment to meet Malcolm seemingly unexpectedly. (I feel like she doesn't quite trust him. It's understandable that Trish's trust would be hard to earn.) He asks for Trish's help. Malcolm doesn't want Jessica to go to jail and obviously knows Trish would help him thwart Jessica's plan. She is unnerved by the sight of Ruben's corpse to say the least.

It's 56 minutes until 8; Jessica exits the taxi and begins to climb. The view from the top of the bridge is beautiful. She's saying goodbye to New York in the only way she knows how.

"I hate goodbyes; I've always just dissapeared. But this goodbye...This one deserves a last lingering look."

Speaking of goodbyes, Jessica returns to her apartment to find Trish waiting.  She is intent on following her plan, but Trish tells Jessica about her own plan. It doesn't seem to sway our heroine.

Trish realizes that Jessica's guilt for Reva's death, as well as the deaths of Hope's parents and Ruben, are fueling her plan. Jessica just wants the killing to stop, and going to jail seems to be the only way to do that at this point.

Meanwhile, Malcolm is disposing of Ruben's body. We see more of the type of person Malcolm was and still is as he speaks a French blessing over Ruben before pushing him into the river.

A cronie of Kilgrave's has secured a Mickey Mouse figurine and excitedly presents it to his boss. It seems as if Kilgrave could be reconstructing the house to look as it did when Jessica was young. Simpson watches all of this taking place from his car and has yet to act.

Jessica catches up to Malcolm as he watches the river that now doubles as Ruben's resting place. He tries to convince her that she will be cleared of the crime since his wounds are clearly self inflicted. She seems to think otherwise. In fact she's counting on otherwise. Jessica dives into the river to retrieve Ruben.

She heads into the Police Station soaking wet with a bag in hand and places it on Clemons' desk. This expedites the process of him speaking with her. Hogarth meets her in questioning, but Jessica dismisses her as Jeri attempts to work out an insanity plea for Jessica. Jessica begs and pleads to go to Supermax with the rage of a deranged toddler that's been trained by a professional wrestler. Clemons seems to think that, although deranged, Jessica may not have done the things she's said.

Suddenly another officer enters the room telling Jessica she's free to go. This is concerning to both Jessica and Clemons as she's just torn off her handcuffs and twisted a metal chair up like a pretzel with her bare hands. The state of the office as she walks out of questioning makes Jessica realize that her intent to draw out Kilgrave has worked sooner than she intended. Police officers have guns pulled on themselves, one another, and civilians. Nothing Clemons says redirects them; he's never interacted with Kilgrave or anyone like him before.

Kilgrave says that he has no intention of controlling her again he wants he to act of her own accord.

"Act how? Suicide? Is that why you've been torturing me?"

Kilgrave tells Jessica that he killed Ruben because he interrupted him leaving Jessica a present. He wants to prove to Jessica that he loves her. (What a chilling thought. This goes to show what a narcissistic jerk he truly is.)  Clemons' phone starts to ring, pricking Kilgrave's anger at ruining his declaration of love. Jessica agrees to come with Kilgrave but it isn't good enough for him.

"To protect them, not out of choice."
"You know me well. We can work out the rest."
"Oh, please, I'm new to love, but I do watch television."

Kilgrave, in his deranged manner, goes on about how being able to make people do whatever he wanted was always good enough. Until the night Jessica left him to die.

"You were the first thing, excuse me, person, I ever wanted that had walked away from me. You made me feel something I hadn't felt before: yearning. I actually missed you."
He seems to take these lines from some horrible romance novel. Jessica being willing to go with him out of sacrifice to save others isn't good enough for Kilgrave. He wants her to earnestly believe that she needs him the way he thinks he needs and wants her.

"Look for my present. When you are ready, I'll see you at home." 
The entire police force erupts in laughter as Jessica's head starts spinning. She frantically runs home and searches her apartment top to bottom for whatever Kilgrave left her. Suddenly a small briefcase catches her eye, the same one that held Reva's flash drive. Inside is Jessica's journal from her teen years. Jessica throws a few things in a bag and heads for the door when her plan of action is interrupted.

Robyn bursts through the door; she thinks Ruben has run away to be with Jessica. Her tone is maternal as she expresses concern for him. Robyn finds one of his shoes in Jessica's laundry basket.

"Tell him I'm sorry about the zoo. We can go this weekend. Will you tell him? I'll take him to see the giraffes, I promise."
She details all sorts of things about Ruben: his sensitivity about his neck, preferences in crusts, that he can't take care of himself. Robyn offers anything she can to get Jessica to search for him after she implies that he won't be coming back. She simply doesn't understand. Jessica leaves Robyn screaming in frustration as she is off to find Kilgrave. (Even though she's completely bonkers, I feel so bad for Robyn. She has no closure.)

Jessica gets into a taxi and is soon at her childhood home. Immediately, ghosts of Trish, Dorothy, and Jessica past appear in the driveway as Jessica remembers the last time she left home. The memory shatters as a pleased Kilgrave walks out of the house to bring Jessica inside. Simpson looks on as all of this happens with no indication of action. Jessica enters the front door and is awash with memory. If Kilgrave has his way, she'll be home for good. (I can't imagine why Kilgrave thinks playing house in her childhood home would be a romantic gesture. He is such a creep!)

This episode deals with hard-hitting issues, especially addressing Jessica and Trish's painful pasts with toxic relationships (parental and romantic). What did you think of this episode and the way it was handled?


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