Sunday, January 31, 2016

Jessica Jones Recap: "AKA The Sandwich Saved Me" (1x05)

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. 

18 months ago

The episode opens with a flashback. Jessica is in an office somewhere playing a game of catch against her computer screen with a giant ball of rubber bands. (I don't know what she does at this company, but I think it would probably drive anyone to office supply sculpture.)

"Do you think rubber bands just buy themselves, Miss Jones? Last week it was a 20 foot chain of paper clips..."

Her manager seems less than pleased with her performance as an employee, just as she seems displeased with the job to begin with. In a tit for tat response, Jessica pulls out a list of damning financial records that point to her boss skimming off funds for his own personal use. He's even created a fake employee to help cover his tracks in funding weekly trips to Atlantic City. Mid-level manager Mike (he doesn't have a name) is peeved to say the least, calling Jessica a budding extortionist in reference to her price for keeping quiet. However, he goes too far in sarcastically saying that her parents must be proud of her. That kind of insult never seems to go well when directed at an orphan. In response, Jessica punches an entire row of filing cabinets into a resulting domino effect. 

"And the job was siphoning your soul through the Xerox Machine?"

"No, that was the last one, this one was sucking my brain out through the air vent."

"Bullshit, hey, you're good at bullshit!"

Their witty exchange is interrupted by a cocky young guy with a mind to score with the lovely Miss Walker. Trish is forced to endure a rendition of the television show that made her a child star paired with tasteless innuendo. (If someone did this to one of my friends, I'm not sure I'd handle it as cooly as Jessica, I'd probably make some remark about shoving his "bald headed bishop" where the sun doesn't shine.) 

Jessica counters with an offer to play him at the strength tester in exchange for leaving the girls alone and picking up their tab. He screeches like a velociraptor and punches the bag straight  back into the machine. Jessica smirks and makes a comment about just how hard it looks, and he comes back with another innuendo. She proceeds to practically break the machine. The man mumbles an apology and backs away, tail between his legs. 

"She did the 30-day shred. Jillian Michaels changed her life."

Trish asks Jessica if there's more to what she can do with her powers than just well...stuff like this. What if Jessica were to give the whole "being a hero" thing a try? She replies that it's not that simple;  Trish expresses that if she could be a hero, she would. 

"Do you want to know how to be a hero?" *Stands up and yells* "Shots on Trish Walker everyone!"

End Flashback

"There's before Kilgrave....and there's after Kilgrave."

Following last episode's revelation, Jessica and Trish are on Malcolm's Facebook page (or whatever they have in the MCU). They're both in shock over the rapid transformation that's occurred since Kilgrave gained control over him. A mere six months prior, he looked happy, healthy, and hopeful. (He looks like the type of guy who'd own a coffeeshop or be in grad school for something like counseling.) 

"I hear him shuffling down the hallway at a quarter to ten every morning like clockwork."

"Junkie's aren't known for keeping that regular of a schedule."

"I never thought too much about it but--"

As Jessica and Trish discuss Malcolm's habits, the camera follows him down the street on one of his morning outings. We soon see that Jessica is also following him. (Seriously Marvel, a baseball cap and a hoodie don't make a person look that inconspicuous.) Malcolm appears to be waiting for some sort of signal. He receives the (yet to be revealed) signal, then proceeds to an area where people gather to play chess. Kilgrave awaits him as if they were simply meeting up to play a match.  Jessica begins naming streets to ground herself as Kilgrave passes an envelope of heroin to Malcolm. 

The tumblers are starting to click. Jessica notes that Malcolm moved in down the hall only four months ago. She and Trish are realizing the full scope of just how far Kilgrave went to make the perfect spy. 

"Everybody dismisses a junkie."

Trish and Jessica agree that Malcolm needs to get out of the situation. Somehow. 

The next morning Jessica waits for Malcolm to leave his apartment and heads into the elevator with him. The usually friendly pair stands in silence until they exit the building. Jessica feigns heading the opposite direction and tells Malcolm to "hang in there". Luckily for Jessica it's easy to blend into the crowds of New York and the person she's following isn't that observant. After watching for a while, she realizes that Kilgrave is giving  Malcolm instructions of where to meet him through passersby. She then witnesses Kilgrave stealing a bunch of magazines from an understandably peeved vendor. His response is to make the vendor throw piping hot coffee their own face. (Also, Kilgrave calls Malcolm "junkie" as a nickname; he's just a dehumanizing piece of scum.)

Back at the apartment, Jessica unsuccessfully attempts to get in touch with Trish. She hears a knock at the door and is immediately defensive.(Who wouldn't be in her shoes?) It's Ruben with a freshly baked loaf of banana bread. Jessica takes this act of neighborly kindness (or puppy love) in stride and tries the bread despite claiming not to like it. (Ruben sees this through the window. Jessica is definitely a nice person, but she'd never admit 


"Just don't tell my sister."

(Well, now we know why Trish isn't answering the phone.) Apparently, it's Trish's turn to shake some drawers loose, with Officer Simpson nonetheless. Trish untangles herself, slips on a robe, and lets Jessica in the door. The two jump right in to discussing Jessica's discovery and how exactly it will help them take down Kilgrave.  A boxer-brief clad Officer Simpson chimes into Trish and Jessica's conversation with his own take on the events. Jessica is surprised and seemingly irritated at Trish's choice in adult playtime partner. This finds its way into the discussion. It is clear that Jessica thought that it would be she and Trish against the world, like always. Yet, Simpson has experience in Special Ops and has a lot of advice and expertise to offer. 

"Hey, last night was fun, but that doesn't mean I want your opinion." 
(He does seem a bit presumptuous about being involved with this plan.  However, I think Jessica and Trish aren't thinking that he's personally invested in the whole Kilgrave situation beyond a relationship with Trish. Can you imagine how frustrating it must have been for an individual so typically capable to have been rendered helpless by a madman? I think Trish and Jessica's situation is only a fuel to a fire that's already burning.)

He quickly admits to having jumped the gun but obviously wants to be involved. 

"I don't need you!"

"Um,yeah you do."

"No, she doesn't--but seriously, he could be useful."  

The trio stands for a moment in tense silence, but,Trish has to be on air and needs to leave. Simpson and Jessica stand for another moment staring each other down. Simpson expresses the need to put on a pair of pants, and it seems that the pair have formed a begrudging partnership. This new team has a dual purpose, going after Kilgrave and coming together for the sake of Trish's feelings (has to be on some level). 

(Haha, I love his car--admittedly, it's a bit too memorable to be stealthy.)

Simpson has a plan. (I feel like this is the guy you want to have on your side during the apocalypse.) He knows of an abandoned CDC facility with a hermetically sealed room, soundproof too, and seemingly perfect to store Kilgrave. Jessica thinks he knows nothing, but Simpson does have a good point. They need a bit more time.

The two spat over the mechanics of who takes Kilgrave and how. They argue through soundproof glass, and they truly let what's been on their minds out: frustration. Simpson thinks that Jessica has no idea what a true hero actually is, and she theorizes that he may have taken things too far and killed a ton of people, resulting in his ejection from Spec Ops. The exchange ends with Plasticine smiles and thumbs up. 

The following flashback gives us a glimpse of what we've been waiting for: Jessica using her powers to do good. Although dressed as a sandwich and working an unfulfilling job, something about Jessica just seems different. 

"Two for one hoagies all day!" 

Jessica runs into the road to stop a taxi from hitting a little girl, resulting in the episode title. She smiles as the little girl is reunited with her father and the scene fades. 

Jessica and Ruben open the elevator to find Malcolm unconscious on the floor. Ruben worries aloud that they should take him to the hospital, Jessica insists on taking him home instead. (I think she's seeing the urgency of getting Malcolm free of Kilgrave... and heroin for that matter.) Ruben breaks the resulting awkward silence. 

"You want to go to movie sometime?"  

(Aww, Ruben. I don't think Robyn would be too happy with this development...then again, Jessica doesn't seem too enthusiastic either.) 

We are reunited with Simpson and Trish as they go to pick up the van. Simpson has done some digging into Trish's past, and she seems uneasy with his questions about Jessica. It's clear that the two aren't quite cohesive with communication as of yet. 

"Do you trust me?"

Simpson agrees with Trish's assertion that all three of them are most likely decent human beings, and they move on to what comes next. 

Jessica is watching over Malcolm in his apartment when she receives a call from Hope. This brings about a visit to a sickly-looking Hope who is desperate for money and losing faith in Jessica. 

Another flashback shows Trish, seemingly a lot more enthused by the superhero idea than Jessica is. This is a wonderful and hilarious nod to the comics. Jessica hates both her comic alias and the costume. 

"Jewel is a stripper's name, a really slutty superhero. Besides, if I wear that you're going to have to call me cameltoe."

(I like these flashbacks, it serves to frame Jessica well as she's becoming determined and motivated to do good for those around her again. Embracing heroism isn't easy for her, but people like Hope and Malcolm reminds her why she must.)

The episode is finally at the point we've been waiting for: their attempt at capturing and incapacitating Kilgrave is at hand. A glimpse of snarky banter in the van confirms that the mission is all that's keeping Simpson and Jessica from openly berating each other. There's no time for arguing over Trish when there's a manipulative evil genius to take down. 

"If Kilgrave gets me--"
"I'll take you out."
"I was going to say dart-gun me, but sure, shoot me in the head."
"Me too."
Jessica's eyes are on Malcolm as she waits for him to receive instruction. She follows closely and keeps her cool while locating Kilgrave. Things seem to be going according to plan--until a balloon pops and gets Kilgrave and others' attention. Jessica is left with no choice to distract him so that Kilgrave doesn't have a chance to see Simpson taking a shot. 

Malcolm is apologetic but Jessica's attention is shifted away from that as two muscular men have arrived to "help". Her quick thinking enables her to incapacitate them and draw the attention to the men instead.
"Help, they just attacked my brother!"
She escapes with Kilgrave as quickly as possible but not without turning a few heads. The trio make it to the warehouse and are cautiously celebratory. Jessica discovers a tracking device inside Kilgrave's coat, and all hopes for a smooth operation are dashed as vehicles approach. Armed with giant taser poles, the body guards render Trish unconscious and manage to keep Jessica and Simpson busy as others retrieve Kilgrave from the back of the van. The body guards speed off and leave one of their own behind. Trish blames herself, but Jessica isn't having it, and Simpson attempts to be encouraging. 

Simpson insists on interrogating the leftover body guard, it is soon realized he knows almost nothing about Kilgrave. Simpson isn't so sure and wants to continue.

Jessica rebuffs his thought that they should both seek out Malcolm and insists on dealing with him herself. (I would too after seeing Simpson go Rambo so many times. No matter what he did under Kilgrave's control, Malcolm is still Jessica's friend and deserves her help and sympathy.)

(This next part is heartbreaking, considering that we now know a bit of Malcolm's past.)

Jessica hears Malcolm fighting with someone in his apartment and quite loudly at that. We the viewers know that this is a tad unusual. She barges in to find a drug dealer pointing a gun at Malcolm and proceeds to take the slight female out by shoving her out of the apartment. This results in an altercation between Jessica and Malcolm as she keeps him from going after the dealer. Malcolm is intent on getting his way

"You can't save me-- You can't save me again..."
(Again, what is...Oh my gosh, this seriously isn't happening.)

The next flashback opens with Jessica witnessing a mugging, which she quickly deescalates by peeling the muggers off of the person they're attacking. Suddenly, an all too familiar voice and presence fills the frame: Kilgrave. This is clearly the moment in which they first meet and when she first falls under his control. 

"You are a sight to behold, isn't she amazing?"
"Leave him, he's fine." "Yeah, he's fine." 

Kilgrave seems surprised and nearly scoffs at Jessica's reasoning toward saving someone from a mugging and her overall laid back attitude toward her powers and identity. He is enchanted as if she were some new toy, and that is exactly as he views her.

"There's a fantastic Szechuan place around the corner. You like Chinese. Come on, I have to know everything about you."

Just like that, and she's under his spell.

If you hadn't already guessed it, the man she saved from the mugging was in fact Malcolm. The fact that Kilgrave went that far to find someone connected to Jessica's life to hurt her just astounds me. It's not that I didn't think he was incapable of that, it's just a marker of how truly sadistic he is as an individual. Who better to hurt Jessica than someone she saved? What better use of a figure from her life to make her feel even more marginalized and weak?

Modern day Jessica has chained Malcolm to a pipe in his bathroom to ride out his withdrawal. Jessica is taking time to remind Malcolm of who he was and still is. She knows at least some of the guilt and self blame he must feel due to her own experiences and wants to help with that part of the battle. Yes, Malcolm has demons that only he can face, but having someone on your team certainly must help. Kilgrave got Malcolm hooked on Heroin so he would have a reason to meet him every day even if his controls had worn off. 

"You're right, I can't save you."

Jessica has the perfect answer for Malcolm. 

"The whole time he had me, there was some part of me that fought... and I'm still fighting, I won't stop fighting. But if you stop fighting, I lose. Do you get that? He did this to you to get at me, to isolate me, to make me feel like an infection. One more person dead or dying because of me. So why don't you remember how to be a goddamn human being again instead of being this self-pitying piece of shit he turned you into and save me for once?"
There's just something poignant about the way Malcolm slams the toilet lid down and stares at the drugs after Jessica asks him to choose. She's giving him the same opportunity she had, the same choice she had to make in the first episode. Will Malcolm become a hero again? In a different realm of course, but social workers have their own special set of superpowers. It wouldn't surprise me to see Malcolm defeat this after being reminded of what he started out wanting to fight for in the first place. 

The next few scenes take place rather quickly, there's not much of their significance known as of yet. Trish stands against a wall and loads a revolver, obviously deep in thought. Then, we watch Hope being beaten mercilessly by Sissy, a fellow inmate, while under the slightly purple glow of the light of night time. 

The scene shifts to Kilgrave, now awake and a bit worse for the wear. He walks across the room and watches himself in the mirror for a moment, then yanks what appears to be a tooth free from inside of his mouth.(I really couldn't tell if it was from his gum, cheek, or lip from the angle of the shot.) He chuckles, and, as we soon see, decides give Jessica a call to comment on the encounter. Kilgrave seems almost content to converse entirely with himself; this isn't surprising coming from a man who can't interact with anyone without controlling their brain. He seems befuddled, excited, and somehow encouraged that Jessica didn't kill him. Perhaps he thinks there's still hope that his claws have left their mark? 

Kilgrave then goes into his shtick of trying to make Jessica feel like he's in control, even when he isn't.  He  claims that letting Jessica save Malcolm was his idea all along. He then proposes an offer: he will continue to leave Malcolm alone if Jessica sends him one picture a day, preferably smiling. (Oh my gosh, it creeps me out so much when he's just staring at the camera like that. I also hate it when he just refers to Malcolm as "the junkie."Again, this only serves to confirm how egocentric Kilgrave actually is--other people are simply his playthings.)

"Come on, Jessica, tell me we have a deal...Let me hear your voice."

Jessica hangs up on him, much to the relief of all, but that relief is stunted by a text message from an impatient Kilgrave. Jessica goes in to check on Malcolm and is weighing her options when she notices that he's thrown the heroin baggies into the toilet and the still unopened syringe is on the counter. Jessica decides that it's better to not take a chance and sends Kilgrave an unsmiling selfie, ending the episode. 

What did you think of "AKA The Sandwich Saved Me?" What changes are you noticing in Jessica as the season goes on? Are they good changes?  Feel free to share in the comments. 


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