Jessica Jones episode 12 viewing notes: AKA Take A Bloody Number
By its penultimate episode, Jessica Jones' plotting has tightened back up. Here are James' viewing notes for AKA Take A Bloody Number...
Marvel’s Jessica Jones is available to view now on Netflix, and as with Daredevil we’ll be providing (mostly) daily episode-by-episode coverage for those who want to follow it with us. Each instalment of these viewing notes will look at how the show’s plot, characters and story relate to the comic source material, providing background information and pointers for those who want to know more.
Please note that while we might occasionally reveal the way plots developed in the comics, we are trying to be sensitive to any surprises the TV show may have in store. These notes are written immediately after the episode is watched, so any speculation about the way the story may go is purely that!
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Jessica brings Luke back to her apartment and encourages him to sleep off Kilgrave’s influence, which dwindles after 12 hours. When the time limit has passed they go looking for Kilgrave. Luke forgives Jessica for what she did, re-kindling their romance. But when they find Kilgrave, it becomes clear that Luke is still under Kilgrave’s control – he’s boosted his powers with the help of his father. He orders Luke to kill Jessica, and they fight. Eventually she shoots Luke in the head with a shotgun, which doesn’t damage his unbreakable skin, but does stop him cold. Meanwhile, Trish meets with her mother and finds information linking the company that experimented on Simpson with Jessica’s powers.
Okay, so I think it’s fair to say that as the end of the series approaches, this plotting has at least tightened back up. I’m a little sceptical about the introduction of shadowy company IGH this last in the game, but I suspect what we’re seeing here is world-building rather than a last-minute plot element. It’s fair enough that they might want to set up a new thread for the next time Jessica’s on screen, whether that’s a second series of her own show or on Luke’s.
Jessica telling Luke that the videos on Kilgrave’s data stick were “meant for him” is intriguing, not least because there’s a huge dangling plot thread here about how Reva managed to cross paths with Kilgrave anyway. If I had to guess, I’d say IGH are also tied to the origin of Luke’s powers and Reva was maybe searching for information about those. Perhaps we’ll find out in the next episode. Part of me expects Luke’s series to involve searching for these kids, though maybe that’s too conventional a plot structure for a Netflix Marvel show.
The reveal that Luke was still under Kilgrave’s thrall was well-handled, if not entirely out-of-the-blue. It does raise questions about how far in advance he can programme people, especially since we know there are loopholes in how people can interpret his instructions. Still, it works thematically for Kilgrave to have taken over Luke, and it finally gives Jess the super-powered fight scene that I assumed would have been Simpson’s.
The odd thing here is that they didn’t wrap Luke’s fight up with Kilgrave’s capture and/or defeat. I can’t imagine they’ve got plans to have another brawl on this scale in the final episode, so there’s a danger that it could be anticlimactic. Unless Simpson comes back, I suppose, but based on the efficiency with which he was dismissed I’m not expecting that. Maybe Trish Vs. Jessica would work, if she still had the Nuke pills, but that seems like even more of a stretch. At this point I’ve got no clue how they’re planning to top the stakes of this episode’s action scene.
Again, it’s pretty clear to me that Jessica Jones isn’t that interested in referencing the comics as densely as Daredevil (and to be fair, there aren’t anywhere near as many Jessica Jones comics as there are Daredevil ones, so that’s understandable) but there is one thing worth picking up in this episode, and that’s that in the comics, Purple Man hasn’t had a lot of success controlling Luke.
They’ve met a couple of times, but the first time after Jessica and Luke got together was in New Avengers #2 & #3 (2004) when, during a prison riot at The Raft, Kilgrave ordered Luke to kill his fellow Avengers and then himself… only for Luke to inform Kilgrave that his powers had been supressed with drugs. This happened while Jessica was still pregnant with Luke’s baby and as you can imagine, he didn’t take it very well.
So, one more episode to go. It’s been bumpy, but mostly good. I’m relatively sure we’re in for a decent ending, but I’m not sure what I’m hoping for out of it. As I said in the review for the last episode, Jessica’s heroic arc has already terminated in failure, so I guess the only option left is revenge. Which may not be heroic, but at least it’s pretty clear what needs to happen to reach that goal, at least in narrative terms.
The big question I’ve got, though, is whether Luke and Jessica work stuff out. If he didn’t mean what he said to her while under Kilgrave’s influence, what does he actually want to say to her? The optimist in me hopes that his experiences will have given him a little more understanding of Jessica’s position, but given the way this series has been progressing I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he threw her in the East River with a pair of concrete boots. Maybe we’ll get something in between those two extremes.
Read James’ viewing notes on the previous episode, AKA I’ve Got The Blues, here.