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!
All we ask is that if you’ve seen future episodes that confirm, contradict or otherwise twist things we talk about in this piece, please respect people who don’t have the luxury of binge-watching and please don’t put spoilers for future episodes anywhere in the comments. You can, however, swap spoilers in our ‘What Did You Think? post. Thanks.
Luke and Jessica get a lot more involved with each other (sexually). Trish tries to help Jessica prove Hope’s innocence by revealing the existence of Kilgrave, only to find herself almost strangled to death by a Kilgrave-influenced cop. Jessica manages to track Kilgrave down and come briefly face-to-face with him before he escapes. We learn that Reva, the woman Jessica killed while under Kilgrave’s influence, was Cage’s wife.
Ah well, that damaged-kidneys-making-Kilgrave-purple theory was a bust. I guess it was wishful thinking, given how Daredevil similarly did a lot to avoid overtly comic-book visuals (at least up until the ninja showed up.) I can’t blame them for that decision, even if it’s not what I’d have wanted.
So, my reluctance to fully explain Reva Connors in the write-up of episode 2 was the right decision, because episode 3 gave us the connection (one that, in retrospect, you could’ve made yourself if you were quicker than I was). In the comics, Reva was Cage’s childhood friend and love interest, but was killed during a fight between Cage and one of his super-powered foes in his first appearance, Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 (June 1972). In this she’s explicitly his ex-wife.
That leaves us with two questions left to answer: why did Kilgrave want Reva dead (was she just in the wrong place at the wrong time?) and when will Luke find out about Jessica’s involvement? I’m not 100% clear right now whether she was photographing Luke at the start of the series because she knew she’d killed his wife and was keeping tabs on him, because the discovery of Reva’s photograph seemed to come as a surprise. Anyone got any (spoiler-free) theories on that one?
For those wondering, although Luke and Jessica are friends in the comics and he’s a major part of her story, this connection is made up for the TV show.
This episode also opened the can of worms on Marvel references. Talk about the time the city was destroyed by aliens, a reference to “the Green Dude” (do I have to explain that one? Though I like that Cage’s view of the situation is that Hulk’s the main one) and best of all, the discovery that Patsy (sorry, I meant Tricia) Walker used to have red hair, like her comicbook counterpart.
I actually quite like what they’ve done with Patsy Walker here. In the comics she’s in the bizarre position of being a successful character from one genre who inexplicably crossed into another (as we explained in last episode’s notes) so it seems like there, they’re repositioning her as someone who was a famous child star who has since moved into another industry and retained that popularity. I like the take.
And the reason she’s upset with her mother? Well, in the comics it’s because Dorothy Walker promised her soul to Satan (er, really). In fact she did end up in hell for a while, and ended up being rescued by Hawkeye, although he believed he was rescuing Mockingbird at the time. Something tells me Jeremy Renner and Adrianne Palicki don’t need to keep their schedules free for that storyline, though.
Of course, the REALLY big moment in this episode? A perfectly-delivered “Sweet Christmas” from Luke Cage. That, friends, is how you keep the fans happy.
Plot-wise, I liked the tension of anyone-could-be-a-killer, but it’s quite hard to reconcile that with Tricia’s gullibility in letting the cop in. Let’s see some ID? What’s that going to prove? The paranoia works as a plot element (especially after seeing that room full of Jessica’s photos. Start guessing who the cast member with a camera is now!) but now that the ground rules are established, any time anyone unwittingly trusts someone else is just going to look dumb, so that’s going to be a tricky element going forward.
Luke and Jessica’s interactions are what really make this show work, though. Their ambiguous origin comparison chat was good fun, and the sex scenes were about as racy as we imagine the Marvel Universe will ever get. It’s popular to imagine that Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage et al might one day guest in the movies, but I can’t imagine these guys getting within 10 feet of properties aimed at kids after scenes like that.
Conversely, I don’t get Tricia and Jessica’s relationship. Two episodes ago they had been estranged for months, now they’re bickering like sisters, but their lives and personalities are so different that I don’t see how they were ever close, let alone why they still are. Clearly Jessica has changed since Kilgrave, but surely not THAT much. Foggy and Matt, this ain’t. But then, that wasn’t entirely well-realised until the flashback episode, so maybe the writers here will get Tricia/Jessica to the same point eventually.