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 hires Jessica, resuming their on-again, off-again involvement. Hope is beaten up in prison, but reveals that she paid her fellow inmate to do it when she learned she was pregnant with Kilgrave’s baby. Jessica gets her a chemical abortion, and Hogarth secretly asks for the foetal remains to be delivered to her (ew). When they discover the identity of the man who was driving the bus that Luke thinks killed his wife, Luke plans to murder the man. Jessica stops him by revealing the truth: she killed his wife. Luke is upset. Meanwhile Kilgrave buys Jessica’s childhood home.
So we’re definitely moving into the second act of this series, as Kilgrave pursues his goal of keeping Jessica under his control without the use of his powers. I’m slightly concerned by how much fun Kilgrave is, though. The poker game he was playing in was hilarious, and I didn’t feel too bad about being on his side because he was communing with people who didn’t seem all that nice anyway. Daredevil was definitely improved by making its villain sympathetic, but then he wasn’t a raping, indiscriminate psychopath like Kilgrave is.
Still, the fact that he used the money to buy Jessica’s old house in the suburbs (was it Forest Hills? That’s where Jessica lived – she attended the same high school as Peter Parker) without using his powers makes it clear to that he’s past using them for the thrill of it, and looking for some kind of deeper connection with his prey. That’s interesting in itself, and it’s sure to be his downfall in the end.
As far as expanding the MCU, when Luke tries to hire Jessica she points him in the direction of Angela Del Toro. In the comics, Del Toro is a former Fed who inherited a mystical amulet that gave her the power of the White Tiger. It’s notable in this context because the amulet came from K’un-Lun, which is the same place Iron Fist gets his powers. Foreshadowing or Easter egg? At this point, I doubt even Marvel knows what’s going to be in Iron Fist with that level of granularity. But it would be cool to see her.
The Carl Icahn reference, on the other hand, goes well beyond reference and into in-joke territory. Icahn is a businessman who has been described as a “corporate predator” and who tried to take over Marvel in the late 1990s. He was briefly chairman and a major shareholder but the company was later wrested from him by Ike Perlmutter and Avi Arad. Despite what Jessica says, he’s not yet written a book (at least that I can find).
So, back to the plot – I really enjoyed Jessica and Luke’s stint as partnered-up detectives, giving just the barest hint of what we can expect from Defenders somewhere down the line. Another excellent “Sweet Christmas” moment from Luke as well, as he surveyed the, er, trees. Did I mention I really like Luke Cage? Because I really really like Luke Cage. It’s kind of a problem for me that Jessica isn’t the best character in her own show.
Slightly worryingly, this episode took quite the swerve into melodrama towards the end and potentially botched what should’ve been a good moment. I didn’t find the emotional beat of Jessica’s confession to Luke anywhere near as strong as it should’ve been, largely because I was cringing at the overly predictable nature of it all. The only part of it that was any way surprising was that Luke seemed willing to kill a man, and that doesn’t strike me as at all consistent with his character as portrayed, so I hope they’ll explore that more in the episodes to come. That final line was pretty brutal though, I’ll give them that.
Read James’ viewing notes for the previous episode, AKA The Sandwich Saved Me, here.