Week of December 25, 2022:

AKA The Sandwich Saved Me (Jessica Jones s1 e5) released November 20, 2015 (where to watch)
AKA You're a Winner! (Jessica Jones s1 e6) released November 20, 2015
Scott Hardie | January 19, 2023

AKA The Sandwich Saved Me: Another fruitless installment of the ongoing campaign to stop Kilgrave has another "duh, of course" moment at the end, that a man like him would employ private bodyguards. Having to restore mind control over them every 12 hours would grow tedious and leave him vulnerable when asleep, right? The first time I saw this, I fell for it just like the "team" in this episode, but it makes sense.

I appreciate the contrast between Jessica and everyone around her: She has actual super-powers and doesn't want to use them, but Trish desperately wants to be a superhero and pressures Jessica to live out that fantasy, while Will has a twisted, toxically-masculine definition of what a "real hero" is and he's recklessly eager to assume the role, and Malcolm has been through so much hell that he scarcely seems to know or care what concepts like "hero" and "save" mean any more. Consider the many other uses of those words throughout the episode, like Jessica being dressed as a hero sandwich while saving a child, or Kilgrave's chilly "don't play the hero with me" over the phone.

That line comes during the best scene in the episode, when Jessica gives Kilgrave the satisfaction of compliance with his demand over the phone, a moment that Kelly called "terrifying." The foreboding music is especially good there, as is the literalizing of the concept of "shades of gray" as Jessica and Kilgrave's faces keep disappearing into blurry gray shapes in the foreground. I also really liked the scene of Jessica and Will talking at each other through the soundproof glass, each denouncing what they see in the other. What a well-written and well-directed episode. (8/10)

I confess, I'm confused about the timeline. We discover here that when Jessica was first noticed by Kilgrave, it's because she was using her powers to save Malcolm, who she made no indication of recognizing in the moment. Later, Kilgrave turned Malcolm into a junkie to compel his surveillance of Jessica, either selecting him because he already lived next door to her or compelling him to move into the apartment next to her. (She said Malcolm had lived there for four months, which I think places his arrival after she escaped from Kilgrave.) So, if Jessica and Malcolm were indeed strangers on the street that night, then which highly improbable coincidence is it? Either the stranger that she rescued just happened by chance to move into the apartment next to her much later, thus attracting Kilgrave's attention as the ideal person to spy on her, or Kilgrave just happened by chance to pick the one person in New York City to become his slave (and to become Jessica's neighbor) who much earlier had been rescued by Jessica. I don't buy that Kilgrave selected Malcolm on purpose by remembering that night, since Kilgrave didn't pay attention to him, wouldn't have gotten a good look at his face, and couldn't have remembered it so much later.

AKA You're a Winner!: I have already mentioned that I don't like the plot contrivances necessary for Jessica and Luke's TV relationship to happen. This hour, which is all about their relationship, feels like it depends on even more contrivances. How did Reva have a thumb drive that's so important to Kilgrave? Why would Jessica and Luke be so willing to work with the obviously untrustworthy loan shark? How did Jessica believe that she could keep outrunning the truth being revealed to Luke? How did they plan to keep Antoine safe after he's home, since the loan shark presumably will look there first? And maybe most of all, why is Luke Cage, a complicated but utterly good man, willing to murder the bus driver, an act wildly out of character for him? None of this is believable, robbing the final scene between Jessica and Luke of some of its power despite Krysten Ritter giving another great performance.

Furthermore, that marijuana greenhouse might have been the show's laziest set to date. Did some PAs get sent to Home Depot with a hundred bucks to buy some cheap-looking fake plants and wooden boards? And the closing reveal of the street signs is wildly overblown with dramatic music. That said, the hour has one truly sad moment: The ongoing horror story of Hope Shlottman's life takes another dark turn with her pregnancy and the difficulty of ending it. I feel most for her in this series at this point. (4/10)

Scott Hardie | January 19, 2023
This comment contains spoilers for Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. Reveal it.

Scott Hardie | January 19, 2023
This comment contains spoilers for Luke Cage. Reveal it.

Erik Bates | February 14, 2023

I'm with you, Scott, that I fell for the hired team who aren't under Kilgrave's control. It was a clever twist, which I appreciate, if only to further show that there is a chink in his armor.

"You're a Winner" felt like a bottle episode. Oh, hi Luke! You have a mission for me? Yes, there's movement on the overall plot, but like you said, Scott, it felt like a contrived plot device to make it happen. I feel like this show is too good for that.

Scott Hardie | February 19, 2023

That's a great point. This is a show about a private eye, and yet a lover trusting her with an important case still manages to feel like a plot contrivance, given how obviously driven by its own ending the episode is. The show is otherwise so intelligent and richly layered with thematic subtext that this flat subplot feels crammed in just to set up Luke's series, so yes, I agree that this show is too good for it.

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