Sunday, November 22, 2015

Kilgrave Appears! Jessica Jones Is Vindicated In "AKA It's Called Whiskey!"

The Good: Excellent character development, Good performances, Good plot development
The Bad: How can Trish be so stupid?!
The Basics: Engaging from start to finish, "AKA It's Called Whiskey" progresses Jessica Jones with key plot events and the introduction of an essential new character.

By the end of the third episode of Jessica Jones, I was, honestly, hooked. The series may have gotten off to a rough start (or a beginning that did not hook me the way Daredevil or The Flash did), but the slowly unfolding plot motivated by the well-developing characters got me well before the final shots of "AKA It's Called Whiskey." "AKA It's Called Whiskey" is the third episode of Jessica Jones and it picks up seconds after "AKA Crush Syndrome" (reviewed here!). Those who know the Marvel Universe characters are unsurprised where "AKA Crush Syndrome" ended and for those discovering some of the street-level heroes of the Marvel Universe, the revelation of Luke Cage's literally unbreakable skin is pretty well-executed and cool.

"AKA It's Called Whiskey" both follows the mystery surrounding Kilgrave and how Jessica begins to form her plan to stop him while further fleshing out the Marvel Universe that is building a growing divide between mundane people and the extranormal. While the fear has been growing well in the current season of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., the film elements in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been forced to focus more on the actions of the extranormals and the super heroes, as opposed to delving into any of the effects of their encounters.

Opening with Jessica Jones and Luke Cage having sex - and this time both allowing themselves to be unrestrained with each other and getting fulfilled - Cage and Jones go out to eat and compare notes about their abilities. While tensions in New York rise over Hope Shlottman's claims that she was influenced to kill her parents because of Kilgrave, Jessica meets with Hogarth and Trish. Revealing to Trish that she may have found Kilgrave's weakness in the form of surgical anesthesia, specifically Sufentanil, Jessica is surprised to see just how defended Trish has become in her apartment (which is now like a fortress).

Trish and Hogarth arrange a live remote broadcast of Trish Talk from the prison to try to expose Kilgrave and prove his existence. Jessica Jones returns to Luke after striking out trying to get Sufentanil and tries to explain to Cage what she knows about Kilgrave and his powers. She also struggles to tell Cage about her part in his wife's death. When Trish Talk makes its broadcast, Walker calls out Kilgrave. Kilgrave calls into her show and threatens her. Striking out with her attempts to legitimately get the drug she needs, Jessica uses Malcolm to rob a hospital pharmacy. But no sooner has Jessica gotten the drugs she needs to use against Kilgrave than Trish is attacked in her apartment by a cop who is under Kilgrave's influence and Jessica is forced to use some of the drug to save her sister.

In "AKA It's Called Whiskey" The Hulk is referenced as Cage and Jones exchange truths about their abilities. It is in this episode that we learn that Jones supposedly received her powers from an accident and that there was a period she actively attempted to be a super hero. Cage presents his view - that powers bring out people who either want to kill you or get something from you - and confesses that he just tries to avoid detection. It is an interesting take on the slow rise of people with superhuman abilities and Cage and Jones both seem to have made it work for them.

"AKA It's Called Whiskey" marks the most significant attempt in Jessica Jones thus far to flesh out the character of Trish Walker. Trish used to let Jessica Jones defend her but after Kilgrave and Jones needing to have time apart, Trish began training in the martial arts. In "AKA It's Called Whiskey," Trish Walker is alternately portrayed as brilliant and powerful and utterly moronic. How Walker ever lets Simpson in does not fit. Apparently, it is common enough knowledge that police detectives tend to come to one's door in pairs that the viewers are likely to cry out "Don't let him in!" that it seems awkward that Trish would not know that and would ever let a cop like Simpson in when he is on his own. At the other end, Trish is fearless in the way she calls out Kilgrave and she clearly defines herself as a powerful character who is eager to get to the truth.

Jessica Jones is fleshed out well in "AKA It's Called Whiskey" as a woman struggling with her own secrets. She continues to have flashes of Reva, Luke Cage's dead wife, and even Cage can see that she is struggling to tell him something. Jones exhibits a powerful desire to protect Trish, even when it results in innocent people getting hurt. Jones is once again proven to be smart and resourceful in the way she saves Trish, though given how Simpson simply takes her word that Trish is dead, it seems strange that Jones bothers to drug her sister. The way Jessica tracks Simpson back to Kilgrave is well-executed and illustrates well the power of Jones's convictions. The lengths she goes to to save Simpson's life after he tries to kill Trish is impressive and shows that she has the moral core of a hero.

"AKA It's Called Whiskey" has Jessica Jones following in the pattern set by Daredevil in that it is the first episode with proper appearances by Kilgrave and interactions between Kilgrave and Jessica Jones. In addition to fleshing out the night Jessica Jones was forced to kill Reva Connors, Jones and Kilgrave come face to face - albeit through a window - for the first time since she escaped him. The final chase of the episode is well-executed and tense, despite the fact that viewers will know instantly that it is too early in the season for Jones to actually catch and/or defeat Kilgrave.

The real significance of "AKA It's Called Whiskey" is that it provides Trish Walker with absolute proof as to the existence of Kilgrave. Trish has, presumably, always trusted Jessica for her explanation of the pre-series events with Kilgrave, but in "AKA It's Called Whiskey" Walker hears his voice and is set upon by one of his minions. The encounter with Simpson adds an interesting character to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and explodes the series with potential that leaves viewers eager to see it executed.

All of the performers in "AKA It's Called Whiskey" perform well and David Tennant's first scenes allow the viewers some small hints of his potential in the role of Kilgrave. His performance in the present and in the flashback interacting with Jessica Jones allow Tennant to portray the character with two very different depths. He is overconfident in the present and in the past, he is cold and controlling, allowing the performer to foreshadow that Kilgrave will be anything but a monolithic villain.

"AKA It's Called Whiskey" also confirms all that viewers might hope; that Jessica Jones is a story with rising action and - despite it beginning and ending with Luke Cage and Jessica interacting - it is going somewhere.

[Knowing that single episodes are an inefficient way to get episodes, it's worth looking into Jessica Jones - The Complete First Season, which is also a better economical choice than buying individual episodes. Read my review of the debut season here!

For other works with David Tennant, please visit my reviews of:
Doctor Who - Season 3
Doctor Who - Season 2
How To Train Your Dragon
Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire


For other film and television reviews, please check out my Movie Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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