I love how short and to the point this series is with a lot of its backstory. Sure, we get glimpses of Jessica’s time with Kilgrave here and there for context in terms of her PTSD, but when it comes to other things, more is said with looks and phrasing than in long expositional monologues. Take for instance, the moment when Jessica and Luke explain their powers to one another…
“Where you born with yours?”
“No, accident. You?”
Boom. Done. Sure, you don’t get their full bio, but you don’t need it. At least not right away. A lot is conveyed in similar ways. Jessica’s relationships with Trish and Jeri. Jeri’s relationship with her wife. And, of course, the disdain and lack of caring with which Kilgrave treats everyone he abuses. Melissa Rosenberg trusts her actors to convey more through emotion and body language than words and it’s a breath for fresh air.
This installment saw Jessica attempting to find ways to clear the name of Hope Shlottman (Erin Moriarty), the subject of her original case at the start of this. Hope gunned down her own parents at the behest of Kilgrave and has been locked up since. Jessica reaches out to Trish for help in shifting the public perception of Hope’s situation. The result is Kilgrave going on the offensive and Trish getting a solid reminder of why he should be feared.
We are treated to quite a bit of action as Jessica takes on slaves of the Purple Man in her attempt to capture him. Unlike most superhero scenarios, these aren’t just hired thugs that can be tossed around with little thought. They are innocents under a form of mind control and cannot help themselves, so a slightly more delicate (though still violent) touch is needed to subdue them. It’s an excellent way to have stakes in a scenario where you know that our heroine can’t be harmed easily.
Speaking of new territory to be blazed within the MCU, we were given double the superhero sex this week, now that Cage and Jones both know each others secret. Both passionate and humorous, superhero sex isn’t something that we have seen much of onscreen at all, let alone within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While the films have to keep things at least somewhat family-friendly, these Netflix series can go as adult as they want.
Netflix is pretty much the Marvel Knights area of the onscreen adaptations and it’s nice to have that option available. “Daredevil” certainly had the violence covered and while some of that exists here to, this series isn’t really pushing the envelope in that regard. At least not so far. Sex is the trail blazed here, leaving me to wonder what “Luke Cage” will tackle next year. Just a bit of both, or will language be added to the menu? Only time will tell.
Oh, and I absolutely loved the context in which Cage finally dropped his catchphrase for the first time in the MCU. It made me grin from ear to ear. Same goes for the introduction of Will Simpson (Wil Traval). Another character who, like Trish Walker, has a rough road ahead of him if the source material is followed.
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