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[TV Review] ‘Jessica Jones’ Episode 1.08 – “AKA WWJD?”

Jessica arrives at her childhood home, where Kilgrave has been waiting for her with a proposition: give him a second chance.  Join him as a partner and, eventually, a lover (he hopes) and his criminal activity will cease.  For a time, she plays by his rules.  While not really giving him a chance to prove his “love” and “devotion”, she is indeed basically giving him enough rope with which to hang himself.  After all, the man is a sociopath and there’s no changing that.  He might see Jessica as an equal and treat her accordingly (in his own sadistic way), but he certainly fancies himself above all others.

Action took a back seat in this installment and Jones played house with Kilgrave.  It was primarily a “getting to know you” episode, giving us a look into Jessica’s past and the accident that killed her parents and brother.  We were also teased with Kevin (yep, he has a first name) Kilgrave’s own traumatic past.  This is key in understanding both individuals.  Tragedy has shaped both of their lives.  Where Jessica has used her own trauma to attempt to better herself, Kilgrave allowed his to make him bitter and selfish.  He cast off his own deficiencies as the fault of others and embraced his selfishness.  Pair that with the power of mind control and you end up with one seriously damaged individual.

Speaking of damaged, Will Simpson is slowly going off the deep end more and more as time goes on.  In many ways, his relationship with Trish mirrors Kilgrave’s with Jessica.  Trish has taken her trauma and turned it into a reason to find more strength within herself.  Will, however, would much rather ignore his problesm if he can’t outright eradicate them.  He is a walking personification of repression and misplaced anger, which will no doubt send him on the same course that his source material counterpart took.

The cat and mouse game between Jessica and Kilgrave reminds me quite a bit of that between Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter (who Tennant was once courted to play on the recent show) in Thomas Harris’ novel, Hannibal.  Unlike Clarice, Jessica isn’t falling for Kilgrave’s bullshit and tricks.  She is not deprived of her agency and strikes at the exact moment when Kilgrave finally lets down his guard.  When it happened, I caught myself grinning wide and chuckling.  That’s the Jessica that I know and love.  Now your in Jones’ world, Purple Man.

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