Monday, December 14, 2015

Jessica Jones 1x06 "AKA You’re A Winner" (The Keeping of Secrets) [Contributor: Lynnie Purcell]

"AKA You’re A Winner"
Original Airdate: November 20, 2015

Luke is back in what has to be the most awkward case ever for Jessica. After breaking up with him over her guilt and fear caused by murdering his wife, he comes back into her life with a mission to find a man he’s never even met. Jessica agrees to the case, wanting to pay Luke back for the pain she’s caused him. This leads down the thorny road of the past and the secret that Jessica wants to keep, no matter how often she has to lie to the man she is sleeping with.

I’m going to be honest with you. This was my least favorite episode so far –– and that includes the ones with Officer Whatever. I don’t enjoy the keeping of secrets for drama’s sake, because we all know where that particular plot point will take us in the end. That particular storyline has been used and overused to the point that the end result is no longer a surprise. Someone lies, the person they are lying to finds out, explosion, fallout, possible reconciliation, the end.

What kept the episode from being completely irritating to me was the emotional beats the actors, director, and writer took us through. Jessica is panicking, living through the night of murder via flashbacks and moments of terror, where she uses her coping mechanism to get beyond the panic. She is spiraling once again, her PTSD clawing against the normality she is trying to show Luke. She doesn’t want him to see how deeply her lie stretches her heart. If he does, the truth will come tumbling out of her. She absolutely refuses to allow this to happen, going so far as to leave him to a group of men trying to beat him up in an attempt to find out if someone knows her secret.

She’s running from him yet again, her conscience telling her what her body refuses to acknowledge. The exception is one small moment after they’ve reconnected (body parts). She’s trying to run away from him again, per the usual, and Luke tells her that she doesn’t have to go. For once, she comes back to him and snuggles him hard in what has to be the cutest scene of the series. (This is, of course, excluding any and all scenes with Trish, because she owns cute. She had it patented in 1958, before she was even born.) This is a big step for Jessica. It shows her desire to believe in Luke, to be with him, to let go the past. ... But it is also the wrong step, and it comes back to bite her at the end of the episode in a big way.

It turns out that Luke is looking for Antoine Sharpe, the missing man, as a favor the man’s sister. Jessica thinks that the sister is Luke’s new girlfriend, but his reasoning is placed in the past, not the present. The sister may have something that proves Luke's late wife’s death might not have been an accident. The moment Jessica learns this, she starts spinning, questions and dread playing equal havoc with her world. Krysten Ritter plays the moment really well and shows that Luke finding out is part of her terror in the present. She has faced enough consequences via Kilgrave. Luke is on the trail of his wife’s killer, and she doesn’t know how to admit that she is the one who killed his wife and ruined his life. She doesn’t know how to look the consequences in the eye once more. She’s lost; she’s making the wrong calls in order to protect her secret.

Lies have a way of growing. They fester, they linger, they develop, and one lie typically begets several. Checking those lies becomes increasingly difficult the longer they exist. They also have a shelf life with an expiration date that comes with pain. It is rare that a lie never sees the light of day –– particularly in TV. Once a single thread is unraveled, the rest of the lie comes undone. Jessica learns this the hard way over the course of the episode. No matter how she fights it, the end result is the same. Luke learns the truth.

For once the truth is given by the liar. Jessica comes clean in order to save a man’s life. Luke has it in his head that the bus driver, a drunk, was responsible. He wants to kill him. No matter how much she doesn’t want to face what she did, or re-live the pain, terror, and guilt of the night she killed, the night she was freed from Kilgrave, she cannot let an innocent man die for her crimes. This is the hero and the survivor meeting. It could be argued that she has a death wish –– angering a man who does not get hurt is a spectacularly quick way to die. She would let him kill her, too. It’s clear in the scene that she doesn’t plan on fighting him. She feels like she owes him for what Kilgrave made her do. She can’t hurt the man she has developed very real emotions toward.

Luke takes her to task for her lie on the very spot Jessica killed his wife. He says everything that someone would really say in that circumstance. He lets his disgust, shock, and heartbreak come through in a monologue that has been building since the moment Jessica first stalked him outside his bar. He lays it out to her –– his hurt in every word, the setting painting a tableau of past and present meeting that adds gravitas to his message of pain.

She did the wrong thing. She entered into a physical relationship without telling him about what Kilgrave mad her do to his wife. He makes it absolutely clear that this behavior is not acceptable. His rage builds and expands, cutting her as deeply as the pain of that night so many months ago.

Kilgrave may have made her kill his wife, but it was Jessica's choice to lie about it to Luke. It was her decision to keep the truth from him. Kilgrave’s actions do not justify hers after the fact. Her trauma is not a good enough reason to lie to the man she slept with –– a man she is developing feelings for, and Luke tells her as much. It is best scene in the entire episode, and I breathed a sigh of relief that they weren’t extending the lie for yet another episode. Now their interactions can be weighted with the truth, for good or ill. As it should be.

In a B-plot Kilgrave plays poker, buys a house without using his ability, and a lovely, slow dolly shot of the house and the street outside of it reveals that Kilgrave bought Jessica's old house and probably plans to violate her memories of the place as much as he’s violated her. The guy is super good at being awful and I hate him with the fire of a thousand suns.

Malcolm also appears on the mend and is in the middle of his decision to live so that he can save Jessica. He has clarity for the first time in the series. He’s also desperate to do something about Kilgrave and paranoid to the point of neuroses. Moreover, he takes his new vow to look after Jessica very seriously. He’s defensive and wary. He doesn’t trust Luke when he appears on Jessica’s doorstep. He wants to be sure he’s not under Kilgrave’s influence. This ultimately leads him to confessing Kilgrave’s ability to Luke and giving Luke that thread that just enough tugging on sends Jessica reeling.

And if we desperately needed more reason to hate Kilgrave (spoiler, we don’t) it turns out that the reason Hope was getting an MMA-style beat down in the previous episode was because she hired the woman to do it –– fifty bucks and a pack of smokes is the cost of prison beat downs nowadays. The economy, man.

Hope is pregnant, a result of Kilgrave’s rape, and is desperate to get rid of the baby. She has a constant reminder of what Kilgrave did to her growing inside of her and cannot wait to get rid of it. It’s driving her to extremes. “Every second it’s there, I get raped again and again. My parents get shot again and again.” So Jessica helps her get rid of the baby. She tries to caution her against making such a big choice, but Hope has no doubt. She wants the baby gone, so she takes the pill to abort the baby and Dragon Lady Lawyer Hogarth decides to refrigerate the fetus in what I am sure is relevant and not related in any way to a dead fetus fetish. Hope continues to feel the effects of Kilgrave long after his hold on her is gone and Jessica is continually reminded that there is someone suffering in prison who has her same story. She is reminded that she could be in Hope’s place quite easily. Hope needs Kilgrave caught in order to be freed and it informs most of Jessica’s decisions, subconsciously and physically whenever Kilgrave is near.

Overall, the episode was not my favorite, but the writers hit a lot of plot points that are building the greater arc –– a necessary filler for all television shows –– and the acting remains solid, gut-wrenchingly accurate, and incredibly realistic.

Also, Kilgrave sucks.

Stray Thoughts
  • Luke! I had wanted him back. Maybe not for this storyline, but he remains the best.
  • Malcolm trying to defend Jessica is the best thing to ever best.
  • “If this is a booty call, I like your chances.” Jessica says this to Hogarth of all people. My mind is still reeling.
  • Jessica’s valley girl voice is scary good. I hate it so much.
  • Hogarth wants to get married again to Pam. Pam, you’re too good for Dragon Lady. Just saying.
  • “Jessica Jones, you are a hard-drinking, short-fused mess of a woman, but you are not a piece of s--t.” I normally like when things come full circle. I did not like how he called back to this at the end of the episode. My heart still hurts.
  • “It’s not a competition.” She won’t talk about what happened because she feels like other people have it worse and her crap isn’t as bad, but Malcolm is right. Pain is not a competition. Can I adopt Malcolm into my life now?
  • Is it okay that I love/hate Hogarth?
  • So much sexual tension when riding that motorcycle with Luke. So. Much. Tension.


Post a Comment