Monday, February 15, 2016

Jessica Jones 1x09 "AKA Sin Bin" (Slaying the Dragon) [Contributor: Lynnie Purcell]

"AKA Sin Bin" 
Original Airdate: November 20, 2015

The previous episode was all about sympathy for the devil, but "AKA Sin Bin" is about slaying the dragon. The metaphorical dragon being Kilgrave and the abilities he is hiding, the past he is lying about, and Jessica’s need to free Hope.

Kilgrave is locked securely away in the prison that Officer Whatever built for them. The floor is covered in water, the glass is soundproof, and we learn that Kilgrave’s ability doesn’t work through the audio system. Kilgrave is Jessica’s prisoner, at her mercy. But, as Jessica soon discovers, power remains in his hands.

Jessica is more violent than she’s been in the entirety of the season to date in this episode, and understandably so. She has her tormenter within her reach. She can shock him, and does, at the press of a button. Having him close, having him as a prisoner, is not the release she needs, however. He refuses to cooperate; he refuses to confess to making Hope kill her parents. Jessica’s determination to free Hope gives Kilgrave power that someone purely looking for revenge would not have. Throughout the episode it feels as if Jessica is a frayed rope, fraying deeper with each act of violence, her desperation cycling through moments of violence, trusting the wrong person — I’m looking at you Hogarth — and a manic energy that is somehow an extension of where Jessica was only a day before. She has a need crawling inside of her — the finish it, to find peace. The longer she goes without giving Hope that same peace, the more it eats away at her. Everything she’s doing, including torture, is to free Hope.

This drives her to one of the most cathartic and brutal scenes yet. Jessica goes into the cage with Kilgrave. She does everything within her abilities to make him angry, to get a confession out of him. She defies him; she beats him up, using her considerable strength only marginally. And though the moment is meant to be for Hope, you can feel every moment of control that Kilgrave took from her in the crunch of bone and the breaking of skin.

She fails. Kilgrave remains silent. She doesn’t give up, because that’s not who Jessica is. She is stubborn to the point of psychosis. She decides to come at it from another way, and finds the key to perhaps tipping Kilgrave off his axis and getting her confession once and for all.

Jessica finds his parents.

The previous episode, brought to you by Kilgrave’s point of view, suggested that his parents tortured him, hurt him, did horrible experiments on him with no other reason than curiosity. After Jessica tracks them down, the truth comes out that they were trying to save his life. Their experiments had a purpose. Those experiments are what created the monster they learned to fear. His parents were his first victims — live-ins to his sociopathic and psychotic behavior.

The scene that follows, where his parents stop running and hold themselves accountable for their pasts and the man they created, reveals the craziness, the messiness, and the downright weirdness of family. The entire conversation takes place in the prison cell (the sin bin) where Jessica has kept Kilgrave. It shows the boy that was and the parents that helped create him. Then, it shows Kilgrave’s mother do what everyone else in the entirety of the show should have tried from the beginning — she stabs him, then is immediately killed via Kilgrave’s ability. Jessica tries to stop him by using the shocker, but there’s a short. It’s implied heavily that it’s Hogarth’s doing, and I hate her all the more.

There are some other plotlines about Hogarth’s wife, a really weird argument with her fiance that suggests that their relationship is far from healthy, and Jessica’s attempts at getting the officer from the pilot to witness Kilgrave’s story. They are all well done, but the most important thing to me throughout was Trish’s unwavering support of Jessica. She was all in. She didn’t hesitate. She trusted that Jessica wouldn’t kill Kilgrave. She was ready to do what Jessica wouldn’t. This is exactly the love and support Jessica needs.

But perhaps the most important thing to come out of the entire episode was the dragon that Jessica managed to slay at episode’s end. After a brief fight with Kilgrave, where he tells her to let go of him and she doesn’t, Jessica realizes that Kilgrave no longer has power over her. Her worst fear, the fear that he would control her and use her to hurt innocent people, is gone. The last scene is Jessica smiling while covered in blood, firm in the knowledge that she now has an arsenal with which to face Kilgrave. The moment is a culmination of everything the season has been building to, and a really great physical representation that shows the ways in which Jessica has already won.

Stray Thoughts:
  • Some great lines: “Smile, Kevin.” “Was Murder Corpse already taken?”
  • Jessica shocks Kilgrave. Yay!
  • God, I love/hate, Hogarth. She’s gonna be season two’s villain, right?
  • The DA offering Hope a plea bargain right when Kilgrave was captured was all very convenient and tropey.
  • Officer Whatever acts like he has more of a right to kill Kilgrave than Jessica does. This is super irritating. Also, he’s, like a super soldier, or something? *shrugs*
  • “The real world is not about happy endings. It is taking what you have and fighting like hell to keep it.” So true, so honest.
  • Malcolm calls out Jessica on her crap and forever remains my sweetheart.
  • “I wish I had the mother of the year award so I could bludgeon you to death with it.”
  • The blood on Jessica’s face when she realizes that she’s free of Kilgrave’s powers mirrors the blood that was on her face when she killed Luke’s wife. Nice callback, Jessica Jones team. Aces.


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