Warning: this review contains spoilers. You can find my review of the previous Jessica Jones episode here.
In "AKA Sin Bin", Kilgrave was trapped in a soundproof glass prison, tortured with images from his past, electrocuted, and given a superpowered beating. Yet despite everything, he was still the master of the situation. As Jessica said, "He didn’t have to tell me to do a goddamn thing and he had all the control."
Ever since The Dark Knight, the "villain wanted to be caught" trope has been played out pretty extensively. But Kilgrave didn’t intend to be captured, nor did he have some predetermined escape plan. He got away from an impossible situation using nothing but his cunning and his wits. At the very moment when our heroes thought they’d finally won, one little wrench in the gears sent everything tumbling down like dominoes.
All Kilgrave needed was one thing to go wrong, and the morally dubious Hogarth fit the bill to a tee. Kilgrave’s power is in his words, even when stripped of his mind control abilities. He wormed his way into her mind and got her to do what he wanted through plain old-fashioned manipulation. Hogarth’s divorce plotline had been given a lot of attention throughout the season despite its irrelevance to the main story, but it finally came to fruition when it became Kilgrave’s tool. Jessica Jones played the long game with this one, and it paid off.
Meanwhile, Jessica was searching for her one tool as well, an element that could force Kilgrave to reveal his powers in front of a credible witness. In an intense scene, she tried provoking him herself, but that backfired spectacularly. As satisfying as it was to see her beat him up and throw him against the walls, it was clear he had the upper hand and he knew it. Jessica’s only alternative was to find his parents.
Remember how in my last review, I mentioned that the show at least tried to give Kilgrave a sympathetic backstory? Maybe absolve him of some of his evil by making the parents into the root of it all? Well never mind! Kilgrave was pretty much a demon child all along. And I love that, because it didn’t water him down. I don’t think we can blame the parents for running away, but Jessica was right—it was their responsibility to fix it.
It all led to an incredibly tense climactic scene. Kilgrave confronted by his parents for the first time in decades. Clemons, handcuffed and held at gunpoint so he could witness everything. Jessica, with her hand on the button, ready to electrocute Kilgrave if anything went wrong. And we the viewers, on the edges of our seats, waiting for that same moment. And there it was. Kilgrave outed himself and ordered his mother to stab herself. All Jessica had to do was push the button and—it didn’t work. The button failed, and everything went to hell.
It was such a nerve wracking scene, with the added knowledge that Kilgrave’s escape meant certain doom for Hope, whom Jessica had just dissuaded from taking a plea deal. But it bore unexpected fruit, as we finally learned that Jessica shaking off Kilgrave’s control the night she killed Reva wasn’t a one-time thing. She was immune to his powers. Thanks to that revelation, not only does the past now make sense, but the future promises to be full of interesting developments.
Rating: 5/5 (Perfect)
Notes and Observations
- Simpson taking those pills is the beginning of the end for his transformation into the comic book character Nuke. Are they perhaps setting him up for a future Netflix show?
- I’ve heard people expressing disbelief at the button just happening to fail at that exact moment, but I thought the episode made it obvious that Hogarth sabotaged it. It wasn’t a coincidence.
- The jolt of panic I felt when Kilgrave shouted, "Put a bullet in your head, Patsy!" just shows how successful Trish has been as a character.
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