Jessica Jones 1.04 Review: AKA 99 Friends

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It’s episode four and the paranoia is setting in, for Jessica and the viewer. The more we watch, the more we are pulled in to Jessica’s world, stalked by Kilgrave and waiting for him to appear at any moment. The fact that we’ve seen little of the main villain so far and he looms this large is a testament to writing of the character.

The episode begins with Jessica’s hunt for the person spying on her while simultaneously knowing it could be anyone and everyone. Despite the fear that seeps into the episode, the events that take place are more ordinary than what we’ve seen before. Jessica takes on a new client, Audrey Eastman, who believes her husband is cheating on her. We see Jessica working on the case, following Audrey around the city, all the while waiting for Kilgrave to appear.

Jessica is also dealing with the fallout from Hope’s appearance on ‘Trish Talk’ where she revealed details of her time under Kilgrave’s control. Now dozens of other people are turning up at Hogarth’s law office all claiming that Kilgrave made them commit crimes as well. This leads to one of the funniest scenes in the series so far with different individuals re-telling their obviously made up run-ins with Kilgrave (including one man who seems convinced that he has “red and glowing eyes”). Despite the crazies, Jessica is able to uncover a handful of people who seem to be telling the truth and creates a sort of support group (that she herself wants no part of).

Jessica is single minded to a fault. She can think of nothing but finding Kilgrave and the person working for him. She is so wrapped up in her own mission that she almost forgets the case she is supposed to be working on- until a little girl on the street, under the control of Kilgrave, reminds her. This is a chilling scene. Kilgrave’s forte is playing mind games. He wants and succeeds in reminding Jessica the he is everywhere and sees everything. The scariest part of Kilgrave’s power is that anyone can fall under his control. Anyone can be Kilgrave.

But not Audrey Eastman. Despite Kilgrave’s teasing and the great suspense built up throughout the entire episode, Audrey is not the spy. She hired Jessica because she wanted to kill her for a different reason. In one of the best #ItsAllConnectedMoments, Audrey reveals that she blames Jessica for the death of her mother, who died during the battle of New York. She wants to kill Jessica because she is different and in this post Avengers and Age of Ultron world, different means dangerous.

In turn Jessica lashes out at Audrey and her husband, destroying their apartment while explaining to them that life isn’t fair for anyone. We get another hint at her backstory as Jessica tells Audrey her parents died in a car crash when she was younger. It is a masterfully acted scene by Krysten Ritter displaying Jessica’s full range of of pent up anger and hopelessness.

At the end of her already busy night, Jessica meets with the ‘Kilgrave support group’ in hopes of finding out more information about what he has planned. One man tells a particularly heartbreaking story about abandoning his son just because Kilgrave liked his car. This does nothing to warm Jessica’s heart, she only cares about where he drove Kilgrave, mainly to a meeting every morning where a man would deliver him pictures.

Jessica uses all these clues along with police security footage from her new ally Simpson to discover that the man who has been taking pictures of her is Malcolm, her drug addicted neighbor. The revelation is shocking, to Jessica, but maybe not the viewer. I for one spent a lot of time wondering what the point of Malcolm was up until now and wasn’t surprised when he turned out to be important.

The episode ends similarly to the way it begins, with Jessica unsure of who she can trust. But this time, she is more vulnerable than ever. Kilgrave has targeted a person she is friendly with, a person she thought she could help. Once again, she can’t escape.

Final Observations:

  • This episode is called “AKA 99 Friends.” Jessica’s said she had “99 other friends like her in the city.” Did she make the number up or was she was serious? Who else (besides Luke and Kilgrave) does she know about?
  • Hogarth said Kilgrave was “wasting” his gifts. Not. Cool. I have my eye on you lady.
  • It makes me happy, but concerned that Malcolm didn’t have any pictures of Luke.
  • Since Malcolm has turned out to be someone important I wonder what this means for Jessica’s other neighbor, Ruben.
  • There were some really sweet moments in this episode between Trish and Simpson bonding over their tortured pasts. Hello supporting character romance!

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