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REVIEW: Jessica Jones 1×04 “AKA 99 Friends”

Written by Scott Swartz

I really can’t tell what to make of Jessica Jones right now. There is just something about it that I love while at the same time begin to question why I am watching it still. The curse of binge watching, but oh well, on to “AKA 99 Friends” also know as a freaking filler episode. Not quite how I wanted to come off of “AKA It’s Called Whiskey”, but I enjoyed most of my time with it nonetheless. I mean we are constantly reminded of how dangerous Kilgrave is and what a monster he is, yet Jessica is taking the time to work with other clients rather than hunting down the madman who ruined all of their lives. I mean the case was seemingly innocuous and inconsequential to the larger plot and yet we did manage to actually get something out of it rather than have it flounder. That is the hallmark of a really good show.

So, Trish continues to be the most interesting character by a long shot and that says something considering there are a lot of good characters. I love the fact that she is dealing with the fallout of her actions and is still afraid of retribution from Kilgrave despite the fact Kilgrave could now give two shits about her. Trish’s character is probably best represented by her relationship with Will and the conversation they had at gunpoint. It was a beautiful moment that showed two people finding solace in just how badly Kilgrave had screwed with them, especially Will who feels as if he has completely violate his moral code by attempting to murder Trish. Trish on some level wants to forgive him, hence why she opened the door and allowed Will inside, but I can’t believe for a second she is not afraid of what is going to happen the next time she trusts a random stranger.

Where we have the honest and formerly trusting Trish as our moral compass, her polar opposite is our heroine Jessica. To say she is questioning of Audrey when she first approaches Jessica with a case is an understatement but that is to be expected now. I appreciate how cautious Jessica is as she knows anyone could possibly be Kilgrave’d and coming to kill her, and while that is a terrifying prospect it is a little bit overstated in this show. We know how dangerous Kilgrave can be and why everyone is afraid of him, but not every random person can possibly be Kilgrave’d. There has to be a limit to his powers in order to create the right about of tension which is why the reveal of the spy hurts Jessica so much more. It is someone she cares about and knows is a good person, and by revealing this fact we are being driven further and further into paranoia.

While Jessica’s paranoia was interesting a I actually really appreciated the reveal of Audrey’s reasoning for hiring Jessica. We have not heard a ton about how the avengers shenanigans are effecting to common man and to have someone out there actual attempting to hunt down powered people because of the destruction they caused is a really fun turn. The show keeps drawing parallels between Kilgrave and Jessica, and how they constantly leave people in their wake without caring for the mayhem they have caused. Having Jessica not only confront Audrey, but say that if she ever tried something like this again she would kill her was a super strong moment. It helped to show just how exasperated she is in dealing with people and always being suspected of being a bad guy. She is not a real hero to these people, she is just a freak or a mistake that needs to be remedied and that is super depressing to say the least.

The other moment that actually worked was Jessica finding other victims of Kilgrave whether they be simply mugged or have their entire lives ruined. By having that spectrum Jessica is able to see that her so called personal fight and problems have been experienced by many, many different people before her. Sure they aren’t all as bad as what happened to her, but listening to the chauffeur guy talk about how Kilgrave destroyed his family was a master stroke. It once again showed how even if unintentionally in this case Kilgrave’s suggestions have ripples that can destroy his victims lives in awful awful ways. The added benefit of these scenes as that we manage to learn Malcolm is the mole, but they are never really about that. It always comes back to all of the horrible things that have happened to these people and how they are looking to move forward.

Overall it was a little bit of a backslide but that was to be expected considering how good the last episode was.

Final Grade B

+Kilgrave’s victims

+Trish and Simpson’s conversation

+Audrey Reveal

-Doesn’t match the great pacing of the previous episode

-Over emphasizes Jessica’s paranoia

Extra Thoughts

-Malcolm reveal wasn’t exactly shocking, but it does create some good conflict for Jessica

-I don’t care about Hogarth’s divorce. I understand it builds her character but there had to be a better way to get this plot involved

-No Luke Cage, and the episode suffered from it.

About the author

Scott Swartz