Poor Jessica Jones just can’t catch a break. If it’s not one thing causing issues in her life, it has to be another. In “The Sandwich Saved Me”, we learn that our titular character is constantly facing some type of distress, whether it’s in the form of douchebag guys making sexually suggestive remarks to her at the bar, or finding out that her next-door neighbor has been taking pictures of her and sending them to a stalker. Jessica just can’t win. But it’s part of what makes her a hero; she overcomes these troubles in order to come out on top. In this episode of Jessica Jones, we discover just how far she’s willing to go to protect her friends. (spoilers ahead!)
The episode is split up between the flashbacks and the current time period. Flashbacks aren’t foreign territory for Jessica Jones, but this episode’s use of them is very important to the central character’s development. We learn a bit about her family, her general disdain towards the world, her previous stint as a superhero, and her first encounter with Kilgrave and Malcolm. Personally, I think all the flashbacks could’ve been compiled into one separate episode, but the show does a decent job of incorporating them into the current timeline.
The first flashback shows Jessica quitting her job while a manager makes an off-hand remark about her parents. Jessica knocks over a row of filing cabinets on her way out, demonstrating why you shouldn’t talk bad about her family. While we don’t know exactly what happened to her parents yet, it’s obvious that they were killed, possibly due to Jessica’s doing. This isn’t a new trope in the superhero genre. Almost every superhero has a tragic past involving their family, and Jessica is no exception. However, unlike other superheroes, Jessica handles it in a different manner. It’s a more realistic take on the “coping with loss” trope. Someone like Peter Parker overcomes his grief from the loss of his uncle by becoming a vigilante and being a model superhero. Meanwhile, Jessica spends her days drinking, fighting, and having sex in order to combat her grief. It’s pretty awesome seeing this dark, gritty take on the matter.
The next flashback involves Jessica and Trish talking at a bar when they are accosted by a man who tries to pick them up with some sexualized comments (because that always works, right?). Jessica challenges him to the strength-tester game and easily beats his score with her super strength. This is the first time that Trish brings up the concept of being a superhero to Jessica. However, Jessica doesn’t take the advice seriously and shrugs it off. Once again, this is a pretty realistic take on the concept. We don’t know the exact timeline of when this conversation takes place, but if it happened before the events of Iron Man, then it makes a bit of sense for Jessica to brush off the whole idea of costumed vigilantes since they haven’t become the norm yet.
The title of this episode comes from another flashback. Jessica, dressed as a sandwich, is passing out coupons when she saves a little girl from being hit by a car. This is the first time Jessica ever does something remotely superhero-ey in her life, which makes her seriously think about whether she should make a career out of saving people.
Cut to another flashback where we see Trish and Jessica discussing the importance of costumes. Jessica rejects the costume Trish presents to her, mocking it for being impractical, and also shoots down Trish’s idea for the superhero name “Jewel”. Interesting tid-bit for non-comic readers: Jewel was actually the superhero identity that Jessica Jones adopted in her vigilante career in the comics. And that outfit that Trish showed her? Yep, straight from the pages of Marvel comics.
The last flashback of the episode is my favorite. Kilgrave witnesses Jessica saving a man from being mugged, and then uses his powers to convince her to join him, which marks the beginning of their long, complicated “relationship”. As the duo leaves, we see that the man being mugged was Malcolm, Jessica’s junkie neighbor.
Like I said, I think this episode could’ve just been purely flashbacks instead of jumping between several time periods. There was so much more we could’ve learned from Jessica’s past if they had decided to go this route, but for now, I’m fine with what we have. Over the next couple of episodes, the show takes a similar route and splits the episodes between flashbacks and current timelines. Normally, I get tired of this quickly, but Jessica Jones makes it work.
As for what’s going on in the present, Jessica, Trish, and their macho cop buddy Will decide to set up a trap for Kilgrave by using Malcolm as bait. As we found out last episode, Malcolm has been taking pictures of Jessica without her knowledge and sending them to Kilgrave in exchange for drugs.
It’s amazing how David Tennant is able to convey such a menacing attitude even when we don’t hear him say much this episode. There’s a scene where a newspaper vendor yells at him for not buying anything, so Kilgrave casually tells him to throw his coffee into his own face. It’s simple and yet so evil. I love it.
Jessica and her gang briefly capture Kilgrave, but he escapes thanks to his team of bodyguards. Fortunately, Jessica is able to release Malcolm from Kilgrave’s influence and helps him on his road to recovery. But it’s not that easy. Kilgrave calls Jessica and threatens to come after Malcolm unless she sends him a photo of herself each day at 10 AM. Wanting to protect Malcolm, Jessica complies, further demonstrating her willingness to save those around her.
The episode contained excellent performances from everyone involved, but I have to say that Jessica’s neighbor Ruben is a bit annoying. We get it – he likes Jessica. Does he really have any significance on the plot? We don’t need to see him awkwardly attempting to ask her out on a date. In the beginning, it was great seeing Jessica saving him from his abusive sister, but now he seems like nothing more than comic relief.
Otherwise, “The Sandwich Saved Me” was a great installment in the Jessica Jones saga. Let’s hope the show keeps up the momentum!
Final Grade: A –
+ I loved the subtle hints at Kilgrave’s evil nature.
+ Amazing performances from everyone.
+ Loved all of the flashbacks, especially the one with Kilgrave’s first encounter with Jessica.
– Ruben is a tad annoying.
– The episode could’ve been purely flashbacks to help even-out the flow of the story.
– “The Sandwich Saved Me” should be a Jessica Jones comic title.
What did you think about this episode of Jessica Jones? Tell us in the comments or on Twitter!