Oh no. One of the weirdest, most innocent, characters on Jessica Jones faced the psychotic mind of Kilgrave this episode and I was actually genuinely sad to see the result.
There wasn’t a ton of action in, “AKA Top Shelf Perverts,” but the episode was pivotal in setting up the remainder of the season. The closing moments provided the perfect segue for episode 8 and left viewers with the rather unpleasant feeling that Kilgrave is just getting started.
Poor Ruben walks in on Kilgrave snooping around Jessica’s apartment and almost immediately you get the feeling he won’t be walking out. Despite being entirely harmless, his response to Kilgrave questioning his decision to make banana bread for Jessica is perhaps the one thing that would put a target on his back. “Because I love her.” Much like a young boy who refuses to share his new toys, Kilgrave isn’t exactly willing to have another person vy for Jessica’s affections and the slow tilt of his head at Ruben’s soft confession makes it clear that something terrible is about to happen.
Meanwhile, an absolutely hammered Jessica is tailing Wendy to serve her with Hogarth’s divorce papers. Her methods aren’t exactly subtle, are very likely illegal, and involve dangling Wendy over subway tracks and threatening to drop her as an oncoming train is coming. She wouldn’t actually do it though right? Not if she was sober. But again, she’s isn’t, and her whiskey fingers lose their grip on Wendy and drop her. Jessica manages to hop on the tracks herself and get Wendy off them before the oncoming train makes impact, but oh boy do you know this incident is going to come back and bite her (and by proxy Hogarth) in the ass.
After the small snafu, Jessica drunkenly makes her way home and falls into bed… where she realizes Ruben is laying dead with his throat slashed and a knife in his hand.
For one reason or another, Ruben’s death struck more of a chord with me than any of the other mind-control fallouts we’ve seen on the show thus far. I realize that all of Kilgrave’s victims are innocent, completely helpless to his power, but most of those we’ve been introduced to have been seen post-control. We actually knew Ruben. Knew that he was a harmless weirdo who was a genuinely nice individual that baked banana bread for the girls he had a crush on. His death has had the largest impact simply because we knew with certainty that it was undeserved. He wasn’t a threat to anyone, least of all Kilgrave, and got killed because he fell in love with the wrong person.
Jessica seems to be just as impacted, collapsing into tears at the realization that she has both metaphorical and literal blood on her hands.
Malcolm is there to tell her that she hasn’t killed anyone and be the reasonable person who pitches the idea of calling the police but Jessica tells him that there’s no point. She’ll be the one arrested because, though there’s no evidence that she killed Ruben, “This is the third death that I’m directly connected to.”
Ruben’s death prompts Jessica’s newest plan, which involves getting herself arrested and thrown into super max prison. Why? Because she knows Kilgrave will come after her, and the amount of obstacles to reach her in super max would require him to use his powers on tape. Is it a good plan? No, absolutely not. But it’s the best one Jessica can think of that will put an end to the collateral damage that Kilgrave doesn’t mind leaving behind.
Malcolm doesn’t really see it that way, instead focusing on the absolute insanity of the plan and doing his best to talk Jessica out of it. But this is Jessica, super stubborn with super strength, so she ignores him completely and calls the police to find out when Detective Clemons is on duty before leaving the apartment to find herself a lawyer.
Elsewhere, Trish and Will are enjoying the benefits of being two attractive people in a pseudo-relationship. After a round of morning sex, Trish reveals that she’s been doing some digging on Kilgrave and has figured out who the new members of his security detail are. Meaning she’s figured out that tracking them means they’ll likely be able to find Kilgrave and put him away. Will is all for killing Kilgrave but Trish nixes the idea immediately, instead saying Jessica should throw him in the special jail cell. “I want Kilgrave to live long, and alone, and despised until he wants to die but can’t. Because that’s justice and I’ll fight like hell for it.”
Jessica tracks down Hogarth, requesting that she, surprise, serve as her lawyer. Unfortunately Hogarth actually practices law and is just headed into court when Jessica approaches. So instead Jones asks for information, more specifically, “What do I have to do to get locked up in super max by nightfall?” Hogarth informs her that only the worst of criminals get sent there, “top-shelf perverts,” and Jessica tells her to meet her at the precinct at 8PM.
Don’t worry though, Jessica has enough time during all this to pop into Luke’s bar to try and apologize. Of course, he’s not there so she leaves a vague message with the old dude behind the bar before, you know, getting on with the plan.
She doesn’t get on with the plan. Instead she also pays a visit to Trish’s mother (kind of random, no?) and tells her to stay the hell away from her daughter, making it very clear that bad things will happen if she doesn’t. “If you try anything, I will find out, I will come for you, and it will hurt.”
Cut to Trish herself where she’s been summoned by Malcolm to Jessica’s apartment. In a predictable, yet still humorous scene, Malcolm tells Trish he’s going to show her something but she, “Cannot scream.” This earns a scoff, coupled with an eye roll and an, “I’m not gonna scream.”
In Trish’s defense, if I were shown a bloody body on my best friend’s bed, I’d probably scream too. Malcolm clues Trish into Jessica’s awful plan because, having possibly become the smartest and most perceptive character on the show, he knows that she’s the big guns where Jessica Jones is concerned. Trish helps him get rid of the body and clean up the apartment, which is something Jessica is not happy about when she returns home. The two friends share a heart-to-heart where Jessica says the only way to prevent more people from getting hurt is by taking herself out of the equation.
Apparently it’s convincing because when Jessica says, “Tell me where Ruben is,” Trish releases the classic sigh of defeat and two minutes later Jessica is walking into the police precinct and tossing poor Ruben’s decapitated head onto Detective Clemons’ desk.
Yup, that’d classify as a, “top shelf pervert,” kind of crime if I ever saw one.
Hogarth rolls up to Jessica’s interrogation room to try and help her out, you know, since Jessica asked her to, but is promptly fired when she starts being a decent lawyer and almost messes up Jessica’s plan to get arrested and thrown in super max. Jessica then tries to convince Clemons that she’s a danger to society who needs to be thrown in super max and, when he doesn’t buy it, she grabs the metal chair she’s sitting on and bends it every which way, revealing her powers in an attempt to scare him into believing her.
It almost works but then some rando comes in and tells Jessica she’s free to go, making both her and Clemons share a, “WTF,” look of confusion. If Jessica’s release gave you a bad feeling, it was wholly justified because when she and Clemons walk out of the interrogation room and into the precinct their met with the sight of every cop dazedly pointing their guns at one another.
Uh oh take 2.
Kilgrave literally pops up from behind a desk with a chilling, “You had to know I’d come for you.” MAN this guy is creepy. Jessica tells him to get on with whatever he plans on doing to her requesting that he let the others go and control her instead. Something that prompts the absolute most twisted and disconcerting love confession in the history of ever. “I’m not torturing you. Why would I? I love you.”
Jessica is appropriately confused and grossed out by this, staring at Kilgrave in disgust and saying, “You have been ruining my life… as a demented declaration of love?”
Shwaa?!?! No, no, no, Jessica. You misunderstand. At least according to Kilgrave who responds with, “I was trying to show you what I see. That I’m the only one who matches you, challenges you, who’ll do anything for you.”
Chills my friends. That one gave me chills.
The two exchange some more drastically different takes on Kilgrave’s actions before the man himself tells Jessica to, “Look for my present, and when you’re ready, I’ll see you at home.” He proceeds to walk out of the precinct, leaving a group of police men and women laughing maniacally in his wake with no recollection of the evening’s events.
The mysterious present he referenced: Jessica’s old diary.
A diary that leads her back to her childhood home where Kilgrave is waiting to greet her.
“AKA Top Shelf Perverts,” ebbed and flowed in terms of excitement, starting off with a bang during Jessica’s confrontation with Wendy and discovery of Ruben’s body before puttering out and becoming an episode that was more informational than anything. Obviously the final ten minutes were the best of the episode both in terms of character development as well as general excitement. The scenes in the police station provided a chilling insight into the mind of Kilgrave and set up what might be the most disturbing visual of him we’ve seen to date: him waiting in the suburbs to start some twisted life with Jessica.
The moment where the villain’s intentions and reasoning becomes clear is often when he or she becomes the most disturbing, something that holds true where Kilgrave is concerned. His sick notion of love is what he claims has fueled his recent actions, which is just another morbid way of placing responsibility back on Jessica herself. We know that Jessica shouldn’t be blamed for any of the death’s on Kilgrave’s hands but, the fact of the matter is, Kilgrave’s perverted reasoning for all of the torture and pain is that it was all an act of love.
Kilgrave has been dangerous from the start, before he’d even appeared on screen, but this episode makes him even more so simply because we, like Jessica, realize that he isn’t just a horrible person. He is diluted, twisted, and genuinely insane, which means that very little can stop him.
This episode felt like a set-up more than anything, establishing Kilgrave’s motivations and making it clear just what he’s willing to do for Jessica’s attention.
Episode Grade: B-
- The entire sequence in the police station was phenomenal. David Tennant and Krysten Ritter played their parts to perfection and did a masterful job at highlighting how twisted Jessica and Kilgrave’s relationship truly is.
- Again, I knew it was coming but the, “Don’t scream,” “I won’t scream,” *screams* bit between Trish and Malcolm actually did get an audible chuckle from me.
- Though not necessarily a filler episode it did feel like there was a lot of filler in the episode.
- Will is becoming a bit of a nuisance, as is the Hogarth divorce plotline.
- I feel like I legitimately missed something whilst bingeing the show because otherwise Jessica’s conversation with Trish’s mom would have made more sense right? It came completely out of left field for me.
- Anyone catch Marvel legend Stan Lee’s Jessica Jones cameo? Take a closer look at some of the pictures hanging on the wall in the police station during the gun stand-off…
What did you think about the seventh episode of Jessica Jones? Did you think for even a second that Jessica’s super max plan would actually pan out? Sound off on Twitter or in the comments below!