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REVIEW: Jessica Jones 1X09 “AKA Sin Bin”

Ho. Lee. Sh!t.

We’ve seen Kilgrave do some pretty horrific things on Jessica Jones, but the final few minutes of, “Sin Bin,” might have provided the most traumatic scene of the series to date… which is saying quite a bit considering we’ve previously watched a man bash his head repeatedly against a pole, a man throw scalding hot coffee in his own face, and an entire police precinct turn their guns on one another.

Oh yeah, we also watched a girl murder her own parents.

At this point every episode of Jessica Jones has brought with it a new horrific visual, but the closing moments of, “Sin Bin,” brought a whole new meaning to the term, “family drama,” and another terrifying visual that’ll no doubt produce a few nightmares.

Spoilers ahead!

We start off cheering in victory at the sight of Kilgrave locked up in the special room that Simpson designed for the sole purpose of keeping the master manipulator from influencing anyone else. Jessica has him right where she wants him, defenseless in a room full of water while she’s sitting dry with her hand on a mysterious red button.

Obviously, despite what Kilgrave seems to still be delusionally thinking, he and Jessica do not make a good team. But boy are they a fun pair to watch. Kilgrave is wrong about most things in my book, but there is an underlying truth to the fact that he and Jessica are the only people who come close to matching each other in wit and power, something that the opening of, “Sin Bin,” reaffirms through a vocal sparring match that is like a rapid-pace version of Pong.

Though, by the end of the scene, Jessica is the clear winner of the battle of the one-liners. “Kilgrave? Talk about obvious. Was ‘Murdercorpse’ already taken?”

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While watching Jessica hurl insults in Kilgrave’s direction was fun, there was an actual purpose behind their exchange: she wants him to confess, on camera, that he was responsible for the death of Hope’s parents and all of the other horrific things that have occurred. Kilgrave is as smarmy and unwilling to comply as ever and instead describes his skewed version of his first interaction with Jessica, ending his twisted story with a description of how he and Jessica made, “Sweet, sweet, love.” Then…

BAM!

Jessica takes him out with one slam of the red button and one snarky, “Forgot to mention. The water in your room is a conductor to an open wire. It was jerry-rigged by a former spec-ops interrogator. Clearly he knows his shit.”

It’s a clear display of power, and an even clearer threat that Kilgrave responds to with a rather childish bit of name-calling. But Jessica, aware that she’s finally got the upper hand, barely bats an eye as she replies with, “This bitch is in control of you now asshole.”

While Jessica is trading barbs with her nemesis, Trish is racing through New York with a bloody Simpson trying to get him to a hospital before he bleeds out (cause, you know, annoying neighbor lady tried to blow him up last episode). He’s adamant that he can only be taken to one doctor and poor Trish is stuck trying to figure out how to make it happen. Kind of difficult when said doctor isn’t actually listed as someone who works at the hospital Simpson demands he be taken to. It’s totally chaotic but the mysterious doctor eventually rolls up, is super dodgy, and tells Trish to leave. At first she goes through the standard, “What? Umm… no my almost killer-turned-pseudo-boyfriend is injured so I’m gonna stay here,” before Simpson tells her to go to the tricked-out jail cell since Jessica and Kilgrave will likely be there.

Well, obviously: Jessica > Almost killer-turned-pseudo-boyfriend in Trish’s eyes so she leaves Simpson in the super suspicious hands of Dr. Koslov and bounces to go find her best friend.

What’s going on with Hogarth during all this?

So glad you asked.

Apparently Jessica requested her presence in the suped-up prison and she’s kind of surprisingly horrified to see the state Kilgrave’s in. Seriously? Hogarth has done some despicable things but she winces at the sight of Kilgrave getting a little shock therapy?

Anyways, after pointing out that a confession under duress is inadmissible, Hogarth reveals some good but mostly terrible news to Jessica: Hope has been offered a plea deal where she’ll get 15-20 rather than life in prison for her parents’ murders. Jessica is having none of that since she’s this close to getting Kilgrave to admit responsibility, so requests in a demand kind of way that Hogarth babysit Kilgrave while she tracks down Detective Clemons to convince him to witness a confession.

Spoiler within this section of spoilers: he’s not convinced.

It’s more of a bummer than an outright blow because Jessica just heads straight back to the super-cell and decides to get in the ring herself. Projecting the videos of Kevin being experimented on hadn’t made any headway so Jessica enters the locked room with Kilgrave and starts taunting him, belittling his mind and *gasp* his ‘Slim-Jim’ manhood in an attempt to have him turn his powers on her. At this point Trish has joined the party and is ready with her hand on the red button to take Kilgrave or Jessica out should either go too far.

Which Jessica does.

She pummels Kilgrave repeatedly, to the point where Hogarth leaves because she doesn’t want to be an accessory (Yes, hi, you are already way past accessory at this point) but Trish knows that Kilgrave’s refusal to be baited is just another one of his plays. But, despite her conviction, Jessica’s beat-down gets too intense for even Trish to handle, and she presses the button and takes out both friend and foe alike.

Again, just a small bump in the road because Jessica’s already on to plan #637. She uses her P.I. skills, and honestly just her basic observation skills, to piece together the fact that Kilgrave’s mother is in town and is fact a member of the, “Kilgrave made me do it,” support group. Dun-dun-dun!

Jessica rolls up to the next meeting, chiming in with, “Dude, you lost a jacket, move on,” when that one guy starts talking, but perks right up when Kilgrave’s mom joins the fray. Using her less-than-subtle tactics, Jessica gets her to hurry away, and promptly follows her to a motel where… Kilgrave’s father is as well. Turns out the second they heard about Hope’s situation, they knew their son was involved and came to Hell’s Kitchen to scope things out.

Jessica chastises them for their treatment of Kevin but they counter it with the claim that they were saving him because he was sick. They loved him dearly and stuck with him, even after his powers became known, until a tantrum turned into a command that left Kilgrave’s mother visibly and emotionally scarred. The incident caused them to flee in fear, running from a monster that they created. The story is convincing enough to give Jessica a new idea and she decides that Kilgrave’s parent should be responsible for stopping what they started.

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Jessica returns to where Hogarth is once again babysitting Kilgrave in the cell, telling the lawyer that they’ll soon have proof of Kilgrave’s powers. She brings in his parents and watches as Kilgrave comes face-to-face with them for the first time since they’d left him. It’s a pretty poignant moment for all involved parties and immediately sparks one heck of a bad feeling. Clemons shows up with his gun pointed at Jessica after receiving a text from her but then Trish steps out of the shadows and points a gun at him.

It’s a generally awful idea but Jessica handcuffs Clemons to the wall and tells him to keep his eyes on Kilgrave. Awful idea #2 promptly follows as Jessica leads Kilgrave’s parents into their son’s cell, assuring them that the red button will stop him before he has a chance to harm them.

Remember that bad feeling I mentioned? It increased by ten-fold at this point.

The parental units walk into Kilgrave’s unit and what starts off as the most awkward family reunion in history goes real south, real fast. After apologizing to her son, Kevin’s mother stabs him with a pair of scissors, which is what finally causes Kevin to become Kilgrave in front of the camera.

He commands his mother to pick up the scissors, which she does. Much to the onlookers elation. Because, look! Proof that he compels people into doing things! Unfortunately, Clemons didn’t see her pick up the scissors, meaning that Kilgrave needs to make another command. It’s a risky play but Jessica holds out on pressing the button, waiting with baited breath for another command to come. And boy does it.

“For every year you left me alone, stab yourself.”

Kilgrave’s mother turns the scissors towards her and Clemons sees it. Meaning Jessica’s plan has paid off! Kilgrave made a command, his mother began to respond to it, Clemons witnessed it, and Jessica has her hand on the red button ready to hit it before any harm can come to anyone in the cell.

For the briefest of moments it seems as though Jessica has the upper hand but the small flicker of confidence in our heroine is drowned out by the looming feeling that something is off. While absolutely nothing came together easily, the sense of dread that I was filled with the second Kilgrave’s parents entered that chamber made me realize almost immediately that Jessica’s brief victory of catching her torturer’s confession on tape would be very short-lived.

As was the life of poor Kevin’s mother.

Because that feeling of dread I mentioned? Totally vindicated when Jessica slams down on the red button and realizes that the wire connecting it to the waterlogged room, and more importantly to Kilgrave, has been cut.

Meaning that he can’t be electrocuted.

Meaning that he can’t be stopped.

Meaning that when he tells his mother to stab herself for every year she’d been away from him, she does.

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Jessica tries her hardest to stop it from happening but the problem with a cell that’s impossible to exit is that it’s just as difficult and time-consuming to enter. Jessica can’t make it in time to prevent the death of Kilgrave’s mother and, when it seems as though she’ll be too slow in saving his father as well, Trish shoots out the glass of the interrogation room.

She shoots Kilgrave as well but, since it’s not a kill shot, he’s able to command her to stop before she can pull the trigger again. Then he tells her to put a bullet in her own skull, which she tries to do but luckily her gun was a revolver and she’d used up its bullets. Kilgrave ends up escaping but before he does, he gives Jessica a command that she doesn’t follow.

It’s a moment of realization that confirms something we’ve been speculating since the Pilot: Kilgrave can no longer control Jessica Jones.

The final minutes of, “Sin Bin,” made for arguably the most gruesome display of Kilgrave’s power and mindset to date, and is yet another instance in which Jessica is forced to watch a death that can be connected back to her. After all, this was her plan. It just didn’t go the way she wanted it to. Her promises of keeping Kevin’s parents safe failed spectacularly and, though Clemons and Hogarth bore witness to his powers, Jessica is once again in a situation where she carries the burden and guilt for Kilgrave’s twisted acts.

The contrast between Kilgrave, who watches on with a cold detachment as his mother plunges the scissors into her heart, and Jessica, who frantically scrambles to get into the room before another death can be linked back to her, is more than apparent. Because as tough and blasé as Jessica can be while mixing her demons with the cheapest whiskey on the shelf, and as impassive as she sometimes seems in the face of collateral damage, at the end of the day she cares.

To the point where she takes responsibility for much of Kilgrave’s horrific acts.

It’s the classic idea that caring about people is a weakness.

Kilgrave thinks his feelings for Jessica equate to love, which makes her his weakness. Jessica, despite her bravado and claims otherwise, cares for innocents, which is her weakness. It’s a vicious cycle of pain and manipulation that neither can break free of. Both Kilgrave and Jessica try to exploit said weaknesses but, unfortunately for the latter, there are far more innocent people in the world than there are Jessica Joneses. She doesn’t want to be a hero, but she tries to be… which unfortunately just means her villain has more opportunities to destroy her.

Episode Grade: B+

Episode Highs:

  • I fully know that Kilgrave is the absolute worst but his one-on-one scenes with Jessica are in my opinion the most pivotal and interesting to watch of the show. Their dynamic is so twisted and incomprehensible and their scenes together never fail highlight how absolutely warped Kilgrave truly is.
  • Kilgrave, your David Tennant is showing:

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Episode Lows:

  • The sub-plot with Simpson taking those weird pills was unsurprisingly kind of, ‘meh.’ Will’s whole vengeance arc has caused so many problems and he’s really only gotten in the way so it seems really dumb for him to decide to once again make a go of taking out Kilgrave himself. Dude, Kilgrave is dangerous enough when you’re just a standard cop. Why oh why would you give yourself a boost and potentially just give Kilgrave an even more dangerous person to control?

Additional Thoughts:

  • I literally just realized we haven’t seen Luke in like, 3 episodes. What’s going on with him? Also, is it a bad sign that I completely forgot about a character who’s slated for his own Netflix spin-off?
  • Hogarth and Wendy are simultaneously the worst. I know that, “there’s never a winner in divorce,” but geeze Louise I actually want both of them to lose. Hey Zeus they’re both terrible.

What do you think Jessica will do now that she knows she can no longer be controlled by Kilgrave? Sound off on Twitter or in the comments below!

About the author

Silje Falck-Pedersen