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Jessica Jones Recap – 1.1 AKA Ladies Night

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Okay, I have been waiting for this series for ten years. At least. Even before the MCU was a thing I fancast Katie Holmes as Jessica Jones. Alias (the graphic novel series that is the show’s source material) seemed the perfect book to adapt to screen — not your average superhero series or crime procedural but a mashup of both. Today, finally, Marvel’s Jessica Jones is a reality.

A pilot episode has to do two things: 1) establish the characters, location, situation and 2) get the audience invested in what they are watching. “AKA Ladies Night” opens with Jessica’s voiceover taking us through the typical adventures of a private investigator: hiding in shadows to take pictures of people cheating on their significant others. On of her clients — the voiceover tells us he’s representative of most of them — doesn’t want to accept his wife is the cheater he expected her to be and takes it out on Jessica. So she punches him through a door. We understand that to be representative of her response.

Jessica is a loner but she’s not alone.

The Lawyer aka Not Diane Lockhart (but basically Diane Lockhart)

The Lawyer AKA Not Diane Lockhart (but basically Diane Lockhart)

Jessica heads to the law offices of Jeri Hogarth and associates to ask for a case to work. She’d been offered an investigative position at the firm but prefers her freedom as a freelancer to the constraints of corporate law. What I get out of this scene is Jessica Jones and Kalinda Sharma would be besties. Also Not Diane Lockhart is a lady kissing lesbian (so she should ALSO be friendly with Kalinda) who cheats with other women! TV lesbians always cheat with men, it’s stupid this is so refreshing to me but it really is.

Anyway, Jeri asks Jess to serve a well guarded rich loser with legal papers. Jessica accomplishes this by googling his secretary’s high school friends in order to impersonate one and get the mark’s plans out of her. Then she catches his car — literally, with her hands (and super strength) — and threatens him with her (fictitious) “laser eyes” to convince him to accept the paper. He reports her to Jeri but either she doesn’t know about Jessica’s abilities or she doesn’t care if they’re used.

The Neighbor aka Cinnamon Roll

The Neighbor AKA Cinnamon Roll

Look at this cutie.  Malcolm lives in Jessica’s building, he sometimes steals things, and he’s easily confused. So far don’t know much about him but srs cutie.

The Love Interest aka

The Love Interest AKA Start the Emmy Campaign Now

First of all, he delivers his first line wearing a beanie, nod to the comics, I love you costumer. Second, what actually is going on here? We watch Jessica staking out Luke’s building. . . because she can’t sleep? And then she drops by his bar to . . . gather intel? For a case? Or does she just have a crush and is Bad at People? Insomnia driven stalker behavior levels of Bad at People?

Anyways Luke hooks up a lady friend while Jess is watching but this prevents neither from skipping from banter to bed when they meet face to face the next day. Afterwards Jess snoops around his bathroom, finds a picture of the lady friend, and bolts with a ‘Sorry’.

Now, I know he’s the love interest and both the banter and the sex is great but I have questions. Mainly: why is she stalking him? I need this to be answered/addressed soon because it’s not romantic.

The Other Love Interest (Former) Friend aka Hellcat!!!

The Other Love Interest (Former) Friend AKA Hellcat!!!

Jessica’s voiceover tells us she’d prefer not to deal with people at all but sometimes it happens despite best intentions (I’m paraphrasing) and then her and our eyes land on a larger than life image of Trish on a bus. It’s not subtle.

Trish is Jessica’s old friend who knows her secrets, knows her history, and pushes her to be a better person. Jessica accuses Trish of wanting her to be someone she’s not. But it works because later Jessica chooses to fight. Their relationship is fraught, and fragile, and I will not be surprised if they are revealed to be ex-lovers. Frankly, I’ll be disappointed if they are not because every sign is there. But the shorthand is: Trish is Jessica’s best, if not only, friend.

The Villain. That's is. He's the Bad Guy. Emphasis on BAD.

The Villain. That’s it. He’s the Bad Guy. Emphasis on BAD.

Kilgrave appears only twice, and incorporeally — as a vision haunting our heroine. He is responsible for whatever happened to cause Jessica’s PTSD, which in turn drove her away from Trish, human relations, a steady job, a “normal” life. He’s supposed to be dead, but Jessica finds signs that he’s alive and taunting her. It’s a lot like Jaws. We don’t see him, just the reaction to him and the destruction he causes, and it’s terrifying.

The Victim aka Jessica's Robin

The Victim AKA Jessica’s Robin

Jessica is hired by Hope’s parents to locate their lost track star daughter. As the case progresses Jessica realizes it is a set up, Kilgrave took the girl and is doing to her what he did to Jessica. At first Jess chooses flight, scrambling to get enough money to get out of town. But after seeing Trish — who does give her the money — she decides to rescue Hope. . . and then they can both get out of town. But Kilgrave has worked his magic on Hope and she shoots her own parents dead in Jessica’s elevator. Jess’s first instinct is still to flee, but she knows Hope is not responsible so she chooses to turn back and fight.

The episode ends with Jessica choosing to be the ‘superhero’ Trish wants her to be.

Notes:

  • Love Luke worrying about being too rough and Jess saying “You can’t break me.” Layers of meaning!
  • Only one woman with a heftier figure appears and Jess mocks her for eating a burger while exercising. Not necessary.
  • In the same (weird voyeuristic stalking Luke?) scene she makes a face at a guy playing with a woman’s shoe. . . but when the owner then appears it seems less ‘ew’ and more ‘aw’ so maybe they are trying to frame it as “Jessica is too quick to judge”? But that’s weird when Luke later calls her Sherlock? Is she supposed to be an observant people watcher or not?
  • This episode is written by a woman, directed by a woman, stars a woman, and the supporting cast is three women (at least one queer), two black men, and David Tennant who appears for all of 3 seconds.
  • Although the series is released all at once I will be recapping each episode separately. That said this first episode really encourages watching the next one immediately. I expect the series is written with streaming in mind.

Did you watch Jessica Jones yet? How did you like it? Comment it up!

Anika Dane works at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. She is a writer of words. A dancer of dreams. A pop culture blogger. A feminist and a fashionista. A Social Justice Klingon Warrior Princess who fell in love with the Skywalker family when she was seven years old. Mother of girls. Secretly a dragon.

2 Comments

  1. Stell

    November 20, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    How can anyone even read this with the completely obnoxious Send Voicemail ad blocking the text?

    • Alex Leal

      November 21, 2015 at 9:49 pm

      Hey Stell! Thanks for commenting. We had no idea the voicemail tab was blocking the content. I assume this was on mobile? We’re changing it, thanks for pointing it up. Hope you do come back and read the recap.

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