Following up Jessica’s first confrontation with Kilgrave and his mind-controlled family was going to be tough so “AKA 99 Friends” being a come down episode wasn’t completely unexpected.
Jessica sets out to find the mind-controlled zombie in a haystack by trying to identify the mysterious photographer. Wandering the streets hoping to find someone snapping her picture isn’t the most efficient plan, but Jessica realizes she can view police surveillance camera feeds providing she can get the tapes.
Fortunately, she’s got an in with Officer Will Simpson, who is still horrified Kilgrave used him as his assassination pawn. Will is all too happy to help, assuring Jessica he’s “got her six.” Jessica’s reaction to that line was one of my favorite moments in the episode.
Jessica has other matters to attend to as Audrey Eastman (Jessica Hecht, who played Ross’ lesbian ex-wife on FRIENDS) wants to hire her to catch her cheating husband in the act. Jessica’s paranoia instantly has her concerned Audrey is yet another Kilgrave pawn.
For Jessica it may not be paranoia though as everyone literally could be out to get her as evidenced by a young girl Kilgrave uses to deliver a message that Trish is safe … for now, following Trish’s on-air apology.
Will also wants to make amends with Trish, stopping by her place to show he’s not the monster that tried to kill her. To prove his sincerity, Will drops off a box with an unregistered handgun. This may be the one time where a gun is a better apology gift than roses.
Trish and Will continue their intercom conversation with their backs against the doors sharing about her career as a teen TV star and Will’s desire to help others since childhood. This scene, a direct contrast to the more snarky, cynical side of humanity, could have flopped hard, but it was a genuinely heartfelt moment that really shined. It was a great touch having Trish holding onto her gun while talking at the table with Will.
It’s interesting to think the show’s most enduring relationship could have originated from an attempted murder.
Coming around that Kilgrave isn’t some made-up boogeyman, Jeri interviews potential victims who claim to have been put under his control. Some are clearly looking for attention while others reflect more of Kilgrave’s sinister nature from the man who was compelled to hand over his coat to a woman forced to play her cello until her fingers bled.
Jessica initially wants no part of this impromptu support group, but decides to stop by hoping for a lead. She gets one when one member recalls being forced to drive Kilgrave for a week and a guy always delivering pictures to him. While he couldn’t make out the guy’s face, he did remember a blue and white scarf.
Since everyone can’t be a Kilgrave pawn — that’d be too easy — Audrey’s husband was the tool, used to lure Jessica into a trap so Audrey could get payback for her parents getting killed during the attack in New York.
Audrey’s anger felt more than a little misplaced since Jessica wasn’t around and secondly, did she completely miss the whole Chitauri invaders causing the battle? Jessica trashes Audrey’s room while having a therapeutic release in getting to destroy something.
The writers continue to overestimate the audience investment in the lives of the supporting characters besides Trish. Unless there’s some delayed payoff, Jeri’s personal drama with her wife and her mistress isn’t compelling. Far more interesting is how Jeri recognizes Kilgrave is wasting his abilities on petty diversions instead of really making an impact given his mind-controlling powers.
Even with the “twist” of Malcolm, Jessica’s strung-out neighbor, being the secret photographer, I’m still finding it hard to care about his role in the series. Jessica’s grief that he was being used seemed overblown as well considering all along she’s been in fear that Kilgrave could use anyone at anytime as a weapon against her.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Kilgrave was absent this episode, but the threat of his reach and influence more than made for an eventful outing and the Will/Trish pairing established a welcome engaging subplot for other cast members.
Photo Credit: MYLES ARONOWITZ/NETFLIX
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