Closing in on the halfway point of the season led to several major revelations yet none that left Jessica feeling particularly like she won anything.
As Jeri suggested earlier about Kilgrave wasting his gifts, the episode kicks off with him using his mind-influencing powers to win millions in a poker game. I’m hoping on the back end of this season the writers start delving into his abilities to examine how boring Kilgrave’s life must be when everyone has to do what he commands.
This was a nice twist on the comic setup as Luke Cage, Mr. Hero for Hire himself actually found himself in the position of paying for the services of another hero.
With Jessica’s assistance, Cage hopes to find Andre, a missing teen whose sister has some key information pertaining to the death of Cage’s wife.
Before she could help Cage, Jessica had another problem to handle as Hope was beaten in the infirmary. She’d hired an inmate to beat her down in hopes of triggering a miscarriage. Hope’s pregnant with Kilgrave’s baby and much like Kay Corleone, she doesn’t want to bring another monster into the world.
Even as Kilgrave’s first victim, Hope hasn’t come off especially sympathetic as she’s frequently snapping at Jessica and Jeri, the only two people who care that she’s innocent. With this bombshell, her defeated outlook on life in general makes a lot more sense. Not that he needed anything else to be more loathsome, but raping Hope really makes Kilgrave an irredeemable villain.
While Hope endures a pill that will kill the fetus, Jeri pays off a nurse to collect the samples. No doubt attempting to somehow find a way to use Kilgrave’s DNA for completely selfless reasons. Hopefully it’s not just to get her wife to agree to the divorce so she can marry Pam.
This episode reinforced the spot on chemistry with Krysten Ritter and Mike Colter and why I’d totally be on board with a series featuring them. Their teaming up was a blast and Cage wasn’t the only one impressed with Jessica’s ditzy phone voice to track down Andre.
Thanks to Malcolm’s unwelcome sharing, Cage finally gets the scoop on Kilgrave and apologizes for not hearing Jessica out when she initially tried to confide in him. While I still feel like Malcolm’s drug habit was stretched out too long I’m glad he’s becoming much more a character on the show than tool for Jessica and Kilgrave.
Sean Callery’s score has been fantastic throughout the series, but this episode was especially terrific as it effectively captured that jazzy crime detective feel.
Jessica’s guilty conscious was threatening to bubble up to the surface so she kept trying to stay a step ahead of Cage so he didn’t learn she killed his wife. What made this work so well is that feeling that this is how most authentic people would handle this impossible no-win situation. Jessica isn’t a hero, she’s a regular person with super powers and the show is smartly not made her this bastion of truth and justice when this version is so much more engaging and multi-faceted.
Burdened by the truth and a desperation to keep that incident a secret, Jessica can barely talk to Cage who somehow makes saying “You’re not a P.O.S.” sound like the romantic thing anyone has said on this show.
You knew this wasn’t going to end well for Jessica no matter how hard she tried to block Cage from getting the information. It finally comes to a head when Andre’s sister reveals the bus driver in the accident that “killed” his wife is still driving.
Jessica manages to stop Cage from killing the driver by confessing. In one of the series’ most heartfelt moments, Cage processes his history with her as a tearful Jessica is prepared for whatever he decides.
This was a well-earned moment as throughout the season, Cage has tried to tear down Jessica’s emotional walls only to create his own fortress with her revelation. That farewell “you are a P.O.S.” Cage said to Jessica was tough and as hurtful as his earlier declaration was sweet.
Kilgrave meanwhile has been rifling through his growing collection of Jessica selfies and looking at a home before settling on one and offering double its worth.
I liked this interaction with the homeowner as it played into our low expectations of Kilgrave, but he was alarmingly sincere here and for a change didn’t use his powers. Money arguably provides a stronger influence than mind-control after all.
Being Kilgrave of course, you knew it wasn’t just some randomly selected house and as he strolls along with a purpose it’s almost not a surprise when he uncovers wallpaper to reveal a growth chart — measuring Jessica’s maturation. Yep, this is Jessica’s childhood home.
David Tennant has this knack for making every Kilgrave scene creepy without going over the top. He’s been the first onscreen villain I’ve seen in a long time that makes me take several showers as he ups his creep freak factor each episode.
At the close of the episode, Jessica seems broken beyond repair in part from her own doing. This is a hero fighting with her back against the wall and no obvious way to turn the tide making for the most episodic TV show this fall.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: MYLES ARONOWITZ/NETFLIX