AKA Three Lives and Counting has to be considered not just one of the best episodes this season, but one of the best in the Jessica Jones series. And not just because of the ‘return’ of a familiar memorable face.
Jessica was still oddly torn up about killing that awful prison guard Holiday. In a terrific reminder that Jessica Jones is unlike any other comic book based show, Jessica begins the elaborate process of making his death look like a suicide. That’s not what Captain America would do, but that’s exactly why Jessica is such a unique character in the MCU.
Making good on those increasingly purple lighting that’s creeped up in the last few episodes, Jessica starts getting visions of Killgrave. The hero seeing their dead villain isn’t new and it’s a very hard gimmick to pull off. It works amazingly well in this instance as Killgrave was more of a psychological villain for Jessica than a physical one and he’s still in her head.
It’s hard to say I missed the guy who sexually abused Jessica among atrocities, but Killgrave served an important purpose in helping Jessica find her inner strength. As well as providing Krysten Ritter a great showcase for her acting range. Ritter has been able to give Jessica a lot more depth this season as a whole and this was easily her finest performance. She was amazing throughout the episode. It’s a shame the Netflix series seem so unappreciated by Emmy voters as Ritter delivered a nomination worthy effort here. And it’s hard not to appreciate David Tennant being so charismatic even while tormenting Jessica.
Alisa had a really strong showing this episode as well. That’s not surprising as Janet McTeer has constantly delivered all season. Alisa quickly deduces Jessica killed Holiday and appreciates the gesture since the new guard, Marilyn (Jennifer Fouché), is much kinder. She even lets Alisa watch the TV from her cell. This kind gesture would prove fatal.
Jessica eventually figures out Trish and Malcolm have Karl. Well, more like Trish. Poor Malcolm is locked up in Trish’s trunk. Trish has gotten dangerously desperate to get powers … to make a difference, but really it’s just to be powerful. Trish’s arc has come off surprisingly unsympathetic. It’s interesting as this episode plays out that Jessica continually excuses Trish’s crazy behavior while coming down on everyone else.
I loved that the episode actually paid off Malcolm’s serial dating subplot. Jessica uses his dating app to pinpoint his location. That was a pretty clever trick and validates the seemingly randomness of Malcolm hooking up every episode.
Karl gets close to completing the process to give Trish powers until Jessica barges in and barely controls herself from killing him. Karl has been an interesting character this season. He hasn’t been an outright villain and it could be argued a lot of what he’s done this season has been out of love. But as the episode reinforces in that great flashback scene with Alisa, science is his addiction and he can never fully turn away.
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Recognizing that flaw, Karl triggers an explosion to destroy the clinic and the madman/genius who operated it. If that was the end of AKA Three Lives and Counting it already would have been good enough. But it’s the final few minutes that really make it special.
Jessica confronts her Killgrave demons and is ready to move on…but not with Malcolm. She’s still pissed at his betrayal and after getting manipulated by Trish, Malcolm isn’t in the mood for another verbal beatdown and quits. The interesting thing here is that both have great points and they have legit reasons for ending their friendship/partnership.
That also would have made for a great ending, but there’s more as Alisa sees the news report of Karl’s death and Trish taking him with her. That sends Alisa into a major rage and she presumably kills Marilyn, her respectful and generous guard, and escapes.
AKA Three Lives and Counting was a brilliant episode on so many levels. If it took the slow burn of this season to close with more episodes like this, it could mark a major turnaround.
Rating: 10 out of 10
Photo Credit: David Giesbrecht/Netflix