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‘Jessica Jones’ Season 1 Episode 8 Recap: “AKA WWJD”

jessica jones wwjd

Kilgrave has recreated Jessica’s childhood home -the furniture, the posters on the wall of her childhood bedroom– and she’s stuck playing house with him. She wants to get something from him that she can use to free Hope and also to prevent whatever damage he’d cause if she doesn’t play nice. There are two “staff members” he’s compelled to cook and keep the house – and kill themselves if it looks like Jessica is getting violent.

Simpson trailed Jessica to the house and they are working at cross purposes. He just wants Kilgrave dead and Jessica wants him alive until Hope is out of prison.

Jessica foils Simpson’s attempt to bomb Kilgrave.

Kilgrave thinks she might be softening towards him, despite Jessica’s instance that he doesn’t touch her and her explicit naming of their past “relationship” as rape.

“I hate that word.” Kilgrave says with a pout. Of course he does. The word rape gives him nowhere to hide. Rape means there is a perpetrator and a victim and Kilgrave loves to avoid responsibility for what he does. (In this episode he repeatedly says that he’s never killed anyone, ignoring all the death he’s caused as if the fact that he used other people’s hands to murder and maim means that his own are clean.)

This episode, we learn the origins of both Kilgrave’s and Jessica’s powers. Kilgrave’s parents experimented on him (for reasons that are revealed later) and Jessica survived a car accident that killed the rest of her family (caused by her father being distracted by a fight between Jessica and her brother in the backseat).

Jessica manages to incapacitate Kilgrave – she drugs the two hostages so he can’t influence them and then drugs Kilgrave, and carries him off into the night.

Simpson shows up with a team of men, ready to kill Kilgrave. Jessica jumps (flies) away, leaving Simpson standing on the sidewalk.

A neighbor walks up to him, carrying the bomb Simpson planted in the house earlier. Compelled by Kilgrave earlier, she explodes it.

Meanwhile, Jeri’s divorce is getting uglier. Wendy is asking for 75% of Jeri’s assets.

During the negotiations, Jeri asks Wendy why Wendy married her.

“Because you were kind to me. You were a bastard to everyone else and you were kind to me.”

I want to point out that with Jeri Hogarth, Jessica Jones is recasting a dynamic that is traditionally exclusively a male/female relationship trope: the rich, powerful husband who wants to divorce his wife for someone younger and prettier. First, this makes something we’re seen a thousand times before feel new again and second it draws attention to the fact that the show is in the process of deconstructing another common heterosexual romantic trope.

Wendy’s description of her relationship with Jeri –that Jeri was a bastard, but Wendy fell in love because Jeri treated her sweetly, and then one day Jeri stopped being sweet to just her – is Jessica Jones calling attention to a problematic romantic trope that repeats over and over in modern fiction. We’ve all seen the storyline where a violent (emotionally or physically) man is soft towards just one woman. Despite his bad behavior with other people in his life, she is the exception, the one person he treats well. You can find this trope in The Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl, Veronica Mars, 50 Shades of Grey, etc. and usually it’s framed as the height of romance. Jessica Jones illustrates the truth that no one is the exception forever.