Marvel’s Jessica Jones: AKA It’s Called Whiskey

In “AKA It’s Called Whiskey” we get a solid shot of Jessica Jones’ best (and only?) friend, Trish. The episode is titled after the advice Jones imparts to her friend when asked how she deals with all this. “Whiskey” also fleshes out the heroic and the friend side of Jessica that was only really hinted at in the premiere.

Welcome to unbreakable bone town.

Really. While “AKA It’s Called Whiskey” featured four rounds of romp between the super-powered Jessica and Luke – I still think the mutual discovery of each other’s powers in the barroom brawl in “AKA Crush Syndrome” was both sexier and more romantic – in a way that is very unique and specific to this pair. It’s the magic of discovery, of not being alone, that is continued in the opening moments of this episode as Jessica, almost in disbelief, runs her hands over Luke’s body.

While Jessica feels with her hands and sees with her own eyes what Luke’s power can do – she soaks it in. They form a connection here, their eyes meet in and that is sexier than all the broken beds in Hell’s Kitchen. Maybe.

One of the great lines of “AKA It’s Called Whiskey” comes from Trish. She’s the one who calls out Kilgrave for what he is. He’s a terrible person. He’s a terrible man. His powers are horrific, but they are only the tool – it’s what he’s doing with them that is evil. Men and power, she says.

The same way as a hero’s powers are there for a specific purpose, something about that character – the powers of the villain also speak volumes. That the villain in Jessica Jones’ story has mind control, a power that can’t be proven but has to be believed, is part of what makes this a distinctly female story. When so many rape and assault cases come down to her word versus his – and in a system and society that almost always defaults to believing his – this is a story about mind control, the invasion of minds and making people do things they don’t really want to do. The intangible nature of Kilgrave’s ability is essential to the narrative of Jessica Jones the show and the character. The story of women fighting back and against intangible traumas, the choices to speak out (or not) about the crimes against them because no one will believe them. This is telegraphed early on in “AKA Ladies Night” when Jessica uses her superpowers to serve legal papers on Jeri’s behalf. Even if he told someone, she said, no one would believe him. People will choose to not believe the things they can’t handle — even after aliens attacked their city and the Avengers swooped in to save the day. The power of denial seems infinite.

Jeri says the same thing again and again. This case with Hope is a loser. And it’s a loser because no one will believe that Kilgrave exists. No one will believe Hope that her mind was invaded and she was forced to commit horrific acts, including the murder of her parents. Keep in mind – this is a world where aliens invaded Manhattan and The Avengers exist. When Jeri asks if Jessica will testify it’s a no. Jessica doesn’t want to go through that again – she too knows she won’t be believed.

Now what else happened?

In “AKA It’s Called Whiskey,” Jessica tests the waters. She tries to talk to Luke about Kilgrave. Jeri has set up an interview with Hope and Trish’s radio show where she tells her story. Jessica uses Hope’s story to try to tell Luke. We’re meant to like Luke, see him as respectful, a generally good dude, and someone with powers, but even he just can’t believe it. He says he would believe that she believes it – but doesn’t know if he could go further than that.

Trish calls out Kilgrave on her radio show. She gets firmly in Hope’s corner and trash talks Kilgrave. This results in a hit on her, as Jessica predicted. A cop shows up at Trish’s door. She was right to be paranoid. She puts up a hell of a fight, and ultimately Jessica comes in and saves her – as well as the cop who has been mind-controlled.

We have started to see the cracks in Trish’s put together exterior. She attacks a fan who approaches her for an autograph. He comes at her from behind and her instinct is to fight. She knows, like Jessica, once you’ve antagonized Kilgrave it could be anyone coming to get you. How does Jessica handle it? It’s called whiskey.

Jessica discovers the purple room, covered in surveillance images of her. She now knows for sure that Kilgrave has been watching her, putting even more credence in her paranoia and adds to the voyeuristic style Jessica Jones is shot in much of the time.

Other Notes & Quotes:

  • ‘Big Green Dude and his Crew”
  • “Sweet Christmas”
  • Luke says Jessica gets “points for doing good.” Jessica says “Not near enough to cancel out the bad.” Remind anyone else of Natasha’s “I’ve got red in my ledger” from The Avengers?
  • Just as I was about to praise Jessica for looking out for her friends, she uses Malcolm as a cover to score the anesthesia she needs. It’s all in the mental math. How much bad can she do for the good?
  • We learn why Jessica had such an intense reaction to the picture of the woman in Luke’s medicine cabinet. It wasn’t that Jessica caused a bus crash that killed this woman, Kilgrave made her kill her.
  • Luke keeps his powers under wraps, while Jessica doesn’t. She doesn’t advertise, but she isn’t hiding.

Photo Courtesy of Netflix

About Sara

Sara is determined to break the space-time continuum to allow for more hours in the week to watch all the TV. Her entry into TV geekdom came with Firefly, Battlestar Galactica and Eccleston's Doctor Who, and has continued to spiral since. You can also read her TV musings at The Viewing Party and follow her on Twitter @janie_jones.