“AKA The Sandwich Saved Me” is full of gems, but doesn’t feels as much a cohesive unit as some previous installments of Marvel’s Jessica Jones. Pieces are moving, Jessica finally comes face to face with Kilgrave and a plan is put into motion. A failed plan, but a team of sorts if forming … and we learn a bit more about Jessica’s past.
“I need to update my resume. Do you put day drinking under experience or special skills?”
The important revelation to come out of “AKA The Sandwich Saved Me” might be that Jessica’s tough as nails, take no shit attitude was a preexisting condition. Although Jessica is deeply affected by the Kilgrave trauma, and big decisions have been based on this experience, Jessica isn’t the woman she is today because of him. For that I am both relieved and grateful.
Back in flashback zone, Jessica is already the kind of hero we want her to be, powers, bad attitude, sly wit all already in tact. This isn’t an origin story, it seems more to be one of getting back what was taken from her, recovering, and trying to move on.
When we travel 18 months back in time, Jessica and Trish can be found in a bar (surprise) trying to catch up after Jessica got herself fired from her latest gig when an incredibly crude and rude “fan” approaches Trish. Jessica deflates him effortlessly and revels in the moment by sharing the spoils of her fun with the entire bar.
“Hey last night was fun but that doesn’t mean I want your opinion”
“You’re right. I’m out of line. I’m sorry.”
In the least surprising turn of events, Trish and Simpson jump into bed together in a weirdly sexy but not so sexy sex scene. As Jessica Jones is wont to do, this recent development between Trish and Simpson gives new ground to play with assumptions, traditional roles, and power dynamics in a way that is further complicated by his actual qualifications.
Jessica interrupts sexy times on urgent business. It’s time to track down Kilgrave. All parties present have been victims of Kilgrave in one way or another, Simpson and Jones maybe even more intimately than Trish.
Simpson takes his cues, assuming that because each of these women have engaged him in certain social situations (saving his life, sex), that now he’s part of the gang. It’s telling even in the costuming that Simpson is the odd one out, standing in his underwear as Jess and Trish are hatching a plan, but it takes Trish explicitly telling him to settle right down for him to understand he needs to take a backseat.
Later, the power struggle comes up again, but it becomes complicated as Simpson points out that as ex-military he has far more training for missions like this, and his input in both planning and execution can be valuable. Simpson learns that it’s not just about his skills, or who he’s sleeping with, or even sharing an attacker in Kilgrave; it’s that trust takes time to build and it takes time to earn his place at the table. So far it’s been interesting watching him as someone who does respect Trish, and does respect Jessica – he sometimes sticks his foot in his mouth and jumps in where he’s not wanted or needed – he has good intentions and shows the intent to learn from them, and even shows frustration, because learning is hard. It’s not easy to change your world view and I respect that Jessica Jones is showing that imperfection in Simpson.
Everyone dismisses a junkie.
This flashback episode doesn’t just give us new perspective on who Jessica is, but it opens up Malcolm’s character as Jessica, and we as the audience are reminded, not to discount him, or ignore him as the show fleshes out his role. Jessica has alternately looked out for him, and used him.
Malcolm’s connection with Jessica has gone on longer and runs even deeper than she ever knew. No one starts out the way he is now, but not everyone is there because Kilgrave got his mind claws in him. To Kilgrave, Malcolm is a means to an end, another in a growing body count of collateral damage in his quest for Jessica. Kilgrave’s end goal isn’t entirely clear, but this focus on Jessica is causing a lot of pain for her, for those near her, and anyone who might be unlucky enough to end up in his path.
When Jessica first discovered Malcolm was involved with Kilgrave it felt like a betrayal. But as she digs deeper the feeling transforms to guilt, and responsibility. A responsibility that Jessica seemed to feel for all of Kilgrave’s victims.
Kilgrave hooked Malcolm using his creepy mind-magic, but also using drugs. He’s got his hooks back into Jessica, but this time he’s using her guilt over the abuses that he’s committed to keep her in his orbit. He promises to leave Malcolm alone as long as she sends him photographic updates herself. A request to which she acquiesces. Her guilt kept her from skipping town after the Hope murders, and it’s what’s keeping her here now.
What else happens?
- Trish breaks out a very spandexy, very figure-skater-esque (and yes I know it’s from the comics) superhero suit prototype – in this moment I feel like we can agree that even the hoagie outfit suits Jessica better.
- Jessica and Simpson talked at each other through soundproof glass was an absolute treat. It’s nothing either of them wouldn’t say to each other’s face, except maybe for Trish’s sake.
Photos Courtesy of Netflix