This weekend, A.V. Club contributor Caroline Siede is watching all of the first season of Marvel’s Jessica Jones on Netflix. After she’s finished with an episode, she’ll post a quick response. Though she’s working straight through the season, she’ll be taking some breaks, too, posting five reviews on Friday, four reviews on Saturday, and four reviews on Sunday. Weigh in on this episode in the comments below or discuss the whole season on our binge-watching hub page.
“AKA It’s Called Whiskey” (season one, episode three)
Now that’s more like it! “AKA It’s Called Whiskey” opens with an interracial sex scene between two superheroes delighting as much in each other’s powers as their bodies. In other words: Marvel is all grown up. (Even gritty Daredevil never showed anything more than postcoital kissing, right?) After an awkward one-night stand in which they were both holding back, Luke and Jessica reconnect as their true selves. And it’s a goddamn delight to watch.
Their dynamic adds a spark to this episode that “AKA Crush Syndrome” was sorely missing, and I’m officially a Luke/Jessica (Lessica? Juke?) shipper. I particularly like the fact that Jessica has an aggressive power (super strength) while Luke has a defensive one (the show is playing up his unbreakable skin more than his own considerable strength). Not only does that inversion make them a perfect match, it also nicely subverts the stereotype of male aggression and female passivity.
After two fairly brooding episodes in which Jessica did everything she could to stay away from people, the show finds new energy by letting her lower her guard. Not only does she reconnect with Luke, she also starts paling around with Trish again. Little details like the fact that Trish knows Jessica hates the term “Let’s do lunch” (since lunch is something you eat, not do), makes their friendship feel lived-in. And Trish really comes into her own here after not making much of an impression in the first two episodes. She’s alternately quirky, good-hearted, and tough, but Rachael Taylor makes all those disparate parts feel cohesive.
Unlike Daredevil, which was interested in the poetic beauty of fight sequences, Jessica Jones uses its action to fuel character. Trish’s showdown with the possessed police officer proves she’s tough but not invincible, while Jessica’s fights highlight her compassion. She’s careful to knockout Kilgrave’s lackeys without killing them, since they’re merely acting as his puppets. And when forced to choose between taking down her nemesis and saving an innocent life, Jessica doesn’t hesitate to make the humane choice.
Jessica Jones is taking a less-is-more approach to Kilgrave and so far it’s working like gangbusters. We finally see his face this week (and what a handsome face it is!), and we’re slowly learning more about how his powers work and what he wants. He’s got a creepy stalker room full of pictures of Jessica, which is really the nail in the coffin for anyone wondering if he has a good side (people with creepy stalker rooms are always bad news). Oh, and he once made Jessica kill Luke’s wife, which explains why she was stalking Luke to begin with. (Jessica gets a free pass because at least she didn’t turn her photos into a creepy stalker room.)
While I’m bummed that Luke and Jessica aren’t yet the power couple I want them to be, I’m thrilled that “AKA It’s Called Whiskey” inserts some much needed comedy and action into the series. Let’s hope this kicks off a new trend for Jessica Jones.
Stand out moment: Super. Hero. Sex.
Marvel Cinematic Universe connections: Tony Stark is no doubt livid that Luke Cage refers to the Avengers as “The big green dude and his crew.” Meanwhile radio callers are concerned about how the world has changed since the Avengers “saved” New York. And unlike the natural-born Inhumans over on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., Jessica and Luke got their powers from an accident and an experiment, respectively.
Excitement to start next episode: 9/10
Hamilton lyric that sums up my binge-watching mental state: “Look around, look around, at how lucky we are to be alive right now.”