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 You’re A Winner” (season one, episode six)
So far I’ve been massively impressed by Jessica Jones, but until “AKA You’re A Winner” the show hadn’t yet hit me in the visceral way the best art does. I finally had that palpable heart-dropping reaction when Hope tells Jessica that she’s pregnant. Jessica Jones has been very vague when it comes to defining exactly what happened to Jessica and Hope under Kilgrave’s control. While the show has been telling a story that could definitely serve as a metaphor for the emotional journey of a rape survivor, this episode confirms that journey is a literal one.
There’s been a lot of excellent critique recently about how rape is used for exploitative drama on TV. Thankfully that’s not the case here. There’s no flashback to the event (or events) and Erin Moriarty isn’t asked to deliver a tearful monologue in which she makes a grand reveal. The show doesn’t try to titillate or shock its audience, it simply presents an exchange between two women who lived with the same abuser and know exactly what it means when one says she’s pregnant. The scene is all the more affecting for how understated it is. Perhaps viewers already assumed rape was a part of Jessica and Hope’s stories, but having it spelled out adds extra weight to the proceedings.
Also notable: While Jessica has a problem with the way in which Hope is trying to abort Kilgrave’s baby (by paying people to beat her until she has a miscarriage), she makes no attempt to change Hope’s mind about having a medical abortion—a decision Hope is 1,000 percent sure about.
That subplot is a relatively small part of this episode, however, which mostly focuses on the welcome (at least to me) return of Luke Cage . He hires Jessica to find a missing person as part of his larger mission to learn more about how his wife Reva died. The plot points here are pretty rote: The two fall back into bed together and Jessica initially tries to cover up her involvement in Reva’s death before eventually confessing to keep Luke from killing an innocent man. Luke lets Jessica live but leaves her with the parting line, “I was wrong, you are a piece of shit.” It’s all fairly well executed although the final Jessica/Luke confrontation feels like a scene I’ve seen in dozens of action movies before.
What feels far more original is Kilgrave, who uses his powers to win a high-stakes game of poker but then uses old-fashioned bribery to purchase Jessica’s childhood home. The show hasn’t been particularly mythology focused so far, but apparently Reva had a secret flash drive that’s now in Kilgrave’s possession. What’s on it and what he wants with Jessica’s house are mysteries that will have to wait for at least a few more minutes until I start the next episode.
Stand out moment: The way Jessica’s face falls back into a scowl immediately after she finishes leaving her perky “You’re a winner” message. (Honorable mention: “Jesus I didn’t ask for your wedding vows.”)
Marvel Cinematic Universe connections: None that I spotted.
Excitement to start next episode: 10/10
Hamilton lyric that sums up my binge-watching mental state: “I know I talk too much.”