“Marvel’s Jessica Jones” Season 1, Episode 4 Review – “AKA 99 Friends”

Welcome to the fourth episode of “Marvel’s Jessica Jones”, and my first attempt at a better recap & analysis for you faithful readers.

When we last left Jessica Jones, our heroine had gotten her hands on the drug she needed to defeat Kilgrave (after abandoning her drug addict friend, Malcolm) and managed to piss him off thanks to Trish’s radio show, but also track him down after he attempted to off her buddy. Unfortunately, she was unable to confront him for more than a second, but as a result of this encounter, she learned that he has been stalking her every action for quite some time. In the end, she broke up with Luke Cage (again) and has become a lone wolf as she tries to figure out who else is under the control of the Purple Man.

At the start of this episode, Jessica finds herself more alone than ever, and “AKA 99 Friends” is a real roller coaster of emotions when it comes to the subject of relationships. We have already seen in the past three episodes how much trouble Jessica has with forming and holding onto intimate personal relationships, both friendly and romantic. She has become very self-independent, a burden that was forced upon her due to her circumstances. This episode deals with that from her point of view, juxtaposing it with other characters in similar situations to show they handle their relationships after the abuses they suffered.

Jones is on the hunt for the mystery photographer that is working for the Purple Man, but her mission is sidetracked when she gets a new client that wants her to follow her husband and catch him in the act of cheating. To make matters worse, Jeri also wants to cash in the favor that Jessica owes her by having her tail her ex-wife to see if she can dig up dirt on her. Trish is also still recovering from her assault at the hands of Sgt. Simpson, the police officer who was under mind control that Jones beat up and later saved from death.

In spite of the threat of the Purple Man looming over her, more people are showing up that claimed to have had interactions with him. Jones is put in charge of deciphering who has actually met him and who did not – the stories the people told of being under his influence were appropriately chilling. Jones forms a circle of survivors, and essentially creates a support group for them all to stay in contact with each other, even though she certainly doesn’t see it that way. While Jessica might not yet be able to help herself entirely, she is able to reflect what she wants onto others for their own good, and in this case, Jessica is being a hero. However, as we learn later, not everyone sees her as a hero.

Trish deals with her own demons in this episode, as Office Simpson returns to the scene of his crime to try and make sense of what has happened. Jessica does her best to help him understand, and in doing so gains a new ally in her search for Kilgrave’s whereabouts. Simpson manages to get her access to the NYPD surveillance footage to see if Jessica can ID the photog, which turns out to be a dead end for most of the episode.

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In the meantime, Simpson heads back once more to Trish’s home to apologize and offer her a gift – a handgun. Wary of the man that once tried to kill her a day earlier, she hides behind her fortress as the two begin to talk and she eventually lets him inside, her hand on the gun the entire time as she converses and laughs with the officer.

Back on the case, Jessica suspects her new client being under the Purple Man’s power, and does her best to dig up info on her to prove whether or not this is true (even discovering her practicing her shooting in a warehouse for unknown reasons). As Jessica gets closer to the truth and finds the location of her hubby, she uncovers that there was no mistress at all and it was a set-up after all. This time, it’s not because of Kilgrave, but because her client hates super-powered people, and blames her kind for the death of her mother during “the incident” AKA the events in “The Avengers” movie. It’s this scene that gives an odd catharsis for Jessica, who tells the client that she can’t take her pain out on other people while destroying the apartment. She also tells her that there are 99 other people like her that she knows, and if this crazed woman doesn’t leave New York by the next day, she and her 99 friends will make sure she does.

That bit of self-therapy leads Jessica to join the Kilgrave Interaction Survivors Society that she started (or KISS for short), and while keeping a good physical distance away from them, listens to their experiences. In doing so, she discovers info from one of them who directly helped chauffeur Kilgrave around the city to pick up the photos from the sneaky photographer. While he never saw the person’s face, he was able to tell her about the blue & white scarf that he saw the guy wear, and with that bit of info Jessica checks out the surveillance footage one more time to discover the identity of her stalker – her neighbor, Malcolm.

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The fourth episode has kept the momentum going of this series, and while we have some mysteries solved, new ones keep popping up. What will happen with the budding relationship between Simpson and Trish? If we learned anything from “Daredevil”, it’s that the most harmless and lovable characters are the quickest to kill, and I greatly fear that Trish will lose her life before the end of this season.

Is Malcolm really under the spell of Kilgrave, or is he just using something else to control him without needing to employ his powers? What will happen to KISS? My theory on that – they’re all going to die horrible deaths at each others hands once Kilgrave finds out about it, but not before he uses them to screw with Jessica first.

This was the first episode with no Luke Cage in it, which was sad, but I am hoping that changes soon and they are able to make up. As we have seen in the previous episodes, Jessica is a very closed person because of what happened to her. With Luke, she felt safe and was able to let her guard down. With KISS, she gave it a try and that alone is an accomplishment for her, and I am hopeful that this is not the last time we see that group explored. The story within this story was the ability to trust again, with Trish being the opposite of Jessica at this time – able to forgive and let go to try again. The KISS group is the middle ground, working to recover but not quite there yet. It’s a complex web right now for the characters of “Marvel’s Jessica Jones”, and the ride will certainly continue to stay bumpy before it gets smooth.

Next time, we head into the fifth episode to see what goes down in “AKA The Sandwich Saved Me”!

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