Jessica Jones: "AKA The Sandwich Saved Me" - Can't Stop the Movies
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Jessica Jones: “AKA The Sandwich Saved Me”

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Jessica and Trish continue their investigation into Kilgrave's web of surveillance with the help of an unlikely ally. Andrew and Ryan look at the fifth episode of Jessica Jones, "AKA The Sandwich Saved Me".

Give me what I want"AKA The Sandwich Saved Me" is one of those frustrating episodes that you love 98% of it but the other 2% really bugs the crap out of you.  It makes you look at the screen and ask why they did certain things.  This episode of Jessica Jones did so much right and was a solid B/B+ but yet the only things I can remember are the things that bugged me.  I like being positive so let's get the few flaws I found with this episode out of the way:

  1. The first and biggest one was the way they shoehorned Malcolm into being the catalyst to her meeting Kilgrave.  It was too clever by half and reminded me of a twist of a lesser show.  Malcolm is a character that has potential but for now is pretty thin.  I felt like they added this connection to give him more of a character and I don’t think it worked, it felt really clunky.
  2. The action scene where the security force takes Kilgrave back was really badly shot.  Too close of shots and quick edits that I couldn’t follow what was going on.  I know that the show was going for a disjointed feel but the action did not flow well at all and I never could tell how many guys attacked them.
  3. The petty squabbling between Simpson and Jessica got a little irritating.  It gave us one of the best scenes where they dress each other down while on different sides of the sound proof glass but it was still too much.  The line of dialogue from Trish stating she is over protective of Trish but it was irritating.  Also, the swing of Simpson from being a good cop and a nice guy to being psychotic military man was kind of jarring.

Those are the bad points but I don’t want to talk all about the bad.  Am I being too hard?  What do you think of these? What was your initial reaction?PilatesThis'll be a curious inversion of our usual banter because I thought you were way too generous with last week's "AKA 99 Friends" and "AKA The Sandwich Saved Me" may be my favorite episode so far.  Now, that's going to need a few qualifiers, because I agree with most of what you said.

Starting from the top, director Stephen Surjik immediately made a better style stamp than the last two directed by David Petrarca.  I loved the quick way he established the flashback at the beginning of the episode with a split-second pan to the left then overcorrection to center on Jessica and Trish.  Then I saw the way the bar was lit with the numerous patrons captured in shadow with our duo beaming in the center and I was ecstatic we were seeing good direction again.  That said, Jessica Jones continues to show fight scenes are not its ace and more of a ho-hum requirement than anything else.

On Trish and Simpson I enjoyed the banter between Simpson and Jessica as it's nice to see Jessica paired with someone who can give as good as they can take.  But the flimsiness you felt with Malcolm I applied to everything else involving Simpson.  Two episodes ago Simpson was choking Trish to death and this episode he's going down on her after she had a gun on him last episode.  If Jessica Jones is going to delve into the complex relationship between the death drive and abusive relationships by all means let this continue but it seems all we're going to get is Jessica's initial incredulousness.

With Malcolm, Jessica, and Kilgrave I disagree.  In terms of character evolution their unique three-way of abuse and manipulation put Jessica in a losing situation.  It wasn't that long ago Jessica manipulated Malcolm for her own purposes, and here we see that Kilgrave's manipulation at least gives Malcolm brief relief by giving him drugs.  That's what made the ending exchange between Jessica and Kilgrave so brilliant.  He makes her realize what she did to Malcolm and what Malcolm can get from Kilgrave that she won't provide.  This kind of writing hits the nuance of the abusive stalker and beleaguered victim perfectly, as Kilgrave is no less evil but uses a mutual acquaintance to get Jessica to recognize the emptiness inside herself - which we get in Krysten Ritter's most broken and defeated look in the final scene.Two Bad CopsRyan Commentary StampDon’t get me wrong, I LOVED the ending of the episode where Jessica had to sink herself into the mud with Kilgrave to save Malcolm from himself.  It was creepy and made Kilgrave even more of a controlling stalker.  Above that it showed Jessica’s compassion even better than before.  I love how moments show how big a heart she has.  Last episode it was the throwaway moment where she says sorry to the girl who Kilgrave was using and here it was her doing the worst thing possible to help out a guy who most would think is beyond saving. The thing I hated was the coincidence of Malcolm being the one she saved the day she met Kilgrave, I felt it was one connection too far.

But speaking of Kilgrave, how much did you like his introduction in this episode?  The way he was charming but yet creepy the first time he met Jessica was perfect.  I can’t remember the line “you like chinese food” so sinister.  In the comic series, they made the distinction that Kilgrave wasn’t craving the sex but the power and I think they are going the same way with this interpretation.  I might be a big fan of his but I can’t imagine too many other people other than David Tennant mixing the sinister and the charm so well.

Newer Andrew cutout commentaryTennant's long-awaited full appearance as Kilgrave and his insistence on committing every detail of Jessica to memory is exactly why involving Malcolm makes sense.  Kilgrave is obsessed with Jessica right off, psychologically speaking he's showing signs of erotomania minus the sex so he's just sadistic.  It's the way you can hear Tennant practically licking his lips at the end of each line you can tell whatever it is Kilgrave sees in Jessica it's not going to die out easily.  Considering his harmful obsession and previously seen attention to detail on her life it follows he would use the one person she continually feels responsible for against her because she inadvertently got Malcolm involved to begin with.

It's in these flashbacks and fleshing out the connections between Jessica and those who are unfortunately in her orbit which makes "AKA The Sandwich Saved Me" so compelling.  While it disappoints me the spectacular style S.J. Clarkson brought the first two episodes is taking a backseat to the aforementioned bad fight scenes the writing on Jessica this episode was top-notch.  I loved the titular sandwich moment because it's a hilarious take both on the absurdity of superpowered bravery and Jessica's unique take on it.  The sandwich costume is no less silly looking than our glimpse at what Jessica's "real" outfit might have been but the intent to help was pure - as Kilgrave quickly and disgustingly exploits.

The character work results in something we may never see in Marvel's big screen efforts.  Jessica loses.  Yes, she seems to help Malcolm break his addiction, but at the cost of losing Kilgrave while alerting him to her efforts to capture him and emotionally shattering to give Kilgrave the photo he desires.  In Iron Man 3 Tony Stark invites terrorists to his front door, The Winter Soldier has Captain America take on a corrupted part of the government and redeem a former villain but before the credits roll the status quo reasserts itself just in time for the sequel.  At the end of "AKA The Sandwich Saved Me" the status quo has been upended in a painful way, and gives me hope that if Jessica Jones slips visually (though this is a step up) the writing can ebb into moments of strength.Bored soonRyan Commentary StampWhat you mentioned at the end is why these characters were always my favorites in the comics.  They always seemed more human and they could make bad decisions and lose fights.  The best Daredevil comic runs involve life beating the ever loving hell out of him.  Jessica Jones is a character who is better fleshed out than a lot of the movie counterparts because of the time they have to tell the story and you don’t want to see certain characters make mistakes.  I want to see Captain America being the perfect hero, I don’t want to see him stumbling or making bad decisions.  Cap is supposed to be the ideal man to look up to.

Jessica Jones is not the perfect hero.  She is mouthy, she is not as “civilized” and she messes up. This is what makes her so interesting and some of the best stuff that Ritter has done on the show.  She wouldn’t dress up as Jewel but had no problem being a sandwich since she got paid.  The scene with the girl again shows that she might not think she is a hero, her true tendencies always come out when the situation arises.  The way they have painted her and given the character depth is the thing I love most about the show, the same with how they are slowly showing Kilgrave more each episode. I hope that they can steer out of the mess that they are making Simpson so his arc doesn’t seem so forced in the end.

Newer Andrew cutout commentarySticking him and Trish in a relationship with one another remains a perplexing decision in an episode otherwise solid with character beats.  I know you didn't want to focus on the negative, but after discussing the problems and positives with "AKA The Sandwich Saved Me" I have to retract its consideration for my favorite episode so far.  The wonderful color of those first two episodes set a tone the following directors have, thus far, been able to match.

At least this is a step in the right direction.  It's a shame "AKA Ladies Night" wasn't taken more as a style bible instead of a simple jumping-off point for the series, but I can't deny how much of an improvement this was over "AKA 99 Problems".

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Next week, "AKA You're a Winner!"

Posted by Andrew

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