Jessica Jones: "AKA Sin Bin" - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
16Feb/160

Jessica Jones: “AKA Sin Bin”

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Time for the hard part.  After Jessica indulged Kilgrave by playing house for a few days she springs her trap and brings Kilgrave to a room built just for him.  Will she extract the information she needs to exonerate Hope, or is she just playing into Kilgrave's desire?  Andrew and Ryan look at the ninth episode of Jessica Jones, "AKA Sin Bin."

Turning tablesThe last episode ended with a bang (pun intended) with both Simpson being blown up by Kilgrave thanks to the annoying neighbor and Kilgrave himself being captured by Jessica.  I was excited for "AKA Sin Bin" but when I saw it was directed by John Dahl.  Dahl is a director that has moved from films to TV seamlessly and has worked on some of my favorite TV shows of the last decade including Battlestar Galactica, Breaking Bad and Justified.  He also has directed some fun films I have liked including Red Rock West and Joy Ride, and was a smart choice for this episode because it was a hard episode to do.

Thanks to Kilgrave being kidnapped last episode, this 60 minutes had to wring its tension from one room.  The episode was a great episode that gets into Kilgrave’s backstory while the story also advances.  The last scene with most of the characters in the same room was great because I didn’t know how Kilgrave was going to get out I just knew he WAS.  The ending builds and builds and I didn’t know who was going to get out of that room alive.  What did you think of this episode overall?

Comeuppance for whoWhat did I think?  "AKA Sin Bin" made me want to give up on writing about Jessica Jones.

This is both an admission of how surprisingly little enjoyment I've got out of watching Jessica Jones and just how hard it is to write about television on a weekly basis.  On paper we have a barn burner of an episode.  I agree with you that Dahl was a great choice for this situation because he showed with Joy Ride that he can wring a lot of tension out of unlikely scenarios.  The scenes with Jessica and Kilgrave benefited from this, especially with the way Jessica keeps literally projecting the pain she thinks Kilgrave should be in while he's stuck in the cage.

But everything else continues to be a non-starter in Jessica Jones.  Mark my words, we're finishing this project, but I am no longer looking forward to writing anything about Jeri or Simpson ever again.  Jeri's role, in particular, has always been a sort of high-class reflection of what's going on in Jessica's life only Jeri's analogue isn't Jessica but the sadistic Kilgrave. In "AKA Sin Bin" this reaches the logical conclusion of her reaching out to Kilgrave when it's clear she's playing the frog to Kilgrave's scorpion.  I wish I was surprised by this twist but it just plays as another long reflective-of-Jessica note.  What I was surprised by, and not to the point of happiness, was how in this show about misogyny and abuse we took a little time out for some male gaze heavy softcore Jeri action with her young love.  This stuck out so badly for me I almost wanted to switch Jessica Jones off.Beginning of the endRyan Commentary StampLike I have said before, I am just ignoring all the stuff with Jeri and her love life and focusing on what is working really well on the show.  I got excited for a few seconds when I thought the picture of Kilgrave’s mother was Jeri’s ex-wife (even though she wasn’t British or old enough) because at least SOMETHING would have been made out of the show.  But like you said, all that is going to happen is Jeri is going to screw everything up by being seduced into using Kilgrave’s powers for her own ill gains.  I saw the scene with Jeri and her secretary different than you, I saw it as a way to show that the secretary is in control and all she has to do is throw a little sex appeal at the older person.

While Jeri and he ex might be intelligent, rich and powerful they will (probably) be ultimately felled by a young woman knowing how to use her feminine wiles.  It always happens to the men in these stories so I like how they are showing that women in power can just be as dumb. It wouldn’t surprise me if the secretary (I don’t care enough about the story to look up her characters name) turns out to be the worst of them all.

That is all I want to say about that now, what did you think about the parents and Kilgrave and the ever changing shifts in who was more evil than the other.  It the end both of his parents were wrong for what they did but that does not make it OK for Kilgrave to be what he has become, but I liked how the show kept changing the sympathies for the characters in the episode.  The parents were horrible mad scientists, then they were parents in over their head, then they were cowards.  The change is how the viewer felt about them in the time since they were introduced was head spinning yet it worked.  In the end when the mom kills herself I felt bad for her but in the same moment thought that the dad deserved the same fate.  Where did you ultimately end up with these characters?

Newer Andrew cutout commentaryThat's a fair point on Jeri, and considering how we're embroiled in a national conversation over a woman who may become leader of the free world I should be more cautious in my critique.

Now, on the parents, that part of "AKA Sin Bin" worked like gangbusters.  What made me most uncomfortable (in a good way) is how Dahl's direction made "AKA Sin Bin" feel like a remake of Last House on the Left or, to be artsier, The Virgin Spring.  Instead of the parents of a slain daughter trapping the men, the daughter gets her revenge by snaring the parents of the murdering rapist.  I like the way Dahl used the sort of slow motion we usually see in action scenes for the moments Jessica was beating on Kilgrave.  It put me in two different mindsets, the first that Jessica still feels as though she's a hero in all this, and second how Kilgrave was getting some perverse pleasure out of being punched.

I still wish Jessica Jones would be a bit more subtle in this regard as that bit of cognitive dissonance turned out to be absolutely correct as Jessica points out post-beating.  By the time the parents entered the cage along with Kilgrave it was like a nightmare not in terms of presentation but more a nightmare defined as a dream literally fulfilled.  Jessica was getting exactly what she wanted and I like how Krysten Ritter did not show the same kind of hesitation or fear she usually shows around Kilgrave.  Ritter instead makes Jessica almost excited by the carnage, rushing after Kilgrave instead of checking on Trish (who, in one heartbreaking sigh, finds out her training meant nothing).  It's a taut, emotionally complex, and visually distinct sequence in a series which has gone stale at times.  I don't have as much hope on the Simpson side of the equation, but at least part of "AKA Sin Bin" worked perfectly.Voyeurs r usRyan Commentary StampI am not going to lie, I might have let out a high-pitched giddy scream when Simpson said “Give me reds!” but that love of the moment doesn’t justify the long drawn out ordeal.

I think this might have been my favorite episode of the season so far.  I loved how all the power shifted from people in the course of this day in the life of the show.  Jessica found out at first she still didn’t have power over Kilgrave because she couldn’t beat the confession out of him.  Then at last she does gain the upper hand by realizing he can’t control her anymore.  Jeri lost all types of control by letting her ex get her flustered and her new love make her hot and bothered.  Simpson lost any power he had by giving into the medicine and like you so eloquently put it, Trish loses all feelings of power by Kilgrave uttering one sentence to her.

The show has been about how words and feelings can sometimes be more damaging than a punch and this episode brought it home.  I am excited to see how the last four episodes are going to go because Kilgrave is out but Jessica doesn’t have to worry about his powers anymore.  It should be interesting and I am just as excited to see how it all goes as well as see what you think.

Newer Andrew cutout commentaryI appreciate the bit of encouragement there, and I think we'll need it entering the final stretch.  Jessica Jones has been a third effective character study, third badly staged action scenes, and third terrible subplot writing.  Considering Simpson has, to date, occupied the action and subplot portions of Jessica Jones I don't have much hope that the clash that's clearly coming will play out well.  Wil Traval has given Simpson shape and heft even when the character has been written poorly, but Simpson has been a watered down version of the misogyny in the main conflict.

What disappointments me most is how Jessica Jones has gradually devolved into the plot filled mess the mainstream Marvel films are.  Instead of telling one story effectively, which Daredevil largely did, we spend precious minutes of run time on subplots which have been neither entertaining nor illuminating.  Since Jessica Jones has been renewed for a second season maybe the characters will get winnowed down a tad and we'll get more focus.

Or more mess.  Time will tell.

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Next week, "AKA 1,000 Cuts"

Posted by Andrew

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