This week’s episode centres around a series of complex deals. From Hope’s deal with a fellow inmate to force a miscarriage, to Hogarth’s bargain with Jessica for a signature on her divorce papers, almost every dynamic explored in AKA You’re A Winner! involves a quid pro quo of sorts.
Even Kilgrave decides to buy Jessica’s old home in an almost legitimate manner. The only exception to this rule is Jessica’s attitude towards Luke, who I’m glad to say re-entered the narrative this week (complete with adorable quotes like “Sweet Christmas.” Marry me, Luke.)
AKA You’re A Winner! asks fairly explicitly whether Jessica is responsible for the violent confrontation at the episode’s end. The answer is complicated, at best. Jessica cannot be held accountable for what she did whilst under Kilgrave’s control, though this is the harmful line of thought that she and Malcolm occasionally slip into. But her situation with Luke is, sadly, entirely of her own doing. By ignoring her moral responsibility to inform Luke of the circumstances of his wife’s death, and by entering into a sexual relationship with him whilst he is ignorant of this, she has committed a real ethical violation.
The show, for its part, does a good job of making this distinction clear- Luke outright states that he doesn’t care what she’s done whilst under Kilgrave’s control, but also how important honesty is to him, when he confirms that he always keeps his word. His initial shock and revulsion at Jessica’s (unwilling) part in the crime could potentially be overcome, but her deception is the real blow here.
Mike Colter deserves serious recognition for the anguish he puts into that final scene, painting a convincing picture of a man utterly betrayed by someone he could have grown to love.
Like it or not, Jessica has done wrong, and her story is all the more compelling for it.
Jessica’s not the only one who’s up to something fishy this week- whilst Jessica tries and fails to cover up her part in Reva’s death, Jeri Hogarth is seriously breaching her contract with Hope, and takes the remains of her foetus after her abortion. Hogarth has always been a ruthless figure within the show (lest we forget that brutal confrontation with ex-wife Wendy at the restaurant where Jeri proposed).
This week, however, has taken her ferocity to new heights- her treatment of Hope is nothing less than inhumane, even before she steals her foetus. I can’t honestly believe that I’m typing this sentence, frankly; this particular plot development feels so ridiculous and farfetched (in a show about superpowers, no less) that I’m actually shocked that the writers decided to include it. You’re better than this, Jessica Jones team. Sort it out.
Though the Hogarth cliffhanger borders on the absurd, I’m thankful that the overall treatment of Hope’s abortion was much better.There’s a refreshing frankness to Hope’s abortion- her certainty regarding the decision is clear, and the morality of it isn’t questioned.
In recent memory, only ABC’s Scandal has managed to match this episode’s bold pro-choice stance- Hope’s resolution is her own, just like Olivia Pope’s, and anyone who says otherwise is, to quote Jessica, an “asshole”.
Speaking of assholes, Kilgrave’s plot is evolving further, if slowly. Quite what he’s planning to do with Jessica’s childhood home, and what was on the yellow flash drive that he and Reva were both seeking, remains to be seen. In the meantime, I’m content to watch David Tennant (one of the show’s biggest assets) be boisterously Machiavellian, and watch his scheme gradually unfold.
This episode has very serious flaws- the idea of Hogarth stealing an aborted foetus is laughable at best, crass at worst, and the search for Antoine Greer feels like a lazy way of shoehorning Luke back into the story. But when it goes right, this episode goes really, really right. Hope’s abortion in particular saves an otherwise mediocre instalment of Jessica Jones– I’m counting on a more realistic plot next week.