Marvel’s ‘Jessica Jones’ Recap: ‘AKA Take A Bloody Number’

‘Jessica Jones’ and Luke join forces against Kilgrave, but it’s a short-lived reunion that pushes our heroes right into the finale.

Mike Colter & David Tennant as Luke Cage & Kilgrave in Jessica Jones Photo: Netflix Gif: Cooltennant via Tumblr

Penultimate episodes of a show are rarely reflective. In the case of the Jessica Jones’ first season, there really isn’t a need to detox until the show has reached its conclusion. Episode 12 is quite low-key, considering the episode prior ends with Jessica watching Luke’s bar explode and saving him as he emerges from the flames.

The episode, “AKA Take A Bloody Number,” as a whole, asks over and over if people can change. The answer depends on which character you’re discussing. It’s even more apparent that we’re supposed to draw very specific parallels to where they all started versus where they are going. Because, by the end of the episode, Jessica makes an essentially fatal decision to protect herself and stop Luke.

“AKA Take A Bloody Number” also shows a major difference between when Jessica works with Luke and when Jessica works with Trish. It doesn’t go unnoticed that another episode featuring the Jessica/Luke dynamic completely pushes the Jessica/Trish dynamic to the wayside. The correlation is based more on the continued idea that this is not about Jessica getting back into the relationship game, but that Jessica doesn’t have to give up every relationship because of her experience with Kilgrave. We know she cares about Luke. We know for sure she’s one of the two people Jessica is willing to protect. Still, this is a story about recovery, and Luke operates as more like a band-aid that Jessica abuses than an equal.

This is exceptionally clear as the story is pieced together. How Luke came upon Kilgrave, what he said to him, what he asked him to do specifically. He tells Jessica he forgives her and they go back to working together. But there are some indications that things aren’t what they seem. Jessica can most definitely handle herself, but Luke isn’t as protective as he was in the beginning.

Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones in Jessica Jones Photo: Netflix Gif: maisieswlliams via Tumblr

The whole plot comes to a breaking point when it’s revealed that Kilgrave’s abilities now have a farther reach than ever and are longer lasting. Luke was under his control the entire time, which Kilgrave uses an example to prove that Jessica really is in love with his words and him. She insists that Luke is stronger than her and can fight him, but in the end, she’s forced to use her full strength on him and Kilgrave manages to get away.

In the past, Jessica’s use of that kind of blow has been fatal. The hope is that Luke truly is strong enough to handle it. Of course, the reveal that Luke was being controlled by Kilgrave in the first place begins to answer all of our initial questions.

We know Kilgrave can’t change. Jessica proved that when she decided that she didn’t want to give up her whole self in order to help him be the hero. And then he went and had his mother stab herself. Kilgrave has never loved anyone. Maybe he thinks he knows what love is, but all he knows is chaos and control. And in that respect, all he wants to do is control Jessica. He’s not interested in her legit affection, what he can force from her is enough.

Luke, on the other hand, has shown no interest in Jessica since he learned the truth. He wanted to kill Kilgrave because of his association with Reva’s death and what Jessica lives with. Because, despite what occurred between him and Jessica, the fact that he would work so hard to find Kilgrave does show that he cares. That he didn’t just disappear after Jessica stopped him from murdering the bus driver. The problem is that, once again, nothing with Luke was real. In this case, everything he said and did, including expressing what happened when he blew up the bar, wasn’t real. Nothing was real. Not when Jessica was lying, not when he restarted things in this episode. And so, of all our main players, Luke is actually the one we know the least. Lucky for us, he’s getting his own series and his own space to grow and transform, which a guy with impenetrable skin and muscles like his needs.

Robyn also doesn’t go through a ton of changes. She continues to annoy me and probably always will but she does show Malcolm what he’s been through. They both get closure over Ruben. This is important for Malcolm’s story because he was about to leave, but decides that Robyn needs his help and it’s the only thing he has to offer. Well, that and hope. Even Robyn admits that she went a bit overboard there, which is saying something. But Malcolm came back from the brink and he’s completely underrated for where he ends up in this episode.

Malcolm, like Luke’s plot, revolved entirely around Jessica. They were drawn to each other because of circumstance and Kilgrave. And Malcolm grows from his experience. He’s angry, which is a natural course given what he experienced, but as things head towards the end, he did end up doing what Jessica asked. He didn’t give up and it saved her for once. Malcolm kept the support group going. He wasn’t privy to a lot of the goings on with Kilgrave but he still has time to figure out his place in the grand scheme of things in the superhero business. If nothing else, it’s exactly where he belongs.

Krysten Ritter & Mike Colter as Jessica Jones & Luke Cage in Jessica Jones Photo: Netflix Gif: jessicajonesdaily via Tumblr

Trish has it the most interesting. She’s wanted to be the hero since she and Jessica were growing up, but in the early days of their sisterhood, she makes Jessica promise she won’t save her. Jessica doesn’t listen and Trish has essentially spent the rest of her life making sure Jessica doesn’t have to. She didn’t like not being in control, but she does like taking care of both herself and Jessica. She learned to fight so that her best friend wouldn’t have to worry about her anymore. She breaks down Jessica’s walls over and over again because she cares so much and she won’t let her be isolated or alone. In the previous episode, Trish literally risks her life to stop Simpson. She has almost every resource at her fingertips and just when it seems like there’s nothing else she can do, she gives Jessica her approval regarding Luke and shows up with some really important information regarding her and Simpsons abilities.

Interestingly enough, it’s Dorothy Walker that even mentions the idea of change to begin with. She arguably will always be the same and Trish throws her out of her apartment for pulling her usual pitches and playing any type of game with her daughter. Dorothy tries to justify her actions by pointing out what Trish has and her part in that, but that’s the thing with these villains and their lite versions. They’ll always find a way to justify their actions. In the end, Dorothy doesn’t withhold all her information and sends Trish what she needs. It sets up some really important plots for the future.

Daivd Tennant as Kilgrave in Jessica Jones Photo: Netflix
Gif: Cooltennant via Tumblr

The episode itself isn’t nearly as slow as it seems but there isn’t a whole lot of substance. It does work when you’re watching this episode and the season finale back-to-back, but I found that stripping it down as a sort of preparation for the finale actually makes more sense. It’s not something that can be appreciated on a first time binge, but watching each episode again, slower, and with more intent, offers up a new and deeper point of view than originally expected.

We know Kilgrave is going to go down in the finale, we just don’t have the logistics for how just yet. We know that everyone is poised to play some kind of role in the bigger showdown and that where everyone lands is also where we’ll pick up with them when they return for season two.

Stray Observations

  • It’ll be interesting to see Jeri’s change. We didn’t see her or hear about her all episode and she’s definitely dealing with a lot.
  • I really enjoyed Robyn and Malcolm’s memorial. Also, chargers are expensive so throwing one in the Hudson is kind of serious. Their final words to Ruben were nice.
  • There was actually a lot of similarities to the episode where Kilgrave kills Ruben. Specifically, Kilgrave’s face when he finds out who Luke is. It’s the second time that someone has admitted to having affection for Jessica in front of him and the first time it cost Ruben his life. In Luke’s case, we’ll probably have to wait and see what it cost him, but it will be an interesting journey.
  • Kilgrave went full Moriarty there at the end. His “SURPRISE” line reminded me so much of “The Great Game” (Sherlock S1E3)!

Heading into the finale, there’s a tremendous weight on Jessica. She just used her full strength on Luke and that can’t end well. I know I spent most of the season hoping to have a Matt Murdock sighting. With one episode left, we know that’s not going to happen, but maybe we can hope for some kind of Jessica crossover before the real The Defenders crossover. It’s hard to finish up a show as fun and still emotionally heavy as Jessica Jones, but as we near the end there’s more and more to talk about with such a rich story and deep characters. Share your thoughts in the comments!

Jessica Jones is streaming on Netflix now!