Jessica Jones: AKA Smile Review
AKA Smile Review
The finale of Jessica Jones saw Kilgrave’s schemes finally come to an end as Jessica ended Kilgrave’s life with a decisive move once and for all. There was some set-up for next season but overall the episode did a good job of tying up loose ends while keeping some characters in play for next season. It was nice to see Jessica finally overcome her disturbed foe in AKA Smile who has been a constant and deadly reminder of her past and her guilt. Credit should be given to Krysten Ritter and David Tennant for keeping the dynamic between Jessica and Kilgrave entertaining to watch throughout the season and really communicating Kilgrave’s obsession to the audience.
Although it wasn’t especially surprising to see Claire (Rosario Dawson) from Daredevil make her debut on Jessica Jones, it was interesting to see how much screen time was devoted to her and in the finale no less. She interacted with a lot of characters including Luke, Jessica and even Malcolm. She worked well in the dynamic of the show and her scenes with Jessica were particularly thoughtful. Claire no longer questions seeing super-powered individuals such as Luke and Jessica after the first season of Daredevil. This was a convenient plot device as it allowed her to look after Luke without asking too many questions but she never felt like a distraction from the main story, fitting in seamlessly with the tone of the show. If this is any indication of the quality of future crossovers then the future is looking good for Marvel’s original TV programming. I also liked how she quite quickly suggested getting her ‘friend’ to help, voicing the question that was on all our minds after her introduction. Of course, it was unlikely Daredevil would steal Jessica’s limelight in her first season finale but I’m glad the question was raised if only to be discounted by Jessica, who’s reasoning actually made sense. She doesn’t want anymore blood on her hands and what if Kilgrave got control of him?
The beginning of AKA Smile picked up right where the last episode left off. Jessica rushed Luke to a hospital only to have the doctor be bamboozled by Luke’s incredibly strong skin. Jessica realises she’s made a mistake and with help from Claire begins to make her escape. Unfortunately, Kilgrave has found Jessica and sets the entire hospital on a hunt for her. This was a cool scene although Jessica’s disguise lasted all of 3 seconds and didn’t really seem necessary. The escape felt tense and the stakes were high with Luke’s life hanging in the balance. Once back at Jessica’s apartment it was a waiting game as the pair saw if Luke would recover and Jessica searched Luke’s phone for clues on Kilgrave’s location. One scene depicted Jessica opening up to Luke in a way she would never have done if he were conscious, describing her wish for them to go on a normal date without all the complications their powers and her life presents. It was a rare moment of honesty and emotion from Jessica and it was nice to have a reminder of her good intentions before the final confrontation with Kilgrave.
After discovering a very gruesome apartment, Jessica and Trish hatch a plan to kill Kilgrave. The plan could have used some work though. Although it was a cool shot of Trish in Jessica’s clothing combined with the music, it was kind of a ridiculous plan. How was Jessica ever going to get near him that way? In the end, it was a smart piece of trickery that afforded Jessica the time to finish Kilgrave. The only motivation for Kilgrave’s actions this season was Jessica and his lack of understanding at why she doesn’t adore him. The only way Kilgrave was going to let his guard down was if Jessica gave him what he wanted. With a life of slavery awaiting Trish, Jessica did her best impression of being ‘Kilgraved’, making him think he’d won before brutally snapping his neck. It was a sudden end to what has been one of Marvel’s best villains on TV or on the big screen.
All that remained in AKA Smile was to set-up the status quo for next season. Luke disappeared into the night after waking up, Hogarth (who owes Jessica her life at this point) did her part in ensuring Jessica was released by the police and Malcolm positioned himself as Jessica’s ally and co-worker at Alias Investigations. It will be interesting to see if the show becomes more procedural next season or if another big threat becomes a season long struggle. I’m kind of hoping for at least a few episodes of different cases being tackled by Jessica and Malcolm, I think that could be a fun relationship to explore and the writers could introduce some minor players in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that way.
In conclusion, AKA Smile was a fitting finale for the first season of Jessica Jones. It set-up next season while putting a decisive stamp on the fate of Kilgrave. There was a certain sense of relief seeing Kilgrave meet his end; he’s been such a thorn in Jessica’s side and was highly unpredictable as a villain. The season did well introducing most side characters such as Trish and Malcolm and establishing them on a path while some such as Will came off as a little underdeveloped. Nevertheless, Jessica Jones has established a strong foundation to build upon in the years ahead and I look forward to seeing more from the heavy drinking, no-nonsense detective.