Friday, March 11, 2016

Jessica Jones S01 E03: AKA It's Called Whiskey

For the longest time, superhero sex has been a verboten topic. It's rarely brought up out of immature puberty, Mad magazine, or Kevin Smith movies. There is that great Larry Niven essay "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex," Superman II, and in recent years the seen-but-not-spoken-of red solar lamp in Lois and Clark's bedroom... but for the most part, beyond innuendo, not much else. And yes, I am completely ignoring the Hank and Jan incident in Geoff Johns' Avengers.

In the last episode of "Jessica Jones," when our heroine and Luke Cage realize how strong and durable they both are, of course they have sex. Their first time in "AKA Ladies Night" was full of tentativeness and gentility, and remarks about not breaking each other. This time they can really cut loose, aware that 'normal' boundaries are no longer in the mix. They can relax and go with instinct and not hurt anyone - at least physically.

Just when I was going to make a comment about how Krysten Ritter and Mike Colter might only have chemistry when loving or brawling, I'm proven wrong by a post-coital coffee talk about their powers. It took three episodes, but the two have finally clicked. Colter was always good as Cage, but Sweet Christmas, Ritter finally caught up. I did dislike the idea that their destinies are intertwined however. Cage's wife being killed by a Kilgraved Jessica is a bit much, even for the funny pages.

With Jeri defending Hope, Jessica needs to turn public opinion regarding the case so she asks Trish out to lunch. Maybe some "Trish Talk" might sway some folks about the case. That's when we get a bit of explanation about Trish's training. She's doing Krav Maga, making sure she can defend herself now that Jessica isn't her roommate any more. That's why the training, the bruises, and the bloody nose. And then there's also her mysterious abusive mother. There's a lot more to Rachael Taylor's Trish Walker than at first meets the eye.

Patsy Walker is one of my favorite comic book characters, and not just because she has a cool last name. She first appeared in Miss America Magazine #2 as a romance/comedy feature in 1944, when Marvel Comics was known as Timely Comics. Think Betty and Veronica with cooler adventures. There's a very short list of characters who have been around non-stop since their beginnings in the Golden Age, and Patsy is one of them.

I was introduced to her when she popped into Avengers in the 1970s as a subplot that wouldn't go away. When the opportunity arose for Patsy to put on the powered costume of The Cat and join the Avengers in superheroing, she jumped at the chance, rechristening herself as the Hellcat, a more fitting name for this feisty redhead. She's floated around the Marvel Universe ever since, as an Avenger and as a Defender.

Seeing as the Defenders is the endgame for these first four Netflix series, I'm not the only one hoping Rachael Taylor will be donning a catsuit sooner or later. Also notably this is not Taylor's first foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as she was also in 2005's Man-Thing.

In this episode, in an attempt to defend Hope, Jeri tricks Trish into putting it all out there on the air of her radio show about Kilgrave and mind control. Of course it tempts the Purple Man out of the shadows and he calls. Was I the only one watching with a stone in my stomach worried he might give a command to the entire listening public? I think not. Later as Jessica and Trish leave the studio they have an encounter with a fan who they suspect is an assassin sent from Kilgrave. The fan says he misses Trish's red hair and has a Patsy Walker comic book for her to sign.

When the real assassin does come in the form of a police officer, Trish does fight like a hellcat, but it's not quite good enough. Good thing Jessica comes to the rescue. And again, she fights with her wits as well as her fists. She follows the assailant back to Kilgrave and we finally get a look at him. He escapes and leaves Jessica in a room walled with images of her. He's been watching and he can be anywhere all the time. The eyes of New York are essentially his eyes...

See you later.

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