TV Review: Jessica Jones – “AKA Crush Syndrome”

Luke Cage
"AKA Crush Syndrome", the second episode of Jessica Jones, featured our heroine searching for clues about Kilgrave in an attempt to prove Hope’s innocence. As a result, we saw Jessica flex her private eye muscles, and we got a deeper look at just how callous and frighteningly dangerous Kilgrave can be.
Warning: this review contains spoilers.
KilgraveJessica was introduced as a private investigator, and I love how much that side of her has been shown in both episodes so far. Not only are detective stories fun to watch in general, but they also contribute to the noir vibe that this show is aiming for. "AKA Crush Syndrome" finds Jessica retracing Kilgrave’s footsteps after an accident—revealed to us in a brief, context-free flashback—that she thought had left him dead. The story was revealed to us piece by piece through the ruined lives that Kilgrave left in his wake. One brushstroke at a time, the episode painted a picture of the villain Jessica is facing this season. This culminated in our first direct look at Kilgrave’s power in action and just how unsettling it is, as he effortlessly invaded a family’s home, morphing their will into his with no more than a mere suggestion.
Comic books often use mind control as many villains’ tools—including on Agent Carter earlier this year, not to mention Loki’s sceptre in Avengers. But rarely are the consequences of that power so well explored. It’s easy to imagine what it must be like to be able to make people do what we want. But it is crushing to realize what it feels like to be on the receiving end, and how truly invasive the process is. And this episode was all about the victims, from Hope, with her pain, fear, and anger, to the people Kilgrave used as disposable tools, and finally to Jessica, still living with the trauma. But Kilgrave is completely remorseless. He carries himself around with an air of entitlement and complete disregard for others that leads me to believe he’s had this power since birth. Only someone who’s never known what it’s like to be refused can be this inhumane. If not, well, he must have been a real jerk to begin with.
Jess and PatsyJessica’s investigation did lead to results: she learned Kilgrave’s Achilles heel, just as he knows hers. Like she said, "My greatest weakness? Occasionally I give a damn, and Kilgrave knows it." And in "AKA Crush Syndrome", we were also given a look at the people she "gives a damn" about—no matter how hard she tries not to.
Chief of those is her best friend, Trish Walker, who keeps reaching out to help and getting rebuffed by Jessica, who’s trying to keep her out of harm’s way. I like the relationship these two characters have. They seem like they exist in different worlds, but there is a friendship there, and a sweet dynamic shared. And Trish may not be as helpless as Jessica thinks. Anyone familiar with the comics knows what her self-defence training scene is alluding to, if not outright setting up.
Another person Jessica cares about is Luke Cage. It’s revealed this episode that she was investigating him on her own accord, for reasons unknown to anyone but her—including the audience. Did she know he has superpowers? Whatever the case may be, we got our first Netflix superhero team-up this episode, and it was really cool to see them fighting together.

Rating: 4/5 (Great)

Notes and Observations

  • It’s nice to get confirmation that Luke already has powers. Looks like his own solo series won’t be an origin story after all.
  • The hospital Jessica sneaks into is Metro-General Hospital, which has already appeared in Daredevil.
  • (Potential future spoiler alert) Following up on what I mentioned earlier, Trish Walker is based on the comic book superhero and occasional Avenger Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat.
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