TV Review: Marvel's Jessica Jones - Season 1 Episode 2 "AKA Crush Syndrome"
EPISODE 2: "AKA Crush Syndrome"
SYNOPSIS: Jessica vows to prove Hope’s innocence, even though it means tracking down a terrifying figure from her own past.
BREAKDOWN: The first episode of Jessica Jones did something I never expected: it managed to be as good as Daredevil in a totally different way. But, everyone knows that the first episode of any series has to hook you while the second one has the tough job of reeling you in. Jessica Jones could have gone in any number of directions but I am glad it avoids the Villain of the Week format and continues a highly serialized story focused on a main bad guy in the form of Kilgrave. Picking up immediately after the events of the first hour, episode two delivers a lot of new material that will be important for the rest of this season while also beginning the setup for next year's Luke Cage series.
The episode opens with Jessica being interrogated regarding the double murder of Hope's parents who hired Jessica to find their daughter. Hope, under the influence of Kilgrave, is being held for the killings. Jessica, traumatized by Kilgrave in the same way Hope has been, vows to find a way to stop the mind controlling villain. Jessica enlists Jeri Hogarth to defend Hope while she searches for proof that Kilgrave exists and a way to stop him. The great thing about Jessica Jones' motivation in this series is that she wants to live a normal life but knows that the violations she endured cannot befall someone else. She is a victim but doesn't act like one, despite still dealing with the mental trauma Kilgrave caused her.
We get some nice moments learning about the type of person Jessica is. First off, she deals with a creepy brother/sister duo that lives upstairs. I am not sure exactly how these characters will recur through the show, but there is something just off enough about them to make their presence too much of a passing coincidence. Jessica's best friend Trish "Patsy" Walker also comes back, trying to fix her friend's broken office door (with the name Alias Investigations, a nod to the Marvel MAX comic this show is inspired by). There is something unspoken between Trish and Jessica that I am sure will develop over the show, especially after we see Trish covered in bruises, bleeding from her nose, and working with a trainer confronting her with a handgun. In the comics, Trish Walker is the alter ego of superhero Hellcat, something we may get to see on this show.
The bulk of this episode features Jessica remembering a bus crash when she and Kilgrave were still together. Hope tells Jessica that Kilgrave is mad she left him to die and we see the memory of the crash which took the life of one woman. The bus driver apparently donated both of his kidneys and we soon find it was to Kilgrave. Jessica tracks down the surgeon who performed the operation on Kilgrave and convinces Jeri to take Hope's case. This is significant because we learn that KIlgrave was conscious during the operation so as to maintain his mind control patterns, something that would be disrupted by surgical anesthetics, giving Jessica a potential way to stop him. When Jeri visits Hope in jail to take her case, she also learns that Jessica was a victim of Kilgrave, something I am sure will impact their relationship in the future.
The big development this episode between Jessica and Luke Cage comes in the mutual reveal that they are both "gifted". Jessica accidentally reveals she was spying on Luke when the police question him in the wake of the murders since Jessica had photos of him in her office. Luke, learning his booty call was married, tells her and she confronts Jessica. The woman's husband heads to Luke's bar with some rugby buddies and proceed to try and beat up the bartender. Luke and Jessica wipe the floor with the guys and Luke manages to survive getting stabbed in the neck with a broken bottle without even a scratch. When he later confronts Jessica in her apartment, he proves his abilities by taking an electric saw to his abs and burns out the sawblade. A cool reveal that may develop the relationship between the two who end up getting married in the pages of Marvel Comics.
The episode also manages some incredibly creepy imagery with Kilgrave himself, someone we have yet to see face the camera. In the closing scenes of the episode, we see David Tennant from behind enter an apartment using his mind control and send two children to a closet where the daughter pisses her pants. He sits himself down for a meal and quickly presents himself as a worthy adversary to any superhero. Looking back over this hour, I am shocked that it was less than sixty minutes long with the sheer amount packed into it. My only complaint so far is the unnecessary voice-over from Krysten Ritter. Through her undercover scenes at the hospital and the bus driver's home and wide ranging relationships and conversations this hour, Ritter has definitely won me over as a believable anti-hero. I almost hope we never see her in costume as she is much more interesting as a broken human being.
MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES: The woman killed in the bus accident, Reva Connors, was the girlfriend of Willis Stryker. Stryker became the villain Diamondback, a foe of Luke Cage.
NEXT ON JESSICA JONES: Episode 3 "AKA It's Called Whiskey" - It won’t be easy to acquire or deploy. but Jessica thinks she’s found a weapon to use against Kilgrave. Luke and Jessica bond over their similarities.