This Jessica Jones review contains spoilers.
Jessica Jones Season 2 Episode 11
Kilgrave returns in the perfect way in a mind-bending episode of Jessica Jones. The scenes of Jesscia figuring out what to do in the wake of killing Dale were excellent, and Krysten Ritter steps up her game once again. She’s responsible for wordlessly conveying so much turmoil, terror, panic and pain in this sequence and throughout the episode, and in many ways it’s more effective than the intermittent voiceover.
It was such a loss to the show not to have David Tenant this season, but a completely necessary one. It feels important to the show’s realism, and the commitment to Jessica’s character being able to heal and grow in a meaningful way, for Kilgrave to be really and truly dead. Not supervillain dead, sci-fi dead, or mostly dead. Completely dead.
But this was the perfect way to bring him back for one last episode. One of the most haunting and realistic techniques the show used in season 1 was to have Kilgrave show appear for several episodes before his character did, demonstrating how much impact he had on Jessica, how he still lived in the dark corners of her mind. This heightened version of that, triggered by Jessica’s mind spiraling with despair after accidentally killing someone, was the perfect way to manifest her mental struggle on screen. The sight of his hands on her naked body in the shower was so creepy that I lost my breath, and his overlapping dialogue and multiple manifestations was a perfect visual for how inescapable he was.
Back again are many of Jessica’s old symptoms and coping mechanisms, like staying up all night to avoid the inevitable dreams, and reciting the street names near her childhood home, her old grounding technique. Of course, Kilgrave has colonized her mind, so he knows how to turn even her positive coping mechanisms against her.
However bad I thought Trish was doing when she knocked Malcolm out at the end of the last episode, she is much worse. Tying Malcolm up like that, leaving him in the truck, and pulling a gun on Malcolm and Karl is well beyond what I thought she was capable of. In the past, we’ve seen Trish do intense things in order to protect herself and her loved ones. This is worse – she’s not protecting anyone, or even pursuing the story anymore. She’s just selfishly going after her own goal: powers. And she’s doing it at any cost.
I was never a Karl fan, but this episode made him a more sympathetic figure. Ultimately, the plot required that he die somehow. This takes him off the board without Jess regressing and doing it, and while preserving some amount of Trish’s ability to be redeemed, although frankly she’s got her work cut out for her on that front, or at least she should.
Another near-inevitability: Trish getting the procedure. A future as powered hero Hellcat has been hinted at, although it was never completely clear whether that was foreshadowing or just Easter eggs. It’s fascinating to see an ostensibly good character go through the ringer to become a hero. I hope Trish has to answer for that, and that her powers aren’t quite the walk in the park that she seems to think they’ll be.
I’m also hoping for Jessica to acknowledge Malcolm in a meaningful way before the season is through. Trusting Trish was a huge misstep, though one ultimately rooted in his optimism. He and Jessica balance each other out well, and he spends this episode like he has so many others: the literally thankless task of helping and covering for Jessica Jones.
One thing that bothered me in this episode is the timeline on Alisa’s confession. It was so central to the plot of episodes 9 and 10, and is seemingly abandoned here.
I was glad to finally have an answer on Alisa’s physical abilities. It turns out that she was always strong enough to break out. I hope she didn’t kill the new guard – Season 1 was guilty of introducing and then quickly dispatching several great characters, including some of the only characters of color. It’s also increasingly difficult to hope that Alisa can be redeemed, considering how many good people she tosses like rag dolls. When will Jessica face that reality? Will it be too late?