REVIEW: Jessica Jones Episode 2 - AKA Crush Syndrome - "You'd Like To Invite Me In"

The second episode of Marvel’s Jessica Jones – Crush Syndrome – sees superhero turned private eye Jessica move out from the seedy back alleys and smoky bars of Hell’s Kitchen as the nature of her enquiries takes on a more personal nature.

As always, this review will include spoilers so please be cautious if you have not yet watched the episode.

Read our review for episode 1 here

There’s a recurring visitor to Jessica’s bathroom in this episode in the form of a cockroach who pops in and out of her sink plug. The cockroach, that seemingly indestructible survivor, comes to symbolise the despicable man who has ruined not only Jessica’s life but now Hope’s too. Kilgrave, whom Jessica had believed crushed to death in the bus crash that also took the life of Reva Connors, has survived. In the course of her enquiries Jessica – and the viewer – learns with growing horror the lengths to which Kilgrave will go to in order to survive and the disregard for the wellbeing of others he has while fulfilling his wishes. This can’t be made clearer than her visit to the paramedic who treated Kilgrave at the scene, to find the young man paralysed and wired up to a dialysis machine after the monster ordered a surgeon to rip out his kidneys to replace his own.

Hope, meanwhile, who was unfortunate enough to become Kilgrave’s messenger, now faces life in prison for the apparently pre-meditated murder of her parents. She relies on the evidence of other victims of Kilgrave’s abuses who can corroborate her claims, and for this Jessica must face her demons and bring her abuser back into her life.  Hope's lawyer, Hogarth, is having a little difficulty in believing the power of mind control herself – even though this is a universe in which there exists a man who can turn into a rampaging green monster and a god with a magic hammer. Jessica is anguished to realise that Hope was chosen for her athletic ability although her long jump capabilities could never match the superhero's powers. “He said I was never as good as you,” Hope states flatly, revealing the extent of Kilgrave’s obsession with Jessica who, he has said, left him to suffer, to die. Now he wants to get back at her, and Hope is aware that terrible things could happen should someone with Jessica’s powers come under Kilgrave’s powers. There might be a way out. “You should kill yourself,” she tells the PI. "Probably," Jessica retorts, "But I'm the only one who knows you're innocent."

Meanwhile mystery grows around the enigmatic Luke Cage. When the police find surveillance photos of Luke in Jessica’s office he is subject to a routine check by officers investigating the Schlottman killings and he’s quite unhappy about being dragged into the mess. Then it emerges that it wasn’t Luke’s lover’s husband who called Jessica in to spy on the couple – so if not him, then who would be so interested in this dive bar owner? But it’s only when Jessica becomes involved in a bar fight with Luke that they discover they both have powers: Jessica’s super strength and Luke’s unbreakable skin. Now there are two ‘gifted’ individuals hiding out in Hell’s Kitchen for their own reasons – Luke’s background, of course, is another story…

As Jessica insists on pursuing her nemesis, her fear and paranoia grow. She has visions of Kilgrave and every shadow, every strange noise could be him. She even attacks a workman in her own flat, thinking he might be a home invader. But if he has any doubts that she's doing the right thing then she just needs to glance upwards in her elevator: the bloodstains from the shooting are still there. Like Hope says, if Jessica had made sure that Kilgrave was dead, this would never have happened. She's responsible now for ending it all. Despite her terror, Jessica is still reluctant to involve anyone else in her hunt, especially Trish, at the risk of putting them in danger. Trish, however, is taking her own precautions to stay safe, undergoing an intensive programme of martial arts training. Is this the start of her own transformation into Hellcat, if this is the path that the character is to take? At the same time we learn that Hogarth’s personal life has taken a hit as her wife is now aware of her affair, meaning things are about to get difficult for her. There’s also a comic twist when Jessica learns that the feuding couple from upstairs are not partners, as she thought, but actually twins, Robyn and Ruben. From first impressions is doesn’t seem as if Jessica and Robyn are setting out to be BFFs.

Kilgrave still lurks in the shadows, with his menace being largely ramped up through anecdotes of some of his heinous acts. But suddenly here's the man himself, knocking on the door of an apartment and requesting entrance with unerring politeness. It’s the quietness and the civility of his interactions that are so chilling, the way that he makes such terrible and unreasonable requests in such a cultured and reasonable tone. As he sits at the strangers’ dinner table ominously wielding a knife it’s clear that it’s not going to end well for that family. Like a good Hitchcock thriller, the power of imagination does all the hard work.

So, how can someone with the power of mind-control be defeated when they can fend off an attack with just a few words? Thankfully Jessica may have found a way to subdue Kilgrave. On the trail of Kilgrave, she makes the important, though gruesome, discovery that Kilgrave underwent kidney transplant surgery while conscious, with just an epidural. The surgeon who performed the operation tells her that anaesthetics can shut down different parts of the brain – this is what Kilgrave fears. 

She now has a plan: get close to Kilgrave, knock him out, incarcerate him. And this, Jessica hopes, is how she will crush her cockroach. 

Jessica Jones - Krysten Ritter
Kilgrave - David Tennant
Luke Cage - Mike Colter
Hope Schlottman - Erin Moriarty
Hogarth - Carrie-Anne Moss
Trish Walker - Rachael Taylor
Malcolm - Eka Darville
Robyn - Colby Minifie
Ruben - Kieran Mulcare
Pam - Susie Abromeit

Marvel's Jessica Jones is now available to stream via Netflix