Kilgrave flinches first.
There are several cool things going in in Jessica Jones Episode 3 that might have been worth talking about in this recap if not for the final 15 minutes of the episode. The first direct reference to the Avengers. The first direct reference to Loki’s invasion of New York. Trish’s brave, if stupid, decision to broadcast her knowledge of Kilgrave. The revelation that Trish isn’t quite ready to join the Defenders as Hellcat just yet when she can’t fight off a mind-controlled policeman.
But at it’s very core, this series is about two people: Jessica and Kilgrave. The first two episodes drove home this fact, gradually drawing Kilgrave out from the shadows of Jessica’s troubled psyche and into the here and now.
Which means this episode, for all its other brilliance, is all about finally getting to see the first showdown between the two.
And guess what? Kilgrave blinked.
So far, the series has spent its time building up just how powerful Kilgrave is. Jessica is terrified of him. Hope killed her parents on his command when he was nowhere nearby. He enslaved an entire family without breaking a sweat. Even when Jessica discovers that he can be temporarily neutralized by surgical anesthesia, all I was thinking was, “Yeah, but how is anyone ever going to get close enough to shoot him with it?”
Turns out, even though everyone else is submissive to Kilgrave at a moment’s notice, her prior exposure to him, like exposure to a germ, has given Jessica a natural resistance to his…charms. It’s a huge moment this episode when we see even more of the incident that almost killed Kilgrave. Jessica began to break through his brainwashing. And when she shows up again this time, Kilgrave doesn’t try to capture her again, as is his purported goal. He runs.
Of course, he still sends a bunch of attackers after her as she flees, and it all culminates in Jessica’s discovery that Kilgrave’s been keeping tabs on her for some time now, so on the psychological warfare front he’s still winning in a major way. Before, Jessica had a ominous but dismissible sense that Kilgrave was lurking. Now she knows for a fact he could strike at any moment.
Look: it’s a good episode, and certainly not one to skip, but I’m so excited about what this showdown means for the rest of the series that I’m going to cut this recap short here and press on to episode 4.
It’s getting interesting, y’all.