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REVIEW: Jessica Jones 1×02 “AKA Crush Syndrome”

Written by Scott Swartz

Alright, episode two, electric boogaloo, sorry I have basically been watching the show straight, but we have to keep up with the Jones’. So, “AKA Crush Syndrome” is a worthy follow up to our little pilot if not a bit out of place in certain areas. For all of its world building and grandeur this episode really only had two purposes, reveal that Luke Cage possess his abilities and give us a better idea exactly how Kilgrave operates. We managed to get bits and pieces of how he ruined Jessica’s life but this episode began to show us what type of monster he truly is and how he intends to operate. From what we can see he really is a contrast to that of Fisk on Daredevil and aims for a much grander scale of destruction. It’s interesting that despite being a quieter episode, we were perhaps forced to deal with a little too much of a dip in the pace.

So to answer one of the bigger questions I had in the premier, yes Luke has his powers and he is super tired of people trying to fight him. I am really loving how the show is portraying Luke as if he is simply caught up in Jessica’s wake and everything that is happening to him is in some way related back to Jessica’s weird file on Kilgrave. It was definitely entertaining to watch Jessica and Luke stumble through the bar fight like it was nothing, especially Luke’s “god damn it not this shit again” face. What I am really enjoying about Mike Coulter’s performance is that he is not taking the simple answers and is indeed trying to prod Jessica into revealing more about herself. He could easily just say to screw the whole thing and let it lie as his persona clearly dictates, but he is being cautious and I love that simple fact. By not taking anything at face value he is actually being way more proactive than Jessica who has blinders on if it doesn’t involve Kilgrave.

Speaking of our big bad, we are learning more and more about how he takes what he wants and how he doesn’t care about the repercussions. What was interesting is that only one helped to get across the point that Kilgrave is as bad as he seems, as what he did to the ambulance driver is terrifying and sad. That scene did help to show that Jessica and Kilgrave have more in common than they would care to admit as they are both so clearly fixated on each other that they are blind to others pain. Jessica chooses to focus on Kilgrave rather than the man in pain and that say a lot about what Kilgrave did to her and how destroyed of a person she now is. While that victim got the point across I am entirely unsure what Kilgrave did to the doctor to make his so terrified? I mean sure he made him remove a man’s kidneys which I am assuming got his medical license revoked, but from what we have seen Kilgrave has no more reason to torment this doctor.

Despite a lot of the episode being entertaining and really building upon the pilot one thing was terribly off, the sense of pacing and tension. Throughout the episode I was constantly waiting to be shocked and surprised as I was during the premiere, but this episode was just drastically slow with very little payoff. Of the two big payoffs I was really only surprised to see one revealed so early as I honestly did not even think the Luke would reveal his powers so quickly. I knew Jessica was going to find a chink in Kilgrave’s armor to be able to exploit, but I didn’t think it would be this easy. It is either going to set up a major trap in the future or the supposed power dampener won’t work at all and all of them will be screwed. That is just how story usually works and I am not trying to fault the show, but there just had to be a better way.

The other part of the episode that was touch and go was Hope and watching her come to terms with the events that had transpired. Erin Moriarty did an excellent job working with the material and made me feel for her struggle, but at the same time there really was not enough of her in this episode to make me feel like she is central to Jessica’s world. I also felt like it was way to easy for Hogarth to be persuaded to represent Hope, I mean Jessica only found one witness and that should not be enough for Jeri or any court of law. There really should have been more of a fight on Jeri’s part and I hope to see her fight back more as the season moves forward.

I am still definitely invested in the show but we took a minor step back in our expectations.

Final Grade B-

+Luke revealing his abilities

+Seeing Kilgrave’s victims

+Trish training

-Pacing was a bit off

-Found the power blocker way to fast

-Not sure about Hope being central to the plot.

Extra Thoughts

-I forgot about Trish training, I loved the scene and I am beginning to come around to her character a little more.

-It’s Robyn and Ruben, as if Jessica’s building was not weird enough.

-Kilgrave just walking into that family’s apartment was adequately creepy. It definitely showed just how easy he can make people bend knee.

About the author

Scott Swartz