Marvel’s Jessica Jones: AKA Crush Syndrome

“AKA Crush Syndrome” opens on Jessica being interrogated in a police station about the accident with Hope and her parents. We’re watching this conversation through a two-way mirror — a motif that is repeated through the episode. We later watch Jessica and Hope have a conversation, once again through two-way mirror. The ongoing themes of Jessica Jones, of watching and being watched, are continued in the visual style of this episode – with the being watched becoming even more pervasive as the state of Jessica’s paranoia deepens.

There’s a great fakeout early in the hour where Jessica is walking down the street – we see her though the interior of a car. Jessica is rattled, but quickly shakes it off when the person approaching her turns out to be Trish. That feeling of uncertainty and danger just walking down the street as a woman is something unfortunately relatable that Jessica Jones captures so simply in this moment. While most of us don’t have a mind-controlling maniac obsessed with us – there are pieces here that are so relatable.

In the series opener, “AKA Ladies Night,” Trish called Jessica out for cowering away rather than being a hero. Through the interactions between the friends we get a better understanding of where that exchange came from. Jessica’s first instinct when it comes to Kilgrave is to run. From what we’ve seen of his powers, and Jessica’s PTSD flashbacks – that’s 100% reasonable.

“AKA Crush Syndrome” gives us a better idea of how Jessica operates when faced with danger – what happens when the people she cares about are in danger. And maybe even more importantly, shows us that she really does care. When Jessica discovered that Luke was about to be attacked she didn’t think twice before running to his aid. She’s not shy about using her abilities when it calls for it – especially to help her friend. This is the hero Trish was talking about.

This scene, by the way, was magical. As Luke and Jessica both tear apart this gang of angry men with an ease that looks like they’ve done this dance a million times– they keep connecting and looking away at each other. Awed, and excited at what they see – something familiar. Someone different, who is the same.

But more important than Luke, this episode focuses on resolving the Trish/Jessica relationship. It’s important that it really doesn’t take too much prodding on Trish’s part to tell Jessica to get over it – she’s going to be there for her and she can handle herself. Jessica isn’t some solo hero who needs to do it alone, the kind of ego-driven lone-wolf crap that’s all too familiar with male hero and anti-hero types. Jessica knows she needs her friend and trusts her enough to let her – taking her safety literally into her own hands (apartment security, Krav Maga lessons) to protect herself, I’m assuming from Kilgrave, but also possibly from Jessica.

That Jessica needs to apologize to Luke is notable. She’s more than her tough-as-nails exterior. She’s cautious but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t connect. She’s also been through a traumatic experience and this has put her on edge. She also has superpowers and a drinking problem. So she’s really not just any one thing.

Often in superhero shows we see male characters hide the truth from the women in their lives to “protect” them. Here, when Jessica’s friend knows she’s being pushed away because Jessica wants to protect her – she calls bullshit. Trish knows the risks, and Jessica trusts her friend enough to accept that the danger is her choice. “I can’t risk you” is such a typical line – but the quick understanding and acceptable that her friend can handle herself is far less typical.

So what else happened in this hour?

Jessica is digging deeper into the mystery of how Kilgrave survived the accident, and how she can stop him. She goes to Hope to try to discover any weaknesses. Hope, helpfully, tells Jessica to kill herself. There’s a lot of talk about blame when it comes to Kilgrave. Who really believes mind control? Jessica tells Hope not to blame herself, it’s not her fault. But Hope blames Jessica. Jessica pushes past this – recovers. And promptly goes to Jeri (Carrie-Anne Moss) begging her to take Hope on as a client. It’s not all selfless though – Jessica and Hope were both victims. If Hope can be found innocent maybe Jessica can feel a little less guilty herself.

We learn that Kilgrave wanted to be whole – talking an ambulance driver into donating both his kidneys, and a top transplant surgeon into performing the procedure. Rattled to the core – this surgeon dispenses a key piece of intel for Jones: Kilgrave insisted on remaining awake through the entire surgery. We learn more about the limitations of Kilgrave’s powers. Time, distance, but now also it’s not regular sleep that can interrupt the signal – but being knocked out by surgical level anesthesia.

Couple of things to think about:

  • Jessica Jones doesn’t give a bag of dicks what kinky shit you’re into. Just do it quietly.
  • “Fragile: Handle with Care” are the words on her temporary door
  • Who is Reva Conners?

Photo Courtesy of Netflix

About Sara

Sara is determined to break the space-time continuum to allow for more hours in the week to watch all the TV. Her entry into TV geekdom came with Firefly, Battlestar Galactica and Eccleston's Doctor Who, and has continued to spiral since. You can also read her TV musings at The Viewing Party and follow her on Twitter @janie_jones.