In what is the creepiest episode of Jessica Jones to date, Kilgrave recreates Jessica’s childhood home exactly, even down to the exact furniture. Kilgrave wants to prove to Jessica that he truly loves her, and wants her to love him by her own choice. For him, it’s the ultimate gift, something that only Jessica herself would enjoy, that Kilgrave, with his fancy suits and expensive restaurants, has no attachment to. Yet Jessica is disgusted, forced to return to her teenage home and relive the painful parts of her childhood, this time without her family’s support.
Yet Mrs. De Luca challenges Jessica’s perception of her family as well. In her mind, Jess is allowed to let her family stay pristine and perfect. But De Luca’s busybodying brings her back to earth, forces her to look at her family in a new light. Maybe her parents’ marriage was rockier than she remembered. Maybe her brother was a bit of a troublemaker. Jess insists that her family was fine, that her neighbor didn’t know them and had no business talking about them. And when Kilgrave uses his powers to humiliate De Luca, Jess grudgingly admits that was pretty satisfying. It gives her the dignity to preserve the parts of her childhood that she values most.
But Jess and Kilgrave each view their childhoods differently. For Jess, her family is perfectly preserved in the amber of her memories, their flaws and imperfections rubbed out. But Jess vividly remembers the car accident that killed them, that Jess herself had a hand in causing. For her, it’s not her CD collection or the living room furniture that define her childhood, it’s her last moments with her family being a petty fight that she starts.
But for Kilgrave, his childhood never ended. Before he was Kilgrave, he was Kevin, a scared little boy with parents who subjected him to cruel experiments. Once he had his mind control powers, the little boy could get whatever he wanted, and never had to grow up. Kilgrave was robbed of a childhood, so for him, recreating Jessica’s home is an act of altruism, of love. This is the greatest gift he could’ve offered Jessica: he wants to give her home back to her.
But you can never go home. Kilgrave attempted to recreate Jessica’s childhood in order to placate her, to bring her to a comfortable and familiar place. But for a lot of us, the reality of home clashes with the truth of what we want it to be. Home is not just a place, but a feeling, and for Jess, that feeling died long ago.
4.5 Broken Gameboys out of 5. You didn’t kill your family, Jess: Nintendo did, by making incredible video games. DAMN YOU NINTENDOOOOOOOO!
I didn’t even mention the incredible ending with Mrs. De Luca, which is probably the goriest moment in any MCU production so far. I’ve never turned around on a character as quickly; when she first entered, I hated her, but the second she started badmouthing Jessica’s family I loved her. I will always adore characters who challenge someone’s nostalgia.
Tragic backstory and hostage negotiation notwithstanding, Kilgrave is still a fucking bastard. Few moments on this show are as darkly hilarious as poor Laurent and Alva forced to stare out the window, unblinking. I’m glad Jess was able to free them.
Having said that, Kilgrave’s genuine glee when he gets home from superheroing is hilarious. “I want cake!” he exclaims. I’m also fond of him answering Jeri’s text with “bitches, right?”
But Jess gets the best line of the episode. After Kilgrave protests about letting the man live in prison off the taxpayer’s teat the rest of his life, Jess chimes, “You’ve never paid a goddamn tax in your life.”