The Kilgrave Cameo In 'Jessica Jones' Season 2 Was Everything Audiences Wanted
Jessica Jones Season 2 is not as strong as Season 1 overall. But the episodes that are good are excellent. The best one of all is Episode 11, right after Jessica's committed murder (quite by accident) the experience triggered the PTSD she carried around for all of Season 1. Her trigger turns out to bring back memories of Kilgrave. Not even memories, more like full on hallucinations. This Kilgrave cameo in Jessica Jones Season 2 is quite possibly the highlight of the whole season, along with Janet McTeer, proving that the UK actors in this series really are the best ones. Warning: Spoilers for Jessica Jones Season 2 follow.
We should be clear for those getting their hopes up: Kilgrave isn't coming back from the dead. He's not real. (The show makes this clear when Jessica and Malcolm are tracking down Trish, and Malcolm cannot see him.) But the killing of Dale, despite it being an accident on Jessica's part, pulls her right back to where she used to be through all of Season 1.
This is the strongest part of the series by miles. Part of that is that Ritter and Tennant simply have delightful chemistry, and part of it is Tennant is simply delightful as Kilgrave.
Kilgrave is a trigger, but it's also the darkest part of Jessica. It's all the instincts her mother is totally unable to control. Alisa, when she gets angry, goes nuts, murders people, freaks out, etc. Jessica isn't that person, but she's afraid she could be. And with Kilgrave's voice inside driving her, she might be.
For instance: Jessica's killing of Dale isn't deliberate. Dale was actually trying to kill her (while yelling self-defense). It's Jessica who kills him in self-defense, and it's partly Dale's fault. By pepper spraying her and fogging her brain, she doesn't think when she clubs him over the head with his own baton and accidentally crushes his skull.
But Kilgrave, like all brainweasels, isn't going to let a little thing like facts get in the way. He's going to remind Jessica that Dale deserved it, tell her this is proof she's really a killer, and that she's three deaths deep (Luke Cage's wife, him, and now Dale), and counting. He's so proud. (The way he says it sounds too much like when Alisa said the same to her earlier for comfort.)
But when Kilgrave tries to drive Jessica to kill Dr. Karl with her bare hands, finish him off, and take vengeance for all that was done to her family, Jessica stops. She almost does it. We see her reciting the words that Kilgrave is putting into her head. But then, no.
Jessica has control. Jessica is not a murderer, despite that fact that she's killed three people over her lifetime. Besides, she knows killing Karl will simply set her mother off.
Unfortunately, Karl then chooses to kill himself, setting Jessica's mother off anyway, and causing her to come after Trish, who she blames for everything.
But by then, the Kilgrave monster inside Jessica's head has cleared out. She didn't kill Karl, that Karl killing himself is something she couldn't control. She did the right thing, he did the right thing, and the world is righted once more. Well, except for the fact that her mother is on a rampage across New York City. But that can be taken care of in time.
Except Jessica isn't a murderer. She literally cannot kill someone unless she's driven to the extreme, or forced to do so by Kilgrave. That's why, in the end, it's Trish who takes down Alisa. Because she knows Jessica can't do it. No matter what Kilgrave says, Jessica is not, and never will be, a murderer.