Fans Are Wondering What This New Phrase Means In 'Jessica Jones' & We Have The Answer

by Ani Bundel

With no Kilgrave in Jessica Jones Season 2, it's been a much longer road for the show to get itself to the Big Bad reveal. Five episodes in, Jessica's still mostly chasing down leads, and trying to figure out who exactly it is who is after her, and more importantly why. Her latest lead brings her face to face with a man who's been framed for a murder our Big Bad committed, a gentle but mentally challenged man who accidentally hands Jessica yet another lead. But what does "De Novo" mean, and why is it something that helps Jessica in her search for answers?

The man in question's name is David Kawecki. He was a janitor at IGH, and he had a crush on one of the nurses, Luanne, who was accidentally killed by our Big Bad during some routine testing. In order to hide the reality of what happened to the nurse, she was taken back to David's apartment, and he was somehow convinced/hypnotized/drugged to believe that he had killed her.

Jessica knows the truth of what happened because Ingrid (another former nurse who is also on disability because of our Big Bad's actions) was there and told Jessica the truth. But David is not okay with having the implanted story of Luanne's death challenged, and freaks out every time Jessica pushes.


It's when Jessica tries a different tack, asking David about the octopus he's drawing that things get interesting. David apparently knows a ton about octopuses, which he learned from his friend, Dr. Karl from IGH. They sat and ate lunch in the aquarium regularly, and David learned all about the weird generics of octopus, including something the Doctor found fascinating: "De Novo."

What is De Novo? According to Dictionary.com, it is derived from early 17th century Latin, and it means "starting from the beginning; anew." David gets it slightly wrong in the episode saying it means "out of nowhere." What would be slightly more correct would be to say the genes of an octopus suddenly mutate out of nowhere and start fresh, anew.

The parallel is obvious. When Jessica talked with this season's Big Bad, who was posing as Dr. Hansen, she said that the powers were basically a side effect of the genetic study that the project was doing. The project took people who were dead and brought them back to life.

Remember, the Whizzer's story, like Jessica's, suggests he miraculously survived a car crash, and somehow gained power from it. It's much more likely he died...and so did Jessica, just like the rest of her family. The powers were "just a side effect." Whatever it was the testing did that caused this regeneration of life also caused sudden genetic mutations that gave people like Jessica powers.

"De Novo," out of nowhere, anew. Just like octopus.


Dave also gives Jessica one more clue to follow, a detailed description of the aquarium he and Dr. Karl would meet for lunch, and how much he loved sitting by the octopus tanks. By the end of the episode, Jessica has staked out the tank herself, lying in wait day after day, to see how long it would take before "Dr. Karl" decided to show up for lunch.

Perhaps Jessica already knew deep down that she would recognize Dr. Karl herself, that seeing his face would once again trigger flashbacks to her time in the IGH labs, and that he was the doctor who worked on her. But what she wasn't expecting was that our Big Bad would turn up at the Aquarium as his date and the two of them were obviously having an affair. Nor did she realize that he might recognize her too....