When Does David Tennant Appear In 'Jessica Jones'? Kilgrave's Presence Is Felt Before He's Seen
All you Doctor Who fans out there, rejoice. David Tennant stars in Jessica Jones as Kilgrave, the Netflix series' chilling villain. The Scottish actor is best known for his roles as the Tenth Doctor in Doctor Who, Alec Hardy in Broadchurch and Barty Crouch JR. in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but his latest character may prove to stand out from the rest. Jessica Jones follows Krysten Ritter's titular character as she starts a new life after her stint as a superhero, beginning her path to redemption following traumatic events. Kilgrave and his powers of manipulation are a key part of that trauma, and he serves as her main antagonist. Though his character is heard in the series' pilot and Jessica has a sort of vision of him, we don't see the actor in the flesh. So as you begin your viewing, you may want to know when Tennant shows up on Jessica Jones as Kilgrave, for real.
Well, there's both good and bad news. Let's start with the good. Marvel Head of Television Joseph Loeb gave fans something to look forward to, telling Indiewire that when Kilgrave does appear, "In the same kind of way Vincent D’Onofrio owned his half of 'Daredevil,' ... you’ll see David Tennant own his half of 'Jessica Jones.'" The bad news is, it will take a little while to get there. Similar to the pilot, Kilgrave's presence is heavily felt in the second episode of Jessica Jones, which features a scene of the character that is shot from behind. So you hear Tennant's voice and see both his frame and the back of his head, though not his actual face. Similarly, you see his silhouette and hear his voice in an earlier flashback. But it is not until the end of Episode 3, "AKA It's Called Whiskey," that Tennant is fully seen as the terrifying Kilgrave. From there, viewers will get to know the villain better, but in case you're taking your time with Jessica Jones, here's what you should know about Kilgrave's background in Marvel Comics, where he is known as Zebediah Killgrave.
He's A Master Manipulator
Kilgrave’s superpower is persuasion, and he can make anyone do anything he wants just by telling them to. This power is very present in Jessica Jones, though as of Episode 3, it's not clear if his backstory for them will be included in the series. In the comics, Killgrave first discovered his unusual power after he was captured by the American forces during his time working as a Yugoslavian spy. When he was interrogated, he offered up a thin alibi, and his enemies miraculously believed him.
He Has A Favorite Color
The chemicals that the Americans sprayed on Killgrave changed his skin color to purple, and his comic alter ego is actually The Purple Man. Jessica Jones hasn't given Tennant purple skin, but his character does favor the occasional mauve or eggplant accent, likely as a nod to his comic identity.
He's Terrorized More Than Jessica
Both Killgrave and Jessica Jones were originally featured in the Daredevil comics, though neither appeared in his Netflix series. The villain's first run in with Daredevil, aka Matt Murdock, is when Kilgrave allowed himself to be arrested after a bank heist in New York City and hired Murdock to represent him. He became enamored with Murdock’s secretary, Karen Page, and decided to kidnap her. Killgrave first encounters Jessica Jones as her heroic alter ego, Jewel, then kidnaps and controls her. He subjects her to a long period of mental torture and forces her to do horrible things. When we meet both Jessica and Kilgrave on Jessica Jones, this will have already happened, with the hero trying hard to move past it, and the villain seeking her out again.
Tennant may "own" Jessica Jones once he appears in Episode 3, but I'm sure we'll all still be rooting for Jessica to come out on top by the season finale.
Images: Myles Aronowitz/Netflix; Marvel Comics