It's hard to watch at times, but easily one of the most engaging parts of Marvel's latest Netflix series is the dynamic between the protagonist and her mind-controlling nemesis. Why is Kilgave obsessed with Jessica on Jessica Jones ? His relationship with her is toxic, non-consensual, and abusive. He claims to be in love with her, but why? There are spoilers for Episodes 1 - 13 ahead, so keep your eyes peeled until you finish Season 1 if you don't want any details. The choice is up to you.
Is is because Jessica has super powers, and is therefore the greatest weapon of all? It would make sense that someone who is used to using other people to do his bidding, like Kilgrave, would be interested in someone so powerful as a means to a variety of ends. I thought that was it for a while, but he doesn't seem quite as taken by Luke Cage when they meet, does he? Plus, Kilgrave never went after other gifted individuals like Bruce Banner, which you'd think would be a mind-controlling villain's first step towards world domination, or whatever he wants. That's definitely what Loki did.
Personally, I think that Jessica Jones is "the one that got away," in an extreme sense. She is the first person who he was ever unable to control, and that drove an already evil man mad. He also dwells quite a bit on an 18-second period in which he believes Jessica chose to stay with him under her own free will. If you believe his side of things, this is a man who believes that he can never tell whether or not people are acting on their own free will around him. That doubt has allegedly haunted him, though Jessica later gave him her version of events, and she was clearly not choosing to be with him in that moment.
There is also the possibility that their powers are connected, and Kilgrave somehow senses that bond. This "IGH" organization alluded to on Jessica Jones that is tied to Kozlov's super drugs and Jessica's post-accident medical bills may very well have been the group that was running experiments on children, including young Kevin.
Of course, none of this excuses what Kilgrave does to Jessica and everyone around them. He is emotionally, physically, and sexually abusive. His personal delusions are almost as twisted as the ones he orders others to carry out. Kilgrave is everything wrong about characters like Edward Cullen and Severus Snape, dressed in a purple suit, and unlike those men, we’re definitely supposed to hate him, as Jessica Jones presents him as a horrific, psychopathic villain.
One of the greatest things about Jessica Jones as a character is how genuinely she cares for others who have been "Kilgraved" in the series. This man has planted many demons, but ultimately she is able to fight back and use their fabricated "bond" against him.
Images: Myles Aronowitz/Netflix; Giphy