What Did IGH Do To Jessica Jones? Season 2 Gives Her New Insight Into How She Gained Her Powers
With Kilgrave out of her life, superhero Jessica Jones has a chance to look into how exactly she became so super. Thanks to Trish prompting her, Jessica starts to investigate what IGH did to her in Jessica Jones Season 2. Spoilers for Episodes 1 and 2 of Jessica Jones Season 2 follow. As discovered in Season 1, the private research company not only experimented on Will Simpson and his fellow soldiers, but the group most likely had something to do with Jessica and her powers as well. As Jessica opens herself up to the past in Season 2, she starts to have flashbacks to her time after her family died in a car accident. And these memories, plus her special brand of investigating, may just lead her to find out what exactly IGH did to her.
Luke Cage was the first "super" that Jessica ever met and as shown in Luke Cage, he knows how he got his unbreakability. Jessica, on the other superpowered hand, doesn't really know what happened to her. In Season 1, Trish learned that IGH had paid for Jessica's medical bills when she was involved in the car accident that killed her parents and brother. And it wasn't until after the accident that Jessica had her powers. So, as Trish reasons, IGH must have done something to Jessica when she was a child that caused her super strength.
While Jessica hasn't wanted to look into what occurred since it means reliving the deaths of her family, Trish pushes her into it. Trish gets Jessica's medical records for her time in the hospital and discovers that 20 days are missing from her file. "Seventeen years ago, after the accident, you were brought into the ER, but you weren't assigned a hospital bed until 20 days later with no hospital records in between," Trish tells Jessica. Jessica says she was in a coma, which helps explain why she can't remember that span of time. But, as Trish notes, "It doesn't explain what IGH did to you."
Although Jessica is hesitant to say that IGH did anything to her, it's pretty clear that they created who Jessica is now. "I know you went into that hospital near death and you walked out with powers. And I know IGH experiments on people like Dr. Kozlov did with Simpson," Trish says. Along with Simpson, Jessica meets another person in Season 2 that was experimented on by IGH — Robert "Whizzer" Coleman. His story more closely matches hers and his death gets Jessica closer to uncovering her past.
Whizzer was taken to the hospital when he was 18 after drunkenly falling off a roof. He can't remember what happened to him, but he left the hospital with super speed. He says that someone "made" him and that he takes the pills that "they" send him to stop him from being a monster. He's also convinced that another IGH experiment is trying to kill him, which turns out to be true since Whizzer, Kozlov, and Simpson all end up dead in the first two episodes of Season 2.
When Jessica follows the trail of Whizzer's pills, she ends up in a building that's a front for IGH. Her memory is triggered and this is where her 20 missing days were spent instead of at Metro-General Hospital. She starts to remember being experimented on and specifically sees herself having a procedure done where needles were injected into her just above her knees. This particular experiment could explain how Jessica has the ability to powerfully jump in a way that's almost like flying.
In the Season 2 trailer, Janet McTeer's unnamed character seems to tell Jessica, "You were brought back from the dead. The powers were a side effect." However, that may not be entirely true since the experiments that Jessica can remember so far didn't seem particularly life-saving. Plus, there were signs in Episode 2 that her powers might have been IGH's goal.
In "AKA Freak Accident," Jessica looks at Trish's IGH investigation files. In them, there's a paper from The Journal of Biological Chemistry called, "Gene Repression in Haloarchaea Using the CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats)-Cas I-B System." The paper is authored by Aris-Edda Stachler and Anita Marchfelder from Ulm University in Germany — and it really exists outside of Netflix's Marvel universe. Since the discovery of the CRISPR-Cas system "it has been developed into numerous applications like genome editing," the abstract notes. If this gene repression was done to Jessica, it could have altered her DNA, which might explain her super strength. And was DNA altering really necessary to save her life? Or were the IGH scientists just taking advantage of an orphaned girl to be their lab rat?
Although finding out what IGH did to Jessica means remembering how her family died, there's no turning back now. Especially since Jessica believes there's another "monster" out there created by IGH who is killing others. So while the memories of her past will be painful, they'll help her learn about herself — and help her be the vigilante superhero she resents in the process.