Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In the TV version of Jessica Jones, it seems that Kilgrave could simply be defeated by wearing strong ear protection so that you couldn't hear his commands.

Would this work, or does his power affect your mind directly?

share|improve this question
Obviously, you cannot fulfill an order you cannot understand or that you don't know it's been issued. Which makes us go to why the hell they didn't got a pair of industrial security headphones and kicked his ass on the fourth episode. – Bardo Jan 28 at 13:45
@Bardo Because at the time they still wanted to take him alive. In retrospect they probably should've rejected that idea much sooner. – Ixrec Jan 28 at 13:53
Just a note: an ear plugs (even the best ones) doesn't completely block the sound, because the air vibration get as well transferred through the skull bones directly to eardrum. Headphones with loud music would work much better as a way to block Killgrave's voice – Yasskier Jan 28 at 19:59
@rickster AYE AYE CAPTAIN!! – Lego Stormtroopr Jan 28 at 23:42
Just a note, sure this would make you immune to his effects yourself, but he almost always has others around who are not currently wearing earplugs as a contingency plan, or some other way of dealing with a single person immune to his powers, so using this method to "defeat" him is not a given. – Nacht Jan 29 at 3:43
up vote 28 down vote accepted

Yes, this would work.

In fact, they attempt some version of this on several occasions:

  • I'm sure I remember a scene where somebody (possibly Officer Simpson) plugs their ears with cotton before a Kilgrave encounter. Unfortunately I can't remember where this scene may have taken place, and the Internet is not helping me locate it
  • Part of the point of the makeshift Kilgrave-prison is that it's soundproofed:

    Jessica: This is a safe house? It looks like a '70s furniture outlet.

    Simpson: The second floor is a decommissioned CDC facility. One of my boys was their investigator, held some patient zeroes here. It has a hermetically sealed room.


    Simpson: It's soundproof, too.

    Jessica Jones Season 1 Episode 5: "A.K.A. The Sandwich Saved Me"

    Kilgrave can scream at you until he's blue in the face (and he does), and he can't compel you to do anything

  • In the finale, a character walks into a Kilgrave encounter wearing headphones blaring loud music. Despite him shouting numerous commands in their presence, they're only vulnerable when the headphones later fall off
share|improve this answer
Would they really need to be completely soundproof? Having worn regular in-ear earplugs, I had plenty of times where I had to look at someone and ask them to repeat themselves. Granted, Kilgrave would be talking much more emphatically, but this goes back to the above comment about "you have to know/understand a command has been given". – krillgar Jan 28 at 14:33
Decent in-ear (plug-style) headphones and LOUD music might be a better bet. – fredley Jan 28 at 14:51
@JasonBaker Head cannon wise JJ could have been aware from her past association that "sharing air" was required to be influenced (ie, she might easily have witnessed him yelling at someone on the far side of a sealed glass window and it not working). This doesn't require knowledge of the virus, just extrapolation of previous failed control attempts. – Yakk Jan 28 at 15:45
jessica seemed to know that the shared airspace was required, as she wasn't concerned with kilgrave exerting control over anyone when he called trish's radio show. – phantom42 Jan 28 at 19:39
I don't know that Jessica had narrowed it down to specifically "shared airspace" before we learned about the virus. What she definitely did work out was that physical proximity had something to do with it, since right from the beginning she says that it takes time and distance for the power to wear off. – Ixrec Jan 28 at 21:34

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.