Marvel’s Jessica Jones is a bit more recent than most classic science fiction shows, and most might not even call it a classic. It’s too new, and that’s fair. However, the more I go back over the Netflix Originals, the more I see the rewatchability of them, and I think these shows will be watched for a long time coming. Jessica Jones was the next show to air after Daredevil, and generally thought of as the more drama-heavy of the two, dealing with far more serious subject matter in a more complicated way.
For example: Abortion. Don’t see that in very often in the MCU. It’s also got women writers- more than any other Marvel-Netflix show.
But my favorite thing about Jessica Jones is how it portrays all the messed up things that come with leaving an abusive relationship.
As a quick summary, Jessica Jones, titular character, has recently left the clutches of Kilgrave, AKA the Purple Man. He’s not actually purple in the show, it’s more like a calling sign. Kilgrave has the power of mind-control, and is made of pure evil.
Jessica Jones covers the PTSD, the fear and paranoia, and the lasting harm an abusive relationship has without giving over into Lifetime-movie-esque victimization. Jessica Jones, the detective, is nobody’s victim, despite having been put through serious trauma. And this is addressed by more than just her brusque and sarcastic attitude-, she actively fights against Kilgrave even though she’s clearly scared shiffless about him. She plots to take him out, like any hero would.
That’s another thing: most heroes don’t know their enemies. They have to figure it out by following the clues and then in the last few episodes somewhere there’s this big showdown. Usually two. Jessica Jones knows exactly who the enemy is, and she knows exactly what he is capable of, but instead of making the tension boring or allowing the viewer to becoming uninvested, this actually creates more tension. We are more invested because nothing is being hidden from us.
Jessica Jones doesn’t treat the viewer as stupid. The plot-twists aren’t predictable nor are they out of left-field, the tactics used by the hero aren’t completely naive or flimsy (looking at you, Iron Fist) and the viewer isn’t mollycoddled about what an evil man with mind-powers will do. It goes beyond, “Oh, he made me give him my wallet.”
Jones knows this first-hand the power that Kilgrave wields. She has, in fact, lost to him before. But she got back up, and decided to try again. This is what makes Jessica Jones so good- this is history repeating itself, but we are all the more engaged for it, and still rooting for the loser. We don’t pity Jones, we look up to her, even if she has lost before.