By Trevor Law
So this weekend I had a lot of free time and decided to watch all of the new Jessica Jones series. I knew very little about it, but I am huge fan of the new Daredevil show and I have thoroughly enjoyed most of Marvel’s television and movie properties so far.
The first thing that jumped out to me is the gritty street level vibe the show cultivates and the characters inhabit. Even her apartment/office is crappy. The first episode has a surprising amount of sex scenes in it, which I was surprised by. I mean, she is a private detective and her job is taking pictures of people cheating on their spouses so I shouldn’t have been that surprised. That being said the sex really drops off and is barely a factor for the rest of the show so if that is something that bothers you, or excites you now you know.
I was slightly bothered by how sexualized the episode was but that is because it touched on the old comic book problem of not knowing what to do with women. Something else that bothered me was the intense abuse of Jessica Jones and the fact that they made her a victim right out of the gates grated on me a bit.Because of this I was already pretty skeptical but I kept going. Jessica herself was so interesting, and her friend Trisha, as well as the awesome Luke Cage, just kept grabbing my attention.
Jessica is kind of an asshole to everyone and she makes zero apologies for it. She drinks too much, she sleeps around and she has a ton of baggage that she carries everywhere. In short, she was a boss ass bitch and darn it I loved her for it. She was so tortured and angry, but still cared. The lengths that she was willing to go to save the innocent Hope from jail were nothing short of heroic. In short, she was a deeply flawed person who even when the world gave her a thousand reasons not to care, she does anyway.
This brings us to Killgrave, and holy mother of God what a villain. He has the ability to control minds for hours at a time with a simple word and what does he use it for? Fighting the Avengers? World conquest? Nope, he uses it to stalk and just be the creepiest S.O.B. on the planet. His energies are totally devoted to making Jessica Jones love him, because she is the only person immune to his mind control. She’s the only person in the world he can’t have and that makes him want her all the more. Never mind that he was a horrible human being before this but now he has someone to fixate on. It is remarkable to see someone so powerful be so petty. Its the little things that provoke his rage, the slight “injustices” to himself that he can’t handle. He wants control and doesn’t care how many people he has to tell to jump off a roof to do that, even when there is no harm to himself to let them live.
Like I said before, I was on the fence about where this show was going, until the mother of all plot twists happens. Jessica moves in with this guy, of her own free will. The damage he has wrought is so bad that this is the only way forward she sees. When she moves in we get to learn about Killgrave the man and why he is the way he is. He becomes sympathetic, at least a bit and you, the audience, feel like he might not be so bad. He even asks Jessica to help him become a hero and he saves a family with her help. The two are a great team and maybe, just maybe some good will come out of all of this.
But Jessica Jones can’t handle that and so she throws all of that away, and the thing is, she was right to do so. While Killgrave said all the right things he was still a monster who saw people as tools. He is an animal that needs to be locked away or put down. In that episode Marvel did something remarkable. Jessica Jones saved the audience from being overtaken from a classic domestic abuser. The same questions everyone who has ever been in that situation has had, she asked, and by God she wrestled with them, but she never forgot what she was dealing with. This is around episode seven so I won’t spoil anymore for you.
This show is ultimately about domestic abuse and the trauma it brings people. Jessica Jones, however, doesn’t need saving. She needs help, allies and friends, but she doesn’t need saving. She is a survivor in every sense of the word. She wasn’t made stronger for what happened to her, it didn’t make her who she was. She defined all of that for herself. I was on the fence about this show in the beginning because she was just another broken woman and this was a show about her overcoming adversity. That isn’t Jessica Jones though. This is about one woman trying to get by and one sick human being intent on making her his. It is a great story about a real person. While it leans on some of the classic tropes for strong female characters Jessica Jones rises above them and for that, I rate it five empty whisky bottles, out of five.