Why Jessica Jones is the best thing to happen to the Marvel Cinematic Universe

This article will have spoilers for Jessica Jones, so unless you’ve already watched it or don’t care about spoilers at all, you should probably stop reading.

This show, as its title suggests, is based on the Marvel character Jessica Jones, an alcoholic private investigator who happens to have superhuman strength.  The first season centers around her struggle with Kilgrave, a mind-controller based on the comic book character The Purple Man.  The show explores her journey overcoming her trauma and accepting her role as a superhero.

The thing that sets Marvel shows apart from their movies is the willingness to address darker, more taboo subjects.  With Jessica Jones, the focus is rape. The show delves into the nitty-gritty details of what rape is, what counts as consent, and whether rape can occur if the victim isn’t able to make their own informed decisions.  These messages strike especially deep as we continue to see female celebrities being ignored when trying to speak out about their rape and abuse (see: Kesha and Amber Heard), while their abusers continue their successful lives.  In the show, Kilgrave uses his powers to force Jessica into a relationship.  He makes her do his bidding, follow him around, and have sex with him whenever he wants.  Still, he doesn’t see this as abuse because she doesn’t explicitly tell him to stop.  The fact that this is because he is literally controlling her every move doesn’t seem to have crossed his mind.

In which Kilgrave thinks fancy restaurants and 5 star hotels = consent to sex.

Another great thing about the show is the way it treats survivors of abuse.  Throughout the season, Jessica repeats to herself again and again that it is not her fault, and that the only one to blame for her abuse is Kilgrave.  This theme continues as she encounters more people who have fallen victim to him, and helps them deal with what happened to them.

Kilgrave’s most recent victim, Hope, after being forced to kill her parents.

This sends an important message to all survivors of abuse in a world where rape survivors hear a constant stream of “Well, what were you wearing?” and “Why were you so drunk?”.

The lack of a major romantic subplot also separates it from Marvel’s other work.  Sure, she has a thing with Luke Cage (which will probably grow considering she married him in the comics), but Jessica’s most significant relationship was with her sister, Trish. Jessica spends the beginning of the season trying to avoid Trish, but she does so to protect her.  Trish, however, has other ideas and does everything she can to stay with Jessica.  The bond they share is especially remarkable, considering that Trish’s mom (Jessica’s step-mom) seems to hate Jessica.  Trish is also interesting as she is one of the only characters that knew Jessica well before and after she met Kilgrave.  She is the only one who completely believes that Jessica is a superhero and even made her a costume, though Jessica vows never to wear it.

A reference to her costume in the comics

Overall, the show delves into several very dark themes and sometimes makes you feel like nothing will ever be okay again, but it also has a lot of humour.  So, to make up for all the heavy things I’ve been talking about, I compiled some of my favourite funny scenes in Jessica Jones:

  • Jessica going to a bar and freaking people out because of her super strength and telling them it’s because she does pilates
  • When Jessica pretends to have laser eyes once and people actually believe her
  • When Trish suggests the superhero name “Jewel” (her name in the comics) and Jessica says it sounds like a stripper name
  • When she snaps Kilgrave’s neck (okay, maybe this is going a little too far)

To end off, I’d like to say that Jessica Jones is a show that is not afraid to discuss topics that make people uncomfortable.  It has interesting characters, including the minor ones. Along with the new Luke Cage, Jessica Jones has been one of the few things that have stopped me from completely losing faith in Marvel.

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