Since Jessica Jones, Marvel’s 13- episode superhero extravaganza was released on Netflix, it’s all anyone has talked about… and for good reason. Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) is a quick witted, often vulgar character who has the power of super strength. She’s a boozy, tomboy realist who navigates the seedy underbelly of Hells Kitchen with all the finesse of a postman who’s anger management thong has snapped. Her work is mainly built around her Private Investigation business but when she catches on that the big bad Kilgrave (David Tennant) is still alive, she sets her sights on stopping him. But how does one stop a man who can get you to strangle yourself with your own headphones or tell you to kill your parents. Such as with Hope (Erin Moriaty), a character who has been abducted by Kilgrave and forced to kill her own mother and father. This brings me onto my next point and the main body of this article: Consent.
This show, if anything definitely teaches us about the power of consent. Consent is power, once someone takes that away from you, you lose control and you lose your sense of self. Jessica was made to do things she did not want to do, she lost that control and her desire for Kilgrave’s demise is her attempt at reclamation. Even the strongest women cannot avoid sexual violence, but Jones is not motivated by a perverted sense of vengeance but a moral need to stop this man from stealing anyone else’s control. Rape is mentioned a few times with Jessica surmising that the nights she spent with Kilgrave were not just filled with mental rape but physical rape as well. Kilgrave obviously denies this screaming ‘I hate that word’ but in a situation as traumatic as this it seems the attacker would say something to this effect. Most believe that their ‘victim’ enjoys them and would not see it as rape. However, there is really no other way of seeing it between these two characters as it is blindingly obvious that Jessica does not have romantic or even friendly feelings for The Purple Man.
Jones herself is a very strong woman, literally. She successfully operates a P.I business however crass she appears to be and unapologetically sleeps with who she wants. She is brutal and honest but mindful of peoples feelings when she has to be. Blunt might be the best word to describe her. She is definitely not a character you would jump to call a superhero, just because she has abilities does not make her the queen of hearts. Throughout the 13-episodes we see her naivety and her strength, she functions on a will to survive but also on a will to help people. She will not kill Kilgrave because she wants Hope to be released from prison, even though more people died as a result of this, she knew how important it was to get justice for someone who did not consent to their actions. Jessica throughout all her strength actually finds a way to resist Kilgrave’s mind compulsion to help people and that’s what makes her capable of being a ‘hero’. She has her faculties but she is extremely flawed and often the viewer will find themselves angrily shouting at the TV ‘Oh just kill him will you?!’
David Tennant does a fantastic job as Kilgrave or Kevin as his real name goes. He acts out the character with a perfectly sinister splendour that leavers the viewer in a ‘hate to love’ situation. He’s undoubtedly wicked but his inventive commands and delusions make him very interesting. Not to mention his power of mind control makes his ‘rhetoric’ incredibly fascinating and fresh. Other characters such as Luke Cage (Mike Colter), Jones partner in crime and on and off lover does a good job at executing the comic book character. Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor) is Jessica’s famous best friend who is attacked by a police officer under the control of Kilgrave, her loss of control means a lot more to her with her even stating ‘I don’t ever want to feel like that’. There are many other characters but the one worth mentioning is for a negative reason. It’s Jones upstairs neighbour Robyn, who is a few crumbs short of the full lunatic biscuit. Yes, she seems good hearted but her general fruit loop tendencies and obsession with her brother Reuben makes you wonder why she wasn’t in Hope’s position instead.
In 13 episodes we’re given a rare, dark female driven superhero show with an incredibly strong and flawed female character who fronts many important themes in todays society such as rape, the power of consent, abuse and mental illness. Despite the gritty subject matter, there are some easter eggs thrown in for Marvel fans including the Avengers/Stark tower in the poster, the Daredevil reference and The Avengers reference ‘the big green guy’ and the ‘alien invasion’. AND if you look close enough there is a little boy dressed as Captain America. So, now we replay that Civil War trailer and patiently wait for Season 2.