First, spoiler alert. If you have not seen the series, go do so now.
I absolutely love the super hero genre. Super hero, mutant, alien, out of this world special people. I read comic books as a kid, and watch every movie that comes out. I also have my share of super hero bling. My first crush was on Superman. Yep, I’m a geek.
So that brings me to my latest Netflix binge. Jessica Jones, season 2, to be specific. I watched season 1 with high hope. Saw her team up with the Defenders and waited patiently since 2015 for season 2.
I really wanted to love this show. It has all the makings of a great movie. Loner with super strength and the ability to take on even the toughest bad guy. She has a dark past that leaves us with more questions than answers. She is a tough private investigator that kicks butt at what she does. And though it seems like it’s broken most of the time, she does have a moral compass. All of these things are good story telling. But the character Jessica Jones is so full of aggressive, violent anger and never lets her guard down. And I mean, not even a little bit. This makes her a difficult character for the audience to connect to. The people she loves, she doesn’t just push away, she throws them away and that pushes us away. She uses her powers for self serving wants and desires and only uses them for good when it is also self serving. She never really grows into the super hero that we all cheer for. She spends so much time being in your face angry that she is off-putting. The good that she does, while it’s self serving, you believe in the back of your mind that it’s all going to click. That she’s going to care.
Her one friend/sister in the world is Trish. She treats her like crap and only occasionally lets her guard the teensiest bit down. Yet Trish continues to come back for what feels like constant emotional abuse. You even find yourself at times wishing that the good people in her life would just get a clue and leave her to her alcohol and her misery. You can tell the characters like Malcom, her neighbor and employee, are emotionally hurt by Jessica but they never seem to leave. They are always hoping that maybe just maybe she will change and show them the approval or affection that they so obviously are trying to earn.
In the midst of the season we find that the murderer she is seeking is in fact her own mother. Against her own nature she decides to help her mother, a killer. Now this is neither the Jessica or Super hero thing to do. She talks her mother down from murder repeatedly. We even find that her mother killed her one true love years ago without Jessica’s knowledge. But, Jessica relates to her mother as she feels like she too is a monster.
Having cast her friends to the side and run from the law with her mother, she goes to say a final goodbye. She is torn on what to do with her mother. Does she turn her in, does she kill her, does she slip away on a boat forever with her?
Then her sister, who loves her dearly decides for her. This is the end of Trish. She is permanently cast out of the tiny circle that is Jessica’s life. Malcom finally decides to leave the abusive relationship, and somehow, out of the blue Jessica decides that she will become the super hero she was always destined to be.
The story wraps up with a sweet little family scene of Jessica no longer alone but sitting with a family for a meal and telling a story of saving the day.
It feels a bit like the writers said, “welp, lets quick end this with a happily ever after”. It’s so fast and so abrupt from the preceding story line that it is hard to believe it is real. We are left in the air with questions like, will this last? Does she actually have a soft side? How can she replace the people in her life so quickly?
Jessica Jones is a bad ass that makes us cheer at the screen. But her dysfunctional character is hard to connect to on a personal level and therefor hard to love.
At the same time, you can’t just turn if off. You continue on. We love to see her kick butt and spit out one snarky comment after anther. While she is off putting, we hang in there. We hope that this is build up for season 3. That that is when she will truly embrace her super future and build it into a super hero life. We don’t need her to be the martyr or give up her life as a PI. We as an audience, just want to believe that she is there for the little guy when he needs her.