Warning: Spoilers for the first season of Marvel's Jessica Jones on Netflix.
At this point, it's safe to say that Marvel and Netflix's Jessica Jones stakes out new territory for comic book adaptations. It's not quite like anything Marvel has done before, featuring with dark and enthralling storytelling, as well as a complex world and fully-realized characters.
There are more than just a number of controversial and weighty issues in Jessica Jones, including many topics that aren't typically handled so gracefully, and, in fact, usually aren't tackled on TV at all. The various dark elements of Jessica's "relationship" with the villainous Kilgrave, for example, makes the first season a fairly overt metaphor for abuse, sexual assault, and dealing with trauma Yet at no point does the show become an after-school special or sacrifice a moment of entertainment. So we thought we would take this chance to discuss and rank some of the issues in Jessica Jones to more fully appreciate just how gutsy the show really is in its smart depiction of difficult subject matter.
Check out our list below of some of the most interesting, dark, and compelling issues addressed on Jessica Jones.
The Purple Man's mind-controlling ability is a lot like the drug a creepy, predatory guy at a bar or party might attempt to drop into a woman's drink, depriving her of her agency and volition. Kilgrave's spell produces the same effects that a drugging might, and makes his powers even more terrifying. And like so many rapists, he's unable to conceive of the idea that he is, in fact, guilty of any wrongdoing.
Whether it's her experiences with Kilgrave in the present day or the moments when the series flashes back to Jessica's time with her family, the representation of Jessica's survivor's guilt is one of the most powerful threads of the first season. It not only helps us to understand her sadness more, but also bringing an interesting new angle to superhero tragedy and origin stories.
Of the various twists and turns that Jessica Jones takes, one of the most sickening revelations came when Jessica discovers that Kilgrave has been spying on her for months, a mirror for the unauthorized spying and data collection that has been part of the public discourse for the last several years.
In revealing that Kilgrave impregnated her, Jessica Jones added another difficult layer to Hope Shlottman's already-tough story. The show's ballsy move to incorporate an abortion element to its story was one of its darkest moments, and also one of its most memorable and affecting. Hogarth's subsequent shenanigans with the fetal tissue and its ultimate use by Kilgrave also shades this subplot with elements of the ongoing debate over stem cell research.