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.
When Jessica Jones set out to tell the story of her encounters with Kilgrave, fans of the character knew that the sexual abuse storyline would be addressed in some way. The surprise is just how skillfully and gracefully the show handles Jessica's trauma without being gratuitous or forced. Her tormentor's control over her and they manner in which he consistently strips her of power act as metaphors for very real experiences faced by victims of sexual assault and abusive relationships.
The use of torture in movies or television has become a bit of a taboo over the past few years, and is rarely seen in comic book adaptations or the superhero genre in general. Which is probably why the frequent use of it in Jessica Jones is so effective and grueling. It's a testament to the show's complexity that even Kilgrave is - briefly - somewhat sympathetic when he's being shocked.
There are a number of flashy ways that Jessica Jones could deal with Jessica's PTSD from her time with Kilgrave. However, the recurring moments of privacy in which she can hear him whispering in her ear are very effective and make Kilgrave's eventual arrival that much more upsetting. To one extent or another, her alcoholism, emotional distance, and self-destructive behavior are all reactions to what she has been through.
Jessica's hard-drinking persona is one of her most lovable qualities, and is an integral part to her character that remains constant throughout the entire first season. Her drinking isn't glamorized or taken lightly, however. It is instead depicted as a painful liability, and one she'll ultimately have to deal with.