“Jessica Jones” Is An Awesomely, Aggressively Feminist Superhero Series

Netflix’s first female-fronted superhero TV show stars Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, a human gifted with super strength and super jumping abilities and — despite being an orphan adopted for the sole purpose of exploitation — a hero’s heart. She wants to use her powers to help people. Early on in her crime-fighting career she gets tangled up with another “gifted” human, a sociopathic mind-controller named Zebediah Killgrave, who forces her to do horrible things on his behalf, including murdering an innocent woman. The show picks up after all that, as Jessica tries to cope with her PTSD by drinking every bottle of cheap bourbon in New York City and making money (to buy more bourbon) by skulking around in the shadows taking pictures of men cheating on their wives. She’s the proprietor of Alias Investigations.

Jessica Jones is not a perfect television show, but it is a perfect punch in the face to the reasons the art of superhero storytelling has mutated into one of the most sexist industries in America.

The thread that ties season one together is Jessica’s relationship to Killgrave, and by examining her trauma from every angle, it becomes one of the most unflinchingly feminist shows I’ve ever seen. Killgrave is the embodiment of male privilege, dialed up to psychotic. His superpower is being a straight white man in America. He’s handsome, he’s wealthy, he gets everything he wants, including sex from whatever woman he desires whenever he desires her. Nothing sets him off like someone telling him no or insulting him. He is entitled to the whole world. At one point he says to Jessica, “How do you people live like this, day after day, just hoping people are going to do what you want? It’s unbearable!”

Jessica Jones pulls no punches when it comes to him or to other men on the show who try to rob women of their agency. The word “rape” makes its way onto the screen in episode eight, but showrunner Melissa Rosenberg has no interest in showing sexual assault for shock value or as a way to make female characters more sympathetic. Rosenberg takes a swipe at politicians who would force women to give birth to their rapists’ babies. And she nods more than once at the idea that Killgrave is obsessed with making women smile at him. She doesn’t draw a direct line from allusions of street harassment to rape, but she doesn’t sidestep that conclusion either. There’s a pill one male character takes that makes him rage out and try even harder than usual to control the women in his life; the pill is named after an MRA subreddit.

There are some good men in Jessica Jones; it’s not Mad Max: Fury Road. However, the story completely centers itself on Jessica and her best friend/foster sister, Trish “Patsy” Walker (played by Rachael Taylor). Their relationship is the thing that empowers them. They rely on each other when they need to Get Shit Done. And even though they argue, it never turns into that gross woman-on-woman catty codswollop so many stories lean into. They squabble like grown-ups who are always going to show up for each other. They each want to be the superhero the other one believes she can be, but they also believe they’ll never live up to the other’s expectations. The show is way more interested in their love story with each other than it is in either of their love stories with the men in their lives.

Even the sex on Jessica Jones is all about what the women want. They’re on top, they’re in charge, they’re receiving instead of giving.

While the main narrative revolves around Killgrave, season one also explores plenty of other storylines. Trish is a former child star with her own radio show and an abusive mother. Jessica has a junkie neighbor who wants to do good but keeps ending up in impossible situations. A woman named Hope is in prison for following Killgrave’s orders and Jessica is determined to find a way to convince a jury that she was under his control when she committed her crimes. Jeri Hogarth is Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first canonically queer female character, and she arrives with two other queer women as well. She is a high powered defense attorney with an enormous office on the hundredth floor and a female assistant she’s in love with and a wife who’s not going to let her walk out the door without a fight (or 75 percent of her assets). And, awesomely, Marvel finally wonders out loud what happened to all the regular old people in Manhattan during the Battle of New York at the end of the first Avengers movie. (Surprise: a lot of civilians died.)

Sometimes Jessica Jones doesn’t balance all of those elements well. Like I said, it’s not a perfect show — but it’s solid, and it’s really important.

In 2015, three superhero TV shows feature female leads (Jessica Jones, Agent Carter, Supergirl), and female-led solo titles make up only a fraction of Marvel and DC’s total comics output. Only two female-fronted superhero movies have hit the big screen, the last of which was released a decade ago. And only about 15% of creative jobs at Marvel and DC are held by women. You’ve heard the complaints: If women exist in comics (or in comic book movies or on comic book TV shows), it’s as love interests, sex objects, or as crumpled up dead bodies smashed inside refrigerators. But it wasn’t always like this! In the Golden Age of comics, girls read as many comics as boys did, and why not? Wonder Woman thundered onto the scene in the early ’40s, an equal to Batman and Superman in every way, and she held everyone’s rapt attention for over a decade as if she’d Golden Lassoed them herself.

In 1954, under growing pressure from Bible-thumping Americans who had taken to burning comic books in public protest in their town squares, comic book publishers adopted the Comics Code Authority, which sought to self-impose moral guidelines on their books to keep them in print. It started with things like banning violence, gore, gun play, and glorifying crime; and evolved — as these things almost always do — into a way for men to exercise more control over women, many of whom were pushing back against being pushed out of their jobs as more and more men returned home from World War II. One of the main tenets of the CCA was: “The treatment of love-romance stories shall emphasize the value of the home and the sanctity of marriage.” Soon after the CCA went into effect, DC’s Editorial Code was updated to say: “The inclusion of females in stories is specifically discouraged. Women, when used in plot structure, should be secondary in importance.”

It has taken 60 years for the conversation to move definitively back toward the place it was in 1940, when William Moulton Marston conceived Wonder Woman. (He would have lost his absolute mind if he’d lived to see Wonder Woman give up her powers to pursue a CCA-approved relationship with her boyfriend.) Jessica Jones is a vital part of that conversation. Unlike Agent Carter and Supergirl (two shows I love very much), Jessica isn’t a squeaky clean hero. Luke Cage calls her a “a hard-drinking, short-fused mess of a woman,” which is completely accurate. Not only would she scowl at the CCA’s ideas about the sanctity of marriage, she’d flip off plenty of other tenets of the Code, too.

Profanity, obscenity, smut, vulgarity … are forbidden.

Policemen, judges, government officials, and respected institutions shall never be presented in such a way as to create disrespect for established authority.

Nudity in any form is prohibited, as is indecent or undue exposure.

Illicit sex relations are neither to be hinted at or portrayed.

Respect for parents, the moral code, and for honorable behavior shall be fostered.

Liquor and tobacco advertising is not acceptable.

Marvel and DC abandoned the CCA years ago when it came to their male heroes, but Jessica Jones is the first female-centric superhero show to completely disregard its influence. She’s not the hero we asked for, but it turns out she’s the hero we’ve needed all along.

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. i loved that Hogarth was shown as this powerful and charismatic yet terrible person. It fits so well with the power and control theme of the show. Hogarth treats the women in her life as perks of her power, and they beg for crumbs of attention, espacially poor Wendy. And you cant convinced me that Pam does wear those ugly-ass dresses because she likes them, but because Jerri wants her to. But i love that the universe shows Hogarth that power and control as such illusionary and passing thing.

  2. Why are you giving me more shows to watch when I should be doing homework?? (:

    This show sounds really good! I like how you examined the historical context of it!

  3. It is a good show and so important for all the reasons you list Heather! I’m so happy we have something like this finally and I hope season 2 is announced soon. It wasn’t perfect and I see room for improvement in the next season, to be honest I think Daredevil was an over all better made season, but it just feels so awesome to have a show where the hero is a woman and she drives all the action!

    I won’t post spoilers but here are just some of the things that keep me from saying it was perfect. It dragged for me in the middle parts. I don’t think the story they had was enough for 13 episodes and they had to make characters do stupid things to stretch things out. Also they need to figure out how strong she is and stick with it! Far too often she was inept or knocked out easily when they needed her to be for plot reasons. Daredevil was much more consistent about how badass he was.

    Also, why Oh why did they make us spend so much time on the guy Trish was seeing? He sucked up so much screentime that could be far better spent on other characters. Why did they think we would care about this boring guy? It boggles my mind.

    • UGH yes, Trash Steve Rogers. I’ve heard, if it’s not too spoilery to say, that he turns into the Daredevil villain Nuke, so they were probably trying to give him a backdoor origin story.

        • Even if you’re correct in the showrunner’s intentions with that character, I don’t see why he had to take up such massive amounts of screentime.

          • He’s example another form of menace, but it’s only I think clear if you’re person who gets romantically involved with men.

            Kilgrave’s a very apparent sociopath, a clear danger to the viewer that well sure you could paralllel to the the real non-powered world to someone who is charming but completely rotten evil POS within.

            But Simpson is the nice guy all earnest and trying to make up for a wrong. Being very insistent still very nice and polite about it, pushing your boundaries. Making his way past them and you don’t regret because he’s so considerate and hunky.
            Also seems a little inept which is endearing and a little frustrating.
            You don’t expect him to hurt you, he might not, but if he does it’s terrifying because he could rip you limb from limb and you let him. You let the danger get close and enjoyed it.

            Clever, cunning charmers set immediate alarm bells off where a hunky earnest inept-ish nice fella might not for some women type people into men.

            (legit talk, Simpson before pills reminds me of my dad and branwy aw shucks type are my weakness in all the genders)

          • Lex you’re dead on about your analysis but I think what’s even more clever is the way his relationship with Trish is set up.

            Because the first time she meets him he’s under Kilgrave’s influence and tries to kill her, afterwards she doesn’t trust him at all and he spends quite a lot of time actively trying to PROVE to her he’s “such a nice guy” and won’t hurt her.

            Which ringed so true to me in comparison to that “nice guy” narrative.

          • Yeah, Lex, you’re exactly right about Simpson, that’s sort of what I was getting into below, I just didn’t want to reveal too much of the plot.

    • Yeah I agree about the pacing problem. The Jessica Jones / Kilgrave confrontations seemed repetitive… It felt like “oh they’re facing each other. But it’s not episode 13 yet so they’ll both come out of this alive for now”.

      At one point I thought they were gonna pull a bait-and-switch, kill Kilgrave or have him disappear and have Nuke be the season’s ending big bad. I thought “oh that’s smart and something i’ve never seen before!” but no, he was just a distraction…

    • I actually thought the relationship between Simpson and Trish was thematically important; and given his final destination as a character his being kind of a dink in the early episodes makes sense. The arc of their relationship goes- he commits an act of violence against her, the comes back all apologies, and she forgives him. He plays nice for a little while. But sure enough eventually these controlling and aggressive behaviours, in which he tries to force Trish to take a back seat in the proceedings, resurface and the end result is Trish kicks him to the curb.

      Kilgrave is an out-and-out monster who can’t see he’s a monster. Simpsons a trickier fish- he’s the guy who seems so nice, but your gut is telling you something you don’t listen to at first. Watch out for the guys who try to limit your agency in the name of ‘protecting’ you, because that often fronts for a desire for power.

  4. (dialogue spoilers?)

    that female inmate that’s like “Bitch, don’t be messing with my digits. I’ve got ladies to satisfy” and in a later episode Jessica calling a straight couple with kids “breeders.” I clapped.

  5. I love and agree with every bit of this! I went into Jessica Jones with relatively low expectations (I didn’t know the character and felt kinda ‘meh’ about Daredevil), and it blew them all away. I ended up spending my whole weekend watching this thing. Also can’t stop listening to the opening theme song.

  6. Heather, thank you for writing about this show! I was worried you might not watch it because it gets SUPER violent/gore-y, so I really hope you’re not doing yourself any damage by watching it!

    I don’t want to spoil to much (I’ve just finished episode 11) but I just want to say how much I LOVE what the writers have done with both Killgrave and Simpson. Badass female characters are awesome, non-competitive female friendships are awesome, queer ladies are awesome, but even better than these things are the portrayal of male characters in ways that would never, EVER be shown on a white male antihero show like Mad Men or Breaking Bad or True Detective (etc, etc, etc to eternity). I can’t wait for more people to finish the season so I can talk with someone else about how these two characters represent everything that women have been dealing with since forgoddamnever.

    Think about it – next time a man says “but I was just trying to protect you!” you can respond “Are you WILL fucking SIMPSON!?” Next time a man tells you to smile, you can reply “You sound like fucking Killgrave.”

    There is so much to love about this show, but those characters are completely unique in mainstream pop culture, as far as I am aware.

    • I’m not sure which episode it’s in so I’ll try to say this in a way that’s not a spoiler, but when Trish says, “Worth it!”, that might be my favorite moment of the entire series. I’m totally with you. Those characters are just perfect in their completely realistic awfulness.

      • I have now finished the season, and yup, have to agree with you, that was a great moment. Trish may have slept with him, and she may have thought he was a good guy, but she never bought into his bullshit.

  7. I like it a lot, and I rarely care for anything Marvel or superhero-y. I love how power hungry Hogarth seems, though I feel for her wife at times. I’m super biased though because I know if the character was written as a man I would hate him.

    • also watching carrie anne moss (trinity from the matrix) be a lesbian fulfils SO MANY adolescent, pre queer-aware, desires.

      • Yes. I can’t help but hope that in season two we get to watch her learn from her mistakes and grow into a good person with a healthy lesbian relationship. Because Trinity.

    • Fun fact, apparently in the comics, Hogarth IS a man. They made the character female for the show. I think Hogarth is sort of the perfect example of how we’ve finally reached the point where gay characters don’t have to be perfect.

      • YES THIS. I thought about it at first, how violent her relationship with the ex-wife is / finishes and at first my reaction was to think ‘omg bad portrayal of lesbians is bad’ but then I thought: yes, it’s good, we’ve moved pass this criticism and they’re actually portrayed like any hetero couple who tear themselves down through a divorce.

    • Yes! my love for Carrie-Anne Moss AKA trinity overrode my complete dislike of her character. AND I would totally not dig this character if it was a man. interesting how fickle some moral allegiances can be when faced with hot lesbian action.

  8. Well, I know what I’m watching when I get home from work today. This sounds amazing, and I’ve loved Kristen Ritter forever (she was in Veronica Mars, one of the best shows of all time).

    • I thought the beginning of the show has definite Veronica Mars vibes to it! Apart from the obvious noir tropes, it kinda starts EXACTLY like the Veronica Mars pilot did :).

    • I’ve seen it described as Veronica Mars meets The Fall, which is sort of the perfect comparison, actually.

      • Interesting ! Except I guess the problem I had with the Fall is that is sort of tries, by giving you the POV of the Killer, to make you empathise with it … which is very risky in anything other than written fiction I think…

        • That’s true. Jessica Jones does offer the villain’s perspective sometimes, mostly in later episodes, but it’s nowhere close to the 50/50 split in The Fall. The majority of the focus is on the villain’s victims – who are ALSO those hunting him down, which is nice. And while there are moments when I was worried they were trying to make Kilgrave sympathetic, the show reversed course pretty quickly on those. They explain how his backstory, but the show never lets him off the hook.

  9. Just wanted to point out that the red pill thing is a delicious coincidence, since they’re based on the comics.

      • It’s not a dang, Heather it’s a cackle of maleficent glee.
        We can’t let the NRA’s know everything isn’t a part of evil plan or they’ll stop checking under the bed ect.

    • It’s more obvious in the books, but the pills are red, white, and blue. Red to get angry, blue to calm down, and white to… stay in shape? I don’t remember exactly. And it’s intentionally the colors of the US flag.
      Will Simpson is the Daredevil villain Nuke, and in the comics, he’s a Vietnam War experiment gone horribly wrong. He also has a giant tattoo of the US Flag on his face, just in case you forgot who you were fighting.

      • The white is for keeping him “balanced” because it’s like the rules that all the failed attempts to make super soldiers (post WWII) be it the serum Steve Rogers got or some malarky by Weapon X become mentally “fragile”.
        As if some of the volunteers weren’t already of questionable mental soundness to begin with.

  10. I ended up binge watching the series last night and wow…i am excited to read the comics and the meta works that will continue to roll out.

  11. I was pleasantly surprised by Supergirl, but Jessica Jones has been immensely more watchable (and binge-able… sorry not sorry). Thanks Heather!

  12. I’d been waiting ages for this show to finally premiere and it definitely didn’t disappoint, in fact, I think it may actually have exceeded my expectations. I watched it in two days, and now I kind of regret it because I just wanna watch more.
    I loved how feminist it is, but also the fact that it doesn’t even try to be, you know? Like, in Supergirl, which I also like a lot, they’re always saying stuff like “because I’m a girl?”, just saying these things out loud.
    And JJ doesn’t even have to say it, because it’s already built around these amazing characters, most of who happen to be women. Almost every person in a position of power (or that’s somehow relevant to the plot) is a woman. And of course, the central relationship of the show is between Jess and Trish, which was absolutely perfect. As you said, even though the villain is a guy, it doesn’t mean that it portrays all men as evil, because you have Killgrave, but you also have Malcolm and Luke who are just the best.
    Basically, this is a great show, and I hope this means that we’ll get similar content in the mcu in the future.

  13. I propose the official tag-line for Jessica Jones be: “She’s not the hero we asked for, but it turns out she’s the hero we’ve needed all along.”

    When I started watching this show I was excited because it’s a show about a FEMALE superhero, but I was hesitant because it’s rare that they get treated like the heroes they are. I was pleasantly surprise (read: fucking ecstatic) when I watch the pilot. I planned on watching the show as I do any other, a few episodes here, a few there until they’re all gone. That plan flew right out the window about 5 minutes into the pilot.

    I ended up eating delivery Chinese (which I haven’t done since college) and slamming red bulls like my life depended on it because the thought of leaving my seat not knowing what was gonna happen next was unfathomable. I should be embarrassed by my complete loss of self while I binged the shit out of the show, but I can’t be.

    It’s not just that Jessica is a female lead in a Marvel production. It’s that she’s a real person, flaws and all. As somebody who has a laundry list of mental health issues, seeing Jessica do her thing while battling her demons at ever turn was exactly what I needed. It’s easy to get lost in your mind when it’s actively trying to drown you. Seeing a goddamn superhero struggle in ways I can relate to and still get shit done and make a difference. Woah buddy, that was quite a kick in the pants for me. After a brief hibernation period I dragged myself out of my head and have had the most productive few days I’ve had in the past 6 months.

    This show is exactly what the doctor ordered for all the reasons Heather masterfully listed above, but also because Jessica’s not perfect, she’s damaged, she’s hurt, she wants to give up, but damn it to hell if she’s gonna let that stop her. This show flaws and all is a masterpiece.

  14. I was so hoping for Jess and Trish to be amicable exes after seeing how she was introduced. Alas. Still really enjoying the show.

    Aside: Agents of Shield features Daisy Johnson/Skye as another lead female superhero, (also a woc), albeit not a title character like the the three listed.

    • I mean Daisy isn’t THE lead character, but she is at least as important as Coulson, and S.H.I.E.L.D. does include a solid gender-mixed cast of pretty cool characters. Melinda “the Cavalry” May is almost a non-powered version of Jessica, only with more spy skills and less alcoholism.

  15. And I must say that I do so look forward to Listling Without Commentary of some “reviews” this grand and most feminist show.

      • I read that piece in Forbes and I thought the same.

        Rape culture looks the same all the time, like little not-related comments, underlying statements, etc.

      • I completely agree. It’s slipped in so casually too. The show is great, Trish and Jessica have great chemistry, oh and I found the serial rapist “weirdly sympathetic”.

        I know that every show needs a compelling villian. I thought Daredevil did a fantastic job making Wilson Fisk sympathetic and terrifying at the same time. I think Jessica Jones did a great job showing Kilgrave as the pinnacle of male privilege and how destructive it is. But I didn’t sympathize with him in any way. His brand of evil hits too close to home for that. Hearing that there are men who DO sympathize with him isn’t exactly surprising but it is disturbing.

        • Eh. I’m a woman and totally did find him “weirdly sympathetic” (sort of, those aren’t really the words of use). But in a “wow this guy is a monster and has no idea” love to hate him kind of way. He was so very messed up and it was fascinating. And David Tennant played the character so well.
          *spoilers* I was almost sad to see him die. Not because I liked him or agreed with him but because… Well examining the juxtaposition of his worldview and morals to reality was riveting. He was a despicable character, but an interesting one. I think that was what the article meant by “weirdly sympathetic”. Or at least I hope so.

          • The moral world view of Kilgrave. The man(person) whose every desire was instantly fulfilled. I think it provides a really good window into patriarchy and those who benefit from it. When society gratifies your tastes and supremacy you feel as if you are validated, but as soon as someone confronts it and challenges your perceived right, you lash out and depending on who you are, go supervillian.

            Tennant plays that flawlessly. Killgrave got everything he wanted and saw his desires and goals what his victims wanted. He created his own fiction, and Jessica breaks free and challenges it and claims her own world view, so he lashes out and all he really wants is his fantasies intact.

            I love that the show intelligently parses this out and establishes those motives clearly. I will miss such a clearly displayed view of how the patriarchy affects those around it and also Tennant’s acting which is flawless and essential to this detail.

            There is something about him having regenerative powers as per the comics, so we’ll see. If he becomes Matt Smith I’ll have all the cake.

  16. This show makes my feminist heart so happy!
    I feel like I could just write an entire article on the sexual relations on that show from a feminist perspective alone.I’m sure many have, already!
    But there are so many little things, just placed like well aimed kicks at the balls of misogyny!
    Quote from last night’s ep,for example:
    “You’re a hard drinker, you’re short-fused and you’re a mess. But you’re not a piece of shit.”
    Which negates about 99% of expectations towards women, who are given to understand that if they’re not even tempered, well behaved and tidy human beings, are just exactly that.
    Also, I’m a sucker for scenes that read like poetry, tight with emotion and intensity, and Jessica Jones keeps surprising me with those.The one at the Police precint today had me holding my breath the entire time.
    I’m still just halfway through the show, because I really just need to process each episode after watching it.

  17. Uuuugh I’m missing the train on thiiiiis! You guys are making my expectations sky high for this shit, it better deliver :P But must finish POI first!

  18. Things I wish to see for season two:
    – Less Luke Cage. A lot less. He was a nice addition to this season, and was great as support, an emotional burr under Jessica’s skin, and a legitimate threat, but he’s got his own show coming up, so please shove off.
    – DON’T make IGH the central antagonist of next season. The Defenders are supposed to be about street level crime, but a secret quasi-government organization isn’t that. That would be nice as a subplot, but not the main plot.
    – More Trish. Let her fill in Cage’s space in the series, and begin her road to Hellcat. That being said…
    – Daimon Hellstrom. Let him start as a foil to Jessica before he becomes Trish’s love interest.
    – More Malcolm. I was getting ready to write him off until the very end of the season where I realized what he is. He is Jessica’s conscience.
    – Less Jessica drinking. Her drinking is a (bad) coping mechanism for her trauma. She needs something else to get her past her PTSD.

    Things I want to see in season one of “Luke Cage”
    – An explanation of why Vera had that flash drive.
    – Danny Rand
    – An Inhuman

  19. Oh wow. So, I already sort of wanted to see this show? I was waiting until I hit the mid semester break. But you have convinced me in one eensy little AS article that it can’t wait, and I need to see it all, NOW! Thanks. :)

  20. I kinda really, really loved this show. I think it might be my favorite marvel cinematic universe thing? And my second favorite comic book adaptation (after Batman Returns, of course). I’m gonna put some spoilery thoughts in a reply to this comment, so people can avoid spoilers.

    Also, Heather, as usual, this is a terrific article and I love the research into the history of comics that you brought into it.

    • Okay, so, I talked to Laneia about this while we were watching the show, but i really loved it in episode 8 when Jessica made it very very clear to Kilgrave that what he was doing, and what he did to her, was rape. And when he was like “I hate that word” i thought it was such a perfect representation of gross men in real life who are always trying to use any word buy rape to describe it when they rape people, or when their friends rape people. Like, I think i’ve watched few movies and tv shows that do as good of a job at showing how gross rape culture and people who rape but act like it wasn’t rape are. Also, how many rape revenge fantasy movies/shows have there been where we don’t have to see a graphic rape scene?

      And then the way Jessica pretended like she was sympathizing with him and like she was understanding where he was coming from and saying she was gonna help him only to stab him in the neck with that needle, that was great. I was afraid the show was gonna have her forgive him, but then it was like, lol, nope. She hates him, and the show makes it clear we should too.

      Also, I just really love Krysten Ritter and would (and do) watch her in anything, like that movie She’s Out of My League that she was in with Jasika Nicole.

      The thing I need from season two is some freaking women of color. the MCU is like, the whitest thing in the world, and while this series had a few men of color with prominent roles, the biggest role a woc had was Rosario Dawson who was in one episode.

      • agree with this one million percent, as per the usual. i have loved Krysten Ritter for ages, and I’m SO in love with her in this roll. And Trish is fantastic, and seeing the two of them beat the living hell out of White Cop was a thing of beauty. I know Rosario Dawson is off doing her Daredevil thing, but yes, let’s have some more WOC please.

  21. I caught the first couple of eps on Netflix the other day and was very pleasantly surprised. Think I may be hooked…

  22. This review was everything that fuckboy’s fanboy’s comment you shared on Twitter led me to believe it would be, Heather Hogan. Fantastic work.

  23. this show was awesome but I really just wanted her to invest in some sound cancelling headphones and roll on in there. Would have saved a lot of lives.

    • Thank you! I was thinking more about the Odysseus wax in the ears situation, but same. For Simpson and Trish, too. Or if they meet in a public space, huge loudspeakers so Kilgrave gets drowned out.

  24. between binging this show and seeing Carol: I don’t know how any other pop culture week will ever live up to this one.

  25. I just had a shock to my system finding out who Kilgrave was. Is that a spoiler? I actually shouted out in the house on my own. No one told me DT was in it!

    • I saw his name in the opening credits, and was like, OMG, David Tennant is in this! Then I was like OMG, David Tennant is portraying THE WORST PERSON EVER.

  26. I loved the wardrobe choices for Jessica. The way she absolutely refused the superhero getup. Also, the jeans and jackets all the time and all the flannel as a kid were so nice. And when she rips up the dress I was so pleased. Not once did she dress in any of the stereotypical ways the girl all the men want would, and yet both Luke and Kilgraves were way attracted to her.

  27. Great show, IMPORTANT show, and great write-up. I really think this show improved on the comic book and made Kilgrave much more relevant as a villain by making him someone who engaged in gaslighting and symbolized so much of rape culture. He was more one-dimensional in my opinion in the comic. Also, Jessica was handled better here, with real care shown to her overcoming trauma, her therapy, resiliency from the support of friends, and that her victory came from herself rather than (as in the comic) as deus ex machina.

    One thing in your review, the red pill is named after the red pill seen in the 1986 story BORN AGAIN in Daredevil. Simpson AKA Nuke would say “Gimme a red” in that comic (and his subsequent appearances) every time he took said red pill. So it’s not named after the MRA subreddit, though it’s incredibly fitting that the name evokes both that and the mythology from the comic.

    Great read!

  28. Binged this show (to the detriment of my work and the rest of my night) this weekend — couldn’t help it, I just wanted to see the bad guy done with so badly. I don’t think I wanted to see a hero defeat a villain so badly before, and it’s because they played up Jessica’s strength and PTSD and resoluteness in resolving this for herself, as well as how much Killgrave was an abusive, controlling, bastard.

  29. I have been waiting to read this until I finished the full season, which I did last night. I’m so glad to see Autostraddle covering Jessica Jones, because it is SO. GOOD. and so incredibly feminist. I definitely would’ve liked the explicitly queer relationships we got to see in season 1 end a hell of a lot happier, but Jeri Hogarth is a terrible person and she definitely made her own bed. Pam deserves better in season 2, and Wendy, we hardly knew ye, but she got a raw deal as well.

    The thing I loved most about season 1 of Jessica Jones, though, was the relationships between Jessica and Trish, and Jessica and Malcolm. Through all of her hard exterior, you could see Jessica’s raw, beating heart in her interactions with Trish and Malcolm, and in their relationships held the emotional center of the show.

  30. This show was great! It was everything I’ve ever wanted in a TV show, especially because it escalated perfectly.

    Kilgrave started as mildly evil with a side of douchebag who just wanted something he imagined (which the show clearly showed he was delusional). And, as he became more desperate he revealed who he truly was to Jessica and everyone else. His villainous break down was fantastic as he went from petty murder, to downright sadism.

    If there were any scenes that stuck out it was when Killgrave told Jessica of a time when she wasn’t controlled, and she stayed with him. Then we saw the true story, and it was just the biggest breath of fresh air.

    I also read an article about Simpson that pointed out the “Male” response to the violation of Kilgrave, in his attempt to hunt down and kill his murderer to satisfy his revenge. It was perfect to point out the use of the trope generally applied to women on movies where rape is a key story arc, and how it is not inherently accurate and that sexual assault is more about survival and coming to terms with your agency, rather than getting revenge.

    Kilgrave was awful and needed to be killed, but the point was that Jessica came to terms with her own survival and guilt and hopefully will be able to move on. The fact she stuck with Trish is a good start to that awesome second season—whenever that comes.

  31. So like, it nobody going to comment on how Jess directs her “I love you” to Trish in that last episode? I freaking died. That whole last scene with Jess, Trish and Kilgrave just blew my mind.

    • That was awesome. It was intense to see the possibility of what would have happened had she actually got controlled, but it was what Kilgrave needed to see. He needed to let his guard down otherwise he was going to keep just escaping and Jessica keep chasing him down.

      Not sure what I would have done had Jessica been controlled by Killgrave at the end…that ending was not allowed to happen.

      • I think I’m still just hung up on how even Kilgrave, conscious-less monster that he is, is able to recognize the depth of love that Jess has for Trish. That he targets Trish as Jess’s “weakness”, but that actually, Jess’s love for Trish (and Trish’s love for Jess) is the source of “strength” that ultimately allows Jess (and Trish) to defeat Kilgrave in the end.

        I’m so glad that Marvel didn’t go down the route of Jess and Luke teaming up to defeat Kilgrave, because then it’s all about how the romantic relationship and the superpowers allow them to defeat the villain. Rather, it’s the bond between these two women (um, Trish walked into a circle of policeman mind-controlled by Kilgrave with nary a defense, talk about trust!) and Kilgrave’s attempt to exploit that “vulnerability” that ultimately takes him out at the end. That vulnerability is especially important given the issues of control/power/consent that this series as dealt with.

        And I think that was all encapsulated so beautifully by how Jess looks straight at Trish, and you can hear all that vulnerability in her voice as she tells Trish that she loves her.

        • At this point, Jessica has been fighting for so long. She’s tried to be strong, a hero, brutal, cunning, she even tried for the fantasy with teaming up with Luke Cage. However, Trish was the only one who was able to help her because she had to be strong for someone.

          Killgrave can be a sociopath, but he can still see what someone values. If anything that uber qualifies him to know what someone loves. It was a perfect way to end the series and end killgrave.

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