Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Four People You'll Meet in Hell's Kitchen (Why You Should Drop Everything And Watch Jessica Jones)

For those of you who have been avoiding the internet to meditate on your own lack of super powers, Netflix released the much anticipated season one of Jessica Jones on November 20th. Who is Jessica Jones? She's the latest heroine in the MCU and an all around badass to the tune of "I'm a big tough girl, I tie my own sandals and everything." You may not have heard of her, but you'll not soon forget her.

Much like Daredevil, Marvel's first Netflix series, Jessica Jones takes place in Hell's Kitchen, New York and displays a similarly gritty tone. Hell's Kitchen is where more mature viewers flock when the bright costumes and dazzling CGI of the silver screen films aren't quite sating their thirst. Netflix is a safe haven for the darker side of the MCU but still possesses the good snark and sense of humor that make it unique from other superhero film franchises. The cast of Jessica Jones is in fact what makes it so wonderful, like the rest of the MCU. Here are four characters that will convince you that you need to give this series your time (binge watching it or otherwise).
And here we have the promotional image that's been haunting us for weeks

1. Luke Cage, AKA Don't worry about breaking him in half.
The hero we didn't know we needed...we still might not deserve him. 

I'm going to attempt to discuss these characters with minimal spoilers about the show itself, so sorry if I ruin anything for you. According to both the comics and television show, we know three things about Jessica going in: she is a former superhero, she's gifted with super strength and durability, and the identity of her love interest. We've been blessed with the wonderful being that is Luke Cage.

Luke Cage will be getting his own Netflix series in the presumably near future. If you've done any research at all, you'll know that this man is Jessica's potential future husband, therefore future father of their daughter. Luke and Jessica's relationship in the comics does a lot to demonstrate the true strain that the Civil War Arc has on a tangible level. However, in this incarnation, we get a picture of Luke and his life before Jessica, and it's quite interesting. He's a man that owns a bar in Hell's Kitchen with completely impervious skin and incredible strength. You will be enchanted by Luke Cage.

2. Trish Walker, AKA What's a girl supposed to do without her best friend?
At this point we don't know if Trish will become Hellcat, but she has potential.

In Jessica Jones, Trish is not only Jessica's best friend, she is her adopted sister. This means Marvel is keeping with the original storyline that Jessica is an orphan. Beyond that and despite their problems, even in their worst moments it is obvious how much Jessica and Trish care for one another.

Their friendship isn't overtly stereotypical in any way and it blows the Bechdel Test out of the water entirely. I really do appreciate Trish's complexity; she seems like an easy read, but she can be in fact quite the opposite. She is caring and selfless when it comes to Jess. She's willing to do pretty much anything for her in a way that shows how truly special their friendship is.

Trish's backstory also calls back to her origins in the comics as Patsy Walker. In the show, she is a child star that blossomed though difficulty into a talk show host with a secret Krav Maga hobby. In the comics, she was originally a light hearted Archie comics type character that was later reincarnated as ultra-feminist hero Hellcat. Certain events in this first season have left me wondering, could Hellcat be joining forces with the Defenders when they finally emerge? One thing is for certain, with a friend like Trish watching her back, Jessica is one lucky girl.

3. Kilgrave, AKA What the heck is going on?
I never thought I would be scared of David Tennant.

Imagine the worst ex-boyfriend you've ever had, now imagine that for the entirety of that relationship you were literally being brainwashed. So enters Kilgrave, or as he's sometimes known, the Purple Man. In the comics his powers come from pheromones, but it doesn't quite work that way in the television series. It would be too much of a spoiler for me to explain any further. But anyway, when I heard David Tennant was the villain, I paused. If he hadn't previously been Barty Crouch Jr., I would have fully expected Kilgrave to have been pulling some sick joke the entire time ( just say Allons-y and we're all good, right?).

Kilgrave was absolutely terrifying, obsessive, and twisted through and through. Honestly, this role left me a little worried for Tennant's mental state. Throughout the season, his presence, or even its possibility, was enough to make me jump. There's just something about the amount of cruelty and calculated grotesque action that made Kilgrave one of the best (read: most horrible) villains I've ever seen. His sick behavior makes Jessica's motivation to stop him even more enticing.

4. Jessica Jones, AKA The Lady of the Hour
This series left me wanting to make a million infinity scarves.

Earlier, I mentioned that Jessica was formerly a superhero. In the comics, her name was Jewel. As for the Netflix series, we haven't yet been made aware of her identity or the traumatic event that ended it. In the comics, it was Kilgrave and the atrocities that he made her commit under his mind control that effectively ended her career.
We all can't have purple eyes I guess?

One of the things I loved about this series, and Jessica in particular, is the fact that it realistically depicted mental illness without stigmatizing it. Jessica's PTSD is seen as just one more thing she has to deal with to get through the day. Various characters struggle with addiction, but it is never their whole being. Everything in this series is so meticulously intentional that it takes a bit to wrap your mind around all of it. Even places that Jessica visits early in the season are shown to have significance later on.

Since it takes place in the same neighborhood, there's even a bit of overlap with Daredevil. Yet Jessica holds her own. She is rebuilding her life by becoming a Private Investigator, and she's good at what she does.  Her character is portrayed as strong despite circumstances and a force to be reckoned with indeed--just ask Jeri Hogarth. When I finished the season, I had a feeling of complete pride. I think it must be the feeling guys get when they see Jason Statham do something super impressive on film. Jessica is an important character for so many reasons, and I'm excited to see her journey as our foray into the MCU continues, especially on Netflix. Just in case I haven't convinced you, here's the trailer:

What are you looking forward to the most in this new chapter of the MCU? Do you like the darker tone of the Netflix series being released, why or why not?

Be sure not to miss out on our upcoming episode recaps by Jaime and Sky!


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