Recently, Netflix announced that it would renew Jessica Jones, and I couldn’t be happier. Yet many fans like myself are wondering: What’s next for our heroine? Jessica has already defeated Killgrave, her sworn enemy. Where will season two go?
I’ve got a few suggestions! (Spoilers for season 1, obvs.)
Who’s the villain?
First, and perhaps most importantly: DO NOT RESURRECT KILLGRAVE. Just… don’t. For the love of all that is holy and enjoyable to watch, let the dead stay dead.
And speaking of previous villains, I really hope Officer Will Simpson has a limited role. Perhaps it’s just actor Wil Traval’s wooden portrayal of the bad-guy-turned-good-guy-turned-evil-Robocop, but I immediately felt my attention drooping whenever he came on screen. At this point, Simpson is a static, flat character I’d really like to see less, not more. He’s not irredeemable—but he needs a lot of work.
Okay, so, that means we need a new bad guy (OR GAL!). It seems like IGH, the shadowy corporation interested in giving injured people super abilities, is our best bet. An evil scientist? A doctor who takes healing a little too far? There are plenty of options here, and they would also reveal more about the Defenders universe—including other characters, like Daredevil and Luke Cage (more on him later!).
But I also have to wonder—what about villains who already exist in this world? It seems like it would be difficult not to notice a baddy like Kingpin, for instance. Will villains cross show lines as easily as superheroes?
Which brings me to my next point…
More interplay with other Marvel characters
Claire Temple, played by Rosario Dawson, is probably my favorite character in Daredevil, so I was thrilled when she made an appearance on JJ as well. I’m sure she was chosen because other major characters in Daredevil were busy filming, but I actually enjoyed the opportunity to see another side of a secondary character (if Dawson, who lights up every scene, could be described as such).
Superheroes are, of course, amazing, and the villains of the Defender universe are often even more intriguing. But the heroes’ interactions with everyday people, those they seek to protect, drive these narratives forward. I’d love to see more crossover among the Marvel Defenders series of normal people—especially those, like Claire, who are quietly heroic in their own way.
That being said… LUKE CAGE
One of the things I love about Jessica is her independent spirit. She believes she doesn’t need anyone else—and half the time, she’s right. She doesn’t need some dude to swoop in and save her all the time.
Yet she’s learning, against her more cynical inclinations, the importance of friends. Even the most kick-ass hero needs a good support network. And who is more supportive than Luke Cage?
I’m not saying she has to marry Luke (although the character she’s based on, from Alias, does). Jessica is still trying to figure out what she needs and wants, and if she’s not ready to go steady, I understand completely. Hey, we’ve all been there.
But her on-screen chemistry with Cage is undeniable, and their relationship allows her to explore new territory—in terms of both her emotions and super abilities. Cage operates as an excellent foil for Jessica’s own self-exploration, while also serving as a dynamic character in his own right throughout the show. I know he’ll be busy filming his own season, which is due out in November. But give the people what they want!
(I couldn’t resist.)
Speaking of other Defenders….
How about Trish (Patsy) Walker… otherwise known as Hellcat? As you might have guessed, I’m often more interested in the everyday people than those with super abilities. How do normal, non-mutants defend themselves and protect others?
Even before I realized that Trish’s character was already in the superhero canon, I was rooting for her and her badass moves. Get it, girl! She even made me start thinking about taking Krav Maga or kickboxing classes, and anyone who can convince me to go near a gym is truly a superhero.
Another reason why I’m a big JJ fan is because of the show’s inclusive spirit. We see characters of all walks of life, backgrounds, and orientations, yet they don’t seem tokenized. It’s simply a reflection of the way the real world is.
I was particularly pleased to see two queer characters on screen. Jeri Hogarth is a powerful, often unlikeable go-getter—sometimes deliciously, as when she works with private investigators with unique abilities, and sometimes confusingly, as when she betrays those PIs for no discernible reason. I’m looking forward to the show’s exploration of her moral quandaries.
We saw less of Pam, Jeri’s love interest, but I would love to see more. Pam is smart, tough, and wily—but she also seems to possess a conscience and principles, and Jeri totally doesn’t deserve her. Not only would I like to learn more about Pam, I’d like to see her happy. I mean, how often do you get to see healthy queer relationships in comics? Mix it up a little!
Keep Jessica gritty
But let’s not go too fairy-tale on the storyline. There’s a lot to love about Jessica Jones, as you’ve probably figured out by now. But I think my very favorite aspect of the storytelling is how dark and gritty her story is. She is not a shining hero, swooping in to fix everything because her natural perfection radiates to all who surround her.
She’s got issues. And that, more than anything, is why I love her. She makes mistakes and she drinks too much and she struggles with intimacy and she yells at people who want to help her. And every time she does, I love her just a little more, because she is so like me—like all of us. None of us are shining white knights, but we can still save the day.
So, in season two, bring on the bitterness and the black leather, the commitment phobias and the messy apartment. The bitchier, the better. Keep talking about real issues: about addiction to drugs and alcohol; about sexual assault and trauma; about the paralyzing fear of losing loved ones; about the people who live on the margins of the system every day and how they manage to survive and fight back.
Basically what I’m saying is: Keep up the good work!