Let’s Talk About Jessica Jones…Again.

Two posts in one day? I’m on a roll.

Spoilers for Jessica Jones, season one, episode seven.

Can I just explain how enamoured I am with this show? Because I am. Netflix is doing Marvel right. I loved Daredevil, but I fucking love Jessica Jones.

And I love David Tennant as Kilgrave. He looks astoundingly attractive (because, you know, Tennant), but yet I still want to beat him (Kilgrave, not Tennant) to death with a brick attached to a metal baseball bat all wrapped in barbed wire. Slowly. So he suffers. Greatly. DT really managed to reach a delicate balance there, making sexy a nightmare without making a nightmare sexy.

Side note: I’m also pleased that, at least in the blogs I follow, no one has succumbed to Kilgrave fandom the way they did to Loki fandom, which as you may recall was a fear of mine.

But I don’t want to talk about the great acting or plot. What I want to talk about is how great they did at writing Kilgrave as the perfect example of an emotionally abusive partner.

But mostly I want to talk about how a lot of us are taught to view these things positively.

I want to really narrow this down to the police station scene in episode seven. The scene where Kilgrave makes his grand declaration of love to Jessica. He tells her how special she is, how unique she is, how she’s the only person he couldn’t control. He yearns for her. And he wants her to join him of her own free will.

Listening to this speech, I found myself moved almost to nausea. Not because it’s so cliched and manipulative, and just absurd that he’s proclaiming his affection for her as he holds her at gunpoint by having a room full of innocent people literally hold each other at gunpoint. But because for a second–for a brief moment–I found it romantic.

I found it romantic. The declaration of her specialness. The grand public gesture. The “you complete me” of it all. For a split-second, in my media-conditioned brain, I found this fucking psycho-killer-rapist romantic. There isn’t enough hot water and steel wool in the universe to scrub the shame from my body.

If you really think about it, his speech is obsessive and co-dependent (on top of being manipulative and self-absorbed). But yet this is the kind of things they feed young women in fairy tales. “We’re meant for each other.” Kilgrave could be anyone! Kilgrave could be the male romantic lead in a rom-com!

It’s terrifying. And it’s what young women are told to search for.

And if that isn’t just the most eye-opening thing about this show, I don’t even know what is.

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2 comments

  1. Hi, Mel from LEZ BACKPACK here. Just wanted to say that I really love Jessica Jones, too. I’m glad you wrote this piece because I feel like exposure of emotional abuse and of the norms we’re taught by media was well done in this show. It does make you feel icky when you’re finding yourself “liking” Kilgrave. I think that’s the point, though, anyone of us is open the the manipulation of an emotional abusive partner and it is not our faults when we succumb. We do, however, are left questioning who we are, how we could have given in and ask, what’s wrong with me? It’s a terribly good show!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mel, hi! So nice to hear from you! =)

      I agree, Jessica Jones really nails the sociopolitical commentary. I’m incredibly impressed with the first season, and I’m wondering what angle they are going to take now that the Kilgrave arc is over. I’m sure they will handle rebuilding oneself after escaping abuse and trauma as well as they handled this season, but I always try to remain cautiously optimistic when dealing with these sorts of themes.

      Liked by 1 person

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