When Marvel’s JESSICA JONES came out a month or so ago, I have to admit that I was skeptical. Following in the footsteps of DAREDEVIL and AGENT CARTER, I wasn’t sure what to expect. DAREDEVIL was gorgeous, but I have to admit that there were many episodes or decisions with which I didn’t connect. On the flip side, AGENT CARTER was fun with an excellent protagonist. Unfortunately, it wasn’t dealing with the same deep-seated trauma and issues that DAREDEVIL was tackling. I mean, the show aired on ABC, and I love how light-hearted it is, so no big deal to me! And we need multiple female-driven shows like this, as the Mary Sue put so beautifully!

However, after watching the first episode of JESSICA JONES, I was beyond hooked, and with each successive episode, the drama continued to ramp up, and my love continued to grow. Here are 4 of the reasons that I think explain why JESSICA JONES is the number one Marvel Cinematic creation so far, movie or TV show!

jessica jones purple

5. It’s Like VERONICA MARS with Superstrength and a Netflix Contract

I will fully disclose that I am a total VERONICA MARS nerd. That shouldn’t take away from the fact that it was an incredible show. Featuring a very real and gritty protagonist in the updated and seedy noir world of Neptune, California, VERONICA MARS was a show that delivered emotional and intellectual punches. When its first episode began with the retelling of how Veronica’s world was turned upside down by her best friend’s murder, mother’s alcoholism, father’s firing, and her rape, it was clear that this was not just an average show.

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Many fair criticisms surround the depiction of Veronica’s rape on the show. Only a short amount of time existed when Veronica found out the assault occurred with her ex-boyfriend Duncan, so she didn’t call it rape. Later, the show significantly stepped forward but without much movement on the concept. Probably less amongst shows receiving widespread praise.

jessica jones stake out

Jessica Jones, the Voice of God?

Cue JESSICA JONES, a show that is quite literally all about not only solving mysteries as a PI, which Veronica and her father used to do every week, but also getting justice for Jessica and every other survivor of their abuser, Kilgrave, and his careless wrath. When you combine that with the fact that Jessica has super strength, you get a stake-out. Next, Jessica is sitting in between two buildings several stories off of the ground. That’s just awesome. Don’t try to argue that it isn’t. It just is.

I want to make it clear that I say all of this as a huge compliment because this show has taken what VERONICA MARS started and has run with it through the end zone… and then did a humungous touchdown dance that was totally legal because such awesomeness needs applause.

4. “Let’s Start with a Smile” and Survivor Stories

The best caption I have seen for this gif set: “#Imgoingtokillyou” Source!

Going off of VERONICA MARS, JESSICA JONES is also a show which deals with trauma. It particularly deals in issues of rape and abuse. Where VERONICA MARS was an excellent show with an incredible heroine, the show only vaguely delved into what the entire concept of rape and sexual assault can mean. However, JESSICA JONES nails that concept to the wall. With each successive story and survivor revealed, there is a whole new way that Kilgrave has abused them. Because of this, the show comes in contact with some very specific issues. My personal favorite was Kilgrave’s desire always to have his girls smiling and his desire to receive a photo every day from Jessica.

How Jessica Jones Dealt with Sexual Assault Better than Veronica Mars

Especially in the picture example, this show is demonstrating eloquently and intelligently the subtle bullying and manipulation that exists in asking someone for naked pictures. Most women with a cell phone can probably say someone asked them for such pictures, usually someone of the opposite sex. It’s crazy how manipulative and frustrating that is because if you refuse, then you’re a bitch. When you refuse you are always peppered with, “Come on, it’s not a big deal.” But JESSICA JONES makes it into the huge deal that it is. It’s manipulation. It is giving the viewer the chance to view you as an object whenever they want. Quite literally, it gives the manipulator the power, which becomes all the more visible when Jessica accidentally sleeps in one day and forgets to send her picture on time. Her life now revolves around remembering to post these pictures.

jessica jones smile

This manipulation and emotional abuse are apparent again when Kilgrave asks Jessica to smile. It begins in the very first episode when we see Kilgrave inform Jessica that she will love their dinner, and then says that she must smile. She responds with a cold and dead-eyed smile. The trend continues throughout the series, but the best part about all of the things called out here is that you know what Jessica takes Kilgrave out with at the end of the show — her smile. Her fake smile. She even says “Smile.” Some people say you cannot reclaim a word, but I think Jessica was definitely on the right track with that one.

READ: Want some more analysis on Women in the MCU? Check out our look at every female in AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON as we try to determine if the film is sexist or complex! 

3. “I Once Told a Man to Screw Himself. Can You Even Imagine?”

I have watched a lot of Tarantino movies in my day. I have seen some disgusting things. We are called the HBO Generation. Anything goes. Like GAME OF THRONES. Need I say more? But there is violence in this show that is not just gory. It is not just film violence that wrenches your gut because it’s so over the top. This show has smart violence through very cleverly placed and used words. For example, Kilgrave tells Wendy to give her soon-to-be-ex-wife, soon, a thousand cuts. There are a lot of things that combine to make that so excruciating to watch. All I have to say is that you will never quite get the noise of that knife cutting Jeri out of your brain. It haunts me. To this day.

jessica jones kilgrave jessica team up

Also, most violence is usually disgusting because of gore or shock; however, JESSICA JONES tends to include scenes where people are hurting themselves or others. Not only are they hurting themselves or other, but they do it with completely dead eyes. Furthermore, everything Kilgrave says is taken very literally by the person. For example, what would you do if someone told you to eliminate another man from the earth? You would have to use whatever you have on hand (sorry, that’s a bad pun if you’ve watched the show). Maybe a blender? Just let your mind wonder with that grossness for a second. (Be thankful that I couldn’t find a video of just that scene to link.) That’s JESSICA JONES.

2. “Just Jessica Jones.”

jessica jones beautiful lighting

At this point in MCU history, we have had 12 films and 4 TV shows (including JESSICA JONES). So what has convinced me to believe that this is the best Marvel property so far? Well as you can see above, there are a lot of reasons why I believe this to be an excellent show, but I haven’t gotten to what differentiates it from the other movies and shows. Well, it’s time to feed you baby birds with a small line-up of very real reasons.

First of all, what is it that people love the most about Marvel shows and movies? Special effects? Maybe, but there is also a large pushback on that. Is it the plot? The plot is usually pretty good. There have certainly been some trainwrecks in that department, like that weird out of place scene in AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON and, like, everything about the plot of IRON MAN 2.

READ: Looking for a new Marvel comic? Check out our review of the quirky and fun MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #1! 

Why We Love Jessica Jones

No, you know what people love? They love the characters. I mean the internet is basically in agreement that all of the actors in THE AVENGERS are exactly like their characters, and I can’t blame them. What was most people’s favorite part of AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON?  That scene where everyone tries to pick up the hammer. What’s one of my favorite all time scenes of any movie ever? IRON MAN’s first scene with Tony Stark screwing around. These scenes in the movies are enjoyable because the characters are interesting, but of course, as I mentioned, AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON had some problems. Some of them had to do with the kind of odd plot, which made the entire campaign for ANT-MAN get focused in on one thing: this is a small-time, family-driven film.

jessica jones

I will admit that I didn’t connect with or enjoy ANT-MAN, which could be attributed to watching it with a lot of cheap beer at the drive-in, but I loved JESSICA JONES, and it is because it goes for the small stakes to excellent effect. This is the story of a person going against another person who has abused a lot of individuals. No super heroics really, outside of the usual awesome super heroics of a person trying to protect her own. This is also what makes me like this show more than DAREDEVIL (Disclaimer: I liked DAREDEVIL, but JESSICA JONES is more my style for certain).

DAREDEVIL dealt with it a little differently, of course, but there is a common thread here. The ethics of killing and superheroing are illustrated by showing Murdock constantly visiting his church and questioning if death is an okay out. It also has an excellent scene that deals with this when Karen killed Wesley.

1. Jessica Jones Breaks New Ground

JESSICA JONES dealt with death in a new and exciting way for one of these shows, mostly because the entire time Jessica tried so hard not to kill. She captured Kilgrave and didn’t kill him. Jessica Jones wanted to find a better way. She even tried to turn him good in one of my favorite episodes of the entire season. But honestly, there wasn’t a better way. He was a monster. This show took the time to prove to me as the viewer that there was only one way to deal with this guy. That’s impressive and provokes thought because, as a non-bloodthirsty person, I have never cried for blood more.

It does something to Jessica. It does something to Trish. That did something to me as the viewer, something that Marvel movies and TV shows haven’t done to me in a long time. It actually made me contemplate the best way to live my life. I thought about the ethics of killing, and what is good. That’s something worth respecting, and something that I want to keep coming out of my Marvel movies and TV shows from now on.

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