Trigger Warning: While JESSICA JONES Season 2 is not quite as dark as Season 1, this is still a very disturbing show. The show — and therefore this review — will discuss traumatic themes. Proceed with caution.

Also, obviously, spoilers for JESSICA JONES Season 2!

JESSICA JONES is, without a doubt, the darkest show I have actually watched. Normally, when a show deals with traumatic or triggering themes, I give up before I can get too far. But I stuck around for JESSICA JONES, despite the trauma it causes because it’s such a good show. And I don’t just mean good as in entertaining. I mean good as in JESSICA JONES is such an important show, that serves a good purpose, and deserves watching.

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While Season 1 was more difficult to deal with, JESSICA JONES Season 2 was no walk in the park. But just like Season 1, the show was worth the watch. Obviously, I am in no way advocating watching something that causes you distress. But, for my part, JESSICA JONES Season 2 was worth the distress I went through. Read on to find out why!

Sheeeee’ssss Baaaaacccck!

After the extreme trauma she dealt with in Season 1, and the unexpected adventures that occurred in THE DEFENDERS, Jessica Jones is back. She’s still dealing with her trauma, she’s still drinking, and she’s still a sarcastic asshole. But — importantly — she’s still living and fighting.

In Season 2, Jessica is trying to find her footing at Alias Investigations, where she has hired Malcolm Ducasse as an associate. They argue about what cases to take and whether or not Jessica is training Malcolm, but in the end, they work together well. In the meantime, Trish Walker is discussing powered people on her radio show.

jessica jones season 2

Jessica learns that someone — or something — is killing people connected to IGH, the shadow corporation that gave Will Simpson his powers, and possibly hers as well. Trish has been investigating IGH to find out just what happened to Jessica, but Jessica is reluctant to face her past. When another powered person dies, however, she takes the case.

In the course of her research, Jessica faces flashbacks to her time under IGH’s care. She also faces interference from a rival PI, Pryce Cheng. However, Jessica is not one to let inconveniences stand in her way. Like everything else, she faces it the best she can. Sure, there’s a lot of alcohol involved, but Jessica Jones gets shit done. Despite everything that has happened to her, she doesn’t back down. It’s just who she is.

The People Closest to Us Hurt Us the Worst

The harshest blow is yet to come, however. Jessica eventually learns that the thing killing people connected with IGH is her own mother. Apparently, Alisa Jones survived the car crash as well, though her injuries were more severe. Like Jessica, Alisa was saved by Karl Malus, a doctor working for IGH. However, her treatment also gave her enhanced abilities, like Jessica’s… and a hefty dose of baggage.

Alisa experiences dissociative episodes stemming from strong emotions. She killed the other powered people because she was afraid that an investigation into IGH — Trish’s investigation — will expose her and Malus, who are living together. When faced with her own daughter, however, Alisa sees hope for a better future.

jessica jones season 2

What follows is a stressful and distressing set of circumstances. Pryce Cheng attempts to kill Alisa, who murdered his friend. When Alisa tries to kill him to protect Jessica, Jessica turns Alisa over to the police. In prison, Alisa is faced with a choice — give up Malus or face the Raft, the superpowered prison we saw in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR.

Also in prison, Alisa is abused by a sadistic guard. When Jessica goes to expose him, he attacks her and she kills him in self-defense. Jessica is left reeling from these events. She begins to experience a hallucination of Kilgrave, who congratulates her on three murders, now. However, in the end, Jessica remembers her core values: she is not a killer. She rejects Kilgrave and returns to being a hero (albeit a reluctant one).

I Want Your Cray-Cray

All the while Jessica is dealing with this, things are going haywire for Trish. First, she realizes that Simpson is alive, and following her. She shoots him. Then he reveals that he is following her to protect her from whoever is killing people. Alisa gets to Simpson before they can learn more… but not before Trish can get her hands on his drugs.

jessica jones season 2

Trish’s history as an addict comes into play as her life enters a downward spiral. She breaks up with her boyfriend when he proposes to her. After a fight with her mother, Trish inhales Simpson’s combat enhancement drugs. She enjoys the feelings it gives her and sets out to save people — what she’s always wanted to do.

Trish becomes obsessed with ending IGH. She sleeps with Malcolm and manipulates him into helping her when she feels Jessica is held back by the revelation that the killer is her mother. Trish is becoming more aggressive and hostile, behaving erratically, even quitting her job.

The kicker comes when Trish kidnaps Malus in order to get him to experiment on her. She hopes that he can give her superpowers like he did with Jessica. In the attempt, she nearly dies. Jessica is forced to rescue her, and again when Alisa tries to kill Trish for her part in the investigation. They fight. Trish has always been jealous of Jessica’s powers, to the point where she put her own life in danger to feel special.

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In the end, Jessica runs away with Alisa. They hope to have a better life together. But when the cops get involved, Alisa tells her to leave. Jessica won’t leave her only family, and they end up at a favored childhood vacation site. There, Trish shoots Alisa, killing the last member of Jessica’s family.

Moving Forward

As JESSICA JONES Season 2 ends, Jessica is alone again. She has lost her mother just after learning that she is alive in the first place. She can no longer be around Trish because all she sees is her mother’s killer. Even Malcolm has left. After he worked with Trish, Jessica doesn’t trust him anymore. He goes to work for Pryce, and they are only neighbors.

jessica jones season 2

At this point, I was worried. One of my chiefest complaints about DAREDEVIL is when Matt turns away from humanity at the end of Season 2. Foggy was his connection, his grounding point. When Matt pushed Foggy away, he lost his tether to humanity. We see the end results of this in THE DEFENDERS. I didn’t want Jessica to go down the same path; won’t these heroes ever learn?

But Jessica Jones is not Matt Murdock. She realizes that she has spent so long closing herself off from people to avoid pain, but that that is no way to live. She may have lost her mother, Trish, and Malcolm, but she is not alone. During the season, she develops a romantic relationship with a new character, Oscar Arocho. Oscar has a young son, Vido, who is enthralled with the idea of powered people.

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Although they hit some bumps along the way, in the end, Jessica finds a new family in Oscar and Vido. The season ends with her telling Vido about her exploits as the three of them sit down to dinner. Things are looking up — at least for Jessica. Malcolm is getting involved in shady dealings, and Trish is left alone and possibly powered, after Malus’ experiment. Season 3 should prove interesting, but at least Jessica is getting things together.

Representation, Not Tokenism

One of the things I loved most about the first season of JESSICA JONES was the character of Jeri Hogarth. In the comics, Hogarth was a male character, but the show changes him to a female. This is an interesting move, and one that I think makes JESSICA JONES all the better.

Hogarth is a great example of representation, not tokenism. Not only did they make the character a woman, but Jeri Hogarth is a lesbian. And, for once, we get a fully developed and realized character, instead of “look, a lesbian” for brownie points.

jessica jones season 2

Jeri Hogarth is not a good person. She is morally grey and incredibly complex. In Season 1, she makes a deal with Kilgrave to serve her own ends. JESSICA JONES Season 2 doesn’t magically make Hogarth a good person. Instead, it adds new depths to her character.

This season, Jeri faces new troubles. Her law firm is trying to force her out after Pam, her former fiance (and secretary) sues them for harassment. She also learns that she has ALS, and will die out of control. She gets taken for a ride when a con man claims he can heal her. For a moment, Jeri seems to be focused on a brighter future — having faced death, she sees the value of life.

Of course, when it comes out that this was a con, Jeri turns to her roots. She manipulates circumstances so both people conning her suffer immensely. She blackmails her associates, starts her own firm, and recruits Malcolm into shady dealings. Never let it be said that Jeri Hogarth isn’t consistent — or interesting. She’s a good example of a person’s sexuality not being the main focus. Instead, it’s just one facet of her complex being.

With Great Power Comes Great Mental Illness

Another thing JESSICA JONES Season 2 — and really Season 1 as well — does magnificently is its treatment of mental illness. This is a show about a person who has experienced great trauma. But unlike many media properties that would push this away, JESSICA JONES tackles trauma head-on.

Season 1 dealt heavily with Jessica’s PTSD after her treatment by Kilgrave. She struggles constantly with flashbacks and guilt from her actions under his control. The technique shown — repeating street names — is an actual therapy technique, and it’s great that they did their research. As a person with PTSD, I truly appreciate seeing a thoughtful representation of my mental illness on screen.

jessica jones season 2

Jessica kills Kilgrave at the end of Season 1, and that could have been the end of that. But what JESSICA JONES Season 2 does is amazing — it shows that the trauma never really goes away. Jessica still deals with her horrible memories. Her delusions after killing the prison guard prove that she didn’t magically get better. But having Jessica defeat Kilgrave’s ghost on her own show that, while she’ll never get over it, she can fight it, and she will.

Season 2 also deals with heavy themes of addiction. Trish’s past as an addict shows up in a flashback episode. It really shows how far she’s come — and makes it more poignant when she falls off the wagon with Simpson’s drugs. When Trish talks Malcolm into taking a hit to speed up his healing, it shows the real damage of addiction. You’re never free of it. But Malcolm fights back, even though Trish doesn’t, and reshapes his life for the better.

JESSICA JONES Season 2 is a Must Watch

For all its darkness, JESSICA JONES is a damn good show. It deals with dark themes many shows won’t go near. More than that, though, it handles things in a thorough and sensitive manner.

jessica jones season 2

The #MeToo movement comes up when Trish confronts a former director who engaged in an inappropriate relationship with her when she was a teenager. Jessica confronts a witness who is homeless after a work accident. Jeri hires a prostitute and does drugs to deal with her shocking diagnosis. These women go through so much and suffer a lot, but they come through, in the end.

JESSICA JONES is such an important show. Jessica is a rape victim, a PTSD sufferer, and a severely messed up individual. She is also a hero. That is unbelievably inspiring to people who have dealt with similar issues. JESSICA JONES can be hard to watch, but it needs to be watched. There is so much we can learn from her story.

I have to admit, I struggled to get through these episodes (though not as much as Season 1). A lot of what Jessica goes through — especially the PTSD — rings a little close to home. But I pushed through the discomfort because I needed to see someone like me be a hero.

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JESSICA JONES Season 2 shows the truth: Jessica Jones is a hero. She doesn’t want to be, and she makes mistakes as she goes. But in the end, deep down, she is a good person who bad things have happened to. And rather than let that slow her down, she pushes through. She is strong. She is capable. And Jessica Jones is a hero. She’s my hero.

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