So last week I spoke to James and Podcast Rob of the Something Something Cast for almost (or just over?) two hours about Netflix and Marvel’s latest collaboration, Jessica Jones. Two hours and I still managed to blow a question.
Well, not blow, per se, but not really nail it either.
The duo asked me where I could say Jessica Jones going for a season 2 and I gave a vast answer that I then repeated as though saying the same words twice would make it seem deeper.
Perhaps I am being overly harsh on myself.
In any case, while talking to a friend via text about the show, my real true smart answer clicked into place and like a time traveling hero, I am setting right what once went wrong.
(Shout out Beckett! I hope that next leap is the leap home!)
Please bear in mind I have zero power over the Jessica Jones show or, really, anything. This is just speculation/wishful thinking/wouldn’t it be cool if… imagination journeying so take it in that spirit.
Ok? Disclaimers and Quantum Leap references taken care of? Good.
For the sake of argument, I imagined a three season run for the show, this one and two more, for a total of 39 episodes, and not including any other media she might enter into (that Defenders movie, any cinematic appearances, and so on). I am also not so much building this idea around villains or even engaging in that topic at all. I think it would be great to see some Marvel villains pop up and I would support it, certainly, but my “pitch,” if you will, does not take the time to guess or suggest who those baddies might be.
For me, the story of Jessica Jones, especially as laid out in the show, is the story of an addict going clean. Now, I understand that she is not an actual addict (well, functional alcoholic, maybe) and her mental health struggle is trauma based, not substance related and I don’t mean to diminish that journey. I just mean that the arc—again as I see it, not as it necessary is or will be—maps nicely on the arc of deciding, quitting, and maintaining sobriety.
The first season is the Jones transition from precontemplation to contemplation to, finally, determination. She moves from a drinking, generally unmotivated P.I. with a psychological wound that may have scabbed over but is certainly more infected than healed to a woman through into facing down her trauma—literally and figuratively—long before she is ready to a survivor who decides that she must process her pain whether the time is right or not. Then action arrives in the last moment as she takes Killgrave into hand and….resolves their conflict.
Season 2, thusly, would focus on the early stages of maintenance. Arguably a far harder stage than action because action is often a spectacular moment in time of will (going cold turkey, entering rehab, admitting you have a problem) and maintenance is the day-to-day slog of pulling that one moment out farther and farther.
The thing with maintenance is often one finds a lot of unintended consequences make themselves quickly known. For a long time, alcohol or heroin or cocaine has been the enemy. Now, it has been slain (at least put on its back) and the things that might have driven you to substance abuse or the things that went wonky while you were using begin to assert themselves. For Jones, the pain of Killgrave is that “substance” and the piling up phone calls that greet her as season 1 fades to black are the manifestation of those unexpected consequences. More broadly though, Jones is effectively left with herself. Killgrave had been the focus of her sadness and rage and pain for months and now he is gone and she is left with not only the unresolved feelings he caused but a life of trauma that she had been living long before he ever approached her on a darkened street.
Season 2 thus sees her taking on these small cases—rather than an overarching pursuit of one villain—that are physical evidence of unintended consequences. However, she will also be wrestling with her own history, a history that she now must acknowledge because she is “free” of the monster that was Killgrave. Of course, in television tradition, the cases will also reflect those elements of herself she must now “see” and process. In this way, we can see some of those low-level, low power Marvel villains and the day-to-day civilian demons that even those of us not in super hero universes can find themselves facing down.
Season 2 should, in this fantasy layout, end with Jones more secure in herself, her “recovery,” and ready to move forward toward the future—rather than attempting to ignore the past or barely clinging to the present—as the credits crowd in.
Season 3 then is your latter stages of maintenance and termination. Once more, I’d argue for returning to a single villain as driving force her. The difference being that this villain is not one that Jones has been abused by but rather one Jones is seeking out. She has not been victimized by this villain but rather has learned of the baddie through clients and/or gossip and is making her or him a priority. She is becoming an active protagonist, not passive or hidden. She is taking a fight to this human nightmare not because her back is against the wall but because she is finally free enough to cast her own path.
On a personal level, this season would also see her turn a corner with her friends and romantic relationships. Less resentment of their affection for her, more actively involved in their lives, more comfortable allowing herself to let them in and reach out to them in moments beyond those when she is panicked and most vulnerable.
And thus, as the series wrap, Jessica reaches termination and, much like a client who reaches termination, it is clear her life will go on and there will still be struggles and moments where it’s tempting to toss that “sobriety” away but that recovery has taken a strong enough hold that she no longer needs us, her metaphorical therapists, to be actively watching (out) for her.
Anyway, that’s my silly idea.