Some spoilers if you haven’t seen season 1 of Jessica Jones. If you haven’t then you should feel bad, catch up!
One of my favourite shows of recent months was the rather damn brilliant Jessica Jones. I went in knowing nothing of her character but did know a bit about Hell’s Kitchen thanks to the other awesome Netflix production, Daredevil. Netflix most certainly hit two for two with their interpretations of Marvel’s superheros so much so that Jessica Jones will be returning for a second, 13-part season. WIN! If only David Tennant was going to return too… He was, in my opinion, the best Big Bad that has appeared in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, just above Vincent D’Onofrio’s insane Wilson Fisk. I find it interesting that other than Loki no other antagonist in Marvel’s movies have had quite as much of an impact as the smaller screen’s.
One thing that most certainly sets the series apart is the adult tone. Yes, they say ‘shit’ and there is sex, rather hard sex but that’s what you get when you put two superheros together in a bed made of mortal wood… Umm… I’ll move on from there. At the recent Television Critics Association’s press tour in Pasadena Jessica Jones executive producer and Marvel TV chief Jeph Loeb was asked about this tone and why they chose to follow in this direction:
It was important that we establish that this is an adult drama, and in an adult drama there is an element of sexuality that’s important and it was really important to establish because of what was happening with Jessica’s life, and in order to be able to show to people that what had happened with Kilgrave was not okay, but there are other situations where that kind of activity is okay. And so it wasn’t as though we just put it in there. It was there to even it out along the way and be able to tell a much larger story about this character and how she felt about it and really how all the women on the show felt about where they were and how they deal with sex in general and how important that is to address that and how unusual that is to be able to address that in a superhero genre show.
This is one of the reasons that I love the Netflix productions, they deal with adult themes and cater for a mature audience. I highly doubt that Marvel would add rape as a story element into its big-screen movies, and I am happy with that. Having a 13-part series allows for ideas like this to be explored at greater depth and I don’t think a two and a half hour movie could adequately cover such a thing.
Kilgrave’s rape of Jones is what has broken her, what has made her fiercely independent and ultimately what motivates her to such a degree that she can do what she needs to in order to protect herself, and those that she loves. Showrunner Melissa Rosenberg goes into more detail about how this was approached and how ideas were pitched:
Balance dealing with rape while having her sexually active, the word ‘survivor’ is the important part of that. Certainly the assault has become a part of her psyche, but it has not defeated her. I think she is fiercely her own person. She is unapologetically who she is and wants what she wants. She never let Kilgrave take that. … Everyone in that writing room, both men and women, we’re all feminists, we’re all humanists. We bring that perspective to any story we’re telling. The way in which those conversations would often happen is someone would pitch a story and then one of us would go, ‘Wait a minute, that’s really rapey,’ or, ‘That goes against what she would allow and what she would consent to’ … In terms of using the honeypot, that was a super cautious decision from the beginning. When you talk about going into a room and discussing issues, the one thing that I walked in there with is we’re not doing the honeypot. She is never going to put on a pair of heels and [sexy] dress and go and seduce the guy. One, it’s just not true to her character. She wouldn’t do that. But two, it’s just such a go-to for female characters in any kind of a cop show. It’s like, ‘Oh, we have a woman, let’s use her sexuality.
Indeed the sex scenes are quite intense, very physical and at times make the audience slightly uncomfortable. But Krysten Ritter explained that it was a bit different actually making those scenes with Mike Colter (Luke Cage).
It’s so choreographed, there’s really nothing sexy about it. We kind of pick on each other more like brother and sister. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
Colter seems to think it was a little more awkward because of the extra crew who seem to appear out of nowhere when the sex scenes were being shot:
The awkward point is the people that are in the room besides us. It’s not us, we’re okay. It’s the 20 or 30 people who are all of a sudden are on set who normally wouldn’t be on set. I really thought that it turned out as good as it could have turned out. I’m surprised at the response to those scenes. I don’t think we’re thinking about that stuff consciously.
That doesn’t sound right! I am sure there were legitimate reasons for the extra cast…
Rosenberg also confirmed that they haven’t got a story yet for the next season but while they are sorting that out we can enjoy season two of Daredevil (premiers on 18 March) and Luke Cage’s own series later this year.
Last Updated: January 18, 2016