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Jessica Jones and the Complex Power of Female Rage

There are heroes and then there are atypical leads. The character of Jessica Jones played by Krysten Ritter on Netflix draws inspiration from a series of social, physical and emotional battle women endure in their day-to-day life. This includes lack of safety and all forms of abuse and discrimination.

The plot and theme

In Season Two of the popular series on Netflix, you will find Jessica challenging memories of incidences surrounding her identity, alcohol abuse and more that were earlier buried in her mind. She digs all the past evil to confront it with ‘superhuman’ strength. In her quest to avenge those who hurt people in real life, she goes through a mental struggle in determining her self-identity.

Critic’s take

Quite a few people applauded Ritter’s character, however; they wanted to see more of Kilgrave. Some reporters stated that the story needed more than Ritter to carry on. Though Ritter has been commended for her performance, the critics said that the new season lacks much momentum. The Verge and The Washington Post also had similar comments to make. They agreed to the missing Kilgrave factor.

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A glance at Jessica’s family

From a wider perspective, Jessica is not only about Kilgrave or her love interest. Her character has more weight drawn from her relationships with other female characters including her friend and sister Trish, her biological mother Alisa and fellow victim Hope. While Season One saw a mutual relationship patching between Jessica and Trish, this one portrays Trish’s desire to have similar power like Jessica’s to be able to protect herself rather than having someone else come to her rescue. This season is all about a mental and physical power struggle between these two ladies.

Jessica reunites with her long-lost mother in Season Two of the series who survived a car crash which killed her father and brother. Trish ultimately ends up using powers for self-gain instead of fighting off evil. Jessica’s rage stems from her complicated situations. She too is portrayed as a woman who emanates as her own foe. Akin to the first series, here too Jessica copes with her alienation through means of indulging in drinking and casual sex. Her actions often appear as liberating to womankind with the character making a space for women to display their anger and let emotions go berserk.

Television continues to explore the domain of female rage with Jessica’s frustrating yet intriguing character. Deriving from the angry image of the character, it would be better to consider rage as a reshaping factor than one that leads to meaningless self-destruction.

About the author

Tom Smith

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