Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thoughts: Jessica Jones on Netflix and Abuse

Sunday evening, I finished watching Marvel's Jessica Jones on Netflix.  Among mutual friends most people have been raving about the show but a few have been a bit off put by it.  I however loved it.

The show is darker then other Marvel properties and it explores violence on women, specifically rape.  The topic alone can make the show hard to digest for some but fear not, never does Jessica Jones need to show you acts of rape for it to be understood instead it's more the fabric of the show as the victims go about dealing with the aftermath of rape and sexual violence.

I can't discuss my deep feelings on the show without discussing Kilgrave (the Purple Man).  Kilgrave is a psychologically devastating villain that controls minds therefore removing his victims will and consent.  As the show progresses we learn he is also a victim as his power was the result of his parents experiments on him as a child, you almost feel sorry for the guy.

Throughout the show, Jessica is on the hunt to take out Kilgrave.  Initially, she wants him alive to free Hope (his recent victim) from jail as she needs him to prove mind control exists and Hope was being mind controlled by him.  In order to save four other people and see Kilgrave die, Hope kills herself.  So Jessica sets out to murder him.  Not everyone believes her, but Jessica is trying to save everyone from Kilgrave.  She is attempting to prevent what happened to her from happening to anyone else.  It happened to Hope and she couldn't save Hope.  Kilgrave leaves a trail of bodies that are completely unnecessary kills that only serve to show "I was here" and add another layer of drama to the show.

While I have always respected David Tennant as an actor and a very good actor at that, I have never cared for him.  Many people love him as the 10th Doctor.  He was my least favorite Doctor.  He just didn't fit the bill for me.  He always came across a bit mean and I wasn't fond of that.  However, I love him as Kilgrave.  I think he plays this role amazing.  This is exactly as I have seen him for years.

Krysten Ritter, as Jessica Jones, is an actress I have loved for a number of years.  I enjoyed her in "Confessions of a Shopaholic" and "Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23."  She has always had an amazing wit about her and in the trailers I couldn't even place her for a bit.  She's just that good.

Rachel Taylor, as Trish Walker, actually made me like Patsy Walker!  The second I heard Pasty Walker I sort of freaked out.  HELLCAT!  Wait... wasn't she super perky and obnoxious in the comics?  She is pretty much over that part of her life in the show.  Much more real and not a vigilante yet.  I loved her.

Luke Cage was amazing!  Oh and Daredevils Claire makes and appearance!

Speaking of Trish (and I am not sure if this is true to comics), she had a history of childhood abuse which was somewhat shown.  She then grew up to learn how to protect herself, be a successful radio personality, have an overly secure home, and little to no contact with her abuser.  There is also a fairly violent scene where none of the protections she built helps her against Kilgrave early on.

On a personal side, the show really spoke to me on a personal level.  I am the victim of child abuse and other atrocities involving manipulation, emotional abuse, mental abuse, verbal abuse, and even physical abuse.  Most recently what I can possibly describe as sexual abuse.  Go me.  So the show spoke to me on several levels.  I have seen a few women finding the show hard to watch because they have their own triggers and that's okay, but for me I find it so empowering to see women overcoming their abusers.  Seeing Jessica take out Kilgrave was sickly satisfying.

After spending years dealing with childhood abuse and manipulation, I know exactly what it's like to try to come back from having you mind screwed with.  I always doubt everything every one says to me.  I trust few.  I doubt my memories because growing up I was constantly given a new rewritten memory of what "actually happened" which was not what happened.  So I understand and identify with all these characters, except Kilgrave obviously.  I left my abuser which was extremely difficult to do.  That was 12 years ago and while sometimes I wonder if they are in a better place, I know I can never look back.

I only mention possible sexual abuse because afterwards I had a hard time allowing people to even touch me.  Though I was sort of okay with woman slowly, I had a really hard time with men.  I have a few male friends (especially at work) who are very huggy and one hugged me a few days later and I nearly burst into tears because I just didn't want to be touched by a man, but how do you go about explaining that to someone you're not that close with but have known for years and you really don't want to get involved.  I also wasn't in the right place to tell the person not to without being awful about it.  So I know I was horribly hurt mentally by this person (not the hugger).  I am still healing, but I am doing much better.  I also say possible because part of me is still in denial.

Jessica Jones came out at an exceptionally great time for me.  In referring to the above paragraph, it feels like an end cap to a not to fun piece in my life.  I did spend a good two weeks drinking which is highly unlike me.  It was a powerful show for this girl.  Thank you Marvel!

Two quips though: Why is that Simpson can throw Jessica through a wall but he can't knock down a door?  Also, if Jessica "heals faster then most," as her ribs did, why does the cuts on her face take forever to heal?

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