The fall of 2015 belonged to Jessica Jones. The second production between Marvel Studios and Netflix was an elegant work that boldly filled in the Venn diagram of “superheroes,” “intelligent storytelling,” and “conversation starter.” While typical superhero fare like Arrow and The Flash edge out with bombastic madness, none of them have been willing to begin very important, very necessary discussions on turbulent gender politics, but Jessica Jones has, with shocking grace. So why should it bother with a second season?
The next season of Daredevil is around the corner and Luke Cage is currently in production, but Jessica Jones is done. Finished. Her story is told and there’s nothing more to be said. Defenders isn’t going to be a Jessica Jones story, sure she’ll be in it but it’s not hers, because it simply can’t be. Jessica has completed her trial, and a second season would be excessive and unnecessary.
Consider why Jessica Jones stands apart from the Arrows and Supergirls that dominate TV. Jones scoffing off the Jewel costume and name was more than just a cute nod to comic book heritage, it was a metaphor of the show’s attitude to the superhero zeitgeist. The whole show, Jones’ entire world, was divorced of “the superhero.” There was nothing flashy, not even its fight scenes between superheroes. Even sister series Daredevil couldn’t resist pizazz and Saturday morning ridiculousness, like when it had a blind guy fight a ninja. In this department, Jessica Jones (mostly) abstained.
Jessica Jones had its share of superpowers and absurd moments too, which is unavoidable when Marvel is behind it all. But Jessica Jones is not built to move on to the next big baddie like Oliver Queen or Barry Allen do when their seasons end. Jones’ entire story was to vanquish the Purple Man which she succeeded. The show was built upon that purpose. Her journey, like Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader or Dorothy versus the Wicked Witch, is significant because Jessica’s only true rival is and always will be Kilgrave. It was a tug-of-war and a cat-and-mouse that involved a delicate, artful portrayal of the sexual and mental abuse that Kilgrave dished and Jones suffered.
So now imagine Jessica Jones ups fights, like, the Skrulls, or Scorpion. Maybe Typhoid Mary. But those are empty battles, and none of them were as juicy or rich as they were in the Alias books. Unless there’s some major revisionism to build in the next antagonist, whoever Jones fights next would not be significant.
There is Simpson and IGH, of course, but maybe they’re not meant for just Jones. Recall: IGH paid for Jessica’s medical bills after the accident that gave her powers, and they supplied the meds that turned Simpson into a deranged and violent individual. Where we left him in Jessica Jones, he was one facepaint away from the nationalist nightmare Nuke. That story was left dangling in Jessica Jones, but I suspect it will be resolved in Luke Cage or may evolve into a bigger threat in Defenders. Plus, Jones isn’t much of a patriot to symbolically counter Nuke, so it’s kind of a meaningless fight if Nuke is the next season’s antagonist. (Nuke is the one case in which I wish Captain America would show up in a Netflix series, just once.)
Either way, IGH and Nuke isn’t just for Jessica to solve.
I previously criticized Jessica Jones for divorcing itself form the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, but over time I’ve realized perhaps it’s the show’s chief advantage. Besides demonstrating how physically wide open the MCU’s scope really is, Jessica Jones also proves the MCU’s thematic durability. Here, in this universe of superheroes, is someone who isn’t like that at all and her refusal to become like them is reflected in her challenges. There’s no continuing adventures or “Next time on…”
Jessica Jones was meant for a one-and-done battle. And she’s done. She isn’t Superman and she doesn’t need to be. We don’t need a second season to understand that.
We’ll see her in Defenders anyway.