“Jessica Jones” debuted in the fall of 2015 with a first season focused squarely on issues — sexual consent, rape culture, the damage wrought by sexual harassment and assault on the show’s main characters, and the downfall of a powerful abuser — that were barely discussed outside of feminist circles.
How fast things can change. The hit Netflix show returns for its second season just as those issues have come to dominate the cultural conversation, as exemplified by the #MeToo movement and the Time’s Up initiative it inspired.
Rachael Taylor, who plays Trish Walker, told TheWrap that she finds it “kind of fascinating” that showrunner Melissa Rosenberg wrote Season 2 before the #MeToo movement was brought into focus after the Harvey Weinstein scandal last year.
“I think that really speaks to the fact that Melissa is always looking for ways to weave the female experience as it’s happening in culture right now into our show,” she said. “That’s really part of the DNA of Jessica Jones. We talk about what it’s like to be a woman out in the real world in every episode.”
“The fact that our show kind of serves up a mirror for a moment in time, I think it’s very powerful,” she added.
It’s no secret that “Jessica Jones” is a different kind of superhero–one who curses, drinks too much, and doesn’t count “people skills” on her resume as a private investigator. But despite what some might describe as her “flaws,” Jessica is the exact kind of superhero we need right now.
“I think that Jessica Jones is a very unique superhero,” actress Krysten Ritter, who plays the titular hero, told TheWrap. She noted that Jessica’s comic books are themselves unlike any other — Marvel created a separate imprint called Max so that characters could cuss and the books could feature R-rated content (like the anal sex scene in “Jessica Jones”).
“Like this is a very hardcore, adult show about a character who was a victim and a survivor of terrible trauma, sexual assault, she’s an orphan,” Ritter said. “So just in and of itself, this is a very unique character that I think allows our show to be much more adult than some of the super hero fare that we’re used to seeing. Which is exciting.”
Exciting, and, particularly of the moment.
All 13 episodes of the second season were directed by a woman, a bright spot in an industry that employed only 17 percent women in that role from 2016-2017, according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film, San Diego State University.
Ritter said that working with a female director on every episode was “so exciting and something to celebrate,” noting that because “Jessica Jones” was created by a woman and stars women, having female directors simply felt “on-brand.”
“It also proves that [hiring women directors] can be done pretty easily,” she added. “There’s a wealth of talent out there and it’s about giving them a shot.”
The show does not purport to have all the answers. As Taylor points out, it is “very grounded in the real world.”
“At the end of Season 1, Jessica kind of triumphs over Killgrave, but that doesn’t mean that the pain and the trauma that she suffered [goes away],” she said. And for Trish, Taylor said “she is shaken” when she confronts her assailant, a director from her youth as a child star.
“Confronting an attacker or using your voice is not always simple,” she said. “But at times it’s necessary.”
You can now stream “Jessica Jones” Season 2 on Netflix.