The Moment ‘Jessica Jones’ Fell From The Sky

Three moments actually.

Thar be spoiler-dragons ahead, Mateys …

 

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Are we alone yet?

 

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Jessica Jones (the Netflix series)   is a Marvel superhero story that’s hard to watch. It doesn’t hesitate to get right down into the sewer sludge. It’s too sludgy for me to watch more than one episode at a time. It is compelling though, and I’m going to continue to the end of the thirteen episodes, because in it’s own way it pushes the viewer to engage with more than just a shiny superhero defeating a wisecracking supervillain just as Mark Watney surviving everything Mars could throw at him, (in The Martian) pushed the viewer to engage with a grand space opera for grownups.

And it seems that lately, I’m pushing at most of my nice comfy boundaries. Writing stories that are going to places that are rough and awkward and uneasy. This is a good thing for the writer, not so good for the person who’s invested a great deal of time and energy in sidestepping those unnerving boundaries.

Back to Jessica Jones.

The first two moments were, in me ‘umble opinion, character inconsistencies, and the third one was a giant world building or plot one.

First Jessica tracked Kilgrave to a penthouse and she had him dead to rights and didn’t take the opportunity to kill him.

Second one. After Jessica and Co drug Kilgrave and she had him unconscious in the back of a truck, again she didn’t kill him. This is the obscene abuser who subjected her to indescribable humiliations.

The character has been built up over several episodes now to understand in horrific detail how the nasty slithery side of life operates. She knows what Kilgrave can do, what he is capable of. That no matter what she does, the innocent young woman that Kilgrave forced to shoot her parents will never be free of her past. (I know, if she had killed him then there wouldn’t be any more episodes, but that’s another story for another time)

So, Jessica hesitates to kill him, twice. I understand PTSD, intimately, and I know how it can immobilise you, but Jessica has been portrayed as someone who pushes through that, who embraces the dark. These two character inconsistencies threw me out of the story, and as any writer will tell you, if something throws the reader out of a story then you’re doing it wrong.

The final thing was the scene in the police station squad room in Episode 7

Kilgrave had the cops frozen in the act of firing on one and another, in order to force Jessica to do what he wants. He removed any videos, log entries, etc, from their computers, and the severed head (yep, severed head) and told the cops that in 30 seconds they will think this was all a big joke and release Jessica.

It’s been established that Kilgrave’s influence only lasts for about twenty four hours, then the victim is free of his influence and remembers everything.

There’s no way a bunch of cops would let this go once their twenty four hours is up. They would remember and be very angry. This would be too big for Kilgrave to ‘mind-control’ his way out of. His success is dependent on remaining essentially anonymous.

It is a giant plot inconsistency. And it irked me, so I wrote this post about it.

The thing about fiction, and particularly science fiction/fantasy, is that in order for the reader to enter into an agreement with the author to suspend their belief and engage with the story, the world building including characters, has to be consistent. It can be completely off the wall but it has to be consistently off the wall. Even a small detail can trigger the tripwire and the story’s a goner.

I now sincerely and humbly light a candle on the altar of Seshat the Goddess of Writing, so that I may never have any plot or character inconsistencies … but if I do may they be small ones … here and there … occasionally. Very occasionally.

I am hopeful the remaining episodes will to be able to re-ensnare me. I’ll let you know.

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15 comments on “The Moment ‘Jessica Jones’ Fell From The Sky

  1. Jim Peacock says:

    The magic of the genre is you can make any rules you want, as long as you follow them once they’re made.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Without TV signals in the woodsy wilds, I’m unable to watch anything in an up-to-date way, so I’ve missed out on all the excitement around Jessica Jones. I am very curious about what you’re working on these days, though. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Widdershins says:

      Digging deeper into some of my characters. I tend to write first drafts a bit like I’m watching a movie – lots of dialogue and action sequences. This works for some stuff but I’m finding I’m starting to write darker (for want of a better word) stuff and therefore having to into those darker places in my Self to write authentically.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. W. R. Woolf says:

    Hmm.. Seshat, Wikipedia tells me that she is goddess of writing AND mathematics, I’ll have to begin praying to her!

    May our stories always be consistent.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Olga Godim says:

    Yes, such inconsistencies would drive me crazy too. And Seshat? I have to investigate. I need to incorporate the goddess of writing into my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hmmm, maybe I ought to talk to Seshat. Maybe I still have some writing left in me. Going dark, now that’s brave.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Out here in the wilds of Central Europe, I hadn’t even heard of Jessica Jones ….

    Liked by 1 person

  7. BunKaryudo says:

    I haven’t watched the show, but that plot would definitely drive me crazy. I absolutely hate massive plot inconsistencies like that. They always leave me feeling cheated. They make me think that either a) the writers couldn’t remember what they’d already written or b) they thought their audience were a bunch pumpkin heads and won’t notice.

    Like

    • Widdershins says:

      It definitely colours the experience … I finished the the season, and although there were a couple more ‘bumps’ the show is overall worth watching. Favourite performance? Carrie-Ann Moss – she of Trinity fame from The ‘Martix’.

      Liked by 1 person

      • BunKaryudo says:

        I guess if you still watched and enjoyed the show despite a plot hole you could fly a 747 through, it must have something going for it. I may take a look at it sometime on DVD. 🙂

        Like

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