I’ve been marathoning Marvel’s new Netflix series “Jessica Jones” and I’m pretty blown away. I’m not going to spoil anything for you since this is likely to be a big Thanksgiving weekend binge watch. I just wanted to tell you all why.
For anyone who’s gone through a significant trauma, you’re going to see yourself in this. Not that you’ve been mind-controlled by a super villain bathed in purple light and forced to do unspeakable things, but there is a universality to PTSD. Many of us have experienced it in one form or another, from the nightmares to the insomnia to the panic attacks. Some of us have let it make decisions for us. Some of us have let it paralyze us.
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Whatever version of this you’ve experienced, “Jessica Jones” gives us a look at a fairly accurate extreme version of this reaction. In science fiction or fantasy, we often get a chance to take a hard look at things that are difficult to talk about in a real-life setting. Consider the episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” called “The Body,” where Buffy finds her mother’s body on the couch. It was a look at grief and shock that we hadn’t seen on TV yet. Even the feel of it was a testament to what we all go through at some point in our lives. No music, feeling like everything is in sharp relief, the odd things your friends say, etc.
What we see in “Jessica Jones” is a very in-your-face look at trying to get over something traumatic. Something I’ve recently learned about is post-traumatic growth, something that sometimes happens when a traumatic event occurs. Instead of retreating, someone uses it to become better, stronger — to continue the fight. Jessica may be having serious issues, but she’s not backing down. We watch her work through it. She’s not a dark hero with a past that makes her look melancholy at times or gives her a sympathetic reason to look pouty or deep. She hasn’t conquered it yet. We get to feel the pain along with her and watch every painful moment as she works to move on.
Sometimes, getting to see someone else go through something on screen, having as hard a time as you do in real life, is incredibly therapeutic. Though I haven’t finished the season yet, I’m absolutely along for the ride.