The return of Netflix's only female-driven Marvel series, Jessica Jones, is a point of celebration among fans. But Season 1 premiered over two years ago on Nov. 20, 2015, so you might need a bit of a reminder — or, if you didn’t watch it, you need to have some sort of idea about what’s going on while you’re watching all your friends watch Season 2.
Here’s a brief rundown of the most important characters and plot points of Jessica Jones Season 1, and what to expect from Season 2.
Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) — Jessica Jones is our hero. She’s an alcoholic private investigator with super strength, which was forced upon her by horrific scientific experimentation. While Jessica is aggressive and perpetually angry, she also always ends up doing the right thing. After her parents were killed in a car accident, Jessica was adopted by Dorothy Walker, a stage mother with a daughter in Jessica’s class in school, as a good-faith publicity stunt. Fast-forward a few years, and we learn that a mind-controlling manic named Kilgrave developed an obsession with Jessica and mentally manipulated her into being his sex slave and enforcer. Eventually, Jessica broke free of his control, but the experience left her traumatized.
As of Season 1, Jessica Jones owns her own P.I. firm. After a run-in with three other NYC-based superheroes — Matt Murdock’s Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Danny Rand’s Iron Fist (Finn Jones), and Luke Cage (Mike Colter) — in Netflix’s The Defenders, it’s presumed even more than before that Jessica is, in fact, a superhero. But just because you’ve got superpowers doesn’t mean you’re a hero. Jessica certainly doesn’t want to be. She’d much rather be alone with her whiskey.
Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor) — Jessica’s adoptive sister Trish is a popular radio talk show host with a more complicated past than her professional exterior would have you believe. She grew up with a stage mother who was obsessed with Trish’s then-career as red-headed child star and highest-paid kid actor in history, Patsy Walker. After eventually breaking away from her mother’s influence, Trish renamed herself and started a new life. Throughout Season 1 of Jessica Jones, Trish rekindles her relationship with her sister and best friend Jessica, enters into a romantic relationship with the questionably driven Will Simpson (Wil Traval), and starts learning how to defend herself.
In Marvel’s comics, Patsy Walker is Hellcat, a superhero equipped with superhuman strength, speed, and agility, as well as some psionic abilities. Trish’s training in Netflix’s Jessica Jones is often read as a tease that she might, one day, take up the Hellcat mantle and join Jessica on the streets as a vigilante hero.
Kilgrave (David Tennant) — Season 1’s big bad, Kilgrave, was a mind-controlling manipulator who was obsessed with Jessica, the first person to ever break through his control. Kilgrave (born Kevin Thompson) was born with a degenerative brain disease that his scientist parents tried to cure by putting him through horrific, torturous experiments.
After honing his abilities, Kilgrave started manipulating people for his own gain. This led him to Jessica, who he kept under his control and used as a sex slave for months, raping her on the regular and forcing her to carry out crimes for him.
When Jessica broke free of his control, Kilgrave swore he’d get her back. Jessica Jones Season 1 follows Jessica’s struggles against Kilgrave’s ongoing obsession, and his eventual defeat. After working to enhance his abilities (by torturing his father), Killgrave eventually gets killed by Jessica as he tries to escape New York.
Malcolm Ducasse (Eka Darville) — Malcolm starts out Season 1 as Jessica’s drug-addled neighbor. He’d regularly pop up and cause some sort of issue for Jessica, whether that be walking into a busy street or needing a trip to the hospital for overdosing. We later find out that Malcolm was a former social worker who’d been manipulated by Kilgrave to spy on Jessica. Using his powers, Kilgrave got Malcolm hooked on drugs and became his dealer, trading drugs for pictures of and information on Jessica.
Eventually, though, Malcolm breaks free of Kilgrave’s control, gets cleaned up, and turns out to be one hell of a standup guy. In fact, Malcolm is probably one of the most morally upstanding characters in Netflix’s Marvel shows. As of Season 2, Malcolm is working for Jessica as her assistant, emotional interpreter, and overall anger management counselor.
Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss) — As the Netflix Marvel Universe’s resident high-powered lawyer, Jeri has popped up in not only Jessica Jones but also Iron Fist, Daredevil, and The Defenders. Jeri has a habit of getting locked up in the same cases that Jessica is dealing with. She also has a nasty self-destructive streak and between cheating on her wife, sleeping with married women, and constantly baiting a super strength-endowed alcoholic, Jeri constantly seems to be hedging toward death’s door. Oh, and she really hates Jessica, so be on the lookout for that.
NEED-TO-KNOW SEASON 1 PLOT DETAILS
- Good ol’ Will Simpson (a cop, former Special Forces agent, and superpowered strength experiment) was forced under Kilgrave’s control in Season 1, turning on Trish and eventually going to Dr. Miklos Kozlov, the developer of a strength-enhancing drug (Combat Enhancers) that, while powerful, resulted in some aggressive tendencies on Will’s part.
- IGH, the paramilitary group that Kozlov works for, is extremely dangerous.
Trish’s mom Dorothy is a horrible, manipulative person.
- At one point, Jessica and the gang manage to capture Kilgrave and lock him away — but Kilgrave revels in killing people. He kills a lot of people in Season 1.
- Hogarth has gone through a horrible divorce (after cheating on her wife), made that much more traumatic by Kilgrave’s influence.
- Jessica was, at one point, romantically involved with Luke Cage (yep, that Luke Cage).
- The most important thing to know about Season 1, if you know nothing else, is that Jessica snaps Kilgrave’s neck in the final episode. That moment, dubbed by fans as the most satisfying scene in a series about a survivor of sexual abuse and assault, was expected to be the final time we ever saw Kilgrave. Jessica’s guilt over killing someone — even a monster like Kilgrave — seems to be a big part of Season 2.
Jessica Jones Season 2 starts off in a post-The Defenders world. Jessica’s status as a relative unknown who can sneak through the streets undetected is gone. And while her new status as a “vigilante superhero” might be hindering her workflow, she’s still also very much a hardscrabble private investigator with a dark past and a severe drinking problem.
The core plot of Season 2 revolves around Jessica’s attempts to uncover her past. She knows she was experimented on after her family died in a tragic car accident. She just doesn’t remember it. Those experiments — whatever they were — left Jessica with super strength and a life’s worth of psychological trauma to unpack.
Season 2 will also reintroduce Kilgrave, though his appearance in promotional photos for the season seems to imply that Kilgrave (still dead) is a figment of Jessica’s imagination, a trauma-induced hallucination. He’s still the worst, but at least he still seems to be dead.
Jessica Jones Season 2 is now available to stream on Netflix.