Jessica Jones is Marvel’s second television show to premiere on the online streaming service of Netflix. The show of the eponymous hero follows her life after she has escaped the menacing hands of Kilgrave A.K.A, Purple Man (he has the the ability to control the mind and actions of the people who are under his powers) . After escaping his grasp, Jessica is psychologically distraught over the time (months) she spent AUK (acting under Kilgrave). I’m not going to review if this show was good (it was amazing) and I am not going to discuss if Kilgrave was a great villain (he is probably the MCU’s best). Instead I am going to share how wonderful the directing of Jessica Jones was.
Kilgrave is Purple Man, yet this name is never used in the show. Certainly some viewers of the show, who are not aware of his alternate namesake, probably did not notice that Kilgrave is everywhere. Below are a series of images which depict how ubiquitous his presence was throughout the series. How? Through the repetitions of the color purple (a direct reference to Purple Man) which are consistent in more or less every other scene.
Here Jessica grows engaged and more interested in her new found relationship with Luke. In this scene Jessica is quite joyful, which is quite rare in the series, yet Purple Man’s presence is still evident. Her joyful emotion is why the evidence the leaves of the tree were intentionally a lighter shade of purple than we typically see throughout the show. Now look at the darker shades of purple in the image above and the series of images that follow. I believe this scene consists of the show’s darkest shades of purple as it does take place in Kilgrave’s “lair”.As soon as Luke and Jessica walked into this cathedral, I sensed that Kilgrave was going to orchestrate some type of menacing attack due to the darkness in this shade of purple. Evidently he did as he made Luke fight Jessica against his own will. The image above displays a purple toy car moments before Kilgrave “influences” an entire family.
I love the repetition of purple’s that made me feel the Kilgrave was everywhere, even when he is not. The directors of the show told us a story, not one of dialogue, but one of imagery. As we embarked on the journey with Jessica, I thought it was appropriate that we were positioned in the same psychological state she was in; where she was always thinking about Kilgrave in the back of her head, hence the reason we saw some many “purples” throughout the show. I am not sure how non-comic book fans reacted to Kilgrave’s omnipresence, but I am sure we are all terrified of him.
Another directing style of the show I admire is how before the beginning of a new scene the shot would be out of focus and then refocus on a particular subject. This was not evident at the beginning of every scene, but it happened more than a couple of times per episode. Not only have the directors devised a shared psychological universe between Jessica and the viewers through the usage of purples, but they have also allowed us to share another piece of Jessica, her work life. Jessica is private investigator. meaning she spends quite some time with a camera. I know that this is a minor directorial choice, but it allowed me to compensate sooo much with Jessica on many levels as I often felt like I developed a linkage to the complexities of her lifestyle due to these choices in directing.
Marvel’s Jessica Jones was incredible and its show that preceded it “Daredevil” was just as good. Daredevil in fact has directing similar to that of JJ. It’s often really dark which mimics the life of our protagonist Matt Murdock, a blind man. I recommend both shows to anyone and do not recommend them to Marvel fans because they’ve already seen them. Right?