Last night I finished the second season of Jessica Jones on Netflix. I liked the first season even though a few of my comic book loving friends bemoaned Jessica as a lackluster subject for her own series. To me, I felt that she was more interesting and compelling then Iron Fist or even Daredevil. Similar to Luke Cage, Ms. Jones seems like someone that would exist in one of my many circles of friends.
Initially, season two seemed like a vanilla continuation of season one. However halfway through (and you can stop here if you do not want to find out any spoilers) we find out that the main adversary this season is also Jessica’s (birth) mother. Since she was subjected to the same procedure that gave Jessica her super powers, she is stronger and unfortunately more mentally unstable. But a greater obstacle for Jessica to overcome are her feelings in regards to her mother. And that is something that I can completely relate to.
Mothers: They are Far From Perfect
In the series, Jessica confesses to her (adopted) sister Trisha that she was always jealous of her because even though her mother was terrible, at least she had a mother. There are not any vignette flashbacks showing how Jessica’s mother was before their car accident (or if there were, I missed it); but the understanding is there that Melissa’s (Jessica’s mother) appearance has changed significantly and of course she had slipped into psychosis…making her initially unrecognizable. In spite of all of this, Jessica starts a precarious effort to kindle a relationship with her. With the added goal to prevent her from killing more people.
I’ve had similar personal struggles myself. While my own mother is far from being a murder, she was a teenage mom who was woefully ill-equipped to raise me. Thankfully, my Grandparents were there to do the bulk of the heavy lifting when it came to parenting. Fast forward 30 years, my mother and I are more like sisters due to her physical and emotional absence during my formative years. Now that I’m a mother myself I struggle between trying to apply her advice and benefiting from her help (which, I admit, I desperately need 🙁 ) and being dismissive of her since her criticism rings of judgement and disdain and I’m a firm believer in the adage “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”
Knowing Your Limits
Initially Jessica was pretty dead set on stopping her mother. When she didn’t know her or who she was, this was easy in that it was a very black & white decision. Although as she grew closer to her mother the lines between what is right and what is wrong began to blur. She began to bend the rules of the law and then murdered a man — all in the effort to help her mother. She made promises to others that she would stop her; only to hesitate and then go all out and become her mother’s sidekick essentially. The more interesting thing is that I could see honor in both approaches. So many times we know what the right thing to do is. But we may not have the personal strength to actually do it. This absolutely comes into play in regards to the relationships we have with loved ones. Thankfully in Jessica’s case, there were those who cared about her who were able to step in and do what she could not find the resolve to do herself. And in another twist that feels very ‘real life’, Jessica pushed these people away for what they did (I guess season three will tackle the repercussions of that).
Abiding by Your Limits
For me I am still trying to find that balance between honoring your parent, loving your parent, and doing what is right for me and my children. I watch how my Mom is with my boys and I can’t help but to think that she is trying to be something to them that she never got the chance to be to me. As much as I would like to oblige her, the reality of life is that they are not her kids and that she missed out on that opportunity (with me at least; she did raise my younger sisters). Her guidance gets a vote, but not a veto. Her love is always welcome here. But if the toxic elements of our relationship effect my home negatively, then I need to act accordingly.
I pray that I have the strength to do such a thing when Jessica Jones, a bone-fide super hero, didn’t.