Note: contains spoilers for all 13 episodes of Jessica Jones season 3
After four years and 161 episodes of defending, Marvel’s Netflix universe has finally come to an end with the third season of Jessica Jones.
Amidst all of the cancellations, some of Jessica’s fellow Defenders bowed out with less than satisfactory results, teasing longtime fans with cliffhangers that may never be fulfilled.
Fortunately, Jessica Jones creator and showrunner Melissa Rosenberg learned that these shows were coming to an end before production on her own show had been completed, which gave her the chance to bring Jessica’s story to a natural close.
Speaking to Digital Spy, Rosenberg explained that "going into season three.. it was very much about looking forward... We wanted to explore the universal theme of finding your place in the world."
In many ways, the first two seasons of Jessica Jones were rooted in past trauma, including Jessica’s tragic family background and the lasting damage left by her abuser, Kilgrave. It’s only fitting then that season three would strive to push forward, building a new life for the PI that’s no longer defined by her past.
Getting there wasn’t easy though. Despite all of Jessica’s best efforts, Trish Walker finally succumbs to darkness completely by killing Gregory Sallinger, the serial killer who tortured and murdered her mother.
By this point, Trish has become just as evil as the monsters she’s been fighting all season, setting up a final episode where Jessica must find a way to stop her adopted sister for good.
Always forced to make the tough decisions, Jessica receives some much-needed advice from fellow Defender Luke Cage, in a surprise cameo that brings his time on these shows full circle. It’s only fitting that the Hero of Harlem would both start and end his journey on Jessica Jones.
Jessica’s former lover was faced with a similar decision to the one she faces now and ultimately chose to send his own brother to The Raft, an ocean prison for super-powered criminals that was first introduced in Captain America: Civil War. Luke hears Jessica out and advises her to make the same decision he once did, thereby setting the wheels in motion for her final confrontation with Trish.
While it’s not dwelt on for long, their exchange also touches briefly on Luke’s own darker path that was hinted at when his show ended last year: "If I ever go too far, I hope someone gives enough of a shit about me to take me down."
Although this might be the last we ever see of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones together on screen, there’s still a sense that their stories will continue on without us, even though we’ll no longer be able to see how they play out.
Jessica and Trish, though, find some degree closure on screen. When they finally clash, the masked vigilante goes one step too far and tries to stab Jessica, just like Sallinger did back in the first episode of three. In this moment of shock, Jessica easily takes her sister out and once she’s confronted with all of her misdeeds, Trish breaks down in prison, realising that she’s the bad guy after all.
In one particularly touching scene towards the end, Jessica watches the police transport Trish to The Raft, and instead of hating each other, the two share a knowing glance which suggests that redemption could be on the cards one day still.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Jeri Hogarth. After she finally tried to make amends for her unethical actions this season and find happiness with Kith, Jeri’s former lover rejects her anyway, leaving her to die alone of ALS with only her riches to comfort her.
Erik Gelden also ends up alone, although his story plays out with more optimism. After helping Jessica all season using his empathic abilities, Erik suggests that they could build a new life together, both romantically and professionally, but his often poor lack of judgement doesn’t quite convince Jessica just yet. Instead, she arranges a meet-up between him and Detective Costa, hoping that the two will work together to be the hero that she’s not yet willing to be.
In fact, Jessica isn’t even willing to stay in New York anymore and after she packs her bags, the former PI closes up shop and delivers the keys to Malcolm Ducasse, her natural successor. What’s in store for him remains unclear thanks to a messy romantic storyline in season three that didn’t add up to very much, but taking over Alias Investigations is surely a step in the right direction.
With her old life now seemingly behind her, Jessica heads to the train station and buys a one-way ticket to El Paso, Texas. Just as she reaches to grab the ticket, the lights suddenly dim to purple and a familiar voice returns: "Jeeeessicaaaa."
Although Kilgrave has long been dead, his words still taunt Jessica, telling her that: "You’re right to give in. Give up. It’s someone else’s job now." In the past, this smug advice might have got to her, but after all she’s been through, Jessica is finally sure of herself and what she has to do.
In one last defiant act that’s oh-so-Jessica in the best way possible, the hardboiled detective turns and leaves the ticket on the counter, deciding to stay in New York and become the "bonafide hero" that the media now believe her to be.
What Jessica’s new brand of heroism will look like is something we’ll probably never get to see now that all of the Marvel/Netflix shows have been cancelled, and little is done to address the final fate of the other Defenders too.
While Luke Cage’s future is hinted at somewhat, all we hear of Danny Rand is that he’s currently on a sabbatical – which lines up with the Iron Fist season two cliffhanger – and no mention is made of Daredevil or The Punisher at all.
Still though, it’s rather fitting that Jessica is the one who gets to end things on her own terms. After three seasons of battling her own personal demons, the former PI has finally found her place in the world and is now ready to move forward and defend the city that she loves.
Whether we’ll be lucky enough to see how this plays out is another matter entirely, although it’s important to remember that the MCU extends beyond just the Marvel Netflix universe...
Jessica Jones seasons 1-3 are now available to watch on Netflix.
('You Might Also Like',)