Jessica Jones season 1 recap

What happened in Jessica Jones season 1? How did Defenders end? As season 2 approaches, we recap all the key action. Spoilers...

This article comes from Den of Geek UK.

Warning: contains spoilers (obviously!) for Jessica Jones season 1 and the Defenders miniseries.

Marvel’s stable of Netflix shows has been, to put it mildly, far more hit or miss than the movies – though one show that quite definitely hit with audiences far more than it missed was 2016’s Jessica Jones.

The show, based on the excellent but relatively unknown comic series Alias, follows the eponymous super-powered detective as she navigates New York’s seedy underbelly assisted by a combination of friends, family, and an always-open bottle of Wild Turkey Bourbon.

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As season 2 of Jessica Jones gets close to airing, we’ve put together this recap of Jessica’s previous appearances in her own season and miniseries, The Defenders – to get you back up to speed.


Jessica’s story begins when, as a young teenager, she becomes the only survivor of a car accident that kills her entire family. Left comatose for weeks, when Jessica awakens she discovers that she’s going to be cared for by the mother of child star Patricia “Patsy” Walker, who is treating the responsibility as an opportunity to boost her daughter’s fading fortunes. She also learns that her hospital bills have been paid for by the mysterious company, IGH.

Stuck with the Walkers, Jessica realises that her new mother is violent towards her adopted sister, and during one of their heated arguments she locks herself in the bathroom only to find that she has superpowers when she accidentally smashes a sink. She shares the revelation of her powers with her sister, they both agree to keep each one another’s secrets.

Years later, Patricia – now calling herself Trish – convinces Jessica to use her powers to become a superhero, suggesting the name “Jewel” and even offering a costume. Jessica, despite being directionless and unable to hold down a job, declines to help others – that is until, by chance, her speed and strength allow her to prevent a young girl from being killed in a car accident.

Realising the good she can do, Jessica attempts to help people where she can, but that only works until her path crosses with a man calling himself Kilgrave. After intervening in the mugging of a man called Malcolm, Jessica is spotted by Kilgrave who recognised her uniqueness and uses his super-ability – a form of powerful hypnosis – to claim her as his personal slave/toy.

Although Kilgrave’s hypnosis wears out after 12 hours, Jessica was kept in his thrall near-constantly. Despite attempting suicide during brief moments of clarity, she failed to escape Kilgrave and worked for him for weeks, doing anything he said. Things came to a head when he asked Jessica to steal a hard drive from Reva Connors. On Kilgrave’s instruction she takes the drive and kills Reva, but the shock of committing murder finally snaps her out of his control. As he attempts to make Jessica return to him, Kilgrave is hit by a bus and apparently killed.

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Suffering from PTSD thanks to her ordeal, Jessica reconnects with Trish and gives up her plan to become a superhero. Instead she opens Alias Investigations and earns a living as a private investigator, becoming dependent on alcohol to function.


It’s here that the series begins, with the traumatised Jessica making a living exposing minor infidelities and getting blind drunk to stave off her Kilgrave flashbacks. Jessica does, however, secure work for the high-powered lawyer Jeri Hogarth, who values her abilities. We also see that Jessica is spying on Luke Cage, a bartender, as he undertakes a succession of no-strings sexual encounters.

After taking a case to investigate the sudden disappearance of a girl named Hope, Jessica comes to realise that Kilgrave survived and is now using his powers to manipulate Hope. When her investigations lead her to Kilgrave’s old haunts and eventually to Hope, her rescue is botched when Hope kills her parents while still under Kilgrave’s thrall.

Hogarth attempts to defend Hope in court, tasked with proving the existence of mind control and the lack of culpability that comes with that. Meanwhile, Jessica is fighting her own problems – her burnout neighbours, siblings Ruben and Robyn and drug addict Malcolm are a constant nuisance. After discovering Luke also has superpowers, Jessica starts a sexual relationship with him.

To torment Jessica, Kilgrave starts to target her friends and family and at one point sends Wil Simpson, a former soldier, to attack Trish Walker in the guise of a police officer. Trish and Wil eventually bond over their encounters with Kilgrave, but as the two grow closer it’s revealed that Simpson is using experimental drugs from the army to give himself super strength, but which also make him prone to uncontrollable rages.

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When an attempt to capture Kilgrave fails, Jessica learns that Kilgrave has been using a combination of his powers and drugs to have Malcolm spy on her. Kilgrave, still free, buys Jessica’s childhood home and invites her to live with him, voluntarily, in exchange for everyone’s safety. Luke and Jessica’s relationship collapses dramatically when it emerges that Reva, the woman Kilgrave had Jessica kill, was Luke’s wife.

Jessica accepts Kilgrave’s offer, hoping to capture him alive to clear Hope’s name. Simpson tries to plant a bomb under the house but Jessica tells Kilgrave, which tricks him into thinking she’ll co-operate. Jessica uses this trust to incapacitate Kilgrave and imprison him – but not before Simpson is injured by his own bomb and hospitalised.

Although her plan to video Kilgrave using his powers fails, they manage to track down his parents who agree to testify against him. His mother then enters his cell to try and kill him, but Kilgrave forces her to turn her knife on herself and escapes, taking control of Hogarth in the process. They discover, however, that Jessica is now immune to Kilgrave’s commands. Kilgrave releases Hope in trade for his father, but as soon as she’s free Hope kills herself, begging Jessica to find and murder Kilgrave now that she doesn’t have to worry about clearing her name.

When Jones and Simpson end up fighting with one another, Trish takes some of Simpson’s pills so she can fight him off, though she ends up in hospital after using them. Kilgrave, meanwhile, has learned about Luke Cage, and Jessica races to his bar only to see it explode around him – though Cage, with his powers, is fine. They discover that the same people – IGH – are behind Jessica’s powers and Simpson’s strength-enhancing drugs. They realise Kilgrave is keeping his father alive because he’s hoping to enhance his powers.

Luke seemingly forgives Jessica, but this is then revealed as a ruse perpetrated by Kilgrave, who already has control of Luke. He and Jessica fight and she eventually wins by putting him into a coma. Nurse Claire Temple attempts to treat around Like’s unusual abilities while Jessica tracks down Kilgrave just in time to see him kill his father. As Kilgrave attempts to escape the city while using his powers to induce mass chaos, believing his abilities to be amped up by his father’s experimental drugs. He captures Trish and tries to control Jessica, who plays along. Believing that he has her under control, he allows her to get close at which point she breaks his neck.

Jones is arrested for murder, but Hogarth is able to secure her release by claiming she was under mind control, which many others can testify about. Returning to her office, Jessica begins to receive lots of calls from people who have heard of her heroism while Malcolm answers her phone, ready to assist her.

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Despite the events of her own series, a few months later Jessica is seen still avoiding cases as much as possible – though when two women ask her to look for their missing husband/father, an architect who build skyscrapers for The Hand, she takes the case and discovers that he was planning to blow up his own creation. Jessica turns the investigation over to the police.

Hogarth tries to warn Jones off pursuing things, but she finds the missing man – John Raymond – has found her. He’s about to reveal all when the pair are attacked by Elektra, Daredevil’s former girlfriend. Raymond kills himself rather than be captured by The Hand, and Jones is arrested for interfering in the investigation. Her case is that taken by blind lawyer, Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil.

Jones dismisses Murdock but secretly follows him, ending up at Midland Circle – the headquarters of The Hand. There, the pair meet with Luke Cage and Danny Rand (Iron Fist) who are also conducting their own investigation. They manage to discover that Elektra is alive and that The Hand is planning something that will devastate New York. Luke and Jessica reconcile as friends, agreeing to put their pasts behind them.

After learning that Iron Fist is the key to this plan, Luke, Matt, and Matt’s master Stick keep him under guard while Jessica and Murdock investigate. Jessica discovers that there’s a giant structure beneath Midland Circle. Elektra takes control of The Hand, murders Stick and kidnaps Iron Fist, framing Murdock, Jones and Cage for her crimes. They manage to escape custody, however, and head to Midland Circle where Iron Fist and Elektra are fighting deep beneath the city. Iron Fist is tricked into opening the mystical barrier, potentially dooming New York and giving the Hand access to the power of resurrection once more.

Jones, Murdock and Cage arrive just in time to even the odds, and as well as helping to set the explosives around Midland Circle the three work together to rescue Rand. Jessica aids Rand and Cage’s escape but Murdock stays behind to take out Elektra and seemingly sacrifices himself. The charges against Jones and her friends are dropped, and Jessica – with Malcolm’s help – acknowledges that she’s ready to help others.

Which leaves us ready to watch Season 2!

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