Jessica Jones may hang up her leather jacket finally believing in her superhero status — just don’t go rubbing it in.
The Marvel series returns to Netflix Friday with a final season that hopes to wrap up the angsty tale of Jessica Jones in 13 episodes. Its return is dark and twisty, as to be expected, but it takes a refreshing step into the real world — as far as possible given it’s a story about New Yorkers with advanced physical abilities.
“I really found it to be like threading a needle,” says Krysten Ritter, who stars as Jones. “We [wrap the season] in a Jessica Jones kind of way I feel is satisfying, not unlike how the end of season 1 was satisfying.”
To Ritter, that translates to a farewell that’s both bittersweet and ambiguous, but “leaves you with some hope.”
Jones’ finale mission comes in the form of a local serial killer who hits too close to home. Jeremy Bobb (of “Russian Doll”) brings to life a crime-drama-worthy character: Gregory Salinger is a well-educated New Yorker with a passion for snapping photographs of his victims.
“The first two seasons were very much an exploration of her history, trauma and origins,” says showrunner Melissa Rosenberg. “There was a lot of looking inward and back to the past. Season 3 is finally taking all of those lessons and moving forward into the world.”
This time, the villain is “ordinary,” but that doesn’t mean he isn’t super.
His advanced understanding of New York City law and human biology makes him nearly as hard to track down as Kilgrave (David Tennant) was in season 1. Instead of mind control, Salinger uses city law as his kryptonite. “It’s a new kind of battle for her,” Rosenberg says.
“This is the first time where she had to involve herself in getting a bad guy because it’s the right thing to do,” Ritter adds. “It’s usually personal for Jessica.”
It’s all very “Jessica Jones” meets “Blue Bloods” meets "Law & Order: SVU," in the best possible way. The season juggles Jones’ involvement with the NYPD (John Ventimiglia as Detective Eddy Costa) and her relationship with Trish (Rachael Taylor) — who, by the way, has newfound powers.
“It causes a totally new dynamic to form. Some tension, some frustration,” Ritter teases. “Trish has always been so jealous of Jessica’s powers and would have given anything for her whole life to have what Jessica has. Whereas, Jessica has been reluctant and has had contempt for her powers.”
Trish’s abilities (the extent of which we won’t spoil) allow for the series’ moral debate (to be a hero or not to be a hero) to come full circle.
“This season is more about sacrificing the personal for the greater good,” Ritter says. Taking her mission into the real world "sort of is in line with her growth as a hero.”
Her reluctance to revel in or even accept the admiration of being a hero is one factor that has helped Jessica Jones stand out among her fellow Marvel stars. Her gender is another.
“Jessica has broken the mold in many ways. She’s a type of character that we hadn’t seen, but there was a huge void for,” Ritter says. “There’s no gender-first here. She is just a strong character going through things.
“We went on this psychological journey with her. I think it was a refreshing take on a female — especially a female superhero. People have really responded to her along the way and I’m really proud of that.”
The final season of Netflix’s "Jessica Jones" begins streaming Friday.