By G.G. Andrew
If you’re not watching Netflix’s Jessica Jones (and you really should), you’re missing out. Not only does it have fascinating female roles and friendships, an addictive plot, and an intriguing villain, it has some scintillating romance.
Madeline recently led a Twitter chat on movies featuring dark and dangerous romance. Though a television show, Jessica Jones would fit perfectly within this subgenre. Much of its sexy thrills live within a dark, gritty world saturated in violence. It’s set in grimy Hells Kitchen, and Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) is a private investigator with superstrength who’s recovering from an abusive past.
One night, after spying on muscled bartender Luke Cage (Mike Colter), she gets drinks at his bar and they end up in bed together.
“I don’t want to hurt you,” Luke tells her in bed, not realizing her superpower. “You won’t,” she says. But he quickly responds, an intent look in his dark eyes: “I will.” Because Luke has powers of his own, and so the love they make is the kind that not only shakes the bedposts, but can bust the radiator. And they do.
But there’s a secret Jessica is not telling Luke. It’s connected to her bloody past and it’s something that would tear them apart. So, for Jessica, being with Luke is not only forbidden, it’s dangerous. Like so much of the show, their scenes are filled with a terrible, delicious tension–a fear of something awful happening at any moment: the secret being revealed, the villain Kilgrave rearing his ugly head. This danger makes the romantic scenes all the more exciting, both precious and potentially explosive.
There’s another romance subplot in the show as well, with her friend Trish (Rachael Taylor), and it too comes from an episode of violence. I won’t share the details so as not to be too spoilerific, but it’s a surprising, sexy turn of events I never saw coming.
I’ve been contrasting these romances with the dynamics of the other big female superhero show this fall, Supergirl. Supergirl is set in a city too, but it’s one that is often cleaner or more filled with light, like the scenes at the sunny office where Kara (Melissa Benoist) works. There’s a love interest here too, the hottest Jimmy Olsen the world of comics has ever encountered played by Mehcad Brooks. (Seriously. I’m not sure why all the cameras don’t malfunction during filming. He’s that hot.) Kara’s big secret is that of course she’s also Supergirl, but this is a secret Jimmy and a few others know; there’s no subterfuge for her when she’s around him, no waiting for a bomb to explode. Everything is lighter, more out in the open.
Romances without a dark backdrop can be addictive too, fun and fascinating in their own way. But the tantalizing way Jessica Jones pairs sexy thrills with chills has me glued to the television–at the same time I’m looking over my shoulder.
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