Defenders Countdown: 3 Days
Jessica and Luke
We are barely more than two days out from The Defenders, and wanted to reflect a little Jessica and Luke’s dynamic. In our Jessica Jones countdown we talked about their relationship in the comics, so now we will be focusing on the MCU.
In short: these guys are messy. Their dynamic established in Jessica Jones exists within the chaos of Jessica’s own emotional turmoil, and we mostly see it from her point of view. In the wake of her escape from Kilgrave, she begins trying to reestablish some kind of life for herself, and to find ways to make peace with her behavior and experiences while under Kilgrave’s control. Stuck with the memories of murdering Reva Connors, she attempts to contextualize her guilt by researching her victim. Jessica’s surveillance of Luke, like her alcoholism and self-generated emotional walls, is a coping mechanism. By seeing this person from Reva’s life moving on from the pain, she can imagine that there’s some hope for herself, and can replace the memories of the murder with an image of someone still living. Luke’s continued peaceful existence is proof to her that killing Reva was not an all-destroying act. When we meet Jessica at the beginning of the show, it’s tough to say whether this tactic is actually helping her– but it’s at least a distraction, which is clearly something she relies on to keep herself going. But it’s not a great basis for a relationship.
By developing feelings for Luke, she finds herself stuck. She enjoys being with him, and their time together allows her to imagine that she might be able to heal and find happiness again. Luke, still raw from Reva’s loss and looking for the same peace Jessica is, experiences that same hope. This is compounded by their shared superpowers. Luke has never met another superhuman before, and Jessica has never met one who wasn’t evil. This shared secret allows for them to feel comfortable around each other, and combats the experience of feeling like a freak that both– Luke in particular– have suffered with since gaining their abilities. But this offer of happiness is twisted by the fact that Jessica killed Reva. She knows that telling Luke will burst the bubble, but she feels sick about deceiving him, and so takes every action she can to keep him from finding out– pushing him away, in spite of his many offers to help her, and falling back into her conviction that she doesn’t deserve emotional attachment. This reaches its climax when Luke falls under Kilgrave’s control, and nearly dies as a result.
If we believe that Luke was Kilgraved for the entirety of JJ Episode 12, then as far as we know, Luke and Jessica have not yet had a chance to reconcile their feelings. Jessica likely still feels that Luke needs to stay out of her life so that he won’t be hurt anymore, and while Luke’s Reva-related grief healed a bit during his own show, he and Jessica still have a lot of baggage to unpack in regards to each other. Whether they’ll have much time to sort through this tangle of emotions in between all the ninja fights is tough to say, but it will be interesting to see how their dynamic evolves over the course of this team-up.