Amidst the excruciating wait for the next season of Marvel's Jessica Jones, we can only speculate on what Season 2 could bring into Jessica's Hell's Kitchen. So, what is to follow involves a lot of speculating (and spoilers!).
In the first season, Kilgrave is the key antagonist. When Jessica snaps his neck on the season finale, she left me wondering who will take over as the primary villain of Season 2. Kilgrave's act will be pretty hard to top.
Kilgrave's mind-controlling abilities make him an almost (Jessica has become immune) omnipotent villain. He can practically be anywhere and know anything, an ability that makes him more than just terrifying. If you are a control freak like me, or if you just like it when your brains do what you tell them to do, then he is your ultimate villain.
And if you need visual aids in order to remember his gruesomeness:
For crying out loud, he could command you to make bloody-hand smoothies...
Slice your neck. Done. Jump off of a building. Done. Give yourself a detergent injection. Done. You get the picture. And to use a good old cliché: his command is your wish. After all, his ability to take over your agency and turn you into your worst self is what scares Jessica the most. That's why she doesn't underestimate his powers, a smart move on her part if you ask me.
His only weak point appears to be the fact that the effects of his manipulation fade away after about 12 hours, but as the series progresses he amplifies his virus, resulting in longer-lasting influence and control over others, which essentially negates this drawback.
So, how could season 2 top a villain like that? To me, Kilgrave is almost too perfect as a villain. Really, think about it. He controls you and on top of it, you are fully aware of your actions, you just can't resist his manipulation. Scary. And unlike other villains, he demonstrates a personal element that makes his threat all too real in a way that scares us even more. He's not an alien threat, he is a guy that came into Jessica's life and turned everything into a shitshow.
Then, what kind of villain could take Marvel's Jessica Jones and Jessica herself to the next level? Maybe the question should not be about who would make a better antagonist than Kilgrave, but what we would like to see drive the story forward in season 2.
Who is Jessica without Kilgrave?
The first season finds Jessica balancing between her superhero persona and her traumatized self. In the second season I really want to see her trying to understand who she is as a person, especially now that Kilgrave is out of the picture for certain. And just because Kilgrave will not be present physically, it doesn’t mean that the effects of his abuse will miraculously disappear. In a way, his presence gives meaning to Jessica’s existence. When she finds out that he is alive she gains a sense of purpose. Now that this purpose is lost she might not be able to handle it, intensifying her self-destructive attitude. His death could potentially allow her to grow into the superhero she could be, but it won’t be an easy path.
Jessica as her own antagonist
The struggle between being ‘normal’ and living up to the standards of a superhero could become a focus point. She is a hero but she can't see it. I suggest you look up "impostor syndrome," because Jessica clearly suffers from it. The most clear evidence of this is at the end of the last episode of season 1, where Jessica's thinking that since others believe she is a hero, then she can fool herself into believing it too. In a way, the antagonist in the second season could be Jessica herself. At the end of the day, the way we ourselves control our minds is very similar to how Kilgrave’s powers work. So, it’s going to be Jessica, the superhero, against Jessica who self-doubts and pushes back her heroic side. This would add to the noir detective story side of Marvel’s Jessica Jones. So far, the show has been able to deal with psychological issues quite successfully. In the second season, Alias Investigations can embrace the noir element, and expose Jessica to cases that show her that she is a superhero. Essentially, I’m suggesting that the lack of a chief villain may be better for the next season of Marvel’s Jessica Jones. The show should continue on its noir direction, where Jessica's internal struggle and her path toward becoming a superhero (and believing it) are in the spotlight.
More crossovers and more cameos!
In the same line of thought, as Jessica tries to find her identity and overcome her abusive past the show should let in more people in her life in order to allow for more character development. The backstories in the first season were awesome and I personally would love to see more of Trish Walker, both in present day action and flashbacks. She is a great friend to Jessica despite having her own difficult past to deal with. I think that she should stay on the path to becoming a superhero herself. I think Jessica needs her support. And I really want to see what Malcolm Ducasse will be up to, given that he is the one that picks up Jessica's phone. This move at the last episode of the season, shows his commitment to Jessica and Alias Investigations. Luke could also play a greater role in Jessica’s life, but I’m not sure how this would be implemented given that he is getting a show of his own (which is scheduled to premiere on September 30th of this year), which means we have to wait to see what will happen there. More crossovers overall would be amazing. I was ecstatic to see Claire Temple (from Marvel’s Daredevil) jumping into Jessica’s story. I can’t wait to see what Foggy (also from Marvel’s Daredevil) will contribute to the show along attorney Jeri Hogarth. But first we have to wait and see what Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Defenders will bring to the table.
I.G.H. should not become the primary villain
I.G.H. could potentially grow to be the villain organization of the second season of Marvel’s Jessica Jones, because they’ve already exhibited villainous and mysterious acts, such as pumping Simpson with pills and paying for Jessica’s medical bills. However, I think it should not. We should definitely learn more about them and their role in Jessica’s story, but if they turn out to become Jessica’s primary enemy, we will most probably lose the noir element, which may lead to an insufficient character development. Jessica is not ready to jump into a huge fight with an evil organization; this doesn’t mean that she can’t, but that she shouldn’t. She needs time to grow and heal before having another go at the superhero shenanigans. I.G.H. turning into a major villain would take the focus away from Jessica, and that would move the show in a risky direction, potentially removing the intense character spotlight we loved in season 1.