Greetings, all. Nikkie here, all by my lonesome, to straight-up blow your minds with this realization I had recently.
Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, aka a stupid waste of space, and Jessica Jones (their MCU versions, anyway) are REALLY, REALLY FUCKING SIMILAR. Like . . . seriously. Their story arcs, particularly across Civil War and season 2 of Jessica Jones, have a lot of the same beats, and it’s enough to make me wonder if it’s on purpose. With the separation between the films and the Netflix show portion of the MCU, it would make sense to give each one their own anchor. And while I consider Tony Stark to be the main anchor (or Nick Fury) in the movies, an argument can be made for Captain America, and Jessica Jones definitely feels like the anchor of the Netflix shows (even though Daredevil came first).
So! Once I started connecting the dots, I knew it was a blog-worthy theory to share with the world (or the few people who read our blog, anyway). And here we are.
I have two main areas to cover with this theory: surface-level similarities and plot similarities. We start, as many would, with the surface.
Despite their different origin stories, national (or local) profiles, and general demeanor, Steve and Jessica have two very similar character/hero traits. The first is the most obvious: super strength.
Both these heroes are enhanced/powered with super strength, and both got them through experimental means. Steve, as we all know, was chosen by a military scientist as the guinea pig for a super-soldier serum. Jessica, on the other hand, was illegally experimented on by a guy with a god complex. Her super strength was not the intent of the experimentation; it was simply a side effect that wasn’t even explained to her until she’d been living with it for at least a decade.
This strength translates to other enhanced abilities and altered characteristics for these two as well. Each have enhanced physicality; while both can jump further than the average human, I don’t think Cap can effectively jump-fly the way Jessica can. Their bodies also process alcohol differently. However, Cap can’t get drunk at all, whereas Jessica just needs to drink A LOT MORE to feel anything—an interesting detail from season 2 that slightly eases the mind about why she’s always deep in her cups. Cap, meanwhile, has the added benefit of a much better memory, as evidenced when he can approximate the placement of some pins after glancing at the map they were on for only a second or two in The First Avenger.
I’m sure some of you would be surprised that I’m counting this as a joint trait. Jessica seems the poster child for addiction (although she’s not the only one from her show; looking at you, Trish and Malcolm), whereas the golden boy can’t even get drunk!
But I offer you this: Steve is addicted to fighting. This was first verbalized in Age of Ultron, when the titular robot taunts Cap, saying he’s trying to pretend like he can live in a world without war. But it’s hinted at throughout all of Cap’s appearances. It’s shown in his insistence on getting his ass kicked pre-getting ‘rhoided up—”I could do this all day.” It’s shown in how he agrees with Sam that he can’t sleep because a real bed feels differently (read: uncomfortable) after returning home from war. He refers to the other Avengers (well, Coulson) as soldiers in The Avengers, despite the fact that none of them enlisted anywhere at any point—the Avengers are an initiative-created team, and S.H.I.E.L.D. is not a branch of the military.
What’s more, he always needs there to be a good guy and a bad guy. There is no gray for him. He stands on the line and throws punches at anyone he deems is on the wrong side. Diplomacy is not in his vocabulary—not even when it comes to his teammates. It’s Steve’s way or the highway, and Steve’s way involves a lot of other people catchin’ those hands.
On to the juicy stuff, which is all the ways in which these two heroes’ stories mirror one another.
It boils down to this: They’re willing to drop their current group of friends in an instant for someone they once knew but don’t know anymore. But where’s the fun in just saying it? Let’s look at the evidence.
Exhibit A: An Initial Loss and Subsequent Attachment
Both Jessica and Steve lost their families when they were young—Jessica was younger, of course, but the point still stands.
To replace the loved ones lost, they both become extremely attached to a non-relative. For Steve, it’s his best friend Bucky, who was there for him after his parents died; for Jessica, it was Trish, her new “sister” (though this isn’t as immediate as Steve and Bucky). These two characters become the pedestal-standing representations of the family of choice concept, taking on all the familial affection that Steve and Jessica have to dole out.
Exhibit B: A Secondary Loss
These relationships don’t last/stay the same. Bucky seemingly dies, reopening that wound for Steve, and Trish becomes engulfed in drugs and pseudo-fame, leaving Jessica to fend for herself. (She does temporarily replace Trish with a boyfriend, BUT THEN HE FUCKING DIES TOO!) You assume that that hole in their hearts, which already existed from the initial loss, will never close.
Exhibit C: The Universe Forces New People on Them via Unfortunate Means
After Jessica manages to break free from Kilgrave’s influence, she crosses paths with Luke Cage (out of guilt over killing his wife) and Malcolm (put in her path by Kilgrave). She and Trish are also repairing their relationship.
Steve is frozen in ice for 70 years and wakes up in the custody of S.H.I.E.L.D. He ultimately befriends Black Widow and Sam Wilson.
These relationships seem legit. Jessica and Luke bone down hard, Malcolm eventually becomes her apprentice, and Steve and Sam appear to be the path to bestiehood. Until . . .
Exhibit D: A Surprising Event (THE SAME EXACT ONE) Upturns Everything
Of COURSE things can’t just stay cool and normal for these two, so ridiculous shit starts happening.
Jessica and Luke fall apart in season one because she reveals that she’s the one who killed his wife. Later on, he’s put under Kilgrave’s influence and she has to shoot him in the head with a shotgun—which doesn’t kill him, for anyone who isn’t familiar with Luke Cage or this show. In season two, her other relationships seem fine . . .
But then her supposedly dead-ass mother shows up.
Just like Steve’s supposedly dead-ass friend Bucky shows up.
And they’re both murderers now. So, you know, that’s fun and totally fine. In fact . . .
Exhibit E: Steve and Jessica Ditch the New Crew for Their Back-from-the-Deads
I want to give Jessica a little bit of credit; she doesn’t immediately ditch everyone once her mother shows up. She’s very focused on the whole “Bring whoever is the killer to justice” thing, and when she figures out it’s her mother, she’s like “OK well, you’re a murderer so jail now.”
But she can’t escape the pull. After all, not only is her mother alive, but she also has super strength (thanks to the same experimentation). This is, arguably, exactly what Jessica needs: someone who understands her situation. It’s what she had with Luke, but she lost him. Clearly life was putting her mother back in her path because she deserved to have that kind of connection again—right?
(No, Jessica. No.)
We all know the story with Steve. He’s obsessed with 1) getting Bucky to remember who he is and 2) convincing everyone that Bucky isn’t really that bad because it’s not like he WANTED to kill those people—he was just brainwashed! (Yeah, Steve, that definitely means all those dead people don’t count now. You ass.) After all, Steve’s known Bucky since childhood, plus he was ALSO frozen, so they have even MORE stuff to talk about now! It just makes sense to put Bucky before the new relationships that Steve has established. IT JUST DOES!
(Shut up, Steve.)
Exhibit F: Everyone Is Expected to Roll with This
Despite the above being obviously bad calls on the parts of Jessica and Steve, both expect their new friends/chosen family to be fine with getting replaced by the people they were originally replacing!
This strategy could’ve worked for Jessica, considering Trish is really busy being addicted to combat-enhancement drugs and Malcolm is Tindering up a storm. But the whole “Your mom murdered people” thing supersedes both these side plots.
You guys saw Civil War, but I’ll just point out the glaringly obvious example: Steve thinks Tony should just gloss over the fact that BUCKY FUCKING MURDERED HIS PARENTS AND ORPHANED HIM.
Exhibit G: Understandably, No One Rolls with It
Trish and Jessica’s mom, Alisa, butt heads pretty much instantly—and not just because Trish is hopped up on illegal experimental drugs. As I said in our post about season two, Trish is obsessed with turning the story of powered people into her new claim to fame and legitimacy. As this dovetails with Alisa’s story (and murders), Trish decides to confront her . . . after Alisa is already in jail. They end up arguing about Jessica, and Alisa sees the obvious: Trish wishes she had powers herself.
BUT. As much as Trish sucks in this season, I feel like she’s completely in the right for feeling as though Jessica is abandoning most of her sense when it comes to the mother.
With Steve and Bucky, I point you to the vast majority of Civil War‘s events. But also, you know, the final fight with Tony. Who is extremely in the right to be angry. I may be giving him too much credit by saying that maybe he wouldn’t have killed Bucky if Steve hadn’t interfered, but he’s not the one who ruined the Avengers (the team, not the movie) sooooooooooooo . . .
Exhibit H: The Wrong Person Is Blamed for Exhibit G–Related Events
Jesus fucking Christ, Steve. YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY THINK TONY IS THE BULLY IN THIS SITUATION. He just found out that 1) his parents were murdered and 2) you’ve been protecting the very person who did it. I know you two have had your differences, but did you really think this was the time to be on a side that wasn’t Tony’s?! I get that the morality is a little gray, considering Bucky was brainwashed at the time, but that doesn’t bring Tony’s parents back to life or alleviate the grief he’s grappled with for over 20 years.
Sit the fuck down, Steve.
Jessica’s situation differs a little here: she should be mad at both Trish and Alisa. They are both ridiculous, they are both overstepping, and neither one is completely in the right. (There are very few instances where you can kill several people and be in the right, Alisa. I’m sorry.) But once she decides she can forgive her mother for 1) murder, 2) escaping from jail, and 3) trying to kill Trish, she just has Trish to be mad at for all the INSANE things she did (like screwing Malcolm, and then kidnapping Malcolm, and then almost getting herself killed in the pursuit of powers, and being addicted to drugs again . . . and then killing Alisa.)
It’s not great.
Exhibit I: Their Story Ends with Loose, Negative Threads
At the end of Jessica Jones s2, she’s no longer friends with Malcolm, and she can barely look at Trish without thinking about how the latter straight-murdered her mom. So, in one fell swoop, she has lost the surrogate family we were first introduced to.
This, of course, is countered by the fact that she now has a new surrogate family via her boyfriend and his son . . . but like that’s going to last, amirite?
As for Steve, the threads are obvious. In saving Bucky/proving his innocence, he broke the Avengers—and also created the situation for Rhodey’s literal body to get broken. The people who picked his side are now fugitives of the law, totally ruining some of their lives (I’m looking at you, Hawkeye), and now he’s gotta go grow a beard in solitude. (Which . . . I’ll accept his beard because I like a man with a beard. But I’ve also seen better beards, so don’t get cocky, Steve!)
How the Tony-side team will ever trust him again (particularly Rhodey, with his broke-ass legs) is beyond me, and I’m sure the shody patch job that Infinity War will put over all this in order to legitimize the team fighting Thanos won’t satisfy my need for Steve to OWN UP TO HIS SHIT.
(I’ve been finishing up This Is Us, so with all of Kevin’s shenanigans, my capacity to deal with white boy nonsense is officially depleted, Steve! Do. Better.)
So! There you have it—my totally plausible and 100 percent accurate theory that Captain America and Jessica Jones have the same story for their latest legs of the MCU, thus making Jessica Jones the Captain America of the Netflix shows.
I can already hear you out there; “Nikkie, Daredevil is obviously the Captain America of the Netflix shows!” You’re wrong. If anything, he’s the Black Widow, and I will quickly tell you why.
- Unlike Steve, Matt Murdock constantly worries about whether he’s making the right moves by fighting.
- He deals with a terrible amount of guilt over the harm he’s done (much like Black Widow).
- Generally, he understands that there’s a time to fight and a time to outsmart someone (much like Black Widow and extremely unlike Steve).
- His fighting style is very acrobatic and often seems a little impractical (much like Black Widow).
- While both he and Steve are basically the leaders of their respective groups, I think we can all agree that Black Widow would make a better strategic leader than Steve, so I view Matt as what we’d get if BW was leading the Avengers.
- Arguably, Jessica Jones is the thread that connects the Netflix Marvel shows, as there’s been the most cross-over with her, and Steve is definitely one of the connective threads (though, again, I would argue Tony is more of one).
Y’all. I’m not playing with it comes to 1) hating Captain America and 2) putting some legit thought into these things.
That being said: What do you think about all this? Hit me up in the comments or on our social to argue this theory until the cows come home. But I can’t promise that I’ll be nice to you; I’m very passionate about this.
May your favorite heroes always question their own authority,