Episode 4 of the second season of Jessica Jones, titled “AKA God Help the Hobo”, contains several gender representations that provide a strong structural gender background of the whole show itself. From the name of the show and its first episode of the first season itself, it became obvious who the central character is in terms of representation by time, decisions and actions: Jessica Jones. She is already portrayed as unique from the general public due to her superhuman strength, matched only by her close friend Luke Cage’s indestructible skin and her previous enemy, Kilgrave’s, mind-controlling capabilities. In addition to her unique power and being the only female, and human, to possess it, she is also the main protagonist of the show, with the show’s plotline revolving primarily around her, from her dark past (summarized very well by her in the opening scene of the episode mentioned above: “My whole family was killed in a car accident…someone did horrific experiments on me…I was abducted, raped, and forced to kill someone… ”), to her quest to hunt down and kill Kilgrave, which was achieved by the end of Season 1, to now find more clues about the company that gave her the superhuman abilities following the accident that killed her parents.
“AKA God Help the Hobo” is an episode that re-emphasizes all these previously established gender roles in the show, along with provide some new ones. One of the re-emphasized gender roles is of Malcolm’s, Jessica’s neighbor and partner investigator in his and Jessica’s co-founded detective agency, presence on the outskirts of the company he has half the ownership of. After a failed anger management class, Jessica returns to her agency/apartment and is met by a demanding Malcolm who begs for more opportunities to help her in her investigations, showing Jessica’s independence even though she eventually agrees after reluctance because of wanting to keep him safe. This inverse relationship of a man being on the outskirts and under the decisions of a woman is an important factor within the show that makes it especially worthwhile to watch in the modern day due to its proactive message.
The first new gender role it provides is in relation to Jessica’s female lawyer, who was initially shown to be self-employed but gets fired by a male investigator in this episode who is apparently at a higher power, showing a stark change in the pattern of gender representation thus far in the show as women, such as Jessica and her closest friend and step-sister Trish, have usually maintained dominant roles. The show also grounds itself to reality due to the reason the lawyer was fired: her developing ALS, a nervous system disease that weakens muscles and impacts physical function, displaying a common limitation to many in the workforce today, especially women: an unavoidable factor such as disability.