From executive producer Melissa Rosenberg, Season 2 of Marvel’s Jessica Jones (streaming at Netflix) forces the reluctant superhero to confront who she really is while digging deeper into her past to explore the reasons why. Being known throughout the city as a super-powered killer is torture for Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), who just wants to be left alone with her anger and a stiff drink, rather than being drawn into other people’s problems or forced to confront her own. But in order to survive an immediate and deadly threat, Jessica must step out of the shadows and look into the secrets of her past, in order to move forward.
During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, actress Rachael Taylor (who plays Jessica’s best friend, Trish Walker) talked about why Jessica and Trish are the heart of the show, playing a character that wants to be more than what she is, the lengths Trish is prepared to go to, to get what she wants, if anything could permanently break their friendship, loving the physical aspect of this role, the respect she has for her co-star Krysten Ritter, having female directors helm all 13 episodes this season, why the end of the season will leave fans wanting more, and making sure to keep some separation between your work and home life.
Collider: Looking back on the first season, when do you feel that the show was really at its best, and how did you build on that for Season 2?
RACHAEL TAYLOR: I feel like, at the end of Season 1, all of the characters were so transformed. Obviously, for Trish and Jessica, they triumphed over Kilgrave. That was enormously painful, especially for Jessica. For Trish, that really whet her appetite for more. Trish is a character that wants to be more than what she is. Despite everything she has, I think she wants to matter. I think she would love to feel powerful, like Jessica. Season 2 is really about the lengths that Trish is prepared to go to, to get what she wants.
It seems like that would definitely have some effect on their friendship, in some ways. So, with as much as the two of them try to protect each other, how much will that affect them?
TAYLOR: The friendship between Trish and Jessica, in Season 2, is really a roller coaster. One of my favorite parts of this show is the friendship between Trish and Jessica. In lots of ways, I really feel like it’s the heartbeat of the show, just because they have so much rich history and backstory between the two of them. It’s really cool because, in Season 2, you get a little bit more of a window into that history of why they’re such good friends. In Season 2, Trish’s appetite for more really sees her compromise Jessica, in certain ways. She’s aggressively pushing Jessica to discover more about her past and discover more about who she really is, and I think that taxes the friendship. You can see that in the first couple of episodes, but as the series unfolds, it gets even deeper and even darker.
What do you most enjoy about playing the dynamic between these two women? And as you get to know Krysten Ritter better, how does that shift things?
TAYLOR: What I love about the friendship between Trish and Jessica is that it’s not this perfect version of female friendship, where they’re always getting along and they’re always on each other’s sides. This is a very real, messy, complicated version of female friendship, and I think it’s really important to be able to put all those different dynamics of female friendship on screen. They don’t always get along. Sometimes they’re angry at each other. There are shades of competitiveness, there are shades of jealousy, on both sides, actually. I think both Trish and Jessica want what the other has, to some degree or another.
And as for working with Krysten, I just adore her and I also really admire her. I adore her, as a friend, and I admire her, as a colleague, so much. I’ve really learned a lot from working with her. Acting is a funny gig. In some ways, it’s like playing tennis, and you’re only as good as your tennis partner. Krysten really makes sure that every single person on that set is bringing their A-game because she works so hard and is so passionate, committed, thorough, and so hardworking and detailed, in her execution of the character. She makes everyone else around her want to be better. So, I’ve really taken a lot from her work ethic and how she carries herself, as a person. She’s an incredibly impressive woman, and I feel lucky to work with someone that I both really wanna hang out with and also really admire.
If Jessica and Trish are really the heart of the show, is there anything that could push them far enough that it would break their friendship, or is there always a way for them to come back from it?
TAYLOR: I don’t know. I would like to think that there’s enough water under the bridge between them, and enough deep love and loyalty between them, that they could weather anything that happens. But Season 2 is very much a dark and twisted journey for their friendship, and it’s kind of a roller coaster, in lots of ways. I think people are gonna be quite shocked to see where it all ends up. But I still really believe in their love for each other, so ultimately, I hope that they’re always able to stay on the same side.
Everyone seems to worry what it might take for Jessica to get to a healthier place, because you can’t help but see what a mess she’s in, but it also seems that people should maybe be worrying a little bit about the same thing for Trish. What do you think would help get Trish to a healthier head space?
TAYLOR: Season 2 is, in a metaphorical way, about fighting the monster within, and about all of our characters doing this deep dive into their personal histories and past traumas, and looking at how those traumas impact them, in the present day, and also impact the narrative. I think, at her core, Trish wants to be more than what she is. She wants to be respected more than she is. It’s almost like she has a little tear in her self-esteem and she just wants to be more. That appetite to be more than what you are is a hunger that can’t be filled. Trish has already done a lot of therapy, but maybe she could do some more.
One of the things that I really love about this show is that, beyond the superhero aspect of it, it really does take the time to explore the flaws in the characters and their relationships, on a very human level. We get to see Trish have issues with her mother and with her boyfriend, and there are all these things going on outside of the superhero of it all. Is that also fun for you to get to really dive into this season and really get to see her relationship dynamics, outside of just her life with Jessica?
TAYLOR: All of the characters’ worlds are expanded in Season 2. The scope of the show gets much bigger, which I think is really exciting. Season 1 was very much driven by Jessica’s psychological state, and it still is, in lots of ways, but Season 2 is about going deeper and darker, and it’s about having to resolve the past to be able to move forward into the future. And that’s the case for every character. We see a little bit more of Trish’s mother, and we see her relationship with Griffin Sinclair, which I think is actually really, really interesting. She’s attracted to him, but she also really wants what he has. He’s a respected journalist, and Trish wishes that she had the kind of respect that Griffin has. I think that’s a really fresh take on a romantic relationship because I’m not sure that Trish’s motivations with him are completely romantic.
Without giving anything away, how do you think viewers will feel by the end of this season? Will they be that much more anxious to know whether or not we’ll get a third season, or will they feel like these characters are in a better place, at all?
TAYLOR: With Season 2, we leave it in such an explosive place that it’s only gonna whet their appetite for more. I am really excited to see what people think of Trish’s journey. It’s certainly pretty dark, in places. Trish doesn’t always do the most likable things, in Season 2, and I love that. I think we can have less focus on female characters being likable, and more focus on them being grounded and relatable and complicated. I really think Season 2 does that.
How did it feel to have all 13 episodes directed by women this season? What kind of a vibe did that create for you?
TAYLOR: It was awesome! All of the directors were incredibly accomplished and talented and passionate. We were so lucky to have all of them. Every single person that we worked with just kept bringing more to the show. It certainly made me reflect on the fact that, for the first 10 years of my career, I worked with mostly men. Some of them were great, but I think we’re at a time where we’re starting to see a little bit more gender balance, in terms of the stories that we’re putting on screen and also the people behind the camera, as well. We can still go a little further, but I do think it’s starting to shift, and I’m really proud that our show is a part of that shift.
How much more physically challenging was this season, for you?
TAYLOR: I really, really love the fact that I’m on a show that requires me to be fit. It’s made me feel a little bit more empowered, just in terms of the way I walk down the street. I love being stronger, and I love that Jessica Jones is a show about how women take up space in the world. I feel that being fitter and boxing and doing all this martial arts training has helped me do that, in some way. I love it. I got pretty fit for Season 2. I probably should have kept it up more than I have.
Last season was pretty dark, and this season is even darker. Is it easy for you to get out of that head space, or do you need to take some time for self-care, in order to get through some of the most intense days?
TAYLOR: Yeah, definitely! It is quite a dark palette to work in, every day. Fortunately, we have this amazing crew that we work with that make us feel very supported and very safe. We let the vibe be light when the vibe can be light, and that helps a lot. Also, it’s important to remember, at the end of the day, that it is pretend. I go home and go back to my real life. I think that’s important, in any job. At some point, you have to have some work/life separation. But when you’re really invested, as we are on this show, and we’re all so passionate about it and we really care, it certainly bleeds into your real life, a little bit.
Marvel’s Jessica Jones Season 2 is available to stream at Netflix.