I assume others must have written on the use of doors as character motifs in Netflix’s Jessica Jones series but I feel I must add my five-cents* also. Not every character gets a signature door but most of the key characters do and each door seems loaded with significance. As some doors are connected to plot points and one only appears later in the series, spoilers are below the fold.
- Luke Cage’s bar door. Jessica initially only relates to Luke via windows as she snoops on his activities. However, eventually he speaks to he after stepping out from the door to his bar. Luke’s door is not technically the door to his home but then Luke is a character who has wandered in from a different story. As doors go, it works just fine. It has a window, it isn’t locked and people come and go through it without any problems. It’s the most functional door in the series. Luke, despite being torn by grief, consumed by doubt and cut-off from his past, is also surprisingly together as a person.
- Hogarth’s office door. Jeri Hogarth (played wonderfully by Carrie-Anne Moss) is the ruthless and cynical lawyer who keeps Jessica in steady employment. Physically her office door has no technical faults but it never seems to manage to do what it needs to do – which is keep people out of Hogarth’s office. Interrupted by her ex-wife, girl-friend, personal-assistant and Jessica Jones (and that’s only three people), the door doesn’t manage to live up to Hogarth’s exacting expectations.
- Malcom’s apartment door. The door itself is fine, it is Malcom that has the problem. Addled by addiction, Malcom stuggles to open his door every time he heads home from whatever he is doing during the day. It is normally Jessica who helps him get through his own door (at least for the first two thirds of the series).
Those doors are the relatively normal doors. The next three are something else.
- Trish’s security door. If each of these doors were characters in their own superhero series, Tish’s door would be the superpowered main character. Her door is nigh on invulnerable and survives an attempted battering with a ram (and maybe gun fire as well? Can’t quite recall if it gets shot at). There’s no plot connection between Trish’s door and Luke Cage but it has his powers and demeanour – although the metaphor is probably intended to relfect Jessica’s physical strength and protectiveness of Trish. No window, no peephole even, the only way to see past the door is from the inside via a security camera.
- Killgrave’s isolation tank airlock door. The conceptually disturbing villain is largely without doors for most of the series. Indeed, he is more often shown outdoors than within them – strolling through streets or sitting outside cafes. Indoors he is more usually seen in restaurants and dining rooms. This changes when Jessica finally catches him and imprisons him in an abandoned CDC facility. Killgrave is kept in a glassed isolation tank, seperated from everyone by two hermetically sealed steel doors with their own windows and wheel locks.
- Jessica’s office door. The door is always close to becoming unhinged. The frosted window is repeatedly smashed and the door is often broken by Jones herself. The father of Hope Shlottman offers to fix Jessica’s door, Trish provides a new pane of glass for it as a gift but the door never stays in one piece for very long. Yet, the door is never completely absent or ever irreprably broken.
Next time: the metaphor of tables in Iron Fist.
*[two-cents is not a quantity that can actually be expressed in Australian coinage]