Presenting OTP Tuesday! Each Tuesday I will introduce you to a new One True Pairing! Tune in each week to find out which fictional couple you need to agonize/squee over next. Today I’m talking about DareJones. PS: minor spoilers for Jessica Jones’ second season ahead!
Who Are DareJones?
DareJones — as far as I can tell — refers to the ship of Jessica Jones and Matt Murdock from The Defenders. I have also seen JessMatt, but I’m going with DareJones because it’s fun!
Okay, I know I literally just wrote about Jessica Jones in another ship. But I can’t help it. She’s a very compelling character who I really relate to. I’ve even written pretty extensively about her for another site. At this point, it’s getting hard to sum up her character without repeating what I’ve already written.
Jessica Jones is the protagonist of the Marvel Netflix show Jessica Jones (handy). She is the first female superhero to get her own MCU property. Jessica Jones was the second Marvel Netflix series, after Daredevil. As a teenager, Jessica discovered she had super strength in the aftermath of a car accident that killed her whole family.
In the present day, Jessica is a PI with a serious drinking problem. Her closest friend is Trish Walker, who encourages Jessica to use her powers to be a hero. However, when Jessica tried, she captured the attention of Kilgrave, an enhanced individual with the power to control minds. He made Jessica his slave. She suffered greatly with Kilgrave but eventually broke free.
Now, Jessica suffers severe PTSD as a result of her time with Kilgrave. She gets pulled back into his orbit when he kidnaps a young girl to get to her. Season 1 shows Jessica try to find a way to defeat Kilgrave. In the end, she is successful and snaps his neck. This doesn’t end her trauma — but it ends the possibility of him using anyone else that way.
In The Defenders, Jessica teams up with Luke Cage, Danny Rand, and Matt Murdock to save New York City from the Hand. It’s great. Watch it. Season 2 of Jessica Jones just premiered on Netflix. I won’t go too into detail, but suffice it to say that Jessica has a lot to deal with.
Matt Murdock was the first character to get a Marvel Netflix series. He was also the first to get a second season, which premiered even before The Defenders, showing his popularity. So who is Matt? Matt is the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen — or Daredevil, as he prefers to be called.
As a child, Matt was blinded in an accident that also exposed him to some strange chemicals. Although he lost his sight, his other senses were greatly enhanced. Sometime later, his dad, Battlin’ Jack Murdock, was murdered after refusing to throw a boxing match. Matt is now blind and alone in the world.
In the orphanage, Matt meets Stick, a strange old blind man. Stick teaches Matt how to use his abilities to make up for his lack of sight. But when Matt starts to get attached, Stick leaves. Matt grows up fairly successful, despite his troubled start. He goes to Columbia University and becomes a lawyer.
At Columbia, Matt meets Foggy Nelson, and they become best friends. After graduation, they open up Nelson and Murdock, their very own law firm. They make a name for themselves helping the downtrodden of Hell’s Kitchen.
At the same time, though, Matt is making a name for himself as the Devil. He tackles the high crime rate in Hell’s Kitchen, working to undermine a criminal syndicate run by Wilson Fisk. Over time, Matt’s two lives begin to collide and he is forced to choose. In the end, Matt finds himself all alone. He tries to put Daredevil behind him, but cannot ignore who he is inside.
Why is DareJones OTP?
Okay. So. Here’s the thing. After last week’s article, I decided it would be fun to rewatch The Defenders (I was right). When I finished The Defenders, I was sad because it looks like there may not be a second season. So, I turned to the ever-faithful fanfiction to help me deal.
Anyway. I was looking for Matt/Elektra fics specifically because I love their arc and I think they’re a good match. But. I’ve spoken before about how fanfiction has a tendency to change my mind about ships — there’s just so much good fanfiction for ships I haven’t even considered.
Such is the case with DareJones. I hardcore ship Luke/Jessica and Matt/Elektra. I never even considered Jessica and Matt together. But I’ve read some really good stories that changed my mind. These two work together really well. There are a nice balance and sense of equality inherent in their relationship. So, against my will, I acquired another ship last week.
Of the four Defenders, Jessica and Matt are definitely the darkest. Luke Cage has been through some real shit; it would be understandable if he was bitter. But Luke has a deep sense of serenity about him. He knows who he is and what he stands for. He never questions right or wrong. Luke Cage is an ideal hero. And Danny… well, don’t get me started on Danny Rand.
But Jessica and Matt are dark, damaged people. They have both been through a lot of trauma, and they hold that trauma close. They both try to work through their issues but are not exactly successful.
Jessica is a rape victim. She was kidnapped and held against her will for a long time. She had no control over her actions or even her own body. For a strong-willed person, that’s tough to swallow. She clearly suffers from PTSD. Jessica tries to deal but clashes with her therapist’s advice. Instead, she drinks.
Matt is a disabled orphan. He lost his sight in a violent accident. His father was murdered. He was trained in martial arts by a man who could have been a surrogate father but fled from Matt’s emotions. Matt is angry, hurt, and dark. He has an inner violence that he struggles to keep leashed. He lets out his feelings by keeping others safe — and coincidentally hurting criminals.
What makes DareJones work is that they are both damaged. Neither is going to judge the other for how they deal with their respective traumas. And if anyone can understand what they’re going through, it’s the other. Jessica isn’t going to judge Matt for his violence; she’s violent too. Matt isn’t going to judge Jessica for her drinking; he drinks too. There’s balance there.
For all their darkness, though, there is light. Jessica and Matt both work hard to protect other people. And I would say that they are the funniest (and most relatable) of the Defenders. Luke is too normal; he can be funny but tends to be serious. And Danny is only funny when you’re laughing at him.
Jessica and Matt, though? They have the best lines in the show (and their respective shows). Maybe this is related to their darkness; people who have suffered may turn to humor to help express (or avoid) their feelings. For someone who relies on self-deprecating humor a lot, that’s really relatable.
The quality of their humor is great, too. Both have a strong sarcastic streak that really shines through. They use snarky humor. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows in their worlds, so their humor reflects that.
But the best is when they interact with each other. Some of the best parts of The Defenders were when Jessica and Matt were on their own. They have a good dynamic that rests on back-and-forth snark. But it’s not antagonistic (well, not really). It is instead the way that two dark, repressed people express fondness and affection.
The DareJones banter in The Defenders really makes me want a second season. I was disappointed when Jessica Jones season 2 barely mentioned the Defenders at all. After seeing Jessica with someone who could keep her grounded and hold their own in a conversation, it was sad to see her lonely again. #BringBackDareJones2k18.
What’s Next for DareJones?
Sadly, it looks like there might not be a next. Rumor has it that there is not going to be a second season of The Defenders. It works okay as a stand-alone, and each Defender is going to continue their own show. But I’ll be sad if the team-up was a one-and-done.
Next individually sees Jessica tackling her past in season 2, which premiered earlier this month. As mentioned, no Defenders pop up in her show — not even Luke, who was prominent in Jessica Jones season 1. Daredevil is supposed to be getting a third season later this year. Jessica might show up, theoretically, but it’s more likely she won’t.
Is DareJones Canon?
Definitely not! I didn’t even know DareJones was a ship until I started reading The Defenders fanfiction. Luke/Jessica is a lot closer to canon, and even that is not currently canon. So far, they’re the only two Defenders who have engaged in anything resembling a romantic relationship.
For her part, Jessica may be moving on with someone new. Season 2 brings new possibilities. Matt, on the other hand, is a little up in the air. Earlier seasons of Daredevil paired him with Karen Page or Elektra. Now that Elektra is (most likely) dead, it’s likely the show will push him towards Karen again — not looking forward to that. Matt needs someone who understands the darkness inside him, and Karen just falls short, in my opinion.
So, if like me, DareJones is capturing your attention, there’s not a whole lot to go on, canonically. There are only 8 episodes of The Defenders, which is not nearly enough DareJones interaction to sustain me. But — never fear! — fanfiction is here to save the day. Check out some fantastic DareJones works on AO3 or Fanfiction.net!