John and Jane Smith, from the 2005 movie and the 2024 series, both titled Mr. & Mrs. Smith, are painfully regular people except for their professions. Or perhaps a better explanation can be derived from the words of an Indian comedian, Kanan Gill, that they were “two interesting people who became a boring couple after their so-called marriage.”
It may be a controversial opinion, but the 2005 movie wasn’t that good. It only worked because of the two extremely hot-looking people starring in it and the controversy and rumors surrounding their relationship at that time. Luckily, the makers of the 2024 series were aware of that, which is why the story of the new-age John and Jane Smith feels a lot more real and engaging. But the biggest trick the writers pulled off is that everything the audience knows about the leads is in relation to their marriage to each other. We don’t get even a slight glimpse of their individual personalities, and that is frustrating, despite being in line with the theme of the story.
Either way, Jane Smith is clearly the more complicated person in the marriage. In so many ways, their situation is an arranged marriage that worked, a system that most Asians are familiar with. The elders (the CIA in this case) meet and decide whether their children would suit each other, keeping in mind their economic and social status. That is what happens to Jane and John Smith.
Jane says that she has been described as emotionally numb and manipulative by the people close to her. Subsequent episodes have also revealed that she is extremely private and has major control issues, and John suspects that she might be on the spectrum. There is also some speculation that she might be a sociopath. There is no doubt in my mind that all of these are true. However, Jane has probably never been to a therapist. I am not talking about a couple’s therapist but an individual one, even before her marriage. This leads me to think that these conclusions she has about herself are self-deduced or said by people who do not have her best interests at heart.
Jane Smith says that she doesn’t talk to her father. She probably had a good relationship with her mother, but after her accident, she and her father drifted apart. There is no doubt that Jane blames her father for something very personal in her life, which she hasn’t opened up about yet. However, Jane says that her father dislikes her, and yes, that realization alters one permanently. This could be why Jane does not bother with what other people think of her—not because she doesn’t care but because she feels that it wouldn’t last anyway or would go away when they come to know what she is actually like. Something tells us that Jane and her father’s issues have something to do with her dead mother. Even if that is not the case, it is never hard to understand why an Asian father and daughter may not be getting along. It is always a conflict between one wanting to live her life and the other expecting more traditionalism from the opposite person. Whether this is the case or not with Jane and her father, it is clear that there is no forgiveness from Jane’s end for her father.
Jane says at one point that she doesn’t seek security in exchange for love. That is not to say that Jane feels safe or confident in who she is, and it also doesn’t mean that she is rejecting security. It simply means that she doesn’t know whether she is worthy of love, as she is, and in case she is not, she doesn’t have the energy to put on a pretense. In fact, this is one of the first fights that Jane and John have. Jane gets annoyed at John being friendly to strangers because she feels that it is not who he is. During therapy, she also brings up how John seems to pretend to be someone else to fit in with groups. The fact is that Jane finds some commonality with John in terms of her fears and personality, and he becomes her safe space because of that. But when he pretends to be something he is not, Jane feels he is ashamed of that part of himself, which is what attracted her in the first place, and by extension, he is ashamed of that quality of hers, which has caused everyone else to reject her. Jane may have been able to better express this if she had gone to therapy for herself.
Another thing that has been said about Jane again and again is that she is controlling. Psychology says that people who appear controlling on the outside do so because of an internal state of chaos. They latch on to the things they can control because they are very sensitive to mistakes, theirs or others, and feel as if they pay the price for them disproportionately. It is easier to control things than to deal with the ‘devastating’ aftermath later. Additionally, the control helps them feel as if they don’t owe the person anything, either for their help or for anything that went wrong, because they were never in control to begin with. Jane has admitted that she has major trust issues, and they continue till the end of Mr. & Mrs. Smith series.
In the end, Jane asks John what his plan is. She is showing him that she wants to rely on him, something that he has always wanted her to do. It is impossible that she did that because she did not have a plan. People like Jane can always think of something to do. However, in the situation they were in, all drugged up, and on the brink of death, Jane chose the most important thing for herself, which was her marriage. When Jane tried to control things on their other missions, it wasn’t because she thought less of John but because of her own fears. At this juncture, she knows that she has to rise above her fears. She is confident that John’s plan would work, and she decides to let him lead so that her marriage could work. Whether the two make it out alive or not, their marriage definitely survives the ordeal.