While Sweet/Vicious‘ Jules Thomas makes for a pretty awesome vigilante, that’s not what makes her amazing. Jules is pretty badass when she’s just being Jules.

Yes, half the fun of MTV’s Sweet/Vicious is watching Jules and Ophelia’s vigilante selves kicking ass and taking names. Their strength, agility, and Spider-Man-like ability to come up with hilarious puns while fighting is unlike anything that’s on TV currently (or has been on TV in a long, long time). It’s hard not to root for these vigilantes who are serving up justice when larger institutions turn a blind eye.

However, though the vigilantes may be pretty fearsome and awesome (just ask anyone on the Darlington campus, aside from the rapists, of course), they’re really only badass because the girls behind the mask are badass. And the most badass of the two of them? Why, that would be the girl who started it all: Jules.

If you really stop and think about it, Jules’ vigilante identity is just a physical manifestation of the badass-ness that Jules has inside of her (and it doesn’t even portray the half of it). Without Jules’ spirit and strength, her vigilante persona wouldn’t be nearly as intimidating, nor would it even exist.

But what makes Jules so badass?

Well, first, there’s the fact that she’s a rape survivor. Jules lived through a horribly traumatic event and could have just shut down afterward. Nobody would have blamed her. To have your agency and voice taken away and be overpowered by someone else is terrifying. Many times, rape survivors disappear inside and isolate themselves. They shut out the outside world and withdraw from everything (and for many this includes college).

Sweet/Vicious Jules

But Jules didn’t withdraw. Not for long. She used her pain as motivation to make herself stronger. That’s definitely not to say that those who retreat inward are weak (because just breathing and getting through the day after something like that is a feat in and of itself). However, by using her inner resolve and strength of character to make herself physically stronger, Jules crossed over from “survivor” to “badass.”

Her pain also opened her eyes to a trend she most likely didn’t notice before that fateful night. There’s a certain kind of strength that comes with being aware of something and not just ignoring it, and with facing an issue head-on instead of hiding from it or immediately chalking it up to being something that will never change. The combination of those two factors then made her into a champion of rape survivors.

But perhaps the biggest test of Jules’ inner badass was her coming forward about what she went through. She not only went to the school and filed a report, but also testified against her rapist and saw the whole process through. It’s hard enough to have to recall her rape in vivid detail and state it for a public record, but to also have people calling her a “liar” and rooting for her to lose? That’s a lot to go through. But Jules suffered through all these things with grace. Even when the school overturned the decision, she took it in stride and counted her accomplishments rather than her failures.

While the way she survived and overcame her rape makes her pretty badass, her heart also plays a role in her badassness. Though it has been put through the wringer, Jules loves twice as hard as she did before her rape. She not only finds it in her heart to take on others’ pain and suffering, but she also maintains and creates new friendships.

Sweet/Vicious Jules and Ophelia

Sure, her relationship with Kennedy isn’t perfect and Jules could have solved quite a few problems by just telling her BFF the truth about what happened to her. But that wasn’t what was best for Jules. And so, she kept her secret but she also worked hard to maintain her friendship with Kennedy. At no point does Jules criticize Kennedy for not being a good friend or look at her differently because of something her boyfriend did. Moreover, in the season finale, Jules is there for and supports her best friend in her time of darkness. Yes, Jules keeps her BFF at a distance for a lot of Sweet/Vicious season 1, but she doesn’t love her any less.

Not only does Jules keep her heart open for Kennedy, but she also stretches it even further to let in Ophelia. She allows Ophelia to help her (asking for help when you need it is always badass, by the way) and, in turn, she helps Ophelia with whatever Ophelia needs.

In addition to demonstrating the strength of her heart, Jules’ relationship with Ophelia also shows just how intelligent she is. Though Jules doesn’t have Ophelia’s technical stills and prowess, she can keep up with what Ophelia says and even give helpful suggestions. (In fact, one of her suggestions sprung her boyfriend from jail in the Sweet/Vicious season 1 finale!) For someone who looks like a blonde sorority girl, Jules breaks stereotypes and proves that she has a good head on her shoulders.

Need even further proof of Jules’ good head and general badassery? Well, there’s nothing more badass than being able to freely admit when you’re wrong. Her friends (namely Ophelia and Kennedy) have called her out on multiple occasions this season when she’s done something wrong or when her head wasn’t in the right place. Instead of ignoring their observations and continuing on her path, Jules takes stock of her actions and decisions every time and makes necessary changes. That, and she apologizes and learns from the situation. Being able to admit fault is a level of badassery that a lot of people have trouble reaching. The fact that Jules can frequently do this just shows that she’s always trying to do what’s right and better herself.

So yes, it’s hard not to love Jules when she’s running around the Darlington campus as a vigilante with her new BFF (and fellow Sweet/Vicious vigilante) Ophelia. But Jules is at her most badass when she’s just being herself.

What do you love most about ‘Sweet Vicious’s’ Jules?

Related: Eliza Bennett reflects on Sweet/Vicious season 1 and looks ahead to season 2

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