Jessica Jones is not your average superhero show. It’s dark, gritty, and extremely unsettling. Action isn’t the primary emphasis; this is a show that explores the twisted psychology behind its characters, while touching on critical topics like PTSD, rape, and abuse. It’s not for everyone, but boy did I love it.
It was very strange when Krysten Ritter was cast as the Marvel anti-hero. After all, I’d only seen the actress in Don’t Trust The Bitch In Apartment 23, and while she rocked that quirky comedy, I wondered if she could even play drama (let alone a superhero-turned-private-investigator). Imagine my surprise when she blew me out of the water within the first few minutes of Jessica Jones; Ritter embodies the character in every way. She’s tough, tortured, and remarkably resilient. Krysten makes her a hero to root for, and I was completely captivated by her journey from beginning to end.
A good show is only as good as its villain, and there aren’t enough words to describe David Tennant’s mind-blowing performance as the show’s Big Bad, Kilgrave. His antagonist isn’t a physical threat, but he’s a psychological powerhouse thanks to his deadly mind-control abilities. Throughout the season, his acts become increasingly twisted and heinous, and I was mesmerised all the way. In addition, his relationship with Jessica is a highlight, as the two match each other at every turn, culminating in one heck of a season finale.
Jones‘ supporting cast is also tremendously solid. I wasn’t a fan of Rachael Taylor in either Charlie’s Angels or 666 Park Avenue, but she’s one of the highlights of Jessica Jones. Her Trish is strong-willed and vulnerable all at once, and her dynamic with Jessica is one of the most nuanced and layered friendships I’ve seen on television in a while. Judging by the comics, Trish undergoes an exciting journey herself, and I’m extremely excited to see where the show takes her next. Loads of potential here.
Also worth getting excited about? Daredevil, Jessica Jones and the two upcoming series (Luke Cage and Iron Fist) will all crossover into an Avengers-style TV event called The Defenders. Next up is Luke Cage, and the character is introduced in Jones via Mike Colter. The actor owns the role with his formidable brand of screen presence. And as an added bonus, his chemistry with Ritter is off the charts; I for one can not wait to see these two continue to bounce off each other for many years to come.
If Jessica has any drawbacks, it’s that the action isn’t particularly spectacular (unlike say Daredevil). However, the show does ultimately produce a phenomenal action sequence in the penultimate episode that’s one of the finest set-pieces of the year (and I certainly won’t spoil it here). Nevertheless, Jessica Jones isn’t about action, it’s about character – and it explores them with impeccable insight.
Bits & Bourbon
– I wasn’t surprised to see where Hope’s storyline ended up, but I was still invested in her plight the whole way through.
– The moment when Jessica actually confronted Kilgrave and explicitly stated that he “raped” her was brutal. I was sure sexual assault was part of her trauma, but hearing her say it was not easy.
– I kind of wanted Carrie-Anne Moss’ character (Jeri Hogarth) to amount to more in the end. She got quite a bit of screen-time in the beginning, but sort of fizzled out in the last couple of episodes. Nevertheless, I’ll never forget the 1,000 cuts; that was just harrowing.
– Seriously, how much did Jessica drink over the course of the season? Anybody care to share some statistics?
-Big fan of Malcolm. He actually served a purpose (unlike say Robyn who was kind of a flop of a character). So will he be Jessica’s assistant in season two?
– I appreciated the parallels between the Kilgrave support group and rape survivor meetings. It just made everything all the more poignant.
– Much like Daredevil, there’s a reference to “the incident” (The Avengers climax that decimated New York).
– Sex scenes! The most raw yet for a Marvel production. And they fit the show brilliantly.
– I couldn’t help thinking of Alias every time I looked at Jessica’s door with the “Alias Investigations” name. Also, that endlessly-broken door was a perfect metaphor for so many things.
– Why doesn’t Jess have an iPhone? Her phone bugged me… a lot.
– So many terrific nail-biting scenes throughout the season: Trish getting attacked in her apartment by Simpson (who kind of fizzled with his combat enhancer drug), the neighbour carrying the explosive bag, Luke’s bar imploding, and EVERYTHING with Kilgrave trapped in the cell and his eventual murder of mommy dearest.
– The film noir Jazzy score kind of ruined the mood for me sometimes. I know that’s probably an unpopular opinion but it was quite jarring for me.
– Jess making Trish put the bullet in her mouth to work around Kilgave’s mind-control was beyond clever.
– A moment that really stuck with me: Kilgrave telling the book-seller to throw a boiling coffee in his face.
– Kilgrave controlling all the cops in the police-station made my jaw drop.
– I do hope Trish becomes Hellcat one day. The moment where she took Simpson’s pill and viciously fought him was so darn cheer-worthy and satisfying.
– Words aren’t enough to praise the awesomeness that is Luke and Jessica’s fight in the penultimate hour. I could feel every blow. And I certainly didn’t see the twist coming (Luke being controlled by Kilgrave).
– The entire hospital turning on Jessica in the finale- so very clever.
– Love that Rosario Dawson reprised her role as Night Nurse from Daredevil. She got quite a bit of screen-time too!
– So will IGH be the big bad for season two? Did they give Jessica her powers?
– The fake-out with Trish under the hoody – nuff said.
– The fact that Jessica told Trish she loves her instead of Kilgrave was the icing on the cake before that little neck-snap.
– The ending to the season was low-key but fitting, with Jessica hopefully assuming more heroic responsibilities (God knows that phone won’t stop ringing). The slow-panning shot was nifty.
Quotes & Kilgrave
Neighbour: I can’t, it’s a continuous shot. That means that there’s no cuts.
Jessica: Look at that, I found a cut.
Neighbour: Oh! You destroyed my art!
Jessica: Mercy killing.
Nurse: Where you from?
Jessica: Seattle Grace.
Trish: I mean, you can fly… well, jump.
Jessica: It’s more like guided falling.
Hogarth: Were you just rude to Pam?
Jessica: I’m rude to everybody.
Jessica: Jesus, I didn’t ask for your wedding vows.
Luke: Jessica Jones, you are a hard-drinking, short-fused, mess of a woman, but you are not a piece of sh1t.
Jessica: “Kilgrave”? Talk about obvious. Was “Murdercorpse” already taken?
Jessica: I wish I had a Mother of the Year award so I could bludgeon you with it.
Trish: All right, what about nuns?
Jessica: They still make those?
Jessica: Please, Trish. I can only fight one Big Bad at a time.
Jessica: They say that talking about a trauma… that it helps. That and jogging – two things that make me feel like crap.
A darkly engrossing drama that flips the superhero genre on its head with complex psychology and powerful performances. Highly recommended (even if you’re not a superhero fan).