Review: Jessica Jones S1

Review: Jessica Jones - Season One

By: Dave Clark

Marvel's Daredevil was a huge hit. It captivated me throughout all thirteen binge-worthy episodes. It was a different view in the Marvel Universe. It gave us a look at the darker side of being a street level hero. Marvel's Jessica Jones takes that even further. Krysten Ritter portrays the angry and "thirsty" private detective Jessica Jones who is thrust into searching for a young girl named Hope. And that's our introduction into her world. Jessica's world is a dark world, and this show is very dark. It's not your usual Marvel production. There's violence, which we saw in Daredevil, but then there's sex. And not just once or twice, the adult content pops up a few times, so be warned. This show is not for the young ones.

From episode one we see that Jessica has some issues. She drinks...a lot. She's a night owl, which on its own isn't a bad thing, but she clearly fears sleep and all that comes with a good night's slumber. She goes to bed with all the lights left on and is really uncomfortable when attempting to sleep. She has demons, and it's clear they haunt her dreams. The lasting effects of what Kilgrave has done to her linger throughout the series. The paranoia of Kilgrave is present throughout the entire series. Jessica is never safe, as anyone, anywhere can be an agent of Kilgrave. She quite literally, can't trust anyone.

Along the way, during one of her investigations she meets local bartender Luke Cage. Cage is a man who was experimented on and given the gift of invulnerability. He's "unbreakable" as is joked about a few times when he speaks with Jessica. He has been hurt in his past as well. His wife died. Tragically enough, Jessica is connected to Cage's wife which thoroughly complicates their blossoming physical relationship. Cage is keeping his abilities hidden. He sees the hate and the prejudice brewing in the world due to the uprising in superheroes and the damage that seems to follow them. He just wants to run his business and avoid drama. His storyline throughout the series left me a little...meh. I thought he got enough screen time as, in the comics, he's an integral character to the Jessica Jones story. The casting is pure genius, however, and I have no doubt that the Luke Cage series will be fantastic on it's own right.

David Tennant is the aptly named, Kilgrave. That name SCREAMS bad guy (something that does get mentioned within the series). I love it. He has the ability to control people's minds (it has it's limits, his control only lasts 12 hours, and he does have a range of distance he can work with). He can make people do anything he wants them to do without a moment's hesitation. He has used this ability to acquire meals...and more disgustingly, rape women and keep them as his companions for as long as he's entertained by them...oh and murder, he murders too. Once he's grown bored with their company, he occasionally "lets" them go and they have to somehow move on with their life, all while knowing everything they've done. This series beautifully and grotesquely displays what people go through after they've been assaulted, attacked, raped, used, or manipulated to do things they would never even think of doing. The PTSD that Jessica goes through, that Hope endures(Jessica rescues Hope in her first case in the series, only to release her to her parents that she would then murder while still under the control of Kilgrave), even Trish is struggling with the feeling of being helpless in a dangerous world, having been abused by a very ambitious and overwhelming mother. 

Jessica's best friend, Trish Jones, a former child star turned radio host is extremely protective of Jessica. She knows that she's suffered and that she's gone through something horrible, but she was also there when Jessica decided to become a hero. Before Kilgrave, Jessica wanted to save people. There's a fantastic scene involving a costume, mask, and alter ego "Jewel" which Jessica wisely dismisses. Trish is strong, however, having learned krav maga to protect herself. She has a drive and ambition to prove she doesn't need Jessica to save her all the time. That she can take care of herself, she too wants to save the world. She really became a favorite character to me, even more than the title character. She's strong in a human way, a believable way. review of the series as a whole? I was a bit let down. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of the series, but there were moments in the show where I just couldn't help but get pulled out of the drama. I mean we're talking about a universe in which superheroes exist, so the suspension of disbelief should be high, but some things in the show just didn't make sense. I'm attempting to avoid spoilers, so I won't list them, but they were glaring to me. I also would've liked a bigger connection to the Daredevil universe. I'm no expert in the geography of New York, but Hell's Kitchen can't be that big. Why is there no mention of the night of explosions caused by Kingpin at one point? Or of this masked vigilante? The only real mention Daredevil gets doesn't happen until the finale....and that is a passing mention, without even saying his name. We're left to infer who is meant. It seemed to me like Jessica was almost in another state from Matt Murdock and his plucky law firm. There was so many lawyer moments that were ripe for crossover mentioning but I didn't notice any easter eggs dropped. Oh well, that's ok. You need to build this character on her own, and I understand that fully.

I liked the series, really I did. I thought it was a much different tone than Daredevil, but at the same time it was equally as entertaining. Marvel really took a risk with the content of this series, but it proved that they can make more grown up and real world storylines, and not have it be exploitative. I think Jessica will be a strong female character, but she still needs to work at being a hero. She's still flawed, and nowhere near the calibre of any of the Avengers...or even Daredevil. But that's okay! She's still figuring things out, like who she even is as a "gifted" individual in this larger universe of superheroes. She's settling into this life, and she's extremely reluctant to do so, as the final scene plays out and fades to black. But this is just what I thought of the series, I wanna know what you all thought. Sound off below! I'll see you all again when Marvel HULK SMASHES Netflix again...with either Luke Cage or Daredevil season two, I'm not 100% sure what's coming first.