This post contains spoilers for the first season.
Back in November I reviewed the first episode if Netflix’s brand new series Jessica Jones. Now I’ll give my thoughts on the entire first season.
Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter)had a short lived career as a superhero which ended in tragedy. Now a P.I she has isolated herself from everyone including her foster sister and best friend Trish (Rachael Taylor). When she is hired by a couple to fund their missing student daughter Hope(Erin Moriarty), she realizes her enemy Kilgrave (David Tennant), a man who can control people, is back. Jessica has to decide whether to run from or face her fears.
First off – in my opinion – the series is a triumph. While I admired the look and fight scenes of Daredevil I found it hard to care about the plot or characters. Jessica Jones however had me gripped throughout. Its first episode was perhaps a bit slower in the set up but after a mind controlled Hope kills her parents the series is not unafraid to challenge our expectations. Jessica is a tough talking, hard drinking woman who doesn’t believe she’s a hero. Yet despite herself she can’t help but want to do the right thing. In this case, to save Hope. The series is not exactly subtle in having Hope symbolizing the old Jessica or that she feels saving Hope will somehow save herself but that doesn’t mean the show will goes easy on our hero. Jessica may be the good guy but she may not always win and she can’t save everyone.
Krysten Ritter is phenomenal as Jessica, bitter, cynical and cold she may be but deep down she wants to protect those she cares about. Ritter portrays this complicated heroine well. Another actress might be worried about playing a potentially unlikeable character but the writers and Ritter seems confident enough to let the audience work out Jessica for themselves and let her back story fill in the gaps for her behavior. Having a character as tough and unflappable as Jessica also has more meaning for when we see her scared reaction to having Kilgrave back in her life. This nemesis is hinted at and seen briefly in the first few episodes building him up so when we see him at work we understand fully why she fears him so much.
As the villiabous Kilgrave David Tennant is unnervingly creepy. He puts my skin on edge. The show is also not afraid the call the character what he is – a rapist. It’s terrifying that Kilgrave genuinely does not understand what he has done to Jessica. He believes because he took her to fancy restaurants and hotels it does not matter that she could not give her consent as he controlled her mind with his orders. No matter how many times Kilgrave claims he is not responsible for his various crimes (either because people didn’t die directly by his hands or because he claims to have had a bad childhood) the other characters repeatedly call him out for it.
Thankfully for such a dark and at times bleak series there is some humor to be had. Jessica has plenty of dry oneliners and I also enjoyed the various characters making fun of Kilgrave’ pompously overly dramatic name.
We are also given our first look at Luke Cage, a love interest of Jessica and who will soon be starring in his own Netflix series. Mike Colter is great bar owner Luke who proves a match for Jessica strength wise and does not put up with any of her attitude either. As much as I like Luke though I’m glad that the series central focus is the friendship between Jessica and Trish. With Jessica being so aloof, Trish brings some much needed warmth to Jessica and the show itself. It’s also nice that a positive female friendship is an important part of the show.
A few aspects don’t work out so well, cop Will (Will Traval) starts off as an interesting side character but then his sub plot ends up distracting from Jessica. Lawyer Jerry (an associate of Jessica’s played by Carrie-Anne Moss) and her divorce also gets tedious at times but it does have a brilliantly bloody denouement.
After a fantastic first season I hope that Netflix do the right thing and renews this series for a second. Until then at least we’ll be seeing Jessica in the eagerly anticipated Defenders series. And I would love to see her come face to face with The Avengers like Captain America and Iron Man. Come on Marvel make it happen!