When powerhouses Marvel and Netflix join hands on a project, you go watch it. Simple as that. Wether it’s about a blind lawyer beating people up in his PJs or a teen angst private detective with a drinking problem, you watch it. The former, being ‘Daredevil’, already walked the walk in April when it gave us a first season which was nothing short of sublime. But how does miss Jessica Jones fare?
Our protagonist, Jessica Jones duh-doy, is easy on the eyes but has obviously seen more shit than the toilet seat of a public bathroom in Hong Kong. When she’s not busy having anxiety attacks or drinking herself to death, she spends her time spying on cheating husbands and or wives. This golden lifestyle abruptly ends though when the person, who is singlehandedly responsible for all of her misery and fears, comes back into her life. Enter antagonist, I’m not making this up, Kilgrave. A stylish Brit, who can make you do anything he wants just by telling you to. I don’t think I have to spell it out how terrifying this power can be. Like it was for Jessica Jones, who experienced it firsthand. For weeks she was his personal slave. Fully conscious of what she was doing but unable to resist. It’s an uncomfortable truth but this is unmistakably rape, both physically and mentally. Needless to say she’s not letting this happen again. What follows is a cat and mouse game with reversing roles.
But how’s the show?
First of all I want to address everyone who cringed as soon as the name ‘Marvel’ popped up. More specifically everyone who still considers movies like Captain America: The Winter Soldier a kids’ movie or is suffering from the so-called superhero fatigue. Each its own opinion of course, even if it’s wrong, but the point is that Jessica Jones doesn’t belong to either of these categories. It doesn’t take Asian intelligence to deduct that this isn’t appropriate for kids…at all. We’re talking anti-hero behavior and severed-arm-in-the-mixer-rated violence. Before all else, this is a drama. Yes, there are supernatural elements at the core of the show. But again and again we’re getting tragedies thrown at us, every time more heart wrenching or gruesome than the last. Almost makes you want to grab the bottle yourself, if that’s not already the case.(If so I don’t judge)
While the body count is rising we start seeing the history between Jessica and Kilgrave, piece by piece. The flashbacks keep the show dynamic and add a lot of mystery to her past. Unfortunately it also means you don’t feel like the story is going anywhere until you get to the second half of the season. While there certainly were a lot of events that could have been cut short or even left out, it didn’t feel like the episodes dragged on for too long. Sometimes it was quite the opposite even. I checked the time during the last episode when I was halfway because it seemed impossible to finish up the last act in the remaining time. But they did and it was one of those endings where you lift up your laptop to look for more episodes, and not in a good way.
All this gets portrayed beautifully by the main cast. Krysten ‘Breaking Bad’ Ritter is convincing as Jessica Jones. She’s mysterious, beautiful and pretty much a badass but most of all, she’s damaged. David ‘Doctor Who’ Tennant is terrifying yet charming even though he calls himself Kilgrave -seriously, guys-. the supporting cast does its job but I do have some issues with the character development Will Simpson goes through. He goes from being a victim to a love interest to a…well…something irrelevant. I know his character is heavily based on a comic book character and it’s a setup for the bigger picture but every scene he’s in feels forced and that’s never a good thing.
Jessica Jones is a crime drama with a dark tone that happens to have (slightly) superhuman characters in it. It is well written, though inconsistent and illogical at times, and it has one of the more intriguing villains I’ve seen in a while. There is a lot of setup for a shared universe with characters like Daredevil and Luke Cage and generally speaking that’s still a good thing.
In the end I would recommend this to anyone who’s interested in “realistic” superheroes and -villains with a gritty undertone. Also, if you fantasize about slapping your annoying neighbor minus the fallout, not paying for anything or…you know…other things. Then this is probably also for you.
Creator: Melissa Rosenberg
Stars: Krysten Ritter, David Tennant
Binge-meter: social life intact