Jessica Jones (Season 2)

posted 28 Mar 2018, 13:47 by Paul Woodward

Genre: Superhero / Drama / Action

Stars: Krysten Ritter / Rachael Taylor / Eka Darville / Carrie-Anne Moss / Janet McTeer

Creator: Melissa Rosenberg

Certificate: 15

Year: 2018

It doesn’t seem like three years since season 1! Perhaps the biggest downside to these Netflix Marvel shows is that they don’t follow a yearly cycle so it can be frustrating waiting for your next season fix – I really enjoyed the first season so have been anxiously awaiting the follow up. I did get a JJ fix within ‘The Defenders’ which wasn’t nowhere near as bad as some critics say, but not as good as hoped for admittedly.

Picking up after the events of The Defenders, Jones is back working as a PI with stalking cheating spouses her main source of work…again! The series centres around Jones discovering and investigating her ‘lost time’ following the car crash that claimed the lives of her entire family and how she got her powers. Jones herself has little interest in digging up the past but step-sister Trish keen to become an investigative reporter starts looking into her sister’s past and the mysterious IGH. Which triggers some events that lead to Jones having no choice but to delve into her past.

The series is very slow moving but managed to maintain my interest throughout – unlike many superhero films/series, JJ is more story and drama driven, so don’t expect massive action set pieces. Perhaps not as good as the first season mainly down to the fact that season 2 doesn’t have defined ‘bad guy’ who you can truly hate, Jones’s antagonists here are far more sympathetic. Even the mad scientist behind her powers is presented in a sympathetic manner as his experiments were always intended to help and heal although his ethics are totally skewed. Add to this a distinct lack of tension, which in the first season got steadily more intense towards the inevitable finale between Jones and Kilgrave. Whom makes a cameo in an episode towards the end of the season to help emphasis Jones’s fear of losing her mind and questioning her own morality following some events.

I love the flawed nature of Jones and her constantly pissed off attitude. It’s also totally understandable, her moods and desire to disassociate herself from society are all explained in her back story, with yet more reasons for Jones to say ‘fuck em all’ in season 2 revealed. Things that have happened to her are going to leave scars and affect her outlook on life, losing her family and been controlled and raped by Kilgrave are major things to deal with.

I’ve read recently that Jones is been praised as a female role model, now part of me can see how this strong reluctant superhero does fit the mould. But you have to remember Jones is a functioning alcoholic who is very broken, given her tragic back story. The fact you never see Jones sloppy drunk or puking her ring up I think makes the casual viewer forget she has a problem and sees it as a quirk of Jones’s that can be brushed off. But it is very much a serious problem and a destructive coping mechanism which is intrinsic to her character’s persona and developing story. Although it’s sometimes played for laughs like when asked at a party if she’s having fun she responds’ ‘I’m having Bourbon’ or in The Defenders when she steals a sleeping tramps beer and necks it.

It’s hard to imagine anyone but Ritter in the role of Jessica Jones, as an actress I didn’t particularly like her I found her to be annoying in most roles I saw her in and I down right hated her in ‘Breaking Bad’. I’ve become a big fan of Ritter, because of JJ, a role she was obviously born to play! Here she takes a potentially unlikeable and deeply flawed apathetic and seemingly uncaring persona and makes you care about Jones and what happens to her and deeply willing for things to turn in her favour. Dead pan humour, occasional flashes of the soft centre underneath her harsh exterior that she presents to the world make her a character its hard not to love and unlike most superheroes she is presented as very human, very flawed and sadly very broken and I think that vulnerability makes her more real to viewers than the other ‘Defenders’. If you ignore the super powers of course.

Janet McTeer has a great role, which I won’t reveal, but she has a prominent role over the course of season 2, she has a lot of chunky deep emotional stuff to deal with and really brings her character to life. Trish (Rachael Taylor) is still a little bit annoying and her story arc doesn’t help but it’s important to her characters progression especially as we know she is destined to become ‘Hell Cat’ – whether or not the script writers choose to do that in the future is still a mystery but a brief scene at the very end of season two, could allude to Trish becoming a hero in her own right. Throughout the series Jones is battling not to get involved, to not be hero, where as Trish is the opposite which leads to her ending up in some right shenanigans.

The absolutely horrible lawyer Jeri Hogarth is back played to perfection by Carrie-Anne Moss. Although technically on the ‘good team’ she is just a thoroughly unlikeable character who always seems to be up to no good and would throw anybody under the bus for her own gain. Hogarth’s story arc actually winds up making us feel for her, with two very dramatic gut punches which make you genuinely feel sorry for her and I actually felt myself rooting for her to get back to her bitchy and immoral self towards the final episodes.

I like how all these Netflix Marvel shows have a story arc with a defined conclusion every season, with only minor cliff hangers which hint at possible plots for the future but with a satisfying ending. Season 2 does leave you with a hint at the future for most of the characters, but a nice little happy ending scene for Jones herself is very welcome and puts a nice seal on the chapter.

Jessica Jones is a thoroughly enjoyable with a lead actress and character you can’t help but love, flaws and all. Not stereotypical superhero fare, more cerebral and adult orientated storylines make it something different from the glut of other comic book adaptations.

9/10

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