TV Review - Marvel's Jessica Jones, Season 1

It's time the world knew her name.

Jessica Jones (Season One) is a 2015 neo-noir superhero thriller series created by Melissa Rosenberg and distributed by Netflix Streaming Services. It is based off of various Jessica Jones comics by Marvel Comics. It stars Krysten Ritter and David Tennant. It is currently streaming on Disney+. This is the second season of the Marvel Street series. It was followed by Daredevil (Season Two), Jessica Jones (Season Two), Luke Cage (Season One) and The Defenders.


"Pain is always a surprise." - Jessica Jones

Plot


Haunted by the traumas of her past, private investigator Jessica Jones discovers that her tormentor, Kilgrave, has resurfaced. As Kilgrave's bloody trail of misery grows longer, Jessica must harness all of her willpower and courage to stop this madman from inflicting pain on all of Hell's Kitchen.


Noir Story / Kilgrave / Jessica Jones / Tension / Using Superpowers Uniquely / Proper Setup and Payoff / Side Characters / Some Dialogue


Final Thoughts and Score


The Sweet


Jessica Jones is the least superhero superhero movie or show I've ever watched.


What makes Jessica Jones amazing is really that it isn't a superhero show. There's barely any action. We don't often see Jessica using her powers. The show is a heavy noir tale with elements of Se7en and other serial killer movies. Now, it's not really like those, but it feels like a lived-in world with people who have had hard lives. It plays out like a detective story with dark themes and nuanced characters. Traditional film noir has that dark, shadowy look to it with suspicious characters and plot twists. Jessica Jones has all of that. I wish we got more noir in the MCU, because it works so well here.


One of the things that shocks me so far about the Marvel Netflix shows is how awesome the villains are. Kilgrave is one of the best TV villains of 21st century. David Tennant can be charming but can also just turn on the terrifying whenever he wants. His character is written to be 100%, complete, pure evil. My uncle (who suggested that I watch this show, so shout out to him) told me that Kilgrave was so disgustingly evil, and he was completely right. I absolutely loved this character. He was horrifying. He was gross. I loved hating him. And the way his arc plays out is amazing.


Along with an incredible villain, this show balances Kilgrave out with one of the best heroes that I've seen in the MCU. Krysten Ritter's Jessica Jones is so fun. She's sarcastic and serious, but in a dry type of way that makes you really, really like her. Behind all of that sarcasm, however, is years of trauma and pain, and Ritter always has a look on her face that reminds you how broken this character is. Her character is written very well. Her flaws have consequences. Her insecurities actually matter in the story. I really hope she's re-introduced into the MCU, because she would absolutely be one of my favorite heroes if that was the case.


Like I said before, Jessica Jones is a noir thriller. If thrillers are good, high amounts of tension result. And Jessica Jones has some of the best crafted tension in a show...ever. Because of Kilgrave's power set and the danger he poses to everyone around him, you are sitting on the edge of your seat every time his British ass comes on screen. Certain episodes just have this looming sense of dread that pays off in the end in such an insane way. I absolutely loved that aspect of the show.


What I found interesting about this show was the way it utilizes superpowers. So often in the MCU, the superpowers that the characters possess are side pieces that are used for action. They aren't really ever a major part of the story. Because of the threat Kilgrave poses, his powers are put front and center. They are a massive plot point, and I loved that his powers were always important to the plot. It's a really cool element that I feel like will fly over most people's heads.


The series also sets up all of its dominoes perfectly. It has great setup and payoff. They do a great job of giving you satisfying press and release throughout individual episodes, while also giving set up for bigger storylines that pan out across the season and end up paying off in the final few episodes. It's such a tightly woven show that does an amazing job of expanding the Marvel Netflix universe.


The Sour


The thing that weighs Jessica Jones down the most is the side characters. From Jeri Hogarth to Will Simpson to Malcolm Ducasse, the side characters really do not do the show any favors. The four main characters (Jessica, Kilgrave, Trish Walker, Luke Cage) are all such great characters that you enjoy being with, but when it cuts to the side characters, it feels like the show skids to a halt. Especially in the later episodes. The character of Robin is introduced in the first half of the season as this awful, crazy, weird neighbor that Jessica has. And, for some reason, they made her a bigger character. They try to make her sympathetic, but she's so horrible and annoying that it's hard to feel bad for her. These characters take away from what is a near perfect season. It was really frustrating.


Another thing that really eeked me was the at times horrendous dialogue. Jessica Jones is an edge-of-your-seat experience. You are so invested in this story and this conflict that you are just itching for answers and payoff. However, a few times every episode, there'd just be an absolutely atrocious line spit out by one of the characters. This is a minor complaint, but I found it increasingly annoying. You are in the middle of this thrilling noir mystery...and a really cringe-inducing line is said, pulling you out of the scene entirely.


Final Thoughts and Score


Jessica Jones is a splendidly dark and thrilling superhero noir show that gives us one of the best heroines and one of the best villains in the MCU. I cannot wait until they inevitably re-integrate Jessica into the main MCU.


I will give this season a Sweet. Age range is 14+.


SWEET N' SOUR SCALE

Sweet (Great) Savory (Good)

Sour (Bad) Moldy (Terrible)


"Jessica Jones"


Fun Factor: 9/10

Acting: 9/10

Story: 9.5/10

Characters: 9/10

Quality: 9/10


Created by Melissa Rosenberg


Rated TV-MA for strong bloody violence, moderate sexual content, language, alcohol and drug use, disturbing themes and images, thematic elements


Released on November 20, 2015


Episode runtime: 52 minutes


Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones

David Tennant as Kevin Thompson / Kilgrave

Mike Colter as Luke Cage

Rachael Taylor as Patricia "Trish" Walker

Will Traval as Will Simpson

Carrie-Anne Moss as Jeri Hogarth

Eka Darville as Malcolm Ducasse

Erin Moriarty as Hope Schlottman

Robin Weigert as Wendy Ross-Hogarth

Colby Minifie as Robin

Michael Siberry as Albert Thompson

Lisa Emery as Louise Thompson

Susie Abromeit as Pam

Kieran Mulcare as Ruben