“Whilst not being as bad as most of the recent Marvel output, the second season does not live up to the hype despite some brilliant return performances.”
Creator: Melissa Rosenberg
Action/Crime/Drama (2015 – )
Starring: Krysten Ritter, Rachael Taylor, Eka Darville, Carrie-Anne Moss, Janet McTeer
Season Two now streaming on Netflix
The first season of Jessica Jones is by far the best thing that Marvel TV has done – with its incredible pacing, fantastic mystery, and mind-blowing villain – and every other attempt the company has made has since fallen short. Luke Cage showed promise but then destroyed it in the last handful of episodes; Iron Fist was one of the most whiny, boring lead characters that I’ve ever had to put up with for thirteen episodes; The Defenders, what was supposed to be the Avengers equivalent of the TV universe, seriously dropped the ball by essentially following the failed format of Luke Cage; and I’ve only made it through four episodes of The Punisher since its release in November of last year, thats one episode a month!
So to say that the second season of Jessica Jones had a lot riding on its heroine’s shoulders is an understatement. With all this in mind does the show pull it off?
The Answer: Meh… Kinda?
It is safe to say that Jessica Jones is still the best thing that the Marvel TV universe has created, and yes its second season is a lot better than the majority of the content they have produced in recent years, yet it is just not as good as its first season.
The thing that skyrocketed the shows initial season was the incredible performance by David Tennant, his interpretation of Killgrave oozed an evil charm that kept your attention firmly locked to the screen whenever he made an appearance. The character was a disgusting human being yet the audience looked forward to seeing him, constantly looking out for the hints of purple within a scene that heralded his arrival. Season two just doesn’t have anyone that does that this time around.
Although there is a definitive ‘bad guy’ of the season, they just don’t hold the gravitas that Killgrave mastered. We adored Tennant because of his malicious likability, making us to feel guilty due to his inexcusable actions. The new villain attempts to walk the same path, instead giving us more personal reasons as to why we should feel for them, but it just doesn’t work. The switch between apparently lovable character and insane murderer is very obvious and, in a way, feels rather hamfisted; especially as the tell-tale sign that the villain is about to go on a rampage is their wide-eyes, perhaps the cheesiest indication of someones mental state in the entire of television. Jessica Jones needs a villain to go against, this is not a good one.
This season acts as an origin story for Jessica and, although learning about her back story contained some interesting elements, I found that I really didn’t care a lot of the time. The superhero market has been oversaturated for the last decade, with new origin stories sprouting up at least twice a year. I’ve gotten to the point where I would much prefer seeing a hero midway through their career, already kicking ass, much like the first season showed us.
[Rant] And I don’t think I am the only one. Look at the recent success of Spiderman: Homecoming and Black Panther, aside from these being brilliant films they also show heroes after they have been established. The audience to these kind of things are used to heroes now, we don’t need to have to see how they came about in order to get a grasp of their character. This is the exact reason why I don’t think Ant Man and Doctor Strange are particularly good films, as they just follow the formula set out. Whereas Ant Man being hauled from a truck mid-way through Captain America: Civil War just to fight and then disappear again was a fantastic piece of comedy that I believe is far better than the origin we were given. I am really looking forward to what happens with all of these established characters in the upcoming Infinity War films, yet cannot help but worry about all of the origin stories we are once again going to have to put up with once it is over. [Rant End]
Anyway, back to Jessica. Having a season that focuses a lot of time on the past just felt like they did not have a lot of content to explain the plot of the present. I understand that, in this instance, what happened in the past influenced the present, yet I was still tired of it after only a few episodes. Season two actually has an entire episode set in the past, and it is one of the best episodes of the season, it perfectly explained everything that was going on as-well as reveal to us some character traits that would become important later on, so why did we have to sit through all the other flashbacks and mentions when it was all going to be explained in this episode?
With that out of the way, onto the good stuff.
Krysten Ritter is, once again, her brilliant self. She was fantastic in season one, she was one of the only good things in The Defenders, and she is once again fantastic here. Although her arc is a bit all over the place she pulls it off in true Jessica Jones fashion, locked away but with enough hidden emotion to really have you rooting for this character.
The plot lines of Trish and Malcom, whilst cheesy in places, were a stark view of addiction and the destruction it can cause to those around you.
The [heavily advertised and so not a spoiler] brief return of David Tennant was masterful, perfectly woven into the story in a believable manner whilst retaining all of the menace of the character. My face lit up the second he came onto the screen, with the episode he is in moving to the best episode of the series
But my BAMF award has to go to Carrie-Anne Moss for her portrayal of Jeryn Hogarth. Her story line is admittedly rather simple and has been done to death over the years, but Moss is simply breathtaking in it. Much like Ritter’s Jessica Jones, Moss’ Hogarth is someone who locks away her feelings so that they do not get seen as a weakness. Yet this series really explored what happens when those barriers are brought crashing down and how Hogarth responds to their collapse. Moss has been under-utilised until this point and I am so happy that she got more screen time this season. Fingers crossed they keep her around for the foreseeable future.
So whilst not being as bad as most of the recent Marvel output, the second season of Jessica Jones does not live up to the hype despite some brilliant return performances.