By Michael Jack O’Brien
Ahhh Netflix, you narcotics dealer you, you know exactly what you’re doing when you release an entire season of Jessica Jones at the same time, you know that I’m a college student and therefore I’m obligated to stay up until 3am and binge watch the entire thing. I’m beginning to think that Netflix wasn’t built by people looking to make money, but instead by time vampires hellbent on depriving the world of sleep and productivity. Well, congrats Netflix, it worked.
Jessica Jones season 2 starts off in traditional fashion with our titular protagonist taking pictures of something she shouldn’t be taking pictures of and then giving a noire style voice over as smooth sax plays in the background. She is then paid for some menial P.I work and proceeds to drown her sorrows at a bar. Jessica, in her true form, is clad in a leather jacket and blue jeans with Doc-Martins; an outfit which, despite it being the middle of the summer during the show, she will never take off. One starts to wonder if she’s constantly wearing this getup because she’s still haunted by her past, or if she’s just doing it as a political statement, because it’s 90 degrees out and she doesn’t CARE if you want to wear your romper to work, BLACK LEATHER FOR EVERYONE, BITCH.
Of course, this all changes when as this show usually goes, a demon from Jess’s past is dug up, and with her adoptive sister Trish, she must go on a detective adventure to uncover the truth. Throughout the season several common themes are played out through three unique and oftentimes separate plot-lines. Jess, battling with her past, struggles to shake her “lone wolf” attitude and become more trusting of others help. Trish, half celebrity and half investigative journalist, must battle with ghosts of a child star past of sexual abuse and drug addiction. And the strong but sometimes ruthless attorney Jeri Hogarth must come to terms with what her accumulation of power really means in the face of life altering events. These plot-lines come together extremely well and breathe life into a show that could be criticized for being too formulaic. Watching Jessica Jones, I understand why these particular stories were reserved for longer series instead of blockbuster films, the difference in tone is palpable, and in addition, the development for these plots is a much slower burn than that of a “Marvel Movie”, it’s why Daredevil works as a series, but an Iron Man TV outing would most likely not go over well.
While each woman in the series has their own struggles in life, there is a visible sense of solidarity between them, and the show does not shy away from reminding you of this constantly. From Hogarth helping Jessica with legal troubles, to Jessica literally punching a hole straight through a sex offenders Tesla. Each girl has their own style and methods, learning from one another to deal with an oftentimes hostile world, it’s all very #MeToo, and I’m sure this was completely intentional. I’m also sure that there will be no shortage of “die hard Marvel fans” (read: assholes), that are itching to jump on twitter and complain that the series has been over-saturated with the feminist agenda or something similar. As a word of advice, if you want to enjoy the show, just ignore it.
While Jessica Jones’s story is compelling, its antagonists/antagonist leave something to be desired. In the beginning of the series, we’re introduced to Pryce Cheng, a rival P.I and all-around douchebag who I assumed was going to be Jessica’s male counterpart in a “battle of the sexes” kind of way. However, five episodes in and he’s still used sparingly, mostly as a punching bag for the rest of the cast instead of a capable rival to Jessica. As for the series other villains, the shadowy IGH organization which Jessica spends most of her time hunting down is interesting enough; however, it can never truly be “great” as it stands in the shadow of Kilgrave, the mind controlling man in purple played by David Tennant (WOOOO) in the last season. By no means am I saying that these characters are bad, as a plot device IGH works well in the story because for most of the season, we only hear about the good deeds that the organization did, adding sympathy to what could have easily been a bog standard “evil corporation”, but compared to the shows former big bad, it’s simply lackluster.
All in all, I highly recommend Jessica Jones season 2, with the caveat that you watched the previous season, and for that matter, a fair number of the previous Marvel Netflix series. Multiple plot points and character motivations would be confusing if the watcher hadn’t been informed in the past, and to this point, the family of shows works much better as a larger body of work than as single, isolated vignettes. Whether or not this is a turn off is up to one’s interpretation of good television. Do you like short, well rounded stories that are tightly wrapped up? Or do you enjoy longer winding television, slower burns? That choice is up to you. Despite this, I had fun with the series, Jessica is always a joy to watch, and her supporting cast do a fantastic job of rounding out the series, creating a great adventure to binge-watch.