I know this is super late, considering “Jessica Jones” was released last year on Netflix, but I finally just got through the first season. I’m not a binge watcher, usually. I can’t just watch the same show hour after hour non-stop without getting tired of it, and going off to surf the Web or write or watch a different show. It’s the rare show that holds my attention enough to binge-watch. One of them was AMC’s “Breaking Bad.” Another was “Marvel’s Daredevil.” “Jessica Jones” was definitely on the opposite column.
It took me days just to get through a single episode, watching it a few minutes at a time before switching to something else. Really, the only thing getting me through it was knowing I needed to watch it because it led into “Luke Cage,” which was what I really wanted to watch. I won’t do an episode-by-episode review like I did with “Daredevil,” just review the whole season at once.
In case you’re not familiar with it, “Jessica Jones” is about a private detective (Krysten Ritter) who secretly has super-powers (enhanced strength, mostly) trying to recover from the trauma of being mentally controlled by a man known only as Kilgrave (David Tennant). Kilgrave made Jessica do horrible things just by telling her to, and she only managed to escape him when he was hit by a bus. As she tried to rebuild her life, Jessica discovered to her horror that Kilgrave was back and seeking revenge.
Maybe my hopes were too high. Maybe I shouldn’t have walked in thinking I would be getting “Daredevil.” Either way, I was disappointed by “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” on Netflix.
It’s not the performances. Krysten Ritter seemed born to play the tough-talking, hard-drinking Jessica Jones. When she stomped around in boots, jeans, and a black leather jacket, it was hard to believe she had played another role in her entire career. She also carried herself with an inner pain, like Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, which allowed her to say and do horrible things without losing sympathy for her. My only fault came when she used her super-strength. When she smashed walls and bent chairs, I didn’t buy her as super-strong. It felt like acting instead of realistic.
On the opposite end, David Tennant was stellar as the Purple Man, Kilgrave. His cheerful and casual brutality was always fascinating to watch. He was psychopathic and cruel, but ready with a quip or sense of humor. It reminded me of his performance as the Doctor on “Doctor Who,” but with a malevolence that made him truly scary. Maybe later on, I’ll list all the times he was great, but it would take too long here.
The premise was great, too. The idea of a man who can control anyone with just his voice was compelling and horrifying as we saw Kilgrave manipulate people into hurting themselves and others. Jessica Jones seemed increasingly desperate as Kilgrave’s plans came into focus, and I wondered how she could ever beat him. It was like a chess game where we always wondered which piece would be moved next. The beginning and ending had me on edge.
Where, then, is the problem? Everything in between. In my opinion, “Jessica Jones” was about six episodes too long. So much of the series felt like padding with plotlines about Jessica’s adopted sister, lawyer, and neighbors. I spent half the series wondering why Kilgrave didn’t just walk up to Jessica and tell her to eat a bullet. When the answer did come, it was a relief, because it fixed what I thought was a major plothole and gave the series direction going forward. Then, the series went on and on and on, and I still felt like they were just coming up with excuses for why Jessica didn’t just rip Kilgrave’s head off.
The series was more psychological than “Daredevil” with action scenes brief and at a minimum. Maybe I’m not ready for a superhero show without superhero action, because I got tired of seeing Jessica talking instead of fighting.
Like I said, it picked up in the end, which is what convinced me “Jessica Jones” should have been six episodes long. It would have cut a lot of very good scenes, but also cut the fat.
Luke Cage was awesome, too.
On to “Luke Cage.”
* I didn’t see that coming, where Kilgrave was in love with Jessica. It gave him a tenderness that really brought out his character, and explained why he didn’t just force her to jump off the building.
* Having her find out she was immune should have been in episode two instead of the last few episodes, because (again) it would have made the show more interesting for me.
* The moment where Luke Cage found out she killed his wife was one of the best scenes ever. His line “I was inside you” was heartbreaking.
* When they introduced Nuke, I did not see it coming. Partly because they changed his name from the comic version. I’m looking forward to seeing him in “Daredevil” (I’m assuming)
* Carrie-Ann Moss was brilliant as the cold and calculating lawyer. I missed her.
What did you think of “Jessica Jones?”
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