Marvel’s Jessica Jones starring Krysten Ritter had a strong inaugural season, with high approval ratings and having a dark, edgy tone dealing with themes of rape and post-traumatic stress disorder. The first season shows us Jessica as a reluctant hero dealing with Kilgrave and trying to put her life back together. I thoroughly enjoyed the series, loving the realism and the grittiness of the character as well as the just profoundly charismatic acting of both Krysten Ritter and David Tennant who played Kilgrave. I couldn’t wait for the second season to begin. Now, three episodes in, I want to give readers my thoughts on this next chapter in Jessica Jones.
The season begins with Jessica dealing with the aftermath of Kilgrave and her actions, having killed her tormentor. The problem, now people know who she is and she’s become known as a vigilante hero. Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor), her adopted sister and star of the show Trish Talk, tries to convince Jessica that she needs to investigate her past and IGH, the company that gave her abilities. Jessica is not interested. Jessica and her now assistant, Malcolm Ducasse (Eka Darville) begin taking on cases but when Jessica meets a man with powers and he dies, she can no longer ignore the mystery of IGH, especially when she learns people are being hunted down and killed who were associated with the company.
She also has another investigator sniffing around, trying to absorb her company, Pryce Cheng (Terry Chen) who is instigated by Jeri Hogarth (Carrie Ann-Moss) who is dealing with upheaval within her own firm by her business partners, a lawsuit by her former assistant and lover, as well as being diagnosed with ALS. Jessica and Trish continue over the next couple episodes to dig further into the mystery of IGH, encountering Trish’s ex-lover Will Simpson (Wil Traval). Simpson explains he’s been protecting Trish but is tracked down and killed by the same individual hunting down the others associated with IGH.
Jessica faces eviction from her new superintendent, Oscar Arocho (J.R. Ramirez) a single father who fears Jessica’s powers. While she works on changing his opinion, she and Trish track down a doctor, Leslie Hansen, who was involved in giving Jessica powers. A woman (Janet McTeer) who says she’s Hansen, leaves a message on Trish’s show that she has information. Jessica meets with her and learns that the superpowers are a side effect. But she angers the woman who as she leaves displays similar abilities as Jessica and gives Jessica a new mystery to add to the puzzles surrounding IGH.
While the first season focused on Jessica recovering and dealing with Kilgrave, in this season, Jessica is seemingly done with that chapter in her life. Now, she is discovering who she is, how to react to her new status as a vigilante and whether killing Kilgrave along with her powers makes her a monster rather than a hero. Killing Kilgrave doesn’t necessarily solve all Jessica’s problems and that’s a good thing. It makes for a more interesting story while also highlighting women and how they deal with the struggles in their lives.
One way the story accomplishes so much is by not just focusing on Jessica. We also get scenes with Trish and how well she’s dealing with the past as well. Unlike Jessica, who begins to grapple with her powers and lean on the people in her life, even if it’s only in tiny ways, Trish doesn’t have powers and is struggling with how vulnerable that makes her feel. We get to see more of how and why both women want to find IGH and some of how Trish’s past affects her in different ways than Jessica. Jessica is learning to be vulnerable or needs to but Trish is trying to figure out a way to be stronger, to stop relying on others to rescue her. She has a boyfriend but instead of telling him what’s going on, she keeps him at arm’s length while Jessica begins relying more on Malcolm. It is an interesting contrast.
One of the aspects of the show that pulls people in is the magnetic quality to the actors. While the second season starts a touch slower than the first, I was quickly swept up in the story. I attribute that to the compelling storyline but it’s also because of the charismatic actors. Krysten Ritter is engaging and subtly emotional as Jessica. The hints of emotions that hide behind her sarcasm along with the knowledge that Jessica really does want to help people makes for a character that it is impossible to look away from. But she’s not the only powerful performance.
Rachael Taylor gives just as deep a performance, her portrayal of Trish full layers of rough edges mixed with her ability to charm, just as enticing as Jessica. Her contrast with Jessica is important to the story, even in the first three episodes as both women try to track down the mystery. Both Carrie Ann-Moss and Eka Darville continue to give amazing performances in their respective roles. I find Carrie Ann-Moss to be especially hypnotic. When she is on screen, she is like watching fire, heated and absorbing. The breakout performance is Janet McTeer as the mysterious women with powers. She is full of rage and pain and while her importance is still a mystery at this point, she is mesmerizing.
As I said, the only slight problem is that the story begins slower but I think that’s important. The story is more personal, more intimate this time around and the writers need time to build events. By the third episode, I was waiting with baited breath for the next episode, just to figure out who the mystery woman is and whether Jessica is going to be able to track down the doctors responsible for the changes in her as well as how far Trish will go to get her scoop. Once you’re this far, you will want to binge the rest, just to absorb the story as quickly as possible. I guarantee you won’t want to miss any of the second season of Jessica Jones. And personally, the only other downside was no sign of David Tennant so far but I remain hopeful as he is promised to show up again.
If this whets your appetite, check out the series on Netflix. Jessica Jones
Rating: 4.5 private eye out of 5.
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