She’s just a girl; a P.I. just trying to get along.
It’s too bad problems with an ex-boyfriend nearly tears New York apart.
*** SOME SPOILERS BELOW ***
The latest Marvel series on Netflix is more than that. Jessica Jones is a hero noir show, just like Daredevil. It’s not an origin story, more like a recovery story about a damaged woman who’s trying to be whole again.
It centers on an incredible performance by Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones. Jessica is a different kind of hero. She’s someone who’d rather not have her incredible strength or the ability to jump long distances. She considers them a curse. It’s all based on something she did when she tried to do the super hero thing, and it’s been haunting her ever since. To fend off the pain, and to prevent herself from breaking windows and tearing up rooms, she tries to recall her old neighborhood streets.
She’s connected by Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Ann Moss), a ruthless attorney who sometimes uses Jessica’s services, and Trish Walter (Rachael Taylor), a radio talk show host and former child star. The story of how Trish took Jessica in after a car crash killed her family is very interesting. Trish tries to look out for Jessica, although she also does some martial arts training, too.
Lately Jessica’s been semi-stalking a guy named Luke Cage (Mike Colter) who runs a bar. He’s also special, as in he has unbreakable skin thanks to an unexplained experiment. He and Jessica have an affair, but a secret from her past will tear them apart.
The big bad in the middle is Kilgrave. David Tennant owns this role in every way. Never mind his days in a big blue box. He plays Kilgrave as a guy who revels in the fact that whatever he commands, people will do. However, he’s not happy with his powers because he wonders if people do things for him because it’s their idea or his. A better reason, though, is how he got his powers. We’ll just say that story may remind people of River Tam.
He thinks he and Jessica are two of a kind and will take very extensive lengths to have her under his control. The story shows how he used Jessica as lover, friend and assassin by proxy. He even tries to recreate the happiest moments of her life by buying her old house and decorating it exactly as it was when she was a child living there. Now that’s creepy.
Yet you can’t help but pity or even like Kilgrave. He’d be a cool guy if he used his persuasive powers in a more positive light, or someone taught him how. Then you see him make people kill themselves, or worse.
The story starts with Jessica being hired by a couple to find their daughter, Hope Schlottman (Erin Moriarty). Kilgrave chose her as his new girlfriend and Jessica tries to get her out. However, he also makes Hope kill her parents, and she is behind bars for most of the story. She discovers something worse, which will have consequences through the end.
Hogarth has her own issues. She wants to divorce her wife Wendy (Robin Weigert) so she can marry her secretary Pam (Susie Abromeit). That’s a familiar story, but told in a different way. However, an amicable resolution isn’t likely, mainly because of things Wendy knows about Hogarth. This leads to very bad decisions, including one involving Kilgrave.
There’s also Malcom (Eka Darville), a junkie who had better plans, like helping people. However, Kilgrave got his clutches on him because he wanted pictures of Jessica. His arc from junkie to a responsible man is one of the best things about this show.
Trish also gets involved, because that’s what friends are for. She becomes a target for Kilgrave, though, more than once.
It’s Jessica however, who drives the fates of these people and others in her battle to get rid of Kilgrave once and for all. Even when he’s not there, his presence haunts her. She knows what he did to her, and cannot forgive herself for that. That’s interesting, since she keeps telling Hope that it was not her fault he made her kill her parents. Jessica just wants to numb the pain through cheap whiskey and apathy. This takes a toll on her, especially a very ugly scene at a subway when she tries to serve Wendy divorce papers. It’s at this point Jessica seems to give up, and surrenders to Kilgrave at her childhood home. However, we find out it’s really the start of her comeback.
The world of Jessica Jones is the same as Daredevil, a darker side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are a couple of passing references to the Battle of New York, and there’s a side effect fans may not expect. We’ll just say it involves a divorce case Jessica takes on that turns out to be something else. It also seems that people are aware of “enhanced people” aside from the Avengers, especially a guy who’s upset papers are served to him by a woman who can keep his car from moving.
Kilgrave’s actions have unexpected results too. He compells a cop named Simpson (Wil Traval) to kill Trish, but he’s able to snap out of it. They actually get closer, but he’s got a past that includes special ops and combat drugs. He’s also a surprising clue to how Jessica suddenly became super-strong after that car accident, and that has to be part of a likely second series.
We also see a familiar face from Daredevil, who’s not quite fazed by what’s going on. It’s possible she’ll tell Matt Murdoch about Jessica and Luke.
The fight scenes in this show are quite different than Daredevil, While that show had battle scenes that were practically very complicated ballet, Jessica Jones’ fight scenes are more brutal and primal, especially her battles with Simpson and people controlled by Kilgrave.
Jessica Jones is a very different kind of super hero show. If Supergirl or The Flash are too bright and cheery for you, this hero noir show is for you. The story is a bit bloated, and could have been cut to 10 episodes. Still, it’s a compelling story about a hero who’d rather not be one, but will have to embrace that role, and the people who will support her, sooner or later,
Learn more at netflix.com/jessicajones