Jessica Jones - Season 1 Review
A brilliant psychological story with a far out and marvelous premise.
Jessica Jones played by Krysten Ritter is a flawed, broken, alcoholic private investigator who has horrible relationship with doors and is still affected by something tragic that happened to her in the recent past. Also, she is kind of a superhero which makes the already incredible premise even more interesting. She can jump high and sort of fly, but not really. She is stronger than an average human being, meaning that she can lift cars and rip someone's head out with her bare hands.
Melissa Rosenberg acts as the creator of the show and did a great job of tackling this far out premise for a Marvel superhero show. Its tone is gritty, a whole new kind of gritty, and as realistic as it gets to adapting a Marvel comic as a TV show. Rosenberg and all the writers did a spectacular job in bringing this character right out of the pages.
A hero is only as good as the villain he/she is up against, which makes Jessica Jones the most bad-ass hero ever. David Tennant as Kilgrave (The Purple Man in comic books) is absolutely terrifying. He steals every scene he is in with his charm and genuine evil. Definitely one of the best on-screen villains Marvel has ever produced. Kilgrave has the ability to change someone's mind with just his voice. He can literally make, nay, politely ask people to cut their own fingers using a grinder or jump off of a roof or simply stare at a wall until their eyes bleed. He definitely does all that and even worse things that one can only imagine. It is refreshing to see a fledged out, real bad guy as opposed to just a manufactured, non-threatening villain that most of the movies and TV shows have these days.
However, the strength of the show lies within its psychological themes. At its core, this show is really about control. Control of someone else in your life. In this show, it is Kilgrave controlling Jessica and violating her mentally, physically and emotionally to her core. The writers masterfully created an atmosphere of vulnerability around all the protagonists. The viewers will feel that a genuine threat is hovering over these characters, which is very hard to achieve and this show did it incredibly well. It doesn't beat your head with badly placed Avengers' references and over-killing of Jessica's super strengths. It is very subtle and adapts a very natural and logical approach in this regard.
The gorgeous Rachael Taylor plays Trish Walker, Jessica's half-sister. The relationship and dynamic between them is one of the best things about this show. They actually feel like real sisters who have been though some horrible things together, which is a testament to how well these characters are realized and portrayed by these fantastic actresses. They are the emotional core of this show. Malcolm Ducasse, Jessica Jones's neighbor, played by Eka Darville, has the best character arc after Jessica Jones. This character could have gone into horribly wrong directions by they managed to keep him right on track throughout the season. Mike Colter plays Luke Cage, also a very strong character who gets mixed up into Jessica's dark world. He will have his own show next year and this was a great introduction to him.
Apart from all the great characters and themes, Jessica Jones' also has a fair share of imperfections. One of the biggest negatives of the show was this character, Will Simpson. He is used as a plot device to simply move the story forward, set up any future seasons and to build up some extra tension for Jessica, and not as a real character. Another secondary character, Robyn, did not fit well with the story and her arc was a real drag to watch. The story decelerates drastically half-way through the season. This would have been a perfect show if it had just 8 air-tight episodes. The thirteen episode format really stretched the material thin to fit into the episodes. These negatives completely took me out of the great story that was being told and were a huge letdown.
Jessica Jones has great, unprecedented psychological themes and a few well realized characters. It is a great first step for a great character, and we will be happily seeing her again in The Defenders alongside Daredevil, Luke Cage and Iron Fist.