Starring: Krysten Ritter, Rachael Taylor, David Tennant, Carrie Anne-Moss, Eka Darville, Wil Traval, Mike Colter, Erin Moriarty, Robin Weigert, Susie Abromeit, Rebecca De Mornay
Jessica Jones might be the best thing the Marvel label has actually produced. I know that’s a bold leap of faith, and I’ve spent the better part of a week trying to determine if Guardians Of The Galaxy is worthy of that title more than Jessica Jones, and I don’t have a solid answer. If Guardians had the same format, would it have been better or worse? It’s hard to put a 13 episode TV show against a film, but I’d rather watch Jessica Jones again than either Thor movie, for sure.
I was skeptical when Krysten Ritter was cast as Jessica Jones, only because I knew her mostly from her comedic work in stuff like Don’t Trust The Bitch In Apt. 23, but she can really handle the dramatic stuff as well. I really hope she’s remembered in the awards season talk because her work on this show is incredible. She actually makes the show perfect. It’d be a good show without her, but she takes it to a different level by being the perfect Jessica Jones. Also “awards worthy” is David Tennant, who is (without a doubt) the best written Marvel villain in their cinematic/TV universe. What he does to Jessica is largely on a personal level, but there is this underlying threat that he could be a much bigger problem if she doesn’t stop him. He plays it so well. It’s a masterclass in villainy.
I enjoyed the supporting cast, even throwaways like Wil Traval as Simpson and Eka Darville as Malcolm. Both start off as characters who you wouldn’t think could contribute to the storyline, and both end up having contributed a lot by the end of the season. Prepare to be amazed.
I like the progression of the season, and how at first you don’t realize you’re even being set up, but you totally are. The whole season is so expertly crafted that each hour, all 13 episodes, are somehow equally balanced in the amount of action, plot twists, and exposition they offer to the story. I found myself forcing myself to not watch all the episodes in one sitting because I didn’t want to ruin the anticipation I felt for the next episode. Sometimes binge watching an entire season in one or two days ruins the effect of having to wait a while for the next episode. If you can program yourself to only allow 2-3 episodes in one sitting, you’re at least allowing yourself a little bit of breathing room to actually think about what’s happening. That’s what I did with Jessica Jones, and why I appreciate her story so much.
Jessica starts out this hardened bitch private eye, who isn’t really that likeable, and finishes a true hero. She’s likeable, she’s gotten her redemption, and the audience is totally invested. And her supporting cast is worth investing in too, especially Trish Walker, who really brings a lot to the table. Sometimes she’s a liability to Jessica, other times she’s a badass in her own right. And her story is unique and different from Jessica’s so she feels like her own character and not a distraction.
I was also really impressed with the evolution of Simpson, from what felt like an “extra” to being a love interest/good guy, to where he ends up in preparation for Season 2. When he was first introduced, I had no idea he was going to become something important to the story (because I didn’t check IMDB). But his evolution felt so good in the story. Same for Malcolm, who I thought was a one note character, and evolved into something more. Major kudos to the writing team for making that happen. I love surprises, and Jessica Jones felt full of them.
And then theres Luke Cage, who is getting his own show. I wish he would stay on Jessica Jones, but I guess he needs his own time to shine. Colter was a perfect pick for Luke, and I’m excited to see where his series takes him.
If you haven’t taken the leap of faith yet on Jessica Jones, you should. If you’re “not into superheroes”, Jessica Jones doesn’t really play like a superhero show. It’s more like a kickass version of Columbo, thrown into a blender with Alias, Sherlock, and Buffy. It feels like its own thing because it is somehow a combination of so many things. What it definitely is, though, is worth your time.
FINAL GRADE: A