Marvel’s Jessica Jones has just released its second season. Because of the wonder and beauty of the Netflix model, it has also completed its second season. I am a huge supporter of Marvel’s Netflix offerings, finding simple joys to be had even in the worst of them. (Looking at you, Iron Fist!)
I was an especially big fan of the first season of Jessica Jones. It was a deeply personal and screwed up story, acted marvelously by an all-star cast. So, when the second season was announced, I obviously believed that I’d find the same level of quality overall.
Look, I’m not saying it’s bad. Iron Fist and the second half of Luke Cage Season 1 are still WAY worse. But it’s not nearly as good as both seasons of Daredevil (the pinnacle of Marvel Netflix), The Punisher, or its own first season. I liked it but it suffered from the same issue that I feel a lot of the more recent series have been struggling with.
It’s at least three episodes too long.
I know 13 episodes isn’t a particularly long run to begin with, but with everything Marvel has released following Daredevil season two, it just feels like they’re killing time with some of their episodes and subplots. This rings true in Jessica Jones Season Two as we’re routinely taken away from the main story to deal with inane and boring subplots featuring Jessica’s far less interesting cast of secondary characters.
Ok, so I shouldn’t say ALL of them are bad. Hogarth’s subplot is super fun and acted masterfully by Carrie-Ann Moss. My one gripe with it was that there’s a killer revenge plot unfolding around it in the latter half of the season that I never got to see the full fallout from. You can clearly tell what happened, but I wanted to see the cost. As far as gripes go, that’s minimal.
Malcolm continues to be the show’s weak link. I felt like there was nothing for him to do this season, so instead of just giving him minimal screen time or *GASP!* not using him at all, we were “treated” to forced scenes of Malcolm’s evolution. These were typically scenes during which I checked my phone to answer any texts that might have come through.
I was disappointed with how much I disliked Trish this season as well. Selfish characters are wonderful, because they show us the imperfection that is humanity, but this was overly overboard in some instances. Toward the end of the season, I found myself literally throwing my hands in the air at some of her actions and justifications. What’s more, I didn’t get a real sense of growth from the character at all. Devolution throughout a season can be fun to watch, but there was no re-emergence of the character I came to care for in season one.
Also, as a general note to Marvel, addiction needs to never be a subplot in a Marvel Netflix series again. It’s played out now, please focus on other things.
The main thing that I hated about Jessica Jones season two was that there was not even a passing mention of the events that transpired in The Defenders. I’m that one guy who actually LOVED this team up mini-series, so to see the events of Jessica Jones season one referenced so often while there isn’t even one mention of her battle with an army of zombie ninjas to literally save NYC was disappointing. It felt like the showrunners were just like “Well, we didn’t make it, so it doesn’t count.” They essentially turned the Marvel series with the largest stakes into non-cannon fanfiction.
I know I’m doing a lot of bitching, but where the show really excels is through the actions of our titular character, Miss Jones herself, once more knocked out of the park by actress Kristen Ritter. We get to see all new sides of Jessica throughout this deeply personal story. Whereas last season was all about PTSD and survival, this season focuses much more on anger, family, and battling back against the past. It’s a strong arc but suffers without a true villain.
Ok, so maybe it doesn’t SUFFER, but I like the battle of good vs evil. Having bad guys who aren’t really bad guys was a decent touch, especially given that David Tenant’s Kilgrave DEFINED evil in the first season. If there’s a more evil Marvel Cinematic Universe Villain, I challenge you to show it to me.
I think one aspect of Jessica Jones that sets it apart from the other Marvel series that it shares a universe with is that it’s very much a genre show. Jessica Jones is, at the core of it, a very noirey detective show, and it’s a damn good one at that. This season had enough twists and turns and detectivey goodness to keep me on the edge of my seat, and damn near knocked me over with shock on several occasions.
All in all, Jessica Jones season two is a more often than not fun time with a compelling main story arc and a fantastic leading lady. It suffers from too many side plots and feels too stretched in certain episodes.
Final Grade: C+