‘Jessica Jones’ Season 2: A deeper, darker Jessica
Warning: This review may contain spoilers for this season and previous episodes of Jessica Jones.
Jessica Jones season 2 is the most Jones we’ve seen from Jessica yet. Translation: This season has amazing depth and is incredibly emotional. The writing is solid, the acting phenomenal, and the subject matter heavy. It’s far different from the first season, but does that make it good? Yes and no. Like anything, there are good and bad aspects to it. But Jessica Jones season 2’s problems, while few, are somewhat blinding.
This season comes out the gate swinging with Jessica doing a job for a woman who wants to catch her cheating significant other. The woman then wants Jessica to kill the boyfriend/husband, saying that Jessica did it once (Kilgrave) and she can do it again. This exchange sets the tone for the entire season. Sure, there’s no real central villain, but this season isn’t really about a physical enemy. It’s about Jessica dealing with her demons and her past, along with a few new threats. That’s where the season succeeds. If it were any of the other Defenders I don’t think it would work as well as this season did. Punisher might be able to pull off a season without a central villain, but even he’d have a hard time doing so. The acting is raw and real. The killing of Stirling is a spine-chilling scene, with Jessica running towards him screaming out for help.
One episode that stands out is episode 11: “AKA Three Lives and Counting”. This is the episode where David Tennant reprises his role as Kilgrave. Granted, he only appears in Jessica’s mind to taunt her after she took her third life. It works incredibly well for the story as it’s an interesting way to show how killing people haunts Jessica. It’s such a good episode simply because we get more Kilgrave. It’s nice to see Kilgrave again, but a shame he’s only around for one episode. That is one major complaint about the season.
There are two main problems this season. One about the season itself, and the other about the larger MCU. And the latter puts the final nail in the coffin on whether or not the movies are connected to the Netflix shows. Spoiler, they aren’t. To begin with the season itself, the main issue is that there’s no central villain. Yes, Alisa Jones could be considered the main villain, but she was hardly the threat that Kilgrave was in the last season. Alisa, Dr. Karl, Pryce, Trish, and even Malcom and Oscar at times can all be considered minor antagonists. But that’s it, they’re just minor. There isn’t the overarching presence of Kilgrave or Kingpin or even Cottonmouth from the other series. The shows fails in the villain department, which is a shame.
The second piece of criticism comes from the larger MCU connections. See, this season mentions the Raft. But they don’t just mention it, it’s a central plot device for Alisa’s character. It’s the same one that we saw in Captain America: Civil War. If you don’t know, the Raft is an island prison where people with powers are held. Characters like Hawkeye, Falcon, Ant-Man, and Scarlet Witch were held there. That’s the same prison the authorities want to put Alisa in when she’s captured. That’s great and all, but you know what else was introduced in Civil War? The Sokovia Accords.
The whole point of that movie is that people with powers are supposed to sign the Accords. If they don’t then they’re fugitives and it’s off to the Raft for them. However, the Accords are never mentioned in this season. People (especially the police) know that Jessica has powers yet they don’t force her to sign the Accords. If the Raft exists, then so do the Accords. Now, you could argue that the Raft was built before the Accords were drafted, but if that’s the case they never go out of their way to clarify why the Raft exists but Jessica doesn’t have to sign anything. This tells me that the shows and movies are two separate continuities. If this season does take place before Civil War, then they’ll have to address the Accords in a later season, perhaps in Luke Cage season 2.
This season is full of Easter eggs, like any Marvel production. Anything from Spider-Man to Captain America to Hellcat is talked about here. Let’s dive in. There are more Spider-Man references than anything else. “With great power comes great mental illness,” “Scrotey-sense,” and “If you say ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ I swear I’ll throw up on you.” It makes sense they’d cover this, as in the comics Jessica and Peter Parker went to the same high school. This is of course not the case in the MCU, as Jessica is about twice the age of Peter, but it’s still cool to see winks towards their history.
Most of Trish’s arc throughout this season is about helping people. There are a lot of winks and nods toward Trish’s comic book superhero Hellcat. At the very end of the season we see Trish drop her phone then catch it with her foot. This is the closest we’ve gotten so far to Hellcat in the show. It seems like Dr. Karl’s procedure wasn’t so much of a failure.
Speaking of heroes, there is a throwaway line when Trish is telling Jessica she’s about to meet with Dr. Hansen (who is actually Alisa). Jessica mentions how the whole situation is all “cloak and dagger”. Cloak and Dagger are two other heroes who are getting their own show later this year on Freeform. Nothing else is ever mentioned of that duo, but it was a neat little line either way.
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