After the phenomenal job that Netflix did on Daredevil earlier in the year, I think everyone was expecting great things from Jessica Jones. Well… I don’t know that they necessarily delivered. Oh sure, it looked great, production values were high, the cast did a good job, but it makes me wonder how this fits into the larger MCU and if it doesn’t, as it really doesn’t seem to, why bother with it at all?
So let’s take a look at the first 13-episode season of Jessica Jones and see where it all went wrong.
Supposedly in the same vein as Daredevil, Jessica Jones is a street level hero, possessed with great strength. However, she’s a small time detective, she’s an alcoholic, she’s got psychological problems and frankly, she isn’t all that nice to be around. But she is after Killgrave, a man who once took her captive and controlled her mind and that’s the focus of this story, the hunt for and destruction of a man with great mental powers. Can Jessica Jones become a hero and save the day?
The problem is, this isn’t a superhero show. Oh sure, Jessica and Luke Cage have powers, but they really don’t play much into the resolution of the Purple Man plot. Even though we’re talking about street-level heroes here, Daredevil still felt like a superhero show, this didn’t. This was people who just so happened to have some minor powers. It was a much smaller scale story than Daredevil and I think that really hurt it. With Daredevil, from the very first episode, I couldn’t wait to get through the whole season. Jessica Jones, I came back to every now and then, I didn’t have any drive to finish up the season. And it dragged a lot, there were things that really didn’t advance the plot and most things with Killgrave were predictable. Oh look, he was captured? We all know he’ll escape over and over again because that’s what happens in shows like this.
Now I do like the Jessica Jones character and I think Krysten Ritter did a fine job in the role, but the whole thing was just Jones trying to catch and kill Killgrave and I really didn’t care all that much. David Tennant did fine, but they kept going between trying to make Killgrave sympathetic and showing him as a complete psychopath, which really sent mixed signals. Was he an abused kid who never learned how to play well with others, or was he a bloodthirsty sociopath who deserved nothing more than being put down? It’s never made clear. And because it was really a personal story, with Killgrave never having a larger plan than to get Jessica back, I’m not sure why I’m supposed to care. There was never anything more at risk.
And honestly, I kept wishing we were following Luke Cage than Jessica Jones. He came off as a much more interesting character. I can’t wait for his series. In fact, as time went on, I kept thinking I’d really like to see a Misty Knight series, rather than a Jessica Jones series.
In the end, perhaps the most damning problem with it all, I asked my wife what she thought and she said “they’re not doing a second season, are they?” And honestly, I came out of Daredevil jazzed for more. Here… meh. I don’t care if they do or not. I’m not that interested in seeing the further adventures of Jessica Jones, girl detective. Sure, she might be cool on Luke Cage, since they are married in the comics, but as a focus character? I just don’t really care.
Now I’m looking forward to both the Luke Cage series and the Iron Fist series, both of which, hopefully, will be a lot closer to Daredevil than to Jessica Jones. A dark, philosophical storyline is fine, but that can’t be all you do. I want a little more hero and a little less brooding mess in my MCU, thank you very much.