‘Jessica Jones’ Season 2: Is Jessica Strong Enough to Defeat Her New Enemy Alone?
Season 2 of Jessica Jones has finally dropped on Netflix, bringing back the dark and hard-to-love Jessica Jones as the heavy-drinking private investigator with a heart of gold. We got a taste of the first five episodes before the show released, and we have some thoughts. It was going to be extremely hard for Season 2 to top Season 1, which featured David Tennant as Jessica’s nemesis, Kilgrave. So far, there is some good and a lot of … less good? Not-as-good?
We took a deep dive into those first five episodes and came up with a few questions we have, as well as some thoughts on what has happened so far. Will Jessica be strong enough to take down this “bad guy” on her own, or will she finally need to ask for some help from her friends? From this point forward, you’re officially warned that spoilers are ahead! If you’d rather read a non-spoiler review, we have you covered here.
New season, same Jessica
Jessica is still exactly the same, snarky, dark, and broken. Krysten Ritter expertly plays her that way, too. She’s taking on assignments to track down cheating lovers, but getting a side order of murder requests to go with it. Jones doesn’t want to be a murderer, but because she snapped Kilgrave’s neck, the general public sees her that way. She’s not just a private investigator, she’s a super-powered vigilante.
Because of this, she’s drinking and having casual sex more than ever, all while keeping her friends at an emotional distance. Malcolm is helping her with Alias Investigations as her assistant, and she is constantly attempting to fire him for being an annoyance. Trish wants Jessica to continue pushing to look into her murky past, and there is plenty of resistance on her end. Jessica is understandably reluctant to dive into what happened at the time when the rest of her family died in the car wreck.
Next: What character growth?
Slow on the character growth
If there’s one complaint with Jessica, and not with Ritter’s portrayal, it’s that she’s a bit too “the same” in Season 2. With the events of the first season, meeting and connecting with Luke Cage while confronting (and killing) the biggest demon of her past, you would think there would be some character growth. That, plus the eight episodes of The Defenders which seems to have been casually brushed under the rug for the purposes of Season 2, has had little effect in changing Jessica for the better.
Imagine if the events of Iron Man just made Tony Stark resolve to be more of a jerk to everyone around him, drinking and gambling away his life while developing weapons of mass destruction to be sold to the enemy. The average moviegoer would be kind of annoyed at the lack of character development. That’s kind of how it is with Jessica, who still refuses to let anyone get close to her or, God forbid, help her.
The good news is that may be changing, as she starts to turn over a new leaf in the fifth episode. But will it last?
Next: Exploring Jessica’s family issues.
Finally dealing with her family issues
Despite her reluctance, Jessica does begin to deal internally with her family issues while externally looking into what, exactly, was done to her when she was just a girl. It turns out, Jessica was missing for several weeks following the accident before she was officially checked into a hospital. IGH had taken her and was using experiments to keep her alive, which also somehow gave her the super strength she now lives with.
As a way to prod Jessica forward, Trish goes very low in bringing three boxes out of her storage unit and into Jones’ apartment: her family’s ashes. Malcolm comments innocently that it’s odd that Jessica never scattered them, but as you would expect, he’s immediately shut down.
Eventually, we get the most uncomfortable moment of the first five episodes, when her younger brother’s ashes are accidentally launched into the air and rain down from the ceiling.
Next: Is Trish going down a dark path?
What’s up with Trish?
One of the things that has somewhat slowed down Jessica’s progression in Season 2 is Trish. There is plenty of merit in exploring her story, including her issues with sexual abuse that are extremely topical here in the year 2018. But unfortunately, she’s often moving a bit far in another direction from the main plot of the season and causes the overall story to drag.
It’s not just Trish, who only shoulders some of the blame here. Hogarth has her own storyline that doesn’t appear set to converge with Jessica’s investigation into IGH at any point. She has been diagnosed with ALS and decided to solve her problems with alcohol, illegal drugs, and lesbian orgies.
But back to Trish — she’s going into self-destruct mode. She desperately wants to help Jessica investigate IGH, but is struggling with the fact that it’s purely for her own gain. She runs off her boyfriend, Griffin, for the simple reason that she is jealous of his success. Because two successful journalists can’t be married. Trish is teetering on the edge here, leaning into experimental drugs that give her super strength.
Next: About that new villain…
Who is this new baddie?
The big bad of Season 2 is finally revealed at the end of Episode 3, but not much is known about her other than that she’s super strong. Even stronger than Jones, according to the title character. A big part of the undertone of the season thus far is that Jones has a fear that she’s a monster, just like her still-unnamed villain played by Janet McTeer.
Good news on that front, though. By the end of Episode 4, Jessica comes to a realization that she’s not the same as her nemesis, who savagely murders a man in the back of a van to try to frame Jones. But this woman’s motivations are still fairly unclear, and she has only a proportionately small amount of screen time in the first five episodes.
All we really know about this villain is that she had the same experiments done on her as Jessica, she’s really strong, and she has been killing people known to have been involved with IGH. This is where Season 2 somewhat struggles in comparison with Season 1. Jessica, alone, is a strong and worthy character, but Kilgrave was the yin to her yang.
Although it’s clear now that Tennant will appear at some point in Season 2, it’s not in the first five episodes. Kilgrave’s absence is felt in a big way.
Next: Is Jessica going to need to ask for help?
Can Jessica take her down alone?
The major question in regards to Season 2’s villain is whether Jessica Jones can take her down alone. We’ve established that this woman is physically stronger than Jones, and the character herself has made a point of mentioning it a few times. It seems likely that this will come into play, especially now that we’ve seen Trish essentially doing psychedelic steroids to try to become Jessica’s sidekick.
In the third episode, Jessica went as far as to sic the paparazzi on Trish to keep her stranded in her apartment, unable to tag along to meet up with the big bad. Considering that Jessica does everything she can to keep Trish and Malcolm at arm’s length for fear of them getting hurt, will her new character growth allow her to finally reach out for help? She may have to.
Next: Where is Season 2 going?
Where is Season 2 going?
The biggest question we have about Season 2 of Jessica Jones, five episodes in, is where is it going? The story of the season appears to be related to Jones tackling her biggest demon, the tragic event that made her. It has been a slow burn thus far, with only small bits of information being revealed in between side stories involving several characters, both new and old.
Season 2 would’ve benefited from cutting a bunch of the fluff and diving directly into Jessica’s story. So far, Pryce Cheng is nothing but a nuisance that is utilized as an entirely unnecessary plot device. Oscar, Jessica’s sexy new neighbor, was bad and then good and then kind of a head-scratcher. Hogarth is only semi-involved in the plot, although she has had plenty of her own screen time.
Hopefully, Season 2 begins to pick up the pace with Episode 6, like Season 1 did with Jessica and Kilgrave. We’ve had a lot of information thrown at us so far, and not all of it is leading in the same direction. Maybe the final seven episodes of Season 2 will take us in for a screaming finish, but so far, it has failed to meet the lofty expectations that were set in the first season.
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