Warning: There's a few spoilers for the first season of this show.
Marvel's second Netflix series follows the journey of Jessica Jones, a private detective who has a dark past and a connection to a super-powered man named Kilgrave. That's the short and sweet of the 13-episode season, which primarily deals with Jessica confronting her past in order to save those Kilgrave has harmed or controlled.
With the Marvel machine popping out film after film, which many seem to follow a similar formula and tone, it's refreshing to see the Netflix series be so different, so dark, so adult. After seeing what Marvel and Netflix had to offer with Daredevil, it was surprising to see that Jessica Jones be so different from Daredevil. Sure, they're both pretty dark and geared more towards an adult audience, but that's where the similarities end.
While Daredevil was about a man cleaning up the streets of his neighborhood and taking on a powerful crimelord, Jessica Jones isn't about fighting crime, and aside from a few small scenes here or there, this show isn't about a someone with super-powers.
Krysten Ritter does a fantastic job portraying the cinematic universe version of Jessia Jones. She fits into the private detective role perfectly as someone who is intelligent, with a broken past, and her own current demons to battle with. She doesn't want to open up to those around her but is forced to because of the events happening around her. I loved the fact that not only is she a great private detective but she's always two-steps ahead, even when Kilgrave thinks he has a one-up on her. However, sometimes her anger and sense of revenge block her reasoning and logic creating this wonderfully flawed character.
Without a doubt, Kilgrave is the most terrifying villain that has ever come to the Marvel cinematic universe. David Tennant's portrayal of the Purple Man is a total reinvention of the comic book character in all the best ways possible. Kilgrave has the ability to make anyone do whatever they want and in this case, when you're a person with that ability for the majority of your life, you get to a point where you have no problem forcing people to commit heinous acts against themselves.
That's not what makes Kilgrave such a scary villain. Kilgrave becomes Marvel's top bad guy here because of how delusional he is. He believes that Jessica Jones is meant to be with him and somehow, even though he's raped her and made her murder for him, she'll eventually come around to loving him. Kilgrave's limitations also make him frightening as his powers, early on in the season, only last for roughly 12 hours, so he needs to continuously be around to control people, or he can just get you addicted to heroin in order to take some photos for him.
The whole theme for this first season is "trust" and figuring out who to trust, especially when someone can control people's minds. There's even moments where the viewers start to want to trust Kilgrave because they feel bad for him, as he was a victim of childhood experimentation. Again, that's more of the delusion talking. But that's the whole season is whether or not Jessica can trust those around her when all of the people closest to her could become targets. Just take a look at Trish's apartment. She's on lockdown, trapping herself inside what's essentially a panic room home and that's before Kilgrave even shows up. That speaks mountains about Trish's character and the upbringing she had. Every character deals with these trust issues.
Throughout the season, there were so many fantastic, jaw-dropping moments, many of which involved people dying or blowing up. The show went to places that I didn't think it would go to. It really kept me on my toes, right up until the final episode. Viewers know where the show is headed, but there's tons of surprises on the way to keep people invested in the action and story.
When it all boils down to the final episode, Jones isn't looking to be a hero, but she has a good heart and eventually people look to her for help because she has saved so many lives, including those on the dock who Kilgrave ordered to fight each other to the death. It sets a great precedent for where this show could go with a second season, without leaving a giant cliffhanger at the end.
This all builds to developing a fuller Marvel cinematic universe. Luke Cage is introduced here, played by Michael Colter, and he nails the role. Yes, him saying "sweet Christmas" may have been one of the highlights of his time on screen, but overall, he adds a lot to the overall story of the season, as, in a way, he's tied to Kilgrave's actions. In addition, Claire Temple shows up as well, and while it feels a bit shoehorned into the season, it does create some nice connectivity between this show and Daredevil, which we don't really need, but it's nice to see regardless.
The first season of Jessica Jones is a smashing success. It opens up the MCU a bit more and this second Netflix series gives us more than a person with powers trying to be a hero. It's a completely different show entirely, which is what makes it such a phenomenal addition. This show has a wide cast, much like DD, but it feels so much more personal and much more like a character study as we follow Jessica Jones on her journey. There's so much more to talk about when it comes to this show, and frankly, I could go on for days, but we're just trying to give an overview, but there's a brilliant secondary cast that really fleshes this world out so well. Both Netflix shows are the best pieces of live-action comics Marvel has put out, but I actually found myself liking Jessica Jones a bit more than Daredevil. Once again, Marvel has another hit on their hands. Now, bring on Luke Cage!