So, Jessica Jones, then

landscape_xlargeI signed up for a Netflix 30-day trial and apart from music documentaries, what the kids and I have mainly been watching is Jessica Jones.

I’m no fan of superheroes and comic books, so I always come to a thing like this knowing nothing or next to nothing about it. I read up on Jessica Jones on the Wikipedia after about three episodes. If you’re like me: she’s got powers (somehow) but her life is a wreck. She has super-strength, but isn’t a particularly good fighter, because she’s had no actual training. The backstory is that she has previously tried the (costumed?) superhero life, but something went horribly wrong, and now she’s trying to run a film noir-style private detective agency called Alias.

Spoiler alert.

The thing that went horribly wrong for her, which she thought was over and done with, comes back into her life. It takes the form of Kilgrave (David Tenant), who (somehow) can force people to do horrible things.

Jones is played by Krysten Ritter, who some might recognise from Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23, of which I watched about half an episode. She plays the part in blue jeans and a black leather jacket, and the character is a hard-drinking, self-destructive loner, whose PTSD is a crippling burden.

This is a universe in which superheroes are acknowledged to exist, and regular people are both frightened of them and angry about the destruction caused by property-destroying superhero battles. So there are oblique references to events in other films. There are even other superheroes: Luke Cage (who will have in own series), and a nurse from Daredevil both make an appearance.

Tenant is a decent enough villain, chewing the furniture in a purple jacket, and committing horrific acts of violence. It gets dark, very dark, and not everybody gets out alive.

For the last three or four episodes I was worried that there wouldn’t be a conclusion to the main story, that it would be hung over for a season 2. I felt that this would represent a waste of the time I’d invested in watching the series. If a narrative has no resolution, they’re asking you to invest another 13 hours, and, well, I might not be in a position to do that. Buffy, at least, dealt with each Big Bad by the end of the season.

Yes, it has some of the vibe of the later, darker, Buffy, and I thought it was worth a watch as a woman-led series with a woman as show runner. It’s well done, and both my girls really enjoyed it.

And it is worth watching, and you won’t feel you’ve wasted your investment of time.

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2 thoughts on “So, Jessica Jones, then”

  1. Thanks – a useful tip for my turbo session viewing. I don’t know anything about the character and have had to piece the back story through the first episodes. I guess that was the intention. Tenant is yet to discernibly appear, being mainly a blue shadow.

    Stylistically and beyond the noir, I like the way some of the scenes are set like comic book frames.

    I recognise Jessica Jones from Breaking Bad. She was Jesse’s landlord and girlfriend in the early series.

    I’ve remembered the important rule that its best to have a P.I. office at the end of a corridor so that it is easy to watch the comings and goings.

  2. Yes, and it helps if the frosted glass in the door is permanently broken. I noticed the comic book framing, too.

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