I’m not a big fan of change, and Jessica Jones inaugural season was my favorite Marvel property on Netflix (sorry, Frank, I know that is near blasphemy), so I was extremely excited for season two, but also worried about what would be different. I knew that the plot would be dealing with IGH and a ton of flashbacks, as well as some personal issues (because this show does that well), but I wasn’t sure what else to expect, even after watching the previews, and being scared that they were bringing an old foe back. It could have all gone horribly wrong, but I had a little faith in the creators and was ready to dive in.
“Maybe I am a freak, but someone made me this way, and this lab rat has some complaints”
The beginning is strong, and that has been a problem with several of the Netflix shows, killing it in those first five to seven episodes and then they start to get shaky, wobble, and stumble a bit over the finish line, but in this case the last episode delivers. That is an achievement to me, since I just finished both Runaways and Legion season one, where there were great episodes all the way up to the final push and then a weak conclusion. I love some of these early references, lesser known characters (Whizzer) and subtle nods to their comic book counterparts (wearing yellow and the mongoose). There are a ton of these that stuck out and really worked, like the nurse telling Trish (Hellcat) she had used up two of her nine lives. This first half has some solid moments of Jessica just being Jessica and making mistakes while trying to do the right thing, her way.
I love that she is still a very flawed and vulnerable character. Her interactions with Oscar show that she has brilliance in her detective skills and flaws when she assumes she knows too much at the same time. I enjoyed all of the new characters, and in the early parts there is this kind of hollow shell game of moving people around on who is going to be causing problems for our hero and who will be helping her, and the slow movement towards everyone settling for the bulk of the show is a bit predictable, but works at first. Hogarth is back and smarmy as ever—now with more hot sex scenes—while she and Malcolm are pouring it out on the small screen and making me feel for their characters. Her obvious transition of going from all black to white is a bit much, but I love her rebirth, while Jessica’s associate is coming out into his own while looking impressive. Trish is really the problem this season, and I know many others see it (as a friend pointed out on FB), where she does a lot of messing up and is essentially rewarded for causing a ton of problems as well as taking something important away. There need to be repercussions in the future for this to have any sort of real payoff.
“You have often needed protection from your own vagina”
The themes for this season don’t stray too far from the previous saga, being about uncovering secrets, throwing a lot of what Jessica has done back in her face, as well as her guilt from the past adventure, while those around her face their own personal crises and deal with established hang-ups, and adding even more hot sex—especially that time in the bathroom. The shining star of them all though is that theme of family, after the reveal of who the true villain was, and all of the new complications; wrought with confusion, rejection, and teen angst. I’m not sure if I liked this angle to be honest. It took me a bit to adjust to the idea, but after they were locked in a few scenes together with a need to talk, the mother / daughter bonding brought me in with some wonderful banter and serious moments.
I knew that Jessica’s antagonist in this season would be personal, because that works well in most stories, but especially with her—the orphan, the outsider—and it needed to be even more after the role the villain played last season. The problem is that this means retreading some notes from last season: like how Jessica can’t not take the villain on a super hero outing with her, which is fine—it works. The flashbacks are going to be a big part of the show, and that makes sense, but while the episode that was all in the past had some good moments, it felt out of place for a bit and misused Trish in my opinion. That was the role they had set up for her though by how her history was discussed in the present. I did enjoy the anger management scene, which reminded me of the similar meetings in Punisher, but giving Jessica a really cool moment. It is so weird when she actually apologizes.
“It’s a bad plan.”
“You’re a bad plan!”
The ending almost surprised me, and I did love how it worked with the timing and put all of the characters in interesting positions for next time. Sometimes I feel that these series should be a bit longer to give me more and do things with smaller characters while staving off certain tropes, but by the next episode I’m thinking that I was right originally and they should drop down to ten episodes, and that type of rollercoaster explains my thoughts of season two after episode five or six. I felt that there was a little less noir styling and a bit more super powers this season. It was still there, but stood out less, and I suppose that was to be expected. I was also not against Killgrave showing up, we all know he was great, and the new villain had some big shoes to fill, but I wasn’t completely satisfied with the payoff of him coming back. Maybe this was to make sure it wasn’t overdone though. Even with that, it’s good, but not as good as Jessica’s first case. I still want more though.