A review by Nalini Haynes
Jessica Jones is a PI (private investigator) in New York; the series even seems to be set in Hell’s Kitchen, the same precinct as the successful TV series Daredevil. Like Matt Murdoch (the Daredevil), Jessica has a tragic past that resulted in superpowers: hers is super strength.
Jessica has a stalker. Kilgrave (David Tennant) is the ghost of Jessica’s past; his superpower is mind control. He took control of Jessica, manipulating her and abusing her in an intimate relationship. Their relationship isn’t just like an abusive relationship; Kilgrave controlled, gaslighted and raped her for the entire length of their relationship. A year after managing to walk away, Jessica is still traumatised. Over the course of the 13 episodes of season 1, Jessica’s story unfolds.
Meanwhile, Kilgrave really is back, manipulating other people.
The cast includes drug-addicted Malcolm (Eka Darville) who lives on the same floor; Tricia Walker (Rachael Taylor) the radio-show host who is like Jessica’s sister; Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss), a lawyer going through a messy divorce with her wife Wendy (Robin Weigert, aka Calamity Jane from Deadwood and a zillion other things since); the sizzling Luke Cage (Mike Colter), a love interest; and Hope Schlottman (Erin Moriarty), another of Kilgrave’s victims.
There were a few plot holes; to be fair, though, it’d be very difficult to present a hole-proof story and make it this engaging.
Every character of any significance has an engaging backstory, making them more than just pawns in Jessica Jones‘s story arc. Everyone is flawed. Many characters have redeeming qualities. They’re relatable: sometimes likeable, sometimes admirable, sometimes disgusting.
Jessica Jones passes the Bechdel Test with flying colours. Jessica has relationships with women: her ‘sister’, Tricia; the crazy girl from upstairs; Jeri the lawyer and more. Sometimes their conversations are about relationships with men because Kilgrave, the villain, is a man and because women talk about the men in their lives. However, sometimes the conversations are about work, ethics or the women’s relationships.
Although set in the Avengers’ universe with Daredevil operating nearby, Jessica Jones is better than both. It’s darker than the Avengers’ movies and far better written than both. Jessica Jones‘s story arc, characters and general flavour is far superior to Daredevil.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Creator: Melissa Rosenberg
Starring: Krysten Ritter, Rachael Taylor, Eka Darville
Running time: about 60 minutes per episode, for 13 episodes
Watch this if you liked: Avengers, Thor, Iron Man, Daredevil