Since it’s worldwide release on the 8th of March, ‘Jessica Jones’ Season 2 has been getting a bit of a kicking from critics. As you guys already know, I loved season 1. I thought it was some of the best television I had seen in a while, of any genre. It tackled some incredibly sensitive issues with tact and wasn’t afraid to present it’s characters, including Jessica herself, as deeply flawed people who are just trying to survive within a world where pain and misery surround them.
Season 2 attempts to address some of the plot threads left unresolved from season 1, whilst also building on it’s strong characters and evolving them beyond their beginnings. For my part, I felt the show was very successful at this and though I did have some issues with it, it was still thoroughly enjoyable for me.
So, with this in mind, I’m going to try and address some of the common complaints I have read from viewers and fans to try and counter balance the negativity I have seen around social media regarding this season. I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers for those who haven’t seen it yet. Let’s begin with..
THE PLOT WAS SLOW MOVING
Yeah, it was. So was Season 1. So was ‘The Punisher’, even ‘Daredevil’ Season 1 had it’s slightly slower moments. For me, one of the great strengths of the Netflix-Marvel Universe is the fact that they have 13 hours to tell their stories. This allows for a greater character depth then we can expect from your average MCU movie (not that most of them haven’t done a great job of effectively telling their stories within that time frame). It also means we as an audience can be treated to complex stories involving various elements that all lead to a fitting climax within their own time. There is no need to rush towards an imaginary 2 hour finish line as people can watch the shows at their own pace. ‘Jessica Jones’ Season 2 as mentioned previously, use this arc to deal with some of the repercussions of Jessica’s choice to (SPOILER ALERT!!) kill Kilgrave at the end of season 1. She’s drinking, fighting and f**king harder than before, all to avoid having to process what she has done. Throughout the season, Jessica has to come to terms with the choices she has made as well as her own devastating past. She fears closure and what that might bring and the plot gives her plenty of time to deal with it. Without giving away spoilers, this season challenges Jessica to confront the darkest parts of her personal history and it make for some compelling storytelling and contributes to another brilliant performance yet again from Kristyn Ritter. Bottom line, slow plots aren’t a problem if they allow for the characters that they surround to grow. And, trust me, the characters of this season do a whole lot of growing!
THE CHARACTERS ARE BORING AND UNLIKABLE
Another great strength of this season is the development of the characters that inhabit Jessica’s world. Too often with stories, you find you are introduced to supporting characters who’s arcs actually never go anywhere, which is a huge frustration for me. Thankfully, season 2 wastes no time on characters who aren’t going to play much part in the story. Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor) is going through her own struggle with her past which ends up playing a pivotal role in the overall story. As a result if this, we are shown some rather ugly sides to her character and this seems to have put people off her in general. Whilst I certainly had some trouble with the choices she made at times, I actually found Trish to be quite a sympathetic character, as I did with almost everybody. The same can be said of Malcolm (Eka Darville), who is trying hard to put his troubles with drug addiction behind him. The trouble is, he’s filling that particular void with things that are just as problematic, leading him to question his own commitment to his road of recovery. And as for Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Ann Moss), she receives some news that truly rocks her world. However, what follows is some of the most entertaining TV we’ve had from the Marvel-Netflix TV shows to date, as Hogarth proceeds to live her best damn life for all to see. Even when things take a darker turn with her character, it’s never anything less than fascinating. Whether, you still ‘like’ these people or not once the season comes to a close, is a matter of personal preference. I prefer to view them as complex (like a lot folks) rather than unlikable. But boring? You obviously weren’t paying close enough attention.
THERE’S NOT ENOUGH KILGRAVE/ THE CENTRAL VILLAIN IS WEAK
Kilgrave is one of the most charismatic and well written villains we have had in any story for a long time. Season 1 took a great deal of time to explain why he ended up the way that he did whilst also being careful not to absolve him of the many heinous acts he committed. Come the end of the season, we got a hugely satisfying pay off, as Jessica finally overcame his control and put an end to his terror. David Tennant’s performance is fantastic and was rightly praised by fans and critics alike. It was a brilliant arc and one that got the dramatic finale it deserved. When his name popped up again amongst the cast list for Season 2, I was intrigued to see how he would be re-introduced.
It’s probably not a spoiler to say that Kilgrave has a reduced role in this season, which is as to be expect given he’s dead. But, for some reason, people have continued to clamour for the character to have further involvement with the plot, which frankly, makes no sense at all given the fact that he is very much 6 feet deep. I felt he was used in just the right amount in this season, and at the right times to make the character effective without going to far left-field with the plot and alienating the audience. Season 2 then wisely chooses to go in another direction, which has both it’s positives and negatives. On the positive side, we are introduced to another character from Jessica’s past who is more than a match for her physically and will effect her deeply on an emotional and physiological level. To say much more is to wade into spoiler territory which is something I don’t want to do with this article. People have had problems with this character, but I found the inclusion both a surprise and satisfying. Once again we are given a villain with complexity and even some likeable personality traits. The same cannot be said of the secondary villain that is introduced very early on in the season. Again, I won’t go into spoilers here (I’ll save that for another article) but this is a character that frankly felt forced into the plot in order for Jessica to have a ‘bad guy’ to face off against. The character is a rival to Jessica’s business but nothing about what they do or say makes you think that this guy would be any kind of threat to Jessica, other than the fact that his suits are sharper then hers. He wouldn’t have been out of place in the disastrous ‘Iron Fist‘ show, that tells you how bland and uninspiring the character is!
So, with all the above in mind and a surprising number of quite cool ‘Easter eggs’ and comic book references, ‘Jessica Jones’ Season 2 is a highly enjoyable watch. It doesn’t quite hit the soaring highs of Season 1, but it still has plenty of good things going for it and brings us to a conclusion that will allow the show-runners to build for the future.