Be warned I’m going into spoiler territory here, but frankly if you haven’t watched Jessica Jones yet then I don’t care about your feelings and you can’t come to my birthday party. Seriously go watch this show, even if you’re not a fan of the superhero genre.
Our story is about Jessica Jones played by Krysten Ritter, a female private eye with super strength and durability. Rather than dawn a colourful costume and fight crime, Jessica just wants to keep to herself and earn her money, as she puts it, “photographing people screwing”. Of course it’s more than that, in the first episode Jessica takes a missing persons case from a couple looking for their daughter. While she is investigating, it becomes clear that a dark figure from her past has set the whole thing up and is manipulating her, the fantastically detestable Kilgrave (David Tennant).
Kilgrave possess the power of mind control, he can force them to do whatever he wants and it’s clear from the first episode that he has used this power on Jessica in the past and he is now doing the same thing to the young girl, Hope Shlottman. While it’s obvious Jessica is terrified of him and just wants to run she goes to save her, because she can’t bear the thought of someone else going through what she went through.
The characters in this show really are amazing, the show tackles some serious issues and I feel lesser actors and poorer writers would not have been able to handle some of the more sensitive topics as well as they did.
Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones is one of the most interesting female leads I have ever had the pleasure of coming across. The depth of the character is astounding, on the surface she is a hard and cold person but underneath she is broken and scared and Ritter brings that across in her performance remarkably. Jessica suffers from PTSD, which she has because of what Kilgrave did to her, he took away her control and made her a slave. The first time we see her have a PTSD episode, I could feel the panic in Ritter’s performance and I felt genuine empathy for the character.
David Tennant plays the role of the smarmy, self-serving Kilgrave beautifully. It is rare thing to genuinely loath a villain as I did with Kilgrave and that is due in no small part to Tennant’s talent as an actor. For example there is a moment when he and Jessica are arguing, and she says what he did to her was rape and Kilgrave replies that he never did anything she didn’t want; it really made me hate him. Again a delicate subject to talk about in a TV show, but I feel both the writers and the actors treated the subject of rape with the utmost care.
Then we have Rachael Taylor as Jessica’s best friend Trish Walker, Trish is a former child star turned talk show host, who is haunted by the abuse she suffered as a child at her mother’s hands. Even before the abuse is mentioned we can tell something has happened to Trish, by the way she trains in martial arts or the high level of security she surrounds herself with. It would have been easy for the writers to have her as Jessica’s rich friend but they’ve put in a lot of effort to craft a rich backstory complete with real life obstacles to overcome. What really made me love Trish as a character was the fact that she is just like Jessica. She is an abuse victim, which puts her in a position to know what’s she’s been through. Unlike Jessica though Trish chose to overcome her issues and in doing so, it has made her stronger for it, something Jessica has yet to do.
Also I have to mention Eka Darville as Malcolm Ducasse, for his performance. The growth of his character throughout the show is well done; form a heroin addicted flunky of Kilgrave, to being instrumental in his down fall, his arch was one I watched with pleasure.
How it looked
Marvel do many things better than DC when it comes to movies and TV, but one thing sticks out in my mind and that is cinematography. They understand that just because a character or TV show is dark that doesn’t mean that it has to be literally dark *cough (Superman). Even if the scene is in a dimly lit room, colours are still vibrant (especially Kilgrave’s purple suit), it helps draw the eye and set the scene. I also have to mention the intro, a beautiful homage to noir detective shows/films and once again the colours bring it to life.
Jessica Jones is one of the most entertaining TV shows that I’ve watched in a long time. Well written characters with rich backstories that convey believable human emotion. They aren’t super beings (well one or two are) out to save the world, they are regular people with flaws, who are just trying to survive. If you like well written characters, engaging plot and strong ass kicking women then this is the show for you.