It took me a few episodes to warm up to Jessica Jones, not because it was bad, but because I wanted it to be beyond reproach. Alias is one of my favorite comic runs of all time and I desperately wanted the show to measure up. In many ways it truly does. The story is engaging, the actors were expertly cast and it’s very well-paced. Most importantly, they got Jessica right. The essence of her character is kept completely intact: she drinks hard, fucks who she wants and is prone to impetuousness. Kristen Ritter did a stellar job of playing her as unlikable, but showing us just enough of what’s beneath that adamantine exterior to make us love her anyway. Sure, she doesn’t say things like, “God fucking shit of all shit” or smoke like it’s her job, but I can live with that. As a whole, I loved the show. It is the perfect follow-up to Daredevil and an excellent predecessor to Luke Cage. Basically an entirely new story had to be written, due to the current climate of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as certain properties tied up with Fox Productions. If I have one problem with the main story arc, it’s that I feel the show could’ve really benefited from throwing a few more cases Jessica’s way. Yes, Kilgrave is indeed the Big Bad here and David Tennent gives a layered performance, eliciting both disgust and almost even a slight inappropriate empathy at times. However, giving Jessica more cases to solve along the way, possibly even drawing out her secrets longer, would’ve given the narrative more breathing room, made it a bit less formulaic, because at times, it certainly was, especially when it came to her interactions with Kilgrave. My biggest issue with the series initially was the dialogue. Brian Michael Bendis is an extremely adept writer and Alias dialogue stands out as some of the best I’ve ever read. However, at the onset of Jessica Jones, it seemed to me that while the noir feel was right, the words were clunky, cliché, even contrived at times. I try not to judge a series by its first few episodes, because I know that it can sometimes take a while for a show to find its footing. Pretty much the entire first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is not indicative of the level of greatness attained by that show in later seasons. Sure enough, as Jessica Jones progressed, the dialogue grew less stilted, with only occasionally cringe-worthy lines. The characters were very well-developed. Not just Jessica, but the ancillary characters as well. No one is two-dimensional, even those who initially appear to be, like Jessica’s neighbors or Jeri’s soon to be ex wife. Honestly, the most pleasant surprise was Trish (Rachel Taylor). She is basically filling Carol Danvers aka Ms. Marvel’s role from the comic, serving as Jessica’s closest pal and confidant. I had no idea what to expect from her and really, she is a better friend to Jessica than Carol ever was. Not only is she the impetus for Jessica’s original acts of heroism, but also has heroic tendencies of her own. Whether she winds up becoming Hellcat, as Patricia Walker does in the comics, remains to be seen, but this incarnation of Trish is most certainly a badass. After losing her parents and gaining superpowers as a teenager, it must’ve taken considerable effort to grow into the strong, confident woman that Jessica became. In the context of the show, this is definitely due in no small part to her relationship with Trish. The comic also sees her coming into her own, naïvely putting on a ridiculous costume and setting out to save the world as the superhero, Jewel. The show gave an awesome nod to that outfit when Trish made one, only to have Jessica shoot down the idea. Of course, this was a markedly different woman than the one we meet at the show’s beginning. This was when she still believed in the good in others, as well as herself. This was before she met Kilgrave. In Alias, Kilgrave was much more of a straightforward monster. The nuances of the character on the show are due to not only the writing, but to the way Tennant inhabits the villain. It is his emotive performance that calls attention to the exact nature of Kilgrave’s unforgivable acts and it is in the brief moments during which he is almost sympathetic that we realize what a horror he truly is. The conversation when he and Jessica discuss their former relationship and the utter disparity between their viewpoints is a stunning representation in the difference of perspective so common between abusers and their victims. He systematically destroyed Jessica, slowly removing everything that made her who she was, starting with her will and leaving her a broken shell of a woman. Yet, because he had fun, it is his assumption that she must have as well. Although the season ended with the satisfying crack of Kilgrave’s neck, there were a few inconsistencies. It is still unclear exactly how Jessica was able to resist his control and why it took her so long to realize that she could, when Kilgrave himself had been aware of this fact for quite some time. However, ultimately, these questions didn’t detract from the overall story. Perhaps they will be answered at some point, but either way, this was an incredibly solid season, successfully introducing us to lovable, if not always likeable characters, all the while laying the groundwork for future stories. The end of the final episode marks the true beginning of a hero’s journey. Even as she is erasing the multitude of urgent voicemails, Malcolm is answering her phone and we know that Jessica Jones will soon be on the case. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Shawn EH Good point, more cases were integrated into the comic (and the story wasn’t impeded because they all managed to still comment obliquely on her own predicaments), and would have been welcome on the show. Hopefully that’s what Season 2 will be about, and I’m still hoping for an eventual Spider-Woman meet up!