Marvel's Jessica Jones: The Complete Season 1
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Raw, riveting and relentlessly compelling, Marvel’s Jessica Jones: The Complete First Season ignites a fi restorm of suspense cloaked in the haze of a noir-inspired slow burn. Haunted by a tragedy that broke her world apart, Jessica Jones settles in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City, and opens her own detective agency, called Alias Investigations, with the hope of rebuilding her life and keeping the lights on in her apartment. She discovers that the source of her trauma, a mind-controlling sociopath named Kilgrave, has resurfaced, forcing her to use her gifts as a private eye to track him down before he causes more damage to her life or to anyone else. Disc 1: 1. AKA Ladies Night 2. AKA Crush Syndrome 3. AKA It's Called Whiskey Disc 2: 4. AKA 99 Friends 5. AKA The Sandwich Saved Me 6. AKA You're A Winner! Disc 3: 7. AKA Top Shelf Perverts 8. AKA WWJD? 9. AKA Sin Bin Disc 4: 10. AKA 1,000 Cuts 11. AKA I've Got The Blues 12. AKA Take A Bloody Number 13. AKA Smile
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For those who only ever regard Marvel as a bubbly, shiny, colorful catalogue of super-dupers, Netflix rebuts with DAREDEVIL and LUKE CAGE and with JESSICA JONES, with further broody evidence just behind the curtain. While DAREDEVIL achieved this feel of the grimy crime drama, JESSICA JONES - and I wish they'd kept it AKA JESSICA JONES - drives its narrative thru the prism of the psychological thriller. This is my first time ever seeing Krysten Ritter do her thing, and I am intrigued and impressed and moved. In diving bone-deep into Jessica Jones, Ritter makes all the right choices. Even as her character makes all the poor life choices. There were moments when Ritter so convinces at looking seedy and boozy and eeewww-y that I could almost catch a whiff of some lingering bad odor about her thru the idiot box.
In the New York cesspit of Hell's Kitchen, Jessica Jones ekes out a harsh living as a private eye, consisting mostly of taking slimy snapshots of cheating husbands and wives. She's keeping low. She's trying not to get noticed. If you'd read the comics, you've a notion of what she's gone thru, of what's been done to her. Her one saving grace, her one blurry beacon of light, is that all that's behind her, her irresistible tormentor dead and gone. Even so, Jessica Jones oft embarks on late-night boozy strolls down them mean streets, weighed down by dread and by guilt. She wears guilt palpably, like it's a serape.
If I had one gripe, it's that thirteen episodes may have been too many by three. Otherwise, this is a perfect season. If you're into that noir flavor, you're in for a treat. Seems like, most times, a lonesome saxophone wails in the background, all jazzy honey cool and despondence. If you're into the bleak examination of the darker bits of man's psyche, this series is the champ of that. If you're hankering for a harrowing meditation on heroism, this is your huckleberry. If you're into adult content, this one's rife with R-rated naughty words and nekkidness. Definitely don't watch this with the kids and the 'rents unless you favor making eye contact during awkward moments. If you could stand it, the casually strewn expletives and the sex scenes do serve to, uh, flesh out the characters and the storyline. Jessica and Luke and Trish and even the Purple Man come off as real folks.
By the way, "Sweet Christmas" is not a cuss word.
If you're into the punchy punchy, there's some of that, but I caution you that the action bits aren't as prevalent as in DAREDEVIL. Jessica Jones, if you didn't know, has superpowers. She once had a fleeting career as a superhero (it panned out horribly). So she's no stranger to meeting violence with fiercer violence. Note that she's no sleek, virtuoso fighter. Neither is Luke Cage (Mike Colter), another key character. In fact, Cage's fight scenes make me grin a lot because he seems so bored in each one ("What the- did you just stab me or something?"). Again, if you know your comics...
I like that the show features these complex relationships among women that aren't male-driven or -defined. I'm so stoked that Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor) is here (again, check your comics). I love that, ultimately, it became about Jessica and Trish, these two adopted sisters. Trish and calculating attorney Jeri Hogarth (a superb Carrie-Anne Moss) impact the narrative tremendously. Rachael Taylor is marvelous and sinks plenty of depth and nuance and character development into Trish, once a child star, currently a popular talk radio host, all heart and loyalty.
Mike Colter puts in effortless work as Luke Cage, a part that requires him to be simultaneously sensitive and a supreme badass.
The one thing I was concerned about, going in, was David Tennant. Ha! Those who are fretting, don't be fretting. It took a minute for me because I associate him so much with DOCTOR WHO, but press on, do, and you'll see him step out of that shadow and own the part of Killgrave. This may just be the best supervillain Marvel has ever trotted out - him or it's a tie with Loki. There are more colors to Killgrave than just purple. I love that he doesn't want to rule the world or destroy the world. Killgrave is instead simply a first-class jerk. Really, what he is, is a supervillain for just one person. He's a complex adversary. He revels in his freakish ability. And he's sometimes so damn charming I found myself sympathizing with him - until he inevitably pulls some jerk move. In its own fashion, Tennant's performance here is as zestful and playful as was his turn as the Doctor.
I relished the hell out of this series. It is so immersive. There I was, in the corner of Jessica's cheap-ass office, absorbing her whiskey fumes, inhaling her regret, and meditating on the street-level fcukery of man. I'm sure we'll find her in Season 2 - and there WILL be a Season 2 - still morose, still misanthropic, still beaten down by the world. Still trying to do the right thing. Still doing her durndest to not get close to anyone. As Killgrave blithely remarks to Jessica Jones: "Whoo - rough being your friend."