Jessica Jones: AKA Start at the Beginning

For three long years, I've been looking forward to the return of Jessica Jones, my favorite of the many Marvel series. And I wasn't disappointed.

Yes, it's a given that this second season won't feature one of the most terrifying villains practically ever (and if they find a way to bring Kilgrave back from the grave, it won't work and I won't buy it). But season two still has Jessica herself, and I could watch Krysten Ritter for thirteen episodes simply doing what she did here. I can't help but care about Jessica Jones. Probably because of the way Ritter projects how deeply damaged and vulnerable Jessica is, while remaining incredibly powerful at the same time.

It looks like Jessica will be battling her own past this season, mostly because Trish is obsessed with it and absolutely determined to make it happen. Trish is even risking her relationship with Jessica and possibly sacrificing her career, since the ratings for Trish Talk are tanking and she won't let the topic go. Trish was even willing to channel Patsy Walker again just to get some dirt on IGH and Kozlov.

Not to mention bringing a box of ashes to Jessica's office. I'm not sure I'd be able to forgive that. The most upsetting reminder of Jessica's past, and by far the strongest scene in the episode, was when that box of ashes hit the ceiling and death exploded all over Jessica's office. I always feel like I'm pointing out the obvious, but those ashes symbolized the burden that Jessica carries every moment of every day. She nearly went nuts when Malcolm started to step in her little brother's ashes.

That seventeen years of grief for her family is tied directly into what happened to her during those twenty missing days after the accident. Since we got a brief flashback to young Jessica on a gurney at the abandoned IGH facility, I'm pretty sure that we're going to see what happened during those twenty days by the end of the season. I'm also certain it won't be fun to watch.

Malcolm kept making me want to hug him. He is trying so hard, fixing up the office himself and finding clients for Jessica, all of whom she rejects as she repeatedly fires him and he refuses to leave. It isn't a coincidence that Malcolm is the same age that her little brother would have been. Malcolm was even willing to sweep up those ashes for Jessica. Awwww.

The pizza delivery case in the opener was a particularly good stage-setter, delivering all the exposition we needed to establish what's up with Jessica these days. The world now sees Jessica as a "vigilante superhero," a phrase we heard repeatedly, as well as a killer. Her clientele has adjusted accordingly, and this isn't a good thing because Jessica won't kill people for money.

Jessica also won't work for Jeri Hogarth anymore, which is why Jeri sent successful PI Pryce Cheng after her. I enjoyed Jessica refusing his offer, turning around and investigating Cheng, although I didn't like it when he turned the tables on her and she couldn't stop herself from fighting back. Maybe Cheng couldn't help seeing Jessica as a relatively small and apparently harmless woman. Did he just find it hard to internalize how strong she is?

And speaking of people who are not what they appear to be, Whizzer actually having powers was adorable, but I could feel it coming. Too bad that Jessica didn't. It's really sad that whoever was after him (was it Simpson?) succeeded in taking him out. I was struck by that last shot of Whizzer, dead on the ground. The dust from the construction site had grayed his hair, reminding us that he'll never grow old now. Someone put some thought into that.

(Of course, since it's me and I always think about the animals, I am now worried about what will happen to Whizzer's pet mongoose.)

Jessica moving the new super's refrigerator out of her way, shocking both the super and his cute son, was fun because I like that she's not hiding her powers any more. Is he going to be a romantic interest for Jessica? I also noted that he's moving into 6F, which is Robyn's apartment. Poor Robyn.

What else? Let's see.

— Same wonderful noir-ish credits. I love how it ends with a close-up of Jessica's eye, just as this episode did. It's Jessica's POV, after all.

— Trish has a cute new boyfriend, Griffin Sinclair, a former investigative reporter with a popular television show. He practically has a neon sign on his forehead saying he's going to turn evil, if he isn't already secretly one of the bad guys.

— Jeri's doctor had very bad news for her, although we didn't learn what that news actually was. Jeri is also having career trouble because of what happened in season one, and her law partners are deeply angry with her.

— I read somewhere that all of the directors of this season's episodes are women. Very cool.

— One of the other Agents of Doux probably mentioned this in season one, but black hair, superpowers, deeply cynical, emotionally damaged by a heartwrenching past? Jessica strongly reminds me of Faith the vampire slayer.

— Yay for the casting of Terry Chen from Continuum, who played Pryce Cheng. Even though he's a bad guy, I hope he sticks around.

— Jessica's office is still a mess, but at least the glass in her front door is in one piece.

— Please tell me Luke Cage will be coming back. And not just in June, when his second season premieres.


Mavis the pizza shop woman: "You broke a man's neck. I heard about it on Trish Talk. Some guy does you wrong and you kill him, but now the vigilante hero's gonna judge me?"
Jessica: "A hero would have you locked up for soliciting murder. A vigilante would beat the shit out of you. Now which one am I?"
It was fun that Jessica took a pizza as payment. Very like her.

Jessica: "I put him out of my misery."

Jessica: "I'm recovering."
Trish: "By drinking more, fighting more? More meaningless cases and meaningless sex?"
Jessica: "Hey, don't knock meaningless sex."

Client: "There are lizards wearing human skins and taking over the government."
Which is apparently the plot of the upcoming Captain Marvel movie, and it went right over my head. Fortunately, my son Daniel caught it for me.

Jessica: "A good PI needs objectivity. Take the case, take the clues, take the cash. (pause) What are you doing?"
Malcolm: "I'm writing that down. It was pithy."

Cheng: "I never take no for an answer."
Jessica: "How rapey of you."

Trish: "Jess, you're not a killer."
Jessica: "I've killed. Ergo, I'm a killer. I don't even know what 'ergo' means, but it sounded right."

Jessica: "The only way to find it is to open the door wider."

I am very encouraged, and looking forward to the rest of the season. Three out of four... well, you know it has to be boxes of ashes,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


Billie Doux said...

Fyi, we're planning to post a new Jessica Jones review every other day until we've finished the second season. It's reviewing rotation time! Always fun.

Panda said...

Excellent review Billie, it was definitley as solid premiere, even if it lacked the subtle menance of the series opening, with the then faceless Killgrave making waves, and Hope murdering her parents at the close of the episode.

I saw Wizzer being a legitimate freak a mile off, as well, but he was a nice device to kickstart Jess's investigation.

I'm looking forward to being part of the review rotation this season!

Billie Doux said...

Thanks so much, Panda. I'm looking forward to reading your review of 2.2. :)

Lamounier said...

I enjoyed this premiere. Jessica is such a hoot, I could watch her do anything. She'd make it entertaining.

I get that Trish thought she was doing the best for Jessica and that she is a journalist, but still... talk about lack of tact.

Malcolm was the best, though. What a friend. That moment he started to sweep up the ashes really showcased what a special human being he is.

Does Terry Chen only play assholes? And what is up with Jeri? I want to believe she is playing the long game and will turn the tables on Pryce when the time is right.

I was annoyed that Whizzer was mostly used as a joke ("fat people are funny, ha ha") and then got killed. It would be nice to have a superpowered person that is not a thin woman or a muscled man.

Patryk said...

Great to have Jessica back and dealing with her newfound infamy thanks to killing Kilgrave. The beginning was suitably hilarious. It's also really fun to have the origin story so late in the show instead of at the beginning. :)