Things are falling in to place for super-powered private investigator Jessica Jones.
She’s working within the law, business is going well, and she even owns her own couch now. If only her personal life was as simple. She’s still refusing to speak to her adoptive sister Trish Walker after Trish killed her mother, her old lawyer Jeri Hogarth is asking for her to help with an assisted suicide, her friend Malcolm has lost his moral focus, and her bottle of bourbon is almost empty. And now, to make matters worse, Jessica’s latest case is to track down a cunning serial killer… one who excels in manipulating the public to turn against superheroes.
The moral honesty of Jessica, as well of those around her, is brought in to question repeatedly as they all find the lines of good and evil blurring worse than ever. Should having great power truly mean taking on great responsibility? Where is the fine line between law and justice, and who has the right to cross it? While Trish begins her own superhero career as Hellcat, Jessica is forced to accept her own heroic status as she confronts all-new threats unlike anything she’s faced before…
It’s the end of the Netflix Marvel era, and it’s fitting that it ends on a high note with the ass-kicking, hard-drinking, foul-mouthed Jessica Jones. Wrapping up Jessica’s story so far, there’s as much time devoted to the supporting characters as hers – while also touching base on the status of several other Marvel Knights.
This season’s story is, at its core, a surprisingly straightforward one that returns the show back to its first season roots in several ways. That isn’t to say that it’s a retread though, with plenty of originality, MacGuffins and twists throughout to play around with the audience’s expectations. More than that, one of the best things that this season does is to lift the show from the levels of angst it can fall into that have sometimes dragged it down.
By avoiding that problem it allows more time to be allocated to the bigger theme: that of moral responsibility. It isn’t all doom and gloom, offering up plenty in the way of wry comedy that few other superhero productions offer. Meanwhile, the action scenes may be few and far between, as the show delves more into personal relationships and ethical dilemmas… but when there’s a need for a fight they don’t hold back. In many ways, this season is perhaps the closest fit to the MCU films that the Netflix shows have presented throughout; it may not be a traditional superhero show, but it doesn’t shy away from establishing how close it is to being one.
This is particularly evident with the evolution of Trish “Patsy” Walker, AKA Hellcat and the contrast between herself and Jessica Jones. While Jessica has gone through most of her life possessing powers, she’s worked hard to avoid being a superhero. Trish, however, has gone through her life without powers but desperately desires to be a superhero… or, at least, how she imagines a superhero should be. Like in many of the MCU films, it quickly becomes apparent that the superhero life isn’t as easy, glamorous or clear-cut as it seems. Her earliest attempt at stopping a crime results in her being instantly identified, as well as being sued for assault. Being a hero can be a thankless job, and for somebody who craves validation and the spotlight, it’s a bad mix.
The performances throughout remain strong, with Krysten Ritter, in particular, embodying Jessica Jones so perfectly that it’s impossible to imagine anyone else ever playing the role now. Newcomers to the show Benjamin Walker as empathic blackmailer Eric Gelden oozes a strange, unsettling charm, while Jeremy Bobb portrays Gregory Salinger – known to Deadpool readers in particular as Foolkiller – with a measured level of sociopathic arrogance that’s fascinating to witness. If anybody is a scene-stealer this season though, it’s Aneesh Sheth as Jessica’s new secretary Gillian; combining snarky comments with an in-your-face attitude that mirror’s Jessica’s own, she’s the best new addition to the show.
This season of Jessica Jones does have some weak points, unfortunately. More could have been done with Salinger’s story arc, for instance, while Hogarth’s back-and-forth ethical standards flip too fast and too often to give her any substance. Likewise, while Jessica may not be the most pro-active of characters, there are times here when she’s more like a supporting character in her own story as events unfold around her. As for the simplified plot this season, while it makes sense, it’s perhaps not the strongest way to end things on Netflix.
When all is said and done though, it’s a satisfying conclusion that delivers, bringing the Netflix era to a close with style. Many of the character arcs are wrapped up sufficiently enough to please viewers, while it’s made clear that Jessica’s story is never over. It’s impossible to say what the future holds for her, Luke Cage and others, but if Marvel don’t incorporate them into the MCU in some other fashion then it’ll be a missed opportunity given how richly developed these characters have become.
Jessica Jones Season 3
Despite a simple story, this series ends on a high note.