On 20th November Netflix released their second Marvel Television Program, which in this particular instance is Jessica Jones, which is based on Brian Michael Bendis’ Alias comic series. I’ve never read it, personally, but I’ve heard some very good things. Obviously, here be spoilers.
Episode One - AKA Ladies Night
Two things stand out in the first episode: Jessica and Kilgrave.
Krysten Ritter is pretty damn awesome as Jessica Jones. Her performance is fantastic, and I really love the character; she’s bitter and sarcastic, and struggling with alcoholism and PTSD. It’s a subtle and nuanced depiction of such a character, which is realised extremely well. She’s a really compelling character, and I think it’s brilliant that these stories are beginning to be told; it’s great that this is a show with a female lead, and it’s even better that the lead is such an atypical one. Jessica Jones is, in short, an excellent lead character.
Kilgrave, who’s the villain of the piece, isn’t exactly in this episode as such, but his presence is very much felt; AKA Ladies Night does a brilliant job of setting up the Purple Man, making him genuinely terrifying. All of that “we don’t say his name” from Daredevil last year seems like child’s play, at this point - without even a second of screentime, we know exactly how brutal and sadistic Kilgrave is, and it’s terrifying. I get the impression he’ll be a really compelling, memorable villain.
Episode Two - AKA Crush Syndrome
This episode picks up where the last one left off, and develops the plotline further; Jessica starts to pursue Kilgrave, hoping to prove the innocence of Hope, the young girl who shot her parents under Kilgrave’s instructions.
We see Kilgrave for the first time this episode, albeit only partially; the full reveal is still being held back, which makes his appearances all the more tense. Kilgrave is genuinely quite frightening; he’s brutal and sadistic, and he just doesn’t care about people. Jessica Jones is doing a really great job of setting up this central villain as someone to really, really give a damn about. They’re making great use of the motif of purple light, too - any scene with even the slightest hint of purple in its palette is significantly more tense than it would be otherwise.
Luke Cage is also developed a little more in this episode, which was nice to see. Interesting that he already has his powers by this point; I wasn’t expected that, I must admit. Looking forward to the next episode, and seeing how they further the relationship between Luke and Jessica.
Episode Three - AKA It’s called Whiskey
We’ve got some more revelations about Jessica this episode, and particularly her past. It’s quite interesting, actually; I’m starting to get the impression that Jessica killed Luke’s wife, and that was why she was spying on Luke. If I’m right (and that seems to be what the show is suggesting, so if I’m wrong I’ve heavily misinterpreted something) then this should prove to be an interesting change to the dynamic between Jessica and Luke; obviously I know the pair of them end up as a long term couple, but I think this aspect with regards to his wife is a new development of the show itself? Regardless, it’s a nice concept.
Kilgrave’s story is furthered as well; his targeting of Patsy is frightening in its sadism, but also it’s pettiness - it’s a childlike act of retribution, carried out on a larger scale because of the scope of his powers. Scary stuff, especially considering how nice Patsy comes across; they’ve done a good job of endearing her to the audience as Jessica’s old friend. Once again, this was another great episode.