Thus far, Marvel’s Netflix outings have created one truly great show: “Jessica Jones.” While the rest aren’t bad (so long as you ignore “Iron Fist”), that first season of “Jessica Jones” was truly something special.
It used the relaxed rules on sex and violence to tell a more intimate and human story than anything the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe could touch. It proved single-handedly that Marvel could go dark and that going dark could still provide an emotionally mature piece of art.
The second season is not that good. While it starts off strong, this newest outing for Jessica Jones and company proves to be a lesser experience in nearly every regard. That being said, the creative team at Marvel should still feel proud of themselves for what they managed to accomplish here, as even a lesser “Jessica Jones” can still stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of the MCU.
The main plot this season deals with Jessica (Krysten Ritter) investigating the events leading up to her getting superpowers and the company responsible.
She learns via her adopted stepsister, Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor), that there were 20 days’ worth of records missing after a car crash that killed her family. Around the same time, a client comes in saying he too has powers, and someone is trying to kill him. When both of these land on her doorstep, Jessica has no other option but to start looking into the matter.
Saying any more than that would start to encroach on spoiler territory, but that’s enough to drive home the bigger points on what went right and wrong this season.
The first half of the season is dedicated to the investigation and the second deals with the aftermath. This isn’t a bad way of setting up a series, but here, it does end up making each half of the season feel disjointed. Neither half is bad, but as a whole it feels like there was a change of showrunner halfway through the season with different priorities.
It also can’t be ignored how much the show is missing with both David Tennant’s Killgrave and Mike Colter’s Luke Cage. The new villain just doesn’t strike the same chord as Killgrave and they don’t have any scenes as iconic or frightening as the bar hanging or police station scenes from season one.
What we do get works well on its own, but is a poor follow-up. The same can be said for the new love interest, who simply does not share the same kind of chemistry that Ritter and Colter had. Thankfully, one of the actors comes back for an extended cameo near the end, but the show still misses their presence.
In the end, the biggest accomplishment for “Jessica Jones” season two was behind the camera. Somewhere along the line, it was decided to have exclusively women directors. While this may go unnoticed by some, this decision undoubtedly helped to give the season its own feel compared to the other Marvel outings.
Whether or not the same decision will be made for season three is yet to be seen, but either way, it would be a shame to not have some of these women back behind the camera.
While season one was tighter, more focused and an all-around better show, season two of “Jessica Jones” proves there’s still gas in the tank and plenty of fight left in these characters.
William Shelton is a contributor.