Superpowered Noir: A Review of the First 5 Episodes of "Marvel's Jessica Jones" Season 2

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Jessica Jones is back, and she’s angry. The second season of 'Marvel's Jessica Jones' doesn’t fall back too much on the events of ‘The Defenders.’ In fact, it’s barely mentioned, but it obviously has left her scarred and still very much angry. She’s still a cynical drunk but with a reputation for being a super powered vigilante, which gets in the way of her work as a detective.

But being a detective is what she’s good at. It’s the only thing that keeps her busy and pays the rent and the second season capitalizes on this laying out the first five episodes, at least, in a noir fashion. Each of the episodes begins and ends with a narration from Jones, much like a noir film, and relies heavily on her detective work.

The second season of ‘Marvel's Jessica Jones’ brings to the forefront her relationships now: Trish, her best friend and radio talk show host; Malcom, her assistant; Jeri Hogarth, her former boss and a powerful lawyer; and some new characters like the new superintendent of her building, Oscar, who may have secrets of his own.

This emphasis on the people around her become essential to present the show’s themes on Jessica’s anger and her refusal to dig deeper into her past, which has become Trish’s mission. There’s a push and pull between running away from your past and facing the demons that come with it, which suits well to the noir style. There’s a lot of space here for drama and exploration of one’s self.

Photo: David Giesbrecht/Netflix

The first three episodes are a slow burn. In a movie, the noir can take its steady pace because you know that the film will end in one sitting. In a television show, it’s a gamble. It takes about three episodes before the show really picks up but it’s worth the wait. By episode four, we get some answers and a lot more interesting questions and we’re faced with a killer who may be Jessica Jones’ match in power and strength (and an unexpected but fantastic casting choice for the villain).

The first three episodes lay groundwork for what promises to be an interwoven thriller that is loaded with drama, and will test Jessica and her friends' ability to stay in control--which also seems to be another major theme playing out in the second season.

Photo: David Giesbrecht/Netflix

Krysten Ritter continues her solid performance as Jessica Jones, though this season, she doesn’t come off as funny as she did in ‘Defenders.’ We got dark and brooding Jessica now, while it’s Rachael Taylor and Eka Darville (who play Trish and Malcolm, respectively) who get the more interesting character progressions. The advanced screeners are only until episode five, though, and I’m sure Ritter will have to go through fiery hoops by the time she makes it to episode 13.

But insofar as the first five episodes, it is Carrie-Anne Moss who steals the show. Jeri Hogarth has a moving personal story in season two that quickly weaves itself into the main narrative with the promise of something big and scary in the future. She brings so much strength and power to the tough-as-nails attorney, but this time she gets to show off her vulnerable side as well.

Photo: David Giesbrecht/Netflix

‘Jessica Jones’ isn’t your regular superhero show, so don’t expect big action scenes. This is a detective show, first and foremost; and then a drama before it’s a superhero show, and they do this just fine. It’s still dark and heavy, which can make it feel slow at times. But it’s definitely an improvement from ‘The Defenders,’ ‘Iron Fist,’ and ‘Luke Cage,’ and I’m sure the season will unfold brilliantly as the foundations of a pretty intense look into Jessica’s dark past will be revealed. And she’s going to let the anger out in explosive ways. That’s what I’m hoping for.

 

My Rating:

"Marvel’s Jessica Jones" returns for a second season on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2018, on Netflix. For more information, follow Jessica Jones on Netflix (netflix.com/jessicajones), Instagram (@marvelsjessicajones), Facebook (MarvelsJessicaJones), and Twitter (@jessicajones).

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Creator
Melissa Rosenberg
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Netflix

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