Matt Rodgers reviews the first episode of Jessica Jones season 2…
Easily the most perfect marriage of character and actor in the Marvel Netflix Universe, Krysten Ritter’s Jessica Jones returns for a second run of solo episodes, having firmly established her as a self-aware fan favourite amongst her po-faced Hell’s Kitchen counterparts.
The first season now feels prophetically timely, dealing with Killgrave’s systematic abuse of our trash-talking antihero. It was a psychological threat, arguably carrying more narrative weight, more impact, than even Vincent D’Onofrio’s superb Kingpin.
Jessica set herself a high bar, stole the so-so Defenders limited series, and remains, along with Daredevil’s first season, this world’s creative high point. So does the start of season 2 indicate there’s more snark and smarts to come, or are we treading in torn jeans and shitkicker boots through familiar territory? If this first episode is anything to go by, then it’s business as usual for Alias Investigations.
The PTSD of Killgrave still looms large over Jessica, who in a rare moment of emotional outpouring tells Trish that she’s finding it hard to “move past shit”, which doesn’t sit well with her best friend, who’s opening up old wounds, and an investigation that’s intrinsically linked with Jessica’s past, all in order to boost ratings for Trish Talks.
We start to get more boozed induced flashbacks to flesh out her origin, which will clearly become the driving narrative for this second season, but there are also hints of a ‘big bad’ who appears to be hunting down ‘supers’, and the introduction of a rival private investigator, who’s on the receiving end of a unique brand of Jessica Jones greeting.
With only the seeds planted in this opening gambit, the strength of the episode is once again Ritter, who perfectly balances the dramatic angst of her morally ambiguous actions – “I don’t kill people, because I’m not a murderer” – with self-deprecating takes on the same subject – “I’ve killed, ergo I’m a killer. I don’t even know what ergo means, it just sounded right”.
The only minor grumble with what is a solid opening episode, is that a lot of the runtime deals with Jessica’s desire to remain anonymous, without expectation or adulation, yet there’s a moment when she lifts a refrigerator in front of her brand new neighbours. It’s an odd inconsistency.
The overriding feeling with AKA Start at the Beginning is that the bullet holes might be plastered up on her office wall, but there are gaping emotional wounds still exposed from season one. It’s going to be a rough ride for our favourite P.I.