Monday, March 12, 2018

Jessica Jones Season 2: A review

I'm really happy that Jessica Jones got another season to add to the first. That doesn't mean that there isn't room for improvement in this latest addition. After a hiatus, having multiple Marvel series on the table now, this by far, is the best out of all. There will be spoilers.

I've found the others to be lacking and the key component that's missing, is character development. This, fortunately, isn't something that Jessica Jones suffers much from however there were certain characters in this season that I felt were made to fit the story rather than having the story fit them.

First, lets just go through what they got right. The story for Jessica Jones is phenomenal and Krysten Ritter carries the lead. No matter the range, setting; she knows exactly how to portray a character. She takes into consideration the character's frame of mind and is able to illustrate this in performance. At a certain point, you can see her showing off a lighter Jessica Jones who's younger and has a wider range of affection and can even smile. Attention to detail like this is what helps sell someone like Jessica Jones. So top notch performance and direction on this one.

Janet McTeer takes the role of Jessica's mother and it was not an easy one, considering the calibre required to play someone with the unfortunate burden of suffering from homicidal rages. Janet depicts this role beautifully and executed it to the point where I'm annoyed I haven't seen her in any of the other shows I've watched. Going from caring mother to unhinged murderer seems so seamless for her as an actress. And she makes you believe the war that's being waged within the machination of her mind.

Carrie-Anne Moss reprises her role as Jeri Hogarth and has her own story arc in this instalment, which she carries beautifully. Her character is put through her own paces, having to deal with a death sentence of ALS, betrayal from Inez, another supporting character acted flawlessly by Leah Gibson as well as her partners pressuring her to retire. It's not "hey, my mom's back from the dead but happens to be a psychotic killer at times" but it's still up there. Another fantastic presentation here.

And that's the thing ultimately with this cast. There are no weak players as far as I can tell. The story itself however, has some room for improvement.

The two characters I'd say had a rough time of it were Trish Walker, played by Rachel Taylor and Malcolm Ducasse, played by Eka Darville. The way they're presented all seems matter-of-fact. Both are either at neutral or meltdown status when it comes to situations and reactions. There's no feeling of development in regards to their emotional state and as a result, the actions that follow.

It felt as if someone was saying "I need the story to go here" and then picked option Malcolm or Trish. Things felt forced, especially with Trish who had a rather important role to play though the entire arc. I never saw her properly developed to the point where her fall from grace felt credible nor her motivations for finally killing Jessica's mother.

I think what needed to happen with Trish was more of a play on her past. At a certain point she confronts her statutory rapist and the impact of this event should have been illustrated as a trigger for her character's motivations. Such a trauma must have a lasting effect on someone and I didn't really see that front and centre.

That's a motivation right there for her to want to be stronger to the point of wanting to seek out Jessica's powers. Or the motivation of having ultimate control, something that she's never really felt because of her past with her mother and especially after being put in the hands of a statutory rapist. One could also illustrate the weight on her psyche by having changes of behaviour after confronting her rapist only to feel once again, helpless.

Seeing Jessica cope and even take on the role of a heroine could also weigh her down as she would have been through far worse in Trish' eyes, giving her a bit of resentment. And finally, in order to put Trish at odds and get to the point where she'd kill Jessica's mother, there would need to be more there as well. Perhaps an altercation between both mothers where Trish's mom gets injured defending her daughter and motivating her not to let Jessica, someone she cares about, fall in harm's way.

Ultimately, Jessica Jones is still the best out of the entire Netflix Marvel series. I'm only bringing up these flaws as a form of constructive criticism in the hopes of ensuring the show's longevity as I really enjoy the character, setting and vibe. I want to see a good show be great as well as close to flawless as possible. They have the cast and direction for it, now it just needs a bit of thought regarding certain components of the writing.

It's definitely a series I'd recommend to everyone and I look forward to season 3.

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