Jessica Jones: Guided Falling…In Love

After taking time to watch almost all of the episodes of Marvel’s Jessica Jones on Netflix and starting to write thoughts on each single installment, it was decided to do an overall feeling about the series and this unlikely superhero.

Kristen Ritter as Jessica Jones

After taking time to watch almost all of the episodes of Marvel’s Jessica Jones on Netflix and starting to write thoughts on each single installment, it was decided to do an overall feeling about the series and this unlikely superhero. An uber strong, limited self healing, gal who does not fly, but engages in guided falling, it is this description from the heroine that almost wills the viewer to fall in love with this character.

Throughout the season, we have seen Jones become more heroic (as she fights to catch and take out Kilgrave),  Jeri Hogarth become more evil, Kilgrave become pathetic, Simpson become deadly and Trish become stronger.  The entire first season of the show is all about becoming, apparently…and death.

It all about learning the backstory of Jessica and eventually Kevin, aka Kilgrave. But over and above all that, is this seedy, unglamorous and gritty side of Marvel. Set in New York, along the same time line as The Avengers saving the city, Jones is the red-headed step child of the verse.

(In the Marvel verse, Jones was a member of the Avengers very, very briefly.)

Jessica Jones is the “noir” version of Marvel, along with Luke Cage, and she epitomizes the hard-drinking, sloppy P.I. of fiction….except,  she has super strength and can fly.  Although she calls it, “controlled  or guided falling.

Krysten Ritter plays Jones as a downtrodden, attitudinal passive aggressive.  Like the rest of the verse the character inhabits, the city is grey, dark and dirty. The juxtaposition of Jones’ life compared to the Avengers; Tony Stark, Captain America is just too brilliantly ironic.

Cap and Ironman are heroes looked up to by the denizens of New York who believe they lead the charge to save them, along with that “big green guy” mentioned a lot in the Netflix series. Jones, who was not even part of the “rescue” is attacked by a disgruntled woman whose mother died during Loki’s attack.

Once again, like the big screen Marvel adventures and the small screen actions of SHIELD (both Agent Carter and Phil Coulson and his crew) despite all the fantasy elements of the verse, everything is rooted in a semblance of reality. Although arguably, Jessica Jones and her world feel much more in the trenches, or gutter, than the superheroes who saved New York.

Jones’ world takes a look at gory homicide, the messiness of divorce and even tackles drugs, the red white and blue pills that Simpson takes are pretty spectacular and apparently addictive as well as combat enhancing.

Apart from all these gritty, there’s that word again, realities, this version of Marvel is full of malcontents, the socially inept, the downright weird and full of destruction. Jessica lives in a world of broken walls, furniture and people.  As do most of the inhabitants of her verse. Even the more successful, like high-powered lawyer Hogarth is broken, personally and in terms of ethics, granted, she is a lawyer so it is to be expected…

There is at least one person who lives in an ivory tower, Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor), former child star and radio talkshow host of New York, is in a different realm from her “sister.” After Simpson turns up, completely overrun by those red pills he keeps popping like breath mints, he leaves two dead men outside Walker’s posh apartment.

When Trish comes home, she find the place spotless, no dead bodies and nothing to indicate that they were ever there. At Jessica’s place, the unconscious Simpson is removed, but her apartment/office still looks like a nuke has hit it. Vive la’ difference…

Leaving lifestyles of Marvel’s rich and famous aside, the noir-ish world of Jessica Jones is still firmly part of the comic verse. Nods and winks to her “colleagues” abound. References to the Hulk and at least one kid running around in a Captain America outfit. Then there is the reference to “inhumans.”

Dorothy Walker (Rebecca De Mornay), the stage mother from Hell, shows up at Trish’s place with an envelope with the mysterious initials IGH. Obviously a reference to Daisy, aka Tremors, and the other Inhumans and must stand for Inhuman Growth Hormone.  This is, apparently, the reason for Jessica’s strength and limited healing capabilities.

This down and dirty version of Marvel is as addictive as the cleaner shinier one.  While there is no real news about a second season or not, this one is pretty entertaining. Jessica Jones and her guided falling has made it easy to fall in love with this “darker” heroine.

 

 

 

Jessica Jones: AKA the Crush Syndrome (Review)

The second episode of Jessica Jones on Netflix follows the aftermath of Hope shooting her parents to death in the elevator (lift). Marvel can do dark brilliantly and Jones as protagonist just does not get much darker.

Jessica Jones and Jeri Hogarth

The second episode of Jessica Jones on Netflix follows the aftermath of Hope shooting her parents to death in the elevator (lift).  Marvel can do dark brilliantly and Jones as protagonist just does not get much darker.  This noir-like offering gives us strong women in spades, albeit all are damaged somewhat, and two “stronger” male figures. Cage and Kilgrave (the latter is strong in will and his ability to make people act against their nature) are both arguably stronger than Jones, but then she has vulnerabilities because of David Tenant’s character.

In terms of overly capable performers in the dark series, Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones,  Aussie actress Rachael  Taylor as her sister (adopted) and Carrie-Anne Moss give us a trio of women who are strong, assertive and successful. (Although admittedly both Trish (Taylor) and Jeri Hogarth (Moss) are higher on the scale of “success” than Jones.)

The build up of Kilgrave (Tennant) is brilliant. Thus far, even though we have yet to see KIlgrave, apart from a very quick profile shot as he screams into Jones’ ear, the series is making him out to be a villain amongst villains. (This  lack of appearance is rectified by the end of the episode when he takes over  a family and shuts their children in a closet.)

As Jessica continues to track down Kilgrave we are treated to a number of moments that stand out.  Apparently even his near death experience, being hit by a bus may not have killed the baddy but it certainly messed him up, did not lessen his powers of persuasion.

Such as the poor man who gives up both his kidneys to Kilgrave. This particular sequence in the episode was as blackly funny as it was horrific.  Attached to a dialysis machine and trapped with his cloying mother, the man seems almost oblivious to his surroundings.

After his mother leaves to get Jessica a drink, she questions this victim of Kilgrave. The man motions for a pencil, taking the instrument, he then starts awkwardly printing on a scrap of a paper after Jones asks who did this to him.

K-I-L…

“Kilgrave,” Jessica prompts.

“KILL ME.”

This hapless victim of Kilgrave is clearly in his own personal hell with his  devoted mother, who believes his condition is God’s punishment for his previous indiscretions, as the jailer. What makes this scene so ironic is Jessica’s statement to Jack the victim.

“God didn’t do this to you, it was the devil, and I’m going to get him.”

How can you not love this type of sly black humor? It is obvious that poor Jack wants to die, not because of what Kilgrave has turned him into, but to get away from his suffocating overly religious mother.

Later we learn just what happened the night that Kilgrave was injured. It is also  made clear that Jones has a thing for Cage. She tells him about his married lover, whose husband, she says, hired Jessica to prove her indiscretions with Luke (Mike Colter).  

Another stand out moment shows us the mythos of the bartender. A man who is “unbreakable.” Certainly the power-saw scene was goosebump inducing, as was Jones’ reaction to his little display, but the use of the phrase brought up visions of Bruce Willis and M. Night Shyamalan. (As well as a delirious Samuel L. Jackson shouting out, “They called me Mr. Glass!”)

This display of invincibility, against a power-saw at least, is one of the more overt shows of power. So far, the series has downplayed Jones’ power. It appears in snippets, such as Jessica stripping off locks from the hospital lockers in the changing room, or her fight in the bar when she aids Cage, who clearly did not need it.

Jessica Jones so far,  is focusing on her relationships with Trish and the cool, aloof Hogarth (Moss) as well as her initial attraction to Luke Cage. There are brief flashes of life “under Kilgrave” and of course the Shlottman murders committed by Hope (Erin Moriarty) are part of Jones’ current workload.

The P.I. also discovers what may be Kilgrave’s achilles heel after learning that he underwent the kidney transplants sans anesthesia.  She learns that certain drugs  could leave him vulnerable.  Propofol or Sufentanil were the drugs he turned down before the operation.  She also learns what “Crush Syndrome” is; after one kidney is destroyed the other begins to shut down in sympathy.

The episode ends with Cage in her apartment, after Jones has that epiphany about the drugs being Kilgrave’s weakness and Luke get the last, and perhaps coolest line in the episode, with his, “You can’t fix me. I’m unbreakable.”

Jessica Jones is great small screen Marvel, darker than Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter, as both of these offerings contain an amount of overt humor, versus the black kind.  So far, Krysten Ritter rocks it as the strong, P.I. who has a personal demon to slay. The series is on Netflix which means that the whole thing can be watched without waiting. Tune in for the dark humor and a storyline that promises much.