Welcome to the Jessica Jones Binge-Watch and Blog-Along! I am your host, Wise the Simple, and I totally took off work today just to watch Netflix. #geekpriorities 😉
Jessica Jones first appeared in the Marvel comics universe via the Brian Michael Bendis-penned series Alias. I just finished reading the omnibus earlier this week, and loved every moment of it.
All 13 episodes of Jessica Jones were released on Netflix today, so I thought I’d do a “binge-watch and blog-along.” What does that mean exactly? Well, I will watch the show and type up my reactions immediately after watching each episode. So theoretically, we’ll see how my thoughts about the show change throughout this series of posts. I’ve tried it before with sense8, but I watched that show in chunks over the course of a week instead of trying a binge-watch marathon in one day. Odds are I’ll stop and pick it up later if/when I need a break. (Practice safe binge-watching, kiddos!)
At any rate, there will obviously be spoilers ahead! This first post will include reviews and reactions to the first three episodes. But enough with the preamble — Let’s get to the show!
Episode 1: AKA Ladies Night
First and foremost — those opening titles! I love them so much. The soundtrack for this series is amazing. The jazzy vibe invokes classic film noir, while still sounding modern enough not to feel out of place in the world. Fantastic stuff; I really dig it!
Speaking of film noir, I’m liking the first-person voiceover stuff. I’m normally not a huge fan, but it really helps us jump right into Jessica’s headspace from the get-go as well as being a throwback to those pulpy, hard-boiled detective stories.
Having recently read the Alias comic series, a lot of the details are still fresh in my mind. I really enjoyed the things taken directly source material, like starting the series with Jessica throwing a discontented client through her Alias Investigations door window or doing case-work while on the toilet. Meanwhile, there are cool homages to the comic even in things that have been significantly changed: Malcolm is no longer a kid who shows up in her office wanting to work for her, rather, her neighbor who shows up in her apartment because he’s drug-addled and confused; her closest confidant is not Carol Danvers (at the time of the comic, Ms. Marvel), rather, Trish Walker (aka Patsy Walker, aka Hellcat).
One of the biggest differences is Jessica’s employment with attorney Jeri Hogarth (played by Carrie-Anne Moss). Hogarth’s involvement in the series should be a particularly interesting one, as the comic version of the character has strong ties to Danny Rand, aka Iron Fist. As such, the Netflix/MCU version will probably appear throughout more of the Netflix series.
The way that the show utilizes the flashes of Kilgrave to show Jessica’s PTSD is off-putting and terrifying. Really well done. While Daredevil had a bit of a slow-burn up to Wilson Fisk’s reveal, I like that we jump right in to Kilgrave as the main baddie here. Just as his lingering presence is lurking in Jessica’s mind, he himself is on the peripheries of her world, ready to resurface at any moment.
Overall, a solid start. Krysten Ritter is crushing it as Jessica Jones. The sassy, snarky one-liners are always great, but it’s the glimpses of vulnerability that make you feel for the character. Near the end of the episode as Jessica helps Hope to calm down, you see her show genuine kindness for the first time in the episode’s 52 minutes. The thing about Jessica Jones is that underneath her acerbic nature, she truly cares for and wants to help people. That’s what makes her such a strong, interesting character. That’s what makes her a superhero.
Episode 2: AKA Crush Syndrome
That ending scene with Luke was awesome. “You can’t fix me. I’m unbreakable.” Nice.
Don’t have much to say this episode; it was mainly just introducing more of the plot threads. That’s not to say it wasn’t good, there was a lot of great stuff here. It just didn’t reach the same heights as the first episode, which is totally understandable.
Some of the plot nuggets to be explored in further episodes:
- Main one = Jessica discovers that Kilgrave has a weakness – the drugs used in anesthesia block his powers.
- Trish and Jessica are friends again; Trish is (secretly?) doing some fight training
- Luke and Jessica discover that the other has powers
- Formal introduction of Jessica’s sketchy neighbor twins
- Hogarth takes Hope’s case & realizes that Jessica was a former victim of Kilgrave’s
- Kilgrave takes up residence with a family “indefinitely”
I really liked the scene in the hospital where Jessica sneaks around to get information. While the time the sequence took up probably wasn’t worth actual amount of plot development that resulted from it, it was cool to see Jessica in her element as a private investigator. Plus, her reaction to the pink heart-adorned scrubs was priceless.
This was technically our first real look at Kilgrave. His nonchalant attitude while taking control over other people is so creepy. With Jessica, Hope, the doctor, the ambulance driver, and this new family, we see that Kilgrave has no qualms with manipulating anyone and everyone. The scene with the ambulance driver asking Jessica to kill him was heartbreaking.
Again, nothing really stood out to me this episode, but we planted a lot of seeds for things to come. With that, let’s jump in to episode 3, shall we?
Episode 3: AKA It’s Called Whiskey
This episode brought the feels! Upon reading Alias, I was wondering how they would deal with some aspects of Jessica’s past, particularly her run-ins with the Avengers. The show has deftly moved around this by putting Luke’s ex-wife at the center of Jessica’s last outing with Kilgrave. This was really smart and has put some interesting tension into the Jessica-Luke dynamic. That said, the scene where the truth comes out is sure to be utterly devastating.
On a lighter note, Luke Cage got to utter his catchphrase! The interactions between the pair at the beginning of the episode were great. They have a fun chemistry, and it’s nice to see Jessica happy.
Again, I really enjoyed the scenes showing how Jessica functions as a PI. The scene in which she used Malcolm as a distraction was clever and even amusing at first, but quickly turned painful as she realizes the ramifications of what she did. I’m really interested in seeing how they develop Malcolm and Jessica’s relationship. It’s really endearing to see how she actually cares for him, though she would not admit to it. The look in their eyes as she realized that she used him as a mere prop was heartbreaking.
Jeri Hogarth. I yelled “What?!” at the screen when she went off-plan during Trish’s interview with Hope. She is indeed quite the shark, or as Trish put it: “so smart… and evil.” Hogarth is definitely one to look out for; she is pretty conniving, and I’m sure the secrets that she and Jessica keep from one another will cause further trouble down the line.
Three episodes in and we already have an interaction between Jessica and Kilgrave. In this particular episode, Kilgrave himself didn’t appear as menacing so much as a whiny brat who gets what he wants. That being said, the scene in which Jessica discovers the room full of pictures was chilling. Even though it was featured in promos, it still carried a lot of weight and pushed Kilgrave further into the creepy, sinister column.
I was unsure of what the ending was implying. Does Jessica think that Luke is spying on her for Kilgrave? I was assuming that he was taking images from security/traffic cameras, at first. But that’s probably just the Person of Interest fan in me. The blurb for the next episode seems to imply that we’ll be diving deep into figuring out the source of the pictures, so that should be interesting.
One final thing I’d like to mention — while I enjoyed the first-person voiceover in the pilot, it felt out of place in these subsequent episodes, which is why I generally dislike the device as a whole. First-person voiceover is okay if it’s consistent, but in episode 3 in particular it was used for a line or two at most, then dropped. A nitpicky thing, and likely a personal preference, but it just feels off at times.
Other than that, awesome episode. We saw Jessica meet Kilgrave, got some more development on the Hope case, got a glimpse at Trish’s backstory (which, hilariously, seems to be a bit meta), and are learning more about Jessica’s time under Kilgrave’s control.
The series is ramping up quite nicely! I’m going to post this, grab some breakfast, then jump back in.
Thanks for joining me for Part One of the Jessica Jones Binge-Watch & Blog-Along! Coming soon: reviews and reactions to Episodes 4-6…
‘Til then — “The hell was that?” “…Teamwork?”
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