Jessica Jones Binge-Watch & Blog-Along (Part Five: Ep 13 & Post-Mortem)

Well, it’s official.  I survived my Jessica Jones marathon.  I started at 4 am Friday, November 20th and finished around 1:30 am Saturday, November 21st.  Considering I took time to write a blog snippet after each episode and took breaks to run errands, eat meals, etc., I made pretty good time!  Still counts as a #OneDayJJ success 😉

But enough patting myself on the back.  Let’s get to the good stuff…

Welcome to the the fifth and final part of the Jessica Jones Binge-Watch and Blog-Along!  This post will cover Episode 13 and some thoughts on the series as a whole. You can find reviews & reactions to previous episodes in Parts One, Two, Three, and Four.

Warning: Spoilers below!  (Also contains mild spoilers & discussion for the Jessica Jones comic, Alias.  Ye be warned!)

Episode 13: AKA Smile

Overall, I think this was a great end to the season.  The inclusion of “Night Nurse” Claire (played by Rosario Dawson) was a great way to connect Jessica Jones to the previous Marvel/Netflix joint production, Daredevil.  Claire and Jessica had a great rapport; I think they’d be good friends.  Hopefully they continue to do more crossovers throughout future seasons of  The Defenders shows (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist).

The interaction between Claire and Malcolm was really interesting in its exploration of the role that non-powered people play in a world inhabited by gifted people.  Claire tells Malcolm that “You don’t need powers to be of use.” and suggests that they are there to help the powered people (who “by necessity, by definition, are separate — even from each other”) connect to the rest of humanity.

“What does that make us?  Sidekicks?”

“Oh, I’m no one’s sidekick!”

Similarly, we look to Trish.  Jessica’s friend, confidant, sister.  At first glance she seems to be a mere sidekick, a helpless character in constant need of saving.  And to be honest, she does fit this role quite a few times throughout the series.  But Trish shows strength in different ways, in subtle ways.  In the way she stands up for what she believes is right and for those she cares about.  Even though she was maltreated by her mother or Officer Simpson, she holds her ground against both of them on multiple accounts and makes it clear that she will no longer be treated that way.

Still, it was great to see Trish take a more active role in the narrative here.  While at first it seemed she was again relegated to wait in the car in “stand-by” mode, she later plays an integral role as a decoy Jessica, marching alone into a room surrounded by armed policemen controlled by Kilgrave.  The reveal there was pretty awesome.  I may have cheered.  Furthermore, at the docks, she consciously jumps into the fray to try and stop the gathered people from killing one another.

The relationship between Trish and Jessica is really sweet.  They grew up together and had each others’ backs.  Though they lost contact as they grew older, the events of the first season brought them back closer than ever.  It was great, then, to see Jessica finally open up and admit that she loved Trish.  They’re basically sisters, and Jessica would do anything for her.

Kilgrave’s journey to make himself more powerful was chilling.  I had almost forgotten about Kilgrave obtaining the dead fetal tissue from his and Hope’s aborted child, and was pleased to see that plot point make a comeback in an interesting, relevant way.  Kilgrave’s poor father!  The blender scene was intense enough.  Then, he had his arms sawed off while he was still alive and put down the garbage disposal.  Ugh, so gross.

I have made much about the difference between show Kilgrave and Alias comic Killgrave in previous posts.  One thing I found particularly interesting was show Kilgrave’s transformation into something more closely resembling comic Killgrave in this episode.  As he stands on the balcony contemplating Jessica’s fate, he describes a situation similar to what had happened in the Alias continuity where he makes her want him so much that she wants to die and constantly rejects her.  The Kilgrave seen monologuing here is a lot closer to the sadistic comic version than the hopelessly in-love version seen previously on the show.  Also, in a little touch that I thought was extremely clever, the latest enhancement causes Kilgrave’s veins pop out when he screams, turning his face the slightest shade of purple.

The scene on the docks was incredibly intense as Kilgrave finally exploits Jessica’s one weakness, the one person she truly loves – Trish.  It was unclear whether Kilgrave’s newly amped-up powers had actually taken hold of Jessica, or if she was faking.  The reveal was fantastic, using the codewords that Jessica and Trish had previously established – “I love you.”  Great moment, great scene, great episode.

…Great series?  Let’s discuss below!

Jessica Jones Series Post-Mortem

Sure, it may be my binge-watching, marathon-addled brain.  Or perhaps it’s just the Jessica Jones hype high that I’ve been riding for the past week or so.  But nah, I don’t think so.  I think I can objectively say:  Yes, this was a great series.

Jessica Jones did a fantastic job of developing our cast of characters, exploring interesting themes, weaving clever plots, and by just being flat-out entertaining.  There was humor (especially if you love wry one-liners), emotional moments of touching drama, hard-hitting action, intrigue, romance — the list goes on.

First off, the cast did a remarkable job.  I adored every one of them for what they brought to their characters.  I particularly enjoyed our two Defenders leads, Krysten Ritter and Mike Colter.  They brought Jessica and Luke to life in a way that made them feel like real, multi-dimensional people.  Can’t wait to see their continued work throughout the franchise.  Hopefully Jessica will have a similarly regular appearance schedule on the upcoming Luke Cage series as Luke did in this show.  I really love the dynamic between these two and hope they will keep teaming up.

On the production side of things, I really loved the soundtrack.  The opening sequence is fantastic!  The visuals on this series felt very real and natural.  Unfortunately, it never hit the same cinematographic heights as Daredevil, which utilized the camera in some really cool ways.  But it still looked great, and from what I could tell, was shot pretty well.

The writing on the series was really good.  There were a lot of great quips and one-liners (a standard for a story based on detective noir), as well as some scenes that carried a lot of emotional weight.  The noir-esque, first-person voiceover worked in some cases, but felt out of place in others.  Plotting-wise, I think the series was fairly well-balanced.  There were some plot lines that I think could have been cleaned up a bit, but everything seemed to fit together well in a way that moved the story forward nicely.

There was a great focus on several themes that I picked up on, most notably “heroism” and “strength.”  As a character, Jessica both excels at and struggles with these two issues.  She’s physically strong, and at least on the outside, mentally strong.  But there is a vulnerability to her, a fear of not being in control and not being able to protect others.  As such, she struggles with calling herself a hero, even though many in her life (Trish, Malcolm, Hope, etc.) believe that she can be a great one.  I really loved the closing scene of the series that reflected this, and the inference that this is something Jessica will continue to struggle and deal with over time — perhaps in a second season of Jessica Jones or another Defenders show?  Please?

All in all, I think Jessica Jones is a fantastic series.  The Netflix shows are among some of my favorite entries into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, both on television or in film.  As of right now, I’d probably have to say that I think Daredevil was a better season of television than Jessica Jones.  Which isn’t to cast aspersions on Jessica Jones.  No, no.  Not at all!  I thoroughly enjoyed both series, and think they are each excellent pieces of art.  That said, I think Daredevil was better in cinematic techniques and overall storytelling, while Jessica Jones had a richer, more nuanced cast of characters.

I really enjoyed marathoning all of Jessica Jones today, but will likely consume it in smaller chunks on my second viewing in the future.  There was definitely a lot to process and experience, and the show being as great as it is, I’m sure there will be a lot more to inspire and explore even further on repeat viewings.

Thanks for joining me for the of the Jessica Jones Binge-Watch & Blog-Along!  It’s been a blast, but now it’s time for me to catch up on some much needed sleep.

‘Til next time — Zzzz…

Disclaimer: All images and videos shown belong to Netflix and Marvel, the use of which have not been specifically authorized by the copyright owners. This blog post is for non-commercial criticism and comment purposes only. I believe that this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law.

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