TV Review: Jessica Jones (Episodes 4 – 6)

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Here’s the next set of reviews of Marvel’s Jessica Jones, the new Netflix series. I’m quite enjoying it, as it goes.

AKA 99 Friends (1×04)

Something that I’ve really liked about this show, but not commented on yet, is the use of voiceovers. It’s really effective; Jessica Jones has a great, noir-style atmosphere, and a lot of it comes from those voiceovers. Typically the show does really well in terms of tone and atmosphere, though; once again, without appearing, we get some frightening Kilgrave moments as we start to meet some of his other victims. Personally, the young child who had been taken over stood out to me particularly, as did the story of Kilgrave’s chauffeur.

Also an interesting thing, that I’ve not yet commented on: this is the first Marvel property with any LGBT characters in it – that’d be Hogarth the lawyer, her wife, and her girlfriend. Obviously, it’s great that they’re part of the story, and that Marvel is beginning to make some strides towards a more diverse cinematic universe, but I do wonder about their relevance towards the whole plot. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad the characters exist, and I do find the plotline interesting (Hogarth is remarkably callous) but it does feel a little disconnected from the rest of proceedings. I wonder how it’s going to proceed from here.

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AKA The Sandwich Saved Me (1×05)

This could well have been the best episode of the series so far, in fact. The flashback sequences were particularly well handled, with their gradual revelation of Jessica’s past. It was quite poignant, actually, seeing her “before Kilgrave” state, where she was much happier, and working with Patsy to create the Jewel persona – actually genuinely going out and trying to save people, like Malcolm, because she likes helping people. All of that cut down, stopped in its tracks, because of Kilgrave. I’m really hoping we follow this thread with the flashbacks, and explore more of the past there.

Kilgrave himself finally got some substantial scenes, and he is terrifying. David Tennant is doing a really phenomenal job with this; in many ways, and I think intentionally, he’s channeling certain aspects of his portrayal of the Doctor here, to make Kilgrave all the more loathsome and slimy. In a way, you’d almost be inclined to describe him as charismatic – but that’s not right, because there’s always something much more insidious and disgusting lying beneath the surface. As a character, he’s never failed to be compelling yet; the final scene of this episode, where Jessica sends him the picture of herself, is genuinely unsettling.

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AKA You’re a Winner! (1×06)

With this episode, we start to delve into the past between Jessica and Luke a lot more deeply. It was a really interesting angle that they’ve included here; I don’t know if Jessica killing Luke’s wife was ever part of the comics, and if it was, it’s certainly not something I was already aware of. That’s nice, actually, not knowing the direction in which this is going, because it’s added a really interesting layer to the relationship between Luke and Jessica, which should prove to be pretty compelling as they move through the series.

Two other, rather wonderful, moments stood out to me. For one thing, it was really great to see Jessica in her element here as a PI, really being able to show off her skills as a detective. Of them all, this episode has probably done the best job of demonstrating just how good at her job Jessica is – which makes sense, really, given the focus of the episode.  The other standout moment I was referring to was the ending, with the slow revelation that Kilgrave was buying Jessica’s childhood home. It was chillingly effective, particularly in terms of the camera pan to reveal the street sign, with the names Jessica has been reciting as a coping mechanism all throughout the series. Really enforces just how loathsome a villain Kilgrave is.


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TV Review: Jessica Jones (Episodes 1 – 3)

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On 20th November Netflix released their second Marvel Television Program, which in this particular instance is Jessica Jones, which is based on Brian Michael Bendis’ Alias comic series. I’ve never read it, personally, but I’ve heard some very good things. Obviously, here be spoilers.

AKA Ladies Night (1×01)

Two things stand out in the first episode: Jessica and Kilgrave.

Krysten Ritter is pretty damn awesome as Jessica Jones. Her performance is fantastic, and I really love the character; she’s bitter and sarcastic, and struggling with alcoholism and PTSD. It’s a subtle and nuanced depiction of such a character, which is realised extremely well. She’s a really compelling character, and I think it’s brilliant that these stories are beginning to be told; it’s great that this is a show with a female lead, and it’s even better that the lead is such an atypical one. Jessica Jones is, in short, an excellent lead character.

Kilgrave, who’s the villain of the piece, isn’t exactly in this episode as such, but his presence is very much felt; AKA Ladies Night does a brilliant job of setting up the Purple Man, making him genuinely terrifying. All of that “we don’t say his name” from Daredevil last year seems like child’s play, at this point – without even a second of screentime, we know exactly how brutal and sadistic Kilgrave is, and it’s terrifying. I get the impression he’ll be a really compelling, memorable villain.

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AKA Crush Syndrome (1×02)

This episode picks up where the last one left off, and develops the plotline further; Jessica starts to pursue Kilgrave, hoping to prove the innocence of Hope, the young girl who shot her parents under Kilgrave’s instructions.

We see Kilgrave for the first time this episode, albeit only partially; the full reveal is still being held back, which makes his appearances all the more tense. Kilgrave is genuinely quite frightening; he’s brutal and sadistic, and he just doesn’t care about people. Jessica Jones is doing a really great job of setting up this central villain as someone to really, really give a damn about. They’re making great use of the motif of purple light, too – any scene with even the slightest hint of purple in its palette is significantly more tense than it would be otherwise.

Luke Cage is also developed a little more in this episode, which was nice to see. Interesting that he already has his powers by this point; I wasn’t expected that, I must admit. Looking forward to the next episode, and seeing how they further the relationship between Luke and Jessica.

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AKA It’s called Whiskey (1×03)

We’ve got some more revelations about Jessica this episode, and particularly her past. It’s quite interesting, actually; I’m starting to get the impression that Jessica killed Luke’s wife, and that was why she was spying on Luke. If I’m right (and that seems to be what the show is suggesting, so if I’m wrong I’ve heavily misinterpreted something) then this should prove to be an interesting change to the dynamic between Jessica and Luke; obviously I know the pair of them end up as a long term couple, but I think this aspect with regards to his wife is a new development of the show itself? Regardless, it’s a nice concept.

Kilgrave’s story is furthered as well; his targeting of Patsy is frightening in its sadism, but also it’s pettiness – it’s a childlike act of retribution, carried out on a larger scale because of the scope of his powers. Scary stuff, especially considering how nice Patsy comes across; they’ve done a good job of endearing her to the audience as Jessica’s old friend. Once again, this was another great episode.

This review was recently posted on the Yahoo UK website.


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