Jessica Jones Season 2: Growing Pains

*Spoilers if you haven’t seen Jessica Jones Season 1*

The first season of Jessica Jones was amazing. I think JJ Season 1 was one of Netflix’s best Marvel series second only to Daredevil Season 2, which—let’s be honest—was so wildly successful because of…

I digress.

Jessica Jones Season 1 blended mystery, suspense, horror, and action so well I forgot I was watching a superhero show. Let’s review what was so awesome about it:

  • Krysten Ritter’s performance as Jessica
  • The introduction of Mike Colter’s Luke Cage
  • The expansion of Marvel’s “street-level” hero universe
  • David Tennant’s masterful performance as Kilgrave
  • Tight, well-paced plot propelled by one of the greatest villains in TV history

Now let’s move on to Season 2.

Sophomore Slump?

Right off the bat, Season 2 started off like a gymnast balancing on the peak of a mountain. Stay with me here. JJS2 had one hell of an act to follow and it knew there was nothing left to do but succumb to gravity. I believe that’s where Season 2’s flaws came from—the brutal expectations of the fans and the show’s realization that it might have to let them down.

Let’s get away from the negatives for a few seconds and talk about what I thought worked in Season 2.

  • Carrie-Anne Moss’ (The Matrix) performance as a vulnerable Jeri Hogarth
  • Excellent character development of Malcolm (Eka Darville)
  • Ritter still feels natural as Jessica Jones and I’m convinced she forever will
  • Same gritty, desperate feel as Season 1
  • Jessica and Trish’s flashback

Adding on to this, Moss’ and Darville’s performances were easily my favorites of the season.  Their respective arcs kept me going through some of Season 2’s filler.

Without further adieu, here’s what could’ve been better:

  • The villain’s storyline (I’ll explain)
  • Trish Walker’s bottomless rock bottom
  • Jessica’s irrational alienation of everyone
  • Pryce Cheng (Terry Chen) could have been a more menacing antagonist
  • Gratuitous shoehorned romantic relationships (the aforementioned “filler”)

Okay, the villain. This is going to be vague because I don’t want to ruin anything for those who have yet to watch Season 2. Basically, this season let out a bombshell a bit early. Halfway through, we boarded an emotional—and predictable— freight train that was doomed to lose steam and leave its audience disappointed.  Yes, the villain’s arc gave us insight to Jessica and Trish’s history and, yes, it brought out a side of Jessica that needed to be seen but it also slowed the overall season to a crawl.

Alright, I can’t do this next part without minor SPOILERS.

Know what really ruined this season for me? Iiiittt’s Patsy!!! Season 2 of Jessica Jones is basically Trish Walker’s race to the bottom of a neverending shit pit. Oh my God, why? It’s unfortunate because Trish was likable in Season 1. She was the tether! Trish was the one person in the world who could bring Jessica’s guard down. That’s her role: making sure the audience doesn’t forget Jessica is human. What does Season 2 Trish do instead? Piss off Jessica and prolong the plot by relapsing into an odd performance-enhancing drug binge that stems from Trish’s desire for superhuman powers. Why does Trish need powers? Her history is interesting enough without turning her into a quasi-powered drug-crazed vigilante with a chip on her shoulder.

That’s what bothered me the most about Season 2. Why was Trish not enough as is? Trish is a character who overcame years of drug addiction and every possible form of abuse to blossom into a highly respectable and successful woman worthy of praise and adoration. She hosts a seemingly successful radio show with a substantial following. What a perfect pulpit to bring about change! But no, that’s not enough. For a show that emphasizes the power of women, why reduce an already strong female character to someone who feels inadequate without super powers? I’m not sure why the writers thought that was okay but goddamn I hate the idea of a superpowered Trish. Her thirst for power pretty much nullifies all her great qualities.

Moving on. Jessica’s love interest, her building’s new superintendent (Oscar), is a superfluous character. Oscar is an ex-con on probation for forging federal documents. Jessica and Oscar’s relationship moves the overall plot along via the two falling for each other and Jessica eventually asking Oscar to forge various docs for her. Okay, fine, but here’s a question: as a seasoned Private Investigator in New York, wouldn’t Jessica already know a document forger or two? I mean, if she doesn’t know one personally then I’m sure she knows someone who does, right? My point is this season could have shaved off 2 or 3 episodes by excluding a relationship that really only progressed the plot because of Oscar’s forgery skills, which we already established could have came from elsewhere. However, if Oscar does make the cut to Season 3 then I’m going to look like a giant asshole. That is the risk I take.

Well, I think that’s it. Overall, I recommend Jessica Jones Season 2. I’ll go so far as to say it’s a must-watch for anyone who’s seen Season 1. Krysten Ritter’s performance alone is well-worth your time. Moss’ performance and Malcolm’s character arc are the icing on the cake. Give Season 2 a shot. Your mileage may vary.

I’d love to hear your comments and responses when you get a chance. Thank you for your time!