If you haven’t started (and finished) watching Marvel’s Jessica Jones on Netflix yet, I highly recommend that you get started. And, once you get started, you don’t have to wait until next week for the next episode: all 13 episodes are watchable right now. A lot of my writing time after November 20th got swallowed by binge watching Jessica Jones, which my boyfriend and I did over three days. A nice, reasonable pace for 13 47-minute episodes, really.
I love Marvel is just about everything their studios are producing these days, so I was predisposed to liking this show. And I absolutely did, even though I spent a fair amount of time while watching shouting at the TV, “Just have a conversation!” or “No, that’s a terrible idea, don’t do that!” Some of that is what makes this show pretty awesome. There will, of course, be spoilers in this post while I tell you just how awesome this show is.
We’re set up to like Jessica from the beginning, partially because she’s the protagonist and partially because her tragic backstory explains why she’s an asshole so much of the time. Without the explanation, we would dismiss her as someone not very likable—just like almost everyone in the show who doesn’t know her past does. She’s eminently relatable, with all her abrasive behavior and bad decisions.
I found myself making excuses for her—”Her metabolism is really fast like Captain America’s, so she’s not totally drunk all the time, just buzzed!”—and trying to make her into a better person. But after a while I stopped doing that. I don’t think she’s supposed to be a good person in the traditional sense, and her story makes just as much sense—if not a more powerful statement about her heroism—because she’s acts like a terrible person. The thing that makes her heroic, in spite of these things, is that she keeps going, doesn’t quit, doesn’t give up no matter how much she might want to.
Still, even though I really enjoyed this show, there were things in it that made me wonder what the hell it was doing.
- Luke Cage. I know he has his own show set to be available on Netflix in 2016, and that’s the only reason I can imagine why he doesn’t appear more often in this one. A quick look at that wiki page doesn’t show Krystyn Ritter as a regular or a guest, so who knows if Jessica will even appear in Marvel’s Luke Cage. The first time I ever encountered Jessica Jones and Luke Cage in the comics was in The Young Avengers, where Jessica is pregnant with Luke’s child. I can only hope that at some point the relationship between Jessica and Luke will become a more prominent part of either of their individual shows. Already Luke and Jessica’s interactions are hands down some of the best parts of this show, so it was disappointing that Luke isn’t a bigger part.
- Continuity and integration. When does this show even take place in the MCU? They say it’s after the events of the Avengers movies, but mostly I want to know how this and Daredevil fit together. I can’t imagine this takes place before the events of Daredevil, because Marvel doesn’t usually backtrack. If it’s during the same time period as Daredevil, we should hear about the notable events of that show (the policemen who are shot, the hunt for the “devil of Hell’s Kitchen,” etc.) And if it’s after all of that, shouldn’t we hear about the aftermath (the continued hunt for Wilson Fisk)? One of the things Marvel does really well in so many of its movies and TV shows is integrating them with each other. It would have been easy—so easy; off the top of my head I can think of three ways to do it without using the actors—but they failed to meet even the most basic of expectations with this show.
- Other Marvel Characters. On the heels of my continuity and integration disappointments, I can’t be the only person who wanted more Marvel characters to show up. Trish Walker’s character was originally supposed to be Carol Danvers (Jessica’s best friend in the comics) but because Ms. Marvel is getting her own movie, she was cut from Jessica Jones. Will Simpson turned into a minor character from the comics, and of course Luke and Kilgrave are comic characters, but it would be nice to see how the various TV shows and movies intersect.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely looking forward to what happens in the next seasons. I’m looking forward to future seasons of all of Marvel’s shows, and I hope that Marvel finds away to weave their threads together somewhat better than they have so far.