Jessica Jones Episode 1 Review
Jessica Jones Episode 1 Review
Jessica Jones is the second Marvel TV show to debut on Netflix after Daredevil. Not only is Jessica Jones set in the same universe as Daredevil but the same city as well, New York. The show will introduce a number of characters to the universe and is based on the popular comic Alias, created by Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Gaydos. The show like the comic follows Jessica Jones, a former superhero who becomes a private investigator after some traumatic events in her past.
Jessica Jones got off to a strong start with its first episode, introducing key characters in an authentic manner and setting up Jessica’s haunted past. The show wasted no time in showing why it belonged on Netflix with sex scenes, drinking and violence all occurring in the first episode. It is easy to imagine Daredevil being in the same world as that show also contained plenty of adult scenes, particularly violent ones. Jessica Jones is a hard-drinking, super powered woman who spends her time chasing down leads as a private investigator. These often involve infidelity and photographing cheating spouses. However, Jessica’s past constantly eats away at her and when the man she fears the most seemingly returns from the dead, she considers running away.
Like Daredevil, Jessica Jones uses New York City as a character unto itself. The use of colour is especially vivid in this show, with the colour purple representing Kilgrave (also known as The Purple Man in the comics) who is already shaping up to be one of Marvel’s creepiest villains. We only catch fleeting images and shadows of David Tennant’s Kilgrave but his presence is clearly something that will hang over all the characters in the show, especially Jessica.
The main thread of this episode was the case involving Barbara and Bob Schlottman and their missing daughter Hope. It quickly becomes clear that Hope is being manipulated by Kilgrave, a man Jessica believed dead who can control people’s minds and therefore their actions. Jessica is conflicted, does she get as far away from this man as possible or help Hope, who is being manipulated in the same way she was? Of course, ultimately she decides to help but it’s a difficult decision and despite her best efforts to rescue Hope and return her to her parents, it all ends in tragedy. One of the final scenes of the episode, its a bloody and tragic moment that really illustrates the power Kilgrave possesses.
Krysten Ritter plays Jessica and she gives a very good performance. Jessica is a no-nonsense, tough woman but she also tries to do the right thing. Her real strength isn’t her physical strength, its her mental strength as she chooses in this episode to be reminded of her dark past when the much easier option would have been to run away. Although how do you escape someone as cunning and manipulative as Kilgrave? Jessica decides the solution is to kill him once and for all.
The show does a fantastic job of setting up Jessica, her primary conflict and her lifestyle. Similar to Daredevil before it, the show has a much slower approach to developing its supporting cast. Luke Cage is a bartender and is someone who Jessica is clearly keeping tabs on. Cage has his own back story and history in the comics and the two already have a rapport and dynamic. A woman from Cage’s past clearly weighs on Jessica’s mind and she feels some responsibility for a past case it seems. We’re certain to find out more in future episodes. Other characters introduced include Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix) as a highly regarded lawyer. She has some understanding of Jessica’s particular skills and helps her out with information from time to time.
I really enjoyed Jessica Jones‘s first episode and can’t wait to watch more. It seems Daredevil was not a one-off and that Marvel has found a home for its much darker material. Kilgrave is already turning out to be a menacing threat and Krysten Ritter as Jessica gives a layered and enjoyable performance in her debut. I already want to know more about this character, her past and her personality. Her performance as Jessica coupled with a pretty intense plot made for an enthralling first episode.