Still worse than comics… Jessica Jones, Season Two

Piotrek: It’s been a month since Jessica Jones’ Second Season’s premiere and finally we sit down to cast our judgement 😉 I must admit the show did not induce particularly strong feelings in me this time, contrary to the first encounter. Not disappointment, but also not enthusiasm. After an awful Iron Fist and mediocre – at best – Defenders, we got thirteen watchable, but largely forgettable, episodes of superhero TV. As a new industry standard, it’s cool, but in comparison to, say, Marvel’s The Punisher, to stay within Netflix/Marvel universe, nothing special.
My main problem with Season One was that it did not show us Jessica doing the actual detective work, that the Killgrave was defeated largely by his fascination with our heroine, not her skills and efforts, and that the show was not as connected with other Netflix Marvels as it should have been, given its source material. No Murdock, Patsy as a poor substitute for Jessica’s true best friend – Carol Danvers AKA Captain Marvel… it was not bad TV, but not a great adaptation of one of the most interesting comics I’ve ever read.
Ola: I’ve forced myself to watch the second season of Jessica Jones only for the purpose of this review :P. I actually think I preferred the first season, despite its vivid and undeniable inferiority to the comic books. The second season suffers from a bad case of an ideological bout of righteousness. Don’t get me wrong – I supported “#Me too” action, because I thought it was an unfortunately necessary, if overly heated and not always fair, debate. But hitching the JJ2 wagon to “#Me too” action seems, firstly, unnecessary, and secondly, in bad taste. The storylines of Alias, i.e. Jessica Jones comic books, can easily defend themselves. They don’t need additional repetitions or variations of the themes already covered, abundantly, I might add, in season one.
Piotrek: In Season Two, Krysten Ritter still shines as Jessica, Patsy still sucks, and the script is significantly worse than previously – making me miss Killgrave, who, regardless of the imperfections of the story, was superbly played by David Tennant. Here, he has no equivalent.
Ola: Indeed. The measure of mediocrity of JJ2 can be clearly assessed by the fact that the most enjoyable episodes involved the cameo of Killgrave. Who had seriously irritated me in Season One! And here he was a shining star… Sigh.
Piotrek: I rather liked Jessica’s mum and her story arch. Definitely better than Dorothy Walker, show wasted too much time on her in Season One. Alisa Jones was an interesting version of Jessica without her moral inhibitions.
Ola: She was a cartoon character. She had her moments, granted, but the whole structure of season two, revolving around different forms of abuse and mother-daughter relationships (Jessica and her mother, Patsy and her mother) and playing the redundancies and variations of the theme ad nauseam felt like unnecessary padding of an already too long series. Still, when compared to Patsy storyline, it was great. Patsy is officially the most infuriating character of the Netflix MCU series. She beats even the Iron Fist! That’s a really educating story: be a lying, conniving addict who uses everyone around her, find a crazy doctor experimenting on people, threaten him with a gun and make him experiment on yourself to the point of clinical death, and – voila! You are certain to gain sexy superpowers! Yay.
What I really didn’t expect was how sexist JJ2 became. It’s sexism à rebours: the women are invariably strong, sometimes to the point of absurd, as mentioned above, while the men are invariably weak and susceptible to all kinds of crime and addiction. Women are the movers and shakers of the JJ2 world. They can be good or bad, imperfect to the point of caricature, but there’s no doubt as to who really rules this patch of dirt. The well-built neighbor parades around shirtless to highten the sex factor of the series, and additionally is an unusually talented con-man. He is the stay-at-home mistress for our protagonist – he even cooks for her 🙂 What would she do without him? (especially that the comic book love interest of Jessica, Luke Cage, seems at the moment taken with the superhero groupie Night Nurse :P) Jessica’s assistant in the end turns out to be a shallow, disloyal addict who after a major blunder he himself was responsible for turns to another employer. Jessica’s rival in the investigative field is a cowardly, small man going as low as a break-in to Jessica’s appartment (he wants to steal her cases). I could go on and on, there’s literally not one male worth anything.
Piotrek: It’s sad, how often people’s idea of making things better is simply to reverse the stereotypes. And write men just as badly as they used to write females. Why bother with creating good & balanced stories and characters, that would require effort. It makes me appreciate some things about Fantastic Beasts… pointed out here in a very interesting video essay.
 Ola: Another thing that bothered me was the primitive tribalism of the series, and an aborted effort at making an updated – and terribly trivialized – version of Ridley Scott’s feminist manifesto, Thelma & Louise. I get that blood ties and kinship are among the strongest bonds on Earth, at least among mammals, some birds and reptiles ;). Still, why does this knowledge need to serve as a tool to stupefy the protagonist? Jessica Jones is not Luke Skywalker, and “she’s a murderous psychopath, but she’s still my mother” is no excuse for actions going against the character of the main protagonist (already established in Season One!). It seems to serve only one goal: to prolong the already too long series and to cover (unsuccessfully) the total emptiness of thought with meaningless fluff. The quote from Spider-Man and the forced winking to the audience (you see? We’re soo fashionably nerdy!) was the final straw.
Piotr: I’m not very optimistic about the Netflix corner of MCU. Punisher was great, but it’s a very unique show, and the rest was not so good lately. It’s rather surprising that the weakest link is, time and time again, writing. With so many stories ready in the comic book form – and comics should be relatively easy to translate into TV – there is no excuse. WhatCulture convinced me Netflix Marvels are too long, at least for the stories they try to tell. There could be more content to justify 13-episode (or longer!) series, but they choose to spread a very limited amount of butter over too much bread
Ola: In this we fully agree – quite unfortunately for us as the audience… Reviewing Jessica Jones Season Two made me even reconsider the score for Thor: Ragnarok, which I officially raise to 4/10 ;).
Score: Piotr 5/10, Ola 3/10

4 thoughts on “Still worse than comics… Jessica Jones, Season Two

  1. I kinda figured I’d miss Killgrave for season 2, but I don’t know how I feel about this hitching itself to the me too movement- like you said, it feels a bit in bad taste. And unfortunately it seems very in vogue right now to have lousy male characters :/ And honestly, I felt like last season was a bit overlong, so I can really see your point about it dragging out here too. Great review!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks! It’s a controversial thing these days, going against the prevailing moods (JJ2 has some rave reviews indeed) – I feel that even well deserved criticism may be taken as being willfully obstreperous 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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