Jessica Jones season 2
To date, season one of “Jessica Jones” was the best offering Marvel had given viewers in its collection of Netflix heroes. Krysten Ritter was perfect as the snarky misanthropic alcoholic private investigator. David Tenant was horrifying as the mind controlling villain. Unfortunately when it came time for round two, the Marvel execs and writers must have sat down and said, “Let’s take everything that made season one our greatest Netflix show and not do any of it in season two.”
And season two is indeed a far cry from the fun ride that viewers experienced in Jessica Jones’ debut. It’s dour and boring.
Season two begins in media res and it is never a good thing when any story opens in media res and it feels like nothing is happening. Our hero is troubled by the fact she killed the villain in season one. And she’s searching for answers about her past. Thanks to medical records her friend Trish has gained access to, Jessica knows there are 20 days unaccounted for after she was the sole survivor of a car crash that killed her family.
Meanwhile, a new character, Pryce Cheng, wants to buy Alias Investigations. When Jessica turns him down he threatens to shut her down (in his defense Jessica did through him through the front door). Another newcomer has taken over as the building’s super and he’s racist against super powered people. He’s also in a custody battle with his ex over their son. Trish is milking Jessica’s life for radio show content and trying to help Jessica uncover her past. She also has a stalker. Former addict Malcolm is now clean and working with Jessica. And Jeri is dying.
Everything begins to kind of coalesce when Whizzer shows up at Jessica’s office. Sadly, this isn’t the Whizzer from Marvel lore that teamed up with Captain America and Bucky Barnes during World War Two or even the Squadron Supreme member, but just a dumpy looking speedster who can only run when he’s afraid. Whizzer says he was tampered with and given powers, thus setting Jessica on a path that could answer her own questions.
It hurts to say that season two of “Jessica Jones” just isn’t very interesting. She was a damaged character to begin with but was also very human. She beat up the bad guys, took people down with snarky parting shots that would make Tony Stark jealous, and was yet very vulnerable. And these things still find their way to the screen occasionally, but this Jessica has become so cold and closed off and is not someone you really want to spend time with. The shift in character is reminiscent of the season two premiere of “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” when Buffy returns to Sunnydale after a summer away with her father and turns her friends off with a new attitude. But “When She Was Bad” only lasted a merciful 42 minutes. This new Jessica Jones hangs around for a very long time.
Unfortunately, Jessica doesn’t have a Willow, Zander, or Giles to pick up the slack. Trish is one dimensional this time around, Jeri is basically a soap opera villain, and Malcolm, who could counter some of the gloominess, is a fourth string quarterback waiting for playing time.
Maybe “Jessica Jones” works better consumed in small bites instead of over the course of a weekend or in one long marathon. Hopefully that’s the case. To sit down and binge feels as painful as a Jones punch to the face. But at least the punch will knock you out for a few hours. And if you’re lucky maybe you will hear a great quip before you pass out. You will find neither luxury in this Netflix series.