Jessica Jones – S1E1 – AKA Ladies Night

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Let there be Spoilers

I’m not sure who to thank for Jessica Jones, Marvel, for their extensive world building, Netflix, for their increasingly incredible collection of original series (Sorry, broadcast TV, you may have Game of Thrones, but this is where the real adventure lies), or the creators Brian Michael Bendis and Marvel comics.

See, I’m not a comic book reader at all, but I’ve become a fan of the Marvel cinematic universe due to, well, you kinda have to be don’t you? Thus, I have no clue as to who Jessica Jones is. I only knew I wanted to watch it because of the pedigree behind it. Netflix and Marvel coming together again, Krysten Ritter as a troubled Heroine, David Tennant as a villain, New York, Noir styled detective work and hooray for another female led superhero show.

I haven’t caught up with Daredevil yet, and I’m not a complete MCU fanatic, but Jessica Jones, so far, is the best Marvel property to date.

I don’t mean that lightly, from the instant it breezes smokily onto our screens, it’s a completely different beast to Stark and Co. This is a gritty and dark show, where the demons slither in the shadows, and the imposing gloom permeates every fibre, every shot of this fantastic pilot.

Like Jessica Jones herself, the show is hard and spiky, taking no prisoners and relishing in it’s Noir roots, both gritty and sardonically funny, it’s a world away from its predecessors,

Krysten Ritter is perfect, strangely for a character I’ve never encountered before, she inhabits her personality and world with restrained ferocity. She’s tough, yet vulnerable and her PTSD doesn’t make her weak, she’s far stronger for it, even if it tears her apart inside.

Her backstory, the past life with Kilgrave is a slow build of suspense and terror, she’s clearly wounded by the affect he had on her, and it’s coming back to haunt her. Even though we’ve not got a proper look at him, his presence soaks every scene with menace, glimpses of him are terrifying, the sound of his voice, nerve racking.

When Tennant finally arrives fully on screen, it’s going to be incredible.

I have a vague knowledge of this backstory, but I won’t speculate, I want to watch it unfold as it’s intended. Something which I don’t have to wait long for, Netflix has done it again, and this time I’ll be watching.

So, what do I love about this first episode, I could talk about it for ages, but for my own sanity, I want to be quick with these reviews and get down to the nitty gritty of what made it work.

New York, I love you. The dark, neon, Noir soaked streets of Manhattan, the Jazzy, bluesy music. It’s my sort of vibe.

The supporting cast, all interesting so far, plus the introduction of future star of his own series, Luke Cage. I had no idea that was him until I saw it on IMDB.

The writing is really great, it’s subtle and funny, sexy and involving and the direction creeps around the dark streets, complimenting each other perfectly.

The central story of the episode, Jessica helping find a missing daughter, leads her to discover that Kilgrave is back, which makes it very personal as the case has echoes of everything she’s already been through. She eventually tracks her down to a hotel, and drags the girl kicking and screaming out of the bedroom, the girls’ parents arrive and things seem to settle down, as it it’s a nice little ending.

Then the big twist happens, the girl pulls out a gun in the elevator and shoots her parents dead, clearly under the influence of The Purple Man. It’s a hugely shocking sequence that had me throw my hands to my head, mouth open wide, which surprised me, because I really wasn’t expecting to be that shocked so early. Now, I expect the show to continue to surprise me.

“Smile” was chilling, it’s connotations are terrifying.

I am so happy to have a show like Jessica Jones, on Netflix, set in New York, with scary stuff, great characters and a superb feminist lead in the form of Jessica, played superbly by Krysten Ritter.

I’m very impressed by this pilot, and I can’t wait to watch more.

Rating: A-  9/10

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