As a massive fan of the first season of Marvel’s Jessica Jones, I’d really been looking forward to the second season. JJ2 was always going to struggle to be as refreshingly adult and ground-breaking as JJ1, I knew that. What I hadn’t been prepared for, however, was just how far short JJ2 would fall of the high standards set by JJ1. The second season is disappointingly brattish and so, so tired.
There are a whole host of problems with JJ2. Where to begin? At the beginning, I guess. Okay, we are immediately hit with a lack of continuity, with plot inconsistencies and with massive plot holes. A nerdy and nervous superhero (called The Whizzer) comes to Jessica saying someone is trying to kill him. It’s not clear why anyone would want to kill him. He ends up dead anyway. Jessica tracks down someone who might be the killer (I won’t spoil it for you), but it’s never actually explained and the show promptly gives up on that entire plotline. Then a rival private detective turns up, accuses Jessica of stealing his clients (although we’ve just been told in the previous scene that Jessica has no proper clients to speak of) and tries to buy her out. She tells him to get lost and – apart from a later break-in – he pretty much does. Then Jessica’s side-kick Malcolm is emotionally blackmailed by Trish to ‘fall off the wagon’ and start taking drugs again – he does, freaks out, runs into the night saying he never wants to see her again – and then appears with her in the next episode as if nothing’s happened. It’s all really random, frustrating and, basically put, rubbish.
Unlike in JJ1, there’s no major baddie in JJ2. This means JJ2 lacks a consistent focus, is often aimless and is frequently pointless. There is a lack of true moral dilemma, a lack of mystery, a lack of consequences to actions and a complete lack of moral compass. Many episodes are simple soap operas, full of angst and whining. Where is the sass and humour of the first season? We eventually get some wit in a couple of later episodes because David Tennant turns up as the ghost of Kilgrave from season one. It was as if the writers of season two suddenly realised/accepted things just weren’t working and decided to reboot… except Jessica then declares to Kilgrave that she is stronger than him… and he promptly disappears (as if Tennant suddenly decided he was really needed on far better productions than this one). And that’s that. We return to the self-indulgent flip-flopping of Jessica’s dull origin story. Argggh!
Look, it could be that the writers of JJ2 were trying to do something brave with the traditional superhero format. In refusing to have a big threatening male as baddie, and in populating the show with strong female characters, perhaps they were trying to pull off something very advanced and experimental. Unfortunately, in devoting so much of their energy to this new style of things, they neglected to put enough into getting the basics right. Like a basic plot. Like basic character development (rather than the repetition and restating of things we already know). There is a lot of posing and pouting attempted by Jessica, but without any decent dialogue or depth to things, she just looks like a sulky child. In one episode, she says, ‘When you have dreams, but they don’t come true, they become nightmares.’ Eh? Does that make sense? Not really, cos she’s simply having a car ride with her mum. And Trish’s constant tantrums make her seem like nothing more than a spoilt child. Sheesh. The whole thing is a mess from start to finish.
It’s such a shame. Such a wasted opportunity. And to think I’ll never get those thirteen hours back. A score out of 10? Probably a 5 is fair.