Jessica Jones, AKA Marvels Darkest Gem
Noir as a Highsmith novel – the only thing missing from the Jessica Jones pilot is a nasty smoking habit. Protagonists of noir past are often seen with a cigarette to accompany their hard liquor and fast conversation and while private investigator Jessica Jones doesn’t smoke, she certainly rises to the occasion where booze is concerned. Characters in this series are complex, relationships are incredibly complicated and this is very clearly demonstrated during the premiere episode as we watch Jones make every attempt to forget the atrocities of her past with the destruction of her liver.
No spoilers this time – feel free to read on!
Episode one, AKA Ladies Night, quickly reveals a mysterious heroine with a dark past and a villain with even darker desires haunting her every move. Psychological in a manner that is rarely explored on television, Marvel has never been darker, grittier or more intriguing. Jessica’s story in ink is one that many would not have guessed Marvel would be willing to transition to the screen. First appearing in the 2001 Marvel comic Alias #1, the story of Jessica Jones contains unparalleled elements of abuse, violence, rape, depression and manipulation that were central to its plot. The most extreme of these elements could easily exceed the boundaries permitted on television if shot exactly as written. Surprisingly, ABC was originally going to bring the series to life which would likely have resulted in many changes to fit the family-friendly network environment. Fans can thank Netflix for stepping up instead, as it appears from the pilot that they are making every attempt to stay as true to the source material as possible. An excellent cast, a clearly defined space within Marvel’s parent universe, a Netflix release (to follow another Netflix Marvel win with Daredevil), and a story that is highly compelling (no pun intended) are all indicators that this is yet another Marvel comic-to-screen adaptation that audiences will eagerly support. The show has the hallmarks of becoming a great addition to the Marvel cinematic universe.
In the titular role Krysten Ritter is brooding and sardonic and her character is an enigma for viewers (especially those unfamiliar with her past). Carrie-Ann Moss appears as the cool, commanding attorney Jeri Hogarth and Mike Colter is introduced as the chiseled strong-man Luke Cage (and “Sweet Christmas” he nails it). The formidable David Tennant may be scarce at the beginning of the season but fans should not be concerned – his role as Zebediah Killgrave is integral to the series plot and it would be plum crazy not to see more of him in subsequent episodes. Rachel Taylor’s face stands out on billboards and buses to foreshadow her important role in the story as Jessica’s closest friend and ally, Trish Walker (albeit somewhat estranged – remember, relationships are complicated in this show).
Easter eggs are plentiful and there are many little jewels (that pun was intended) to remind you that this is indeed Marvel property. With one episode down and twelve more to go be sure to check back in a few days for a spoiler-riddled post binge-watch final verdict on the future of Jessica Jones as a series. Current forecast? With a pilot like this, chances are a long and complicated relationship between Jessica and her fans can fortunately be expected!
Love David Tennant? Check out why producers have said that he owns half of Marvel’s Jessica Jones.