Jessica Jones: Your Next Netflix Binge

(Spoiler-free!) Ready to spend the long holiday weekend binge watching Jessica Jones on Netflix? Trust me, way more satisfying that that third helping of sweet potatoes. Here are my spoiler-free thoughts on the show.

Jessica Jones stars Veronica Mars-alum, Krysten Ritter as a super hero turned private eye in this dark and disturbing 13-episode series. It’s refreshing to see Ritter play a character that’s edgier and more nuanced than the roles I knew her from: Gia Goodman in VMars and the wickedly funny Chloe in Don’t Trust the B- in Apt. 23. As Jessica Jones, she drinks whiskey till she passes out, pukes in alleys, stumbles to bed with an annoyed glance at a forgotten lover and – most disturbing of all – sleeps in her makeup.

Suffice it to say, girlfriend has issues.

Sure, she’s crazy fast and her plyo power jumps would make Insanity’s Shaun T proud, but despite her super human abilities, emotionally, she’s not exactly bulletproof. She’s dealing with debilitating PTSD, having been brutalized mentally and physically by the series villain, Kilgrave, who can mind-control anyone into doing what he wants. And what he wants is usually depraved, sadistic or just plain weird. While searching for a missing young woman named Hope, Jessica discovers Kilgrave is not dead, as she’d originally thought. (Not a spoiler, pretty much the premise of the series.) Because of her guilt and self-loathing, saving Hope is as close as Jessica can come to saving herself.

I haven’t finished the series yet, but already I’m hooked. In addition to the fierce and flawed Jessica Jones herself, a cast of well-drawn supporting characters keeps things interesting. Killgrave, (David Tennant from Broadchurch and Dr. Who), is a creepy, unrepentant villain whose sympathy-for-the-devil charm (and purple suit) makes him even scarier.

Luke Cage (who’s getting his own series next year) is a super buff super hero played by Mike Colter. His power is that he’s unbreakable, which is more than I can say for his bed. He and Jessica share some very steamy, almost gymnastic hookups, but a connection in their past makes a happy ending unlikely. Oh, and apparently his signature line is “Sweet Christmas,” something you’ll echo during those many shirtless scenes.

Jessica’s best friend, Trish Walker, played by Rachel Taylor (IMDB fun fact: a former Miss Teen Tasmania), isn’t “gifted”, meaning no super powers, but she’s trained in Krav Maga and can hold her own in most situations. She always, always has Jessica’s back. #SquadGoals

Carrie-Anne Moss (Matrix, Memento) is Jeri Hogarth, a shady high-power attorney going through a messy divorce from her wife so she can marry her assistant. Like the majority of women in the show, Jeri is razor sharp and completely in control (or fighting for it), a welcome change from the roles women are usually given in the Marvel Comic Universe.

Oh yeah, Jessica Jones is based on a comic series. You forget from time to time, because this incarnation of the characters elevates the form and breaks so many rules. The super heroes are all too human, with small, often dreary lives. When we first meet Jess, she couldn’t be more different from billionaire Tony Stark or the “flag waver”, Captain America. She’s a freelancer chasing down crappy assignments and payment for services rendered. Her only super power seems to be the ability to shake off a hangover.

We later learn she’s a rape survivor. As with this summer’s Max Max: Fury Road, we don’t have to see her rape or Hope’s to feel the trauma it leaves in its wake. The subject of consent is hotly debated and it’s made clear that rapists aren’t just lurking in alleys. They also frequent five-star restaurants and luxury hotels. The show cuts Kilgrave no slack – despite his abusive parents and tortured past – the horror of his actions are never excused or diminished. Unlike his victims, he’s given choices and chooses poorly again and again.

I’m a little over halfway through the series and can’t wait to finish. My fitness tracker can attest to the fact that I’ve already put in some pretty significant sofa time, but I’ll make up for it working on my own plyo power jumps. Right now, Jessica Jones is serving up the sarcasm and I’m ready for another helping.

How about you? Are you hooked on Jessica Jones? What should I watch next?

Photo credit: Myles Aronowitz/Netflix

 

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