A week has passed since the release of season two of Jessica Jones on Netflix. Last week’s spoiler-free review discussed its structure. Now let’s discuss in full detail season two’s reveals, positives, and negatives. By now we all know the main arc surrounds Jessica Jones’ past, primarily the accident involving her and her family.
But unknown for a few episodes was the mystery as to how she got her powers. As it turns out it was through science and experimentation. But not in a malicious Weapon X way, instead Jessica’s treatment was different. Which gave one of the antagonists Doctor Karl Malus (Callum Keith Rennie) a sort of redeeming quality.
Malus used his new, illegal ways of treatment to save the lives of Jessica and her mother Alisa (Janet McTeer). His treatment of Alisa also closed up a potential plot hole when it came to her true identity and role in Jessica’s investigation, which also looked into the deaths of other enhanced beings. There’s a scene where Jessica goes to retrieve information about IGH (the research clinic responsible for her powers) from Alisa. During their initial meeting, Jessica doesn’t realize who Alisa really is until she discovers an old picture of herself in Alisa’s possession later on in the season.
But there is a good reason for that. Alisa was severely burned in the accident and Malus’ treatment while allowing her skin to fully grow back, gave her a different appearance. But it’s her role in the investigation that makes her one of Marvel’s most relatable villains. She doesn’t kill the people she does because she’s evil.
She does what she does because Jessica is her daughter. Also because she’s a bit mentally unstable. But all she wants to do is protect her daughter but as the story progresses her caring nature becomes detrimental to Jessica and those around her. When that starts to happen, that is where the show falls apart and becomes predictable.
As with most arcs that involve a child and a long lost antagonist parent, there comes a typical “join me” moment between the two. But in this show, it makes no sense, especially when earlier on Alisa’s actions get Jessica arrested, and make her a murder suspect. Not to mention Alisa tells Jessica she’s responsible for the murder of Jessica’s ex-boyfriend. Also, she tries to kill Trish. But despite those and other things, Jessica still goes on the run with her.
I know Alisa is her mom but at some point, you as an adult have to realize she’s toxic. Especially when she tries to literally use your own body to kill your best friend who you repeatedly refer to as your sister. Which makes the end of the season so eye-rolling. In the final episode, Trish kills Alisa in front of Jessica by shooting her.
The last scene involves Trish apologizing to Jessica and Jessica saying all she sees when she looks at Trish is the person who killed her mom, so she can’t be friends with her. Despite the fact, the woman Trish killed tried to murder her by using Jessica’s forearm to suffocate her. That decision makes Jessica Jones look very hard-headed.
That’s one of the season’s biggest issues. A lot of the dialogue and interactions towards the latter part of the season makes characters look hypocritical, and lack common sense. This is especially seen in the relationship between Jessica and her new superintendent Oscar (J.R. Ramirez). Oscar’s first few interactions with Jessica show his prejudice against super-powered beings.
Especially when he evicts her because apparently, the other people in the building feel “unsafe” with her living there. Even though we never see her do anything that would warrant that type of feeling. To me, he’s not a redeemable character and the fact they use his young son to try to show the other side of him and show cause for he and Jessica’s relationship is cheap. Not to mention his kid shouldn’t be able to erase what his father did to Jessica early on.
But it does and at the end, they’re one small happy family (at least for now). What’s even more frustrating about the creation of their relationship is we’ve had two seasons of interaction between Luke Cage and Jessica via season one of Jessica Jones and The Defenders. They are married in the comics, pull the trigger already on their relationship. Both seasons did more than enough to establish it.
It’s annoying when we all know it’s coming and the writers keep pushing it back and delaying it. Another issue as mentioned last week is the 13 episode order is way too much. The first 10 are tight and provide enough room for the main storyline to run its course. If you want to dedicate an episode just to the fallout of Alisa’s death, and the fractures amongst certain relationships, then go to 11.
Instead, the last three drag out the investigation and create scenarios and character choices that are head-scratching. I will say this. I liked how Kilgrave was brought back. He played a minor role in Jessica’s tightrope walk between vigilantism and killing and that was it.
The story did not revolve around him like last season. He was just an aberration in a pivotal moment. I also loved Hogarth’s arc surrounding her ALS diagnosis. Her diagnosis made her vulnerable and added a new dimension to her as a character.
I loved how we got to see the various mental stages as well. At first, she had this live life like it’s your last day mindset, but as her arc progressed we saw her decisions become more drastic, and heartbreaking. Seeing Trish’s past also did a lot of good things for her character as well.
To see her confront the director who raped her when she was 15 gave her a lot of power, and also played a key role in the main story. The flashback episode also did a great job of giving depth to her, Jessica, and their relationship when they were younger. However, I did not like her arc this season when it came to her getting addicted to the performance enhancer used by Simpson (Wil Traval). Even though she is a recovering addict, the substance endangered her life last season, so why would she use it?
I know she says later on that she wanted to be like Jessica, but it still doesn’t make sense. Especially when she has Doctor Malus perform the same experiment on her that he did to Jessica and Alisa. The experiment which nearly kills her, and puts her in the hospital. I am however happy this season did end with a very small tease of her becoming Hellcat.
As we head towards season three of Jessica Jones, here are my biggest hopes for it. 10 episodes, more interaction between Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, and I’d really like to see the noir element stay front in center. What made the first 10 episodes great is how they portrayed the show. It’s a detective show that happens to involve comic book characters and superpowered beings. That’s when it’s at its best.