If you are reading this, then it is safe to assume that you binged watched all 13 episodes of Jessica Jones season 2. That means I am free to spoil everything. If not, shame on me for assuming.
Where We Last Left Jessica Jones
Season 2 of Jessica Jones picks up with our main characters still reeling from the chaos that Killgrave left behind. Jessica is still the same old Jessica. And it appears that she is finally moving past what the Purple Man did to her and her friends. But that’s just it. Jessica’s past cannot seem to stay in the past, and that was the theme for this entire season.
What I loved about season one of Jessica Jones is that it didn’t come off as your typical superhero show. Jessica has no gimmick, her powers aren’t glorified, and she loathed the idea of being labeled a “hero.” Jessica Jones is merely a woman who just so happens to have abilities, which is fine. But if the writers were going to stick with that same formula in season 2, then the story better be just as entertaining. Unfortunately, I cannot say that was the case for this season.
This season had four storylines going on that mixed things up a bit. Core cast members got to do their own thing for once. This added some much-needed depth to a supporting cast that was forgettable in season one. Towards the back end of the season, the story arcs of the supporting cast members felt rushed in some places. The writers bit off more than they could chew in just 13 episodes. Too many moving pieces resulted in the overall story feeling like a jumbled up mess.
Jeri Hogarth’s Medical Troubles
We learn in episode one that successful lawyer, Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss) is diagnosed with ALS, a degenerative disease that eventually makes you a prisoner inside your own body and eventually takes your life. Somehow, Hogarth’s fellow law firm partners find out about the diagnoses. Due to a medical clause in Hogarth’s contract, her partners have grounds to force her out of the firm. Hogarth’s work is her life, so she decides to fight back by hiring Jessica to get some dirt on her partners. As the season wore on, Jessica found herself dealing with much bigger problems. This left her newly promoted associate, Malcolm Ducasse (Eka Darville) picking up the pieces and finishing the case himself. Just like Jessica, I felt like the writers stopped caring about Hogarth’s problems half way through the season.
Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor), a recovering addict, had a story arc that revolved around addiction. Walker gets her hands on an inhaler that Will Simpson (Wil Traval) left behind after he was brutally killed early on in the season. Curious, Trish tries the inhaler and notices an immediate difference in her body. Her senses are heightened, her reflexes are faster, and she exudes confidence like never before. But when the effects of the inhaler wear off, she becomes ill. And withdrawal symptoms are presented at an accelerated rate.
Trish could have been more interesting. Instead, she is reduced to a whining addict that only stopped complaining when off screen. The inhaler gave her temporary abilities that she never fully got to unleash. Except, briefly on some back-alley thugs. Trish Walker is an ambitious character who never settles for less, and she always wants more than she has. And that’s fine. But her ungratefulness and failure to appreciate all the things she did have is what annoyed me about her. I’m going to need some serious character development out of Trish Walker come season three.
What We Got From Jessica Jones
Once again her past is coming back to haunt her. In this season, we learn more about Jessica’s tragic past. We get more insight on how the loss of Jessica’s family has affected her for most of her life. And we get the backstory of the illegal experimental procedure that gave her super strength. Throughout the 13 episodes, we watch as Jessica tries to suppress her feelings and push everybody away. It got old, real fast. Seeing Jessica being grumpier than usual was draining. So it was a nice change of pace when Jessica let her emotional guard down for the apartment superintendent (J.R. Ramirez), who lived just one floor above her place. The scenes between Jessica and the super, Oscar showed some much-needed character development for Jessica.
How was the Villain?
The antagonist for this season is Jessica’s mom, Alisa Jones (Janet McTeer). It turns out there were two survivors during that fatal car crash. Like Jessica, Alisa went through the same experimental surgeries and also gained superhuman strength. But Alisa’s powers came with a dangerous side effect. At the drop of a hat, Alisa loses her temper at the slightest annoyance and goes into a Hulk-like rage. She definitely did not attend the Bruce Banner school of Anger Management. When angered, Alisa violently takes out her frustrations on the cause of that anger. Often resulting in the death of whoever caused it. Alisa has no control over her emotional state. And Jessica finds herself being the one who has to take down her homicidal mother. A woman whom she believed to be dead for well over a decade.
Instead of the traditional hero versus villain, we get scenes that revolve around Alisa and Jessica’s unresolved mommy-daughter issues. Even when the two did go toe-to-toe, you never feel like Jessica is in danger given her mother’s love for her. It’s hard to care about Jessica’s past when most of it occurs off-screen. There’s no real connection to Jessica’s past and the audience, with the exception of episode 7, titled AKA I Want Your Cray Cray, where we spend an entire episode in the form of a flashback.
It became evident early in season two what made season one so great. And that was David Tennant as Killgrave. Tenant owned every scene that he was in. And his performance brought life to a show where the title character (Jessica Jones), probably isn’t as interesting as we all thought she was.