TV Review: “Jessica Jones” – Controlled Chaos

Written by Danielle Sing November 29, 2015

Jessica Jones

Netflix returns back to Hell’s Kitchen, but instead of following someone who wants to be a hero, we follow someone who has already been a superhero and is desperately trying to rebuild their life. Insert Jessica Jones, a whiskey-loving woman with superhuman strength who suffers from PTSD – sounds like a recipe for absolute chaos. And it is. “Jessica Jones” has its own brand chaos, but with the noir tone of the series and the control that the writers and actors execute, it makes for a near perfect balance.

The story begins right in the middle of the action, as Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) puts a client through her door. We learn through her friend, Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor), flashbacks, and hallucinations about the time she spent under the control of Kevin Kilgrave (David Tennant). While Jessica tries to rebuild her life with Alias Investigations, Kilgrave emerges back into her life after he forces Hope Slottman (Erin Moriarty) to kill her parents in Jessica’s apartment building. Trying to convince the legal system that mind control is real, Jessica goes after Kilgrave while trying to minimize his trail of bodies.

“God didn’t do this. The Devil did. And I’m gonna find him.”

“Jessica Jones” specifically excels in the acting, tone, and writing of the series. While I was at first concerned about Krysten Ritter being cast as the title character, as my main viewing experience with her was from the comedic sitcom “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23”, but I was surprised at her powerful acting ability and how she portrayed Jessica’s PTSD. David Tennant is also praiseworthy in his role as Kilgrave, as I was thoroughly creeped out by his delusions, his obsessive need for control, and his tortured inner child. Great casting choice, Netflix, because their acting was amazing. Some secondary characters also deserve praise for how they were portrayed including Malcolm Ducasse (Eka Darville), Will Simspon (Will Traval), and Luke Cage (Mike Colter).

jessica jones

While the writing of the characters is quite commendable, there are a few holes in Jessica’s backstory. Now, if you are a fan of Marvel and could see all of the little connections between the “Jessica Jones” series and the comic it’s based off of, “Alias”, then you wouldn’t notice the missing pieces in the backstory. But if didn’t know about the comics, there’s some missing information. While it’s constantly repeated in “Jessica Jones” that Jessica was a superhero, and we even see the potential costume, the audience is never shown her as a superhero. You can consider the first time Jessica saved Malcolm as her being a superhero, but it’s an underwhelming moment. While we do get some good backstory on Jessica under Kilgrave’s control, we should have seen more of Jessica as her superhero self, Jewel.

“The way I see it, being a hero puts a target on your back.”

The show as an excellent noir tone, as it deals with themes of PTSD, drug addiction, rape, and child abuse. The noir tone contributes to the idea of control and chaos. Every character and situation has an element of chaos to it, but that chaos is oddly enough usually quite controlled, which provides excellent contrast and almost perfect balance. Two great examples are Kilgrave and Trish Walker. Trish is victim of child abuse and because of that chaos in her life, she over-controls herself and her personal life – including making her apartment a fortress. Whereas Kilgrave likes to create chaos through his control of people.

jessica jones

Overall, “Jessica Jones” is a mesmerizing show and draws you into the action with a dark themes and noir tone. The constant battle between Jessica and Kilgrave, between chaos and control, is something worth binge-watching multiple times. The acting is excellent, and I look forward to seeing these characters in future Netflix/Marvel series. While there seems to be missing information in the backstory for those who are not Marvel fans, it’s still fascinating to watch thanks to great writing.

My Rating: 9/10

Jessica Jones

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