Marvel’s Jessica Jones was the franchise’s first female-centric story. Krysten Ritter dazzled as the titular hero, starring in the show’s thrilling debut season. Almost three years later, the character returns for a second season.
Like so many shows before it, Jessica Jones suffers from having to completely reboot the story after a neatly concluded first season. The second season opens to Jones dealing with the personal and public aftermath of taking out Kilgrave, her main adversary in the show’s first year. Its growing pains lasted throughout the first half of the season, partly due to the overabundance of new characters and storylines.
The season found its footing with its midseason reveal, finding a greater sense of purpose and more balanced pace. The highlight episode “AKA I Want Your Cray Cray” was the catalyst the season desperately needed, shaking things up with a flashback and look into the past lives of Jones and her sister/sidekick Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor). The episode provided needed answers for how Jones devolved into such a depressed, self-loathing alcoholic.
The season continued to find energy as it neared its climax, but many plot developments felt too outlandish and implausible to be accepted as authentic. Even in a world inhabited by super-powered humans and supernatural creatures, some beats were too ridiculous to let slide. The final few episodes became soaked in redundancy, as Jones tried and tried to deal with her latest threat.
Ritter’s performance, in spite of tired storylines, continues to be a knock-out. Her supporting cast, especially Carrie Anne-Moss as lawyer Jeri Hogarth, is mostly good. Taylor has moments of greatness as Walker, but her performance is often overly stiff. Eka Darville’s turn as Malcolm Ducasse, Jessica’s neighbor and recovering addict, is inconsistent as well. The latter two characters fail to match the tones of several scenes, preventing viewers from really sinking into the world of the series.
The overall ambition and complexity of Jessica Jones‘ second year is commendable. While it suffered from a slow start and a lack of compelling supporting players, the lead character continues to command the audience. By delving deeper into her behavior and their traumatic origins in a more character-driven string of episodes, the showrunner and writers were able to continue to unpack the character in a way that overcomes the shows’ surrounding faults.