It’s been two and a half years, but Jessica Jones is finally back! The last time we checked in with Krysten Ritter’s moody titular private investigator, she was teaming up with Netflix’s other street-level Marvel heroes to fight ninjas — which is a sentence that feels slightly ridiculous to write because of the four original Marvel shows (not counting The Punisher), Jessica Jones was the most grounded. Sure, the first season featured a villain with mind control powers, but the story dealt with real, important issues and not dragon bones and resurrections. Thankfully, the slow season 2 premiere brings Jessica back down to Earth; however, it also introduces a story line that makes me worried about the new season.
The new season opens with Jessica tailing Rafi, a pizza delivery guy who is cheating on Mave, his girlfriend/manager. Upon seeing evidence of his infidelity, Mave asks Jessica to kill Rafi for her. “He’s a bad man. You’re a vigilante superhero,” says Mave, trying to convince Jessica to do the deed. Clearly, everyone in the city knows what she did to Kilgrave. However, as we come to find out, being called a “superhero” is the last thing Jessica wants, and she flips out. Even though she needed to kill Kilgrave, she’s still haunted by the deed, and each time someone calls her a superhero (which happens quite a bit in the episode), it triggers her because she feels guilty about what she did. I appreciated the fact that the show chose to focus on the aftermath of season 1 instead of Jessica’s experiences in The Defenders.
As always, Jessica, our emotionally damaged hero, can’t deal with all the guilt and all the other feelings, so she’s trying to ignore them by drinking more and taking on cases for a—hole clients (she doesn’t want to risk caring about another client). Unfortunately, Trish is making it hard for Jessica to ignore her problems and everything about that superhero life.
In the wake of everything that went down in season 1, Trish has become all about the superheroes. That’s literally all she talks about on her show these days, even though the lack of any major recent developments has caused a drop in ratings that concerns her producer. But Trish refuses to abandon this topic because she’s determined to investigate IGH, the mysterious company that’s responsible for giving Jessica her powers and making Will Simpson go crazy. Trish needs Jessica’s help to dig through this mystery, but Jessica refuses because the last thing she wants to do is open that traumatic door. Trish is so desperate that she even uses Jessica’s family’s ashes, which Jess never got rid of, to change her mind, but it has the opposite effect. Jessica threatens to cut Trish out of her life if she doesn’t back off. The suggestion from all of this is that Jessica was screwed up before she met Kilgrave, and it’s time for her to confront those scars.
The next day Jess meets with a series of potential new clients, who range from sympathetic (a dying woman wants to reconnect with the son she put up for adoption years ago) to a conspiracy nut and another man named the Whizzer, who claims someone is trying to kill him because of his super-speed powers. I loved the client montage because it’s a hint of what this show could be — a well-written and acted series with interesting episodic cases. I pray the show follows through on this and we get a few standalones to help this season avoid season 1’s mid-season slump. Anyway, Jessica’s most interesting meeting is saved for last: Pryce Cheng, the owner of a bigger private investigation firm, pays Jessica a visit and offers to buy her out because he wants to eliminate the competition. Obviously, Jess says no. (Next: Jessica opens the door).