Recap: Marvel’s Jessica Jones Season Two

Second season finally dropped in Netflix and I know I was breathless with excitement. I loved the first season, the darkness, the progression of Jessica’s character as she works through her recovery from what Kilgrave (David Tennant) inflicted on her. It was compelling watching as she slowly opens to emotions and reaches out to her few remaining connections, people who refuse to walk away from her for one reason or another. But the end of the season left Jessica (Krysten Ritter) having to deal with the consequences of killing Kilgrave.
As the new season begins, Jessica is still working as a private detective, even though a lot of the people she encounters are uncertain of her or want her to use more than her detective skills on their cases. Trish (Rachael Taylor), her adopted sister, is pushing Jessica to find out about her past, to discover who changed her and stop them from doing the same thing to others. Jessica is not as interested until she meets others like herself and finds out they’re being killed one by one. Trish tracks down a connection only to re-encounter Will Simpson (Wil Traval), who is yet another casualty. The two women begin tracking down answers with the help of Malcolm Ducasse (Eka Darville) and even Jeri Hogarth (Carrie Ann-Moss). The truth leads them to dark places, including a mysterious woman (Janet McTeer) and the man they believe might be responsible for Jessica’s powers, Karl Malus (Callum Keith Rennie). Jessica must figure out how to deal with the answers she finds, while Trish must figure out her own path separate from Jessica.
The new season shows us Jessica not so isolated, not so disconnected but she is still angry and she now has people who want her help as a vigilante rather than a private detective, people who either want to use her powers or are afraid of them. Not only is she struggling with other people’s perceptions of her, but she’s also trying to figure out if her powers or the fact that she killed Kilgrave makes her a monster. Instead of embracing her powers, she wishes she was normal and has conflicted emotions over what she did. She knows she did the right thing but she’s not certain it doesn’t make her a darker, more violent person.
Over the course of the season, Jessica must figure out who she is, why she has powers, learn to accept them and learn how to let people in. While she is less disconnected at the beginning of season two, she still isn’t letting her friends in all the way. At several points in the series, she learns something about her past and keeps it from both Malcolm and Trish, keeping them in the dark. But it isn’t just Jessica. The theme of the season is secrets and everyone has them, Malcolm, Trish and Jeri Hogarth.
As the season progresses, Jessica meets strangers from her past, including a mysterious woman who holds the keys to that answers Jessica seeks. She also learns to lean on Malcolm, Trish and a new friend, Oscar Arocho (J.R. Ramirez, the new superintendent of her building, who starts out worried about her presence around his son but soon realizes how caring Jessica is. Jessica builds new connections on her search through her past.
Trish struggles with her own demons. She has connected with a new man but she sees Simpson again which awakens her desire to be powerful like him and Jessica. She fights her addictions but instead of winning, drags others with her on her path to find power. She disconnects from others along the way, rather the reverse of Jessica’s path and makes some of the same mistakes Jessica has made in the path. Of course, the question ultimately becomes whether Trish can figure out a way to find her way back to the people she cares about.
While I find Jessica and Trish’s journeys the most interesting in terms of the story told in the season, I found two other actresses much more riveting in their performances. Bear in mind, I don’t find any of the performances lacking in any way and I find both Krysten Ritter and Rachael Taylor highlight what makes both their characters compelling. However, I found Carrie Ann-Moss magnetic as Jeryn Hogarth and equally charismatic was Janet McTeer as a mystery woman from Jessica’s past.
One reason for Carrie Ann-Moss’s performance is the complete ruthlessness she brings to everything facet of the character. Jeri Hogarth is not a woman to be taken lightly, she is powerful and she has her own story in this season, that occasionally intersects with Jessica’s but more often, is a tale of her learning that she has everything to lose and determining what she needs to do to hold on to what’s most important to her. That performance is captivating and I feel will lead to consequences in future chapters for both her and Jessica.
Janet McTeer is mysterious, at least at first, as she engages with Jessica. Her anger and her pain over her past are as dark and enthralling as Jessica’s past and how she is important to Jessica’s journey is crucial. I can’t spoil the series but I can say they couldn’t have picked a better actress, more than capable of matching Krysten Ritter in her passion and and her depth. Her performance is completely absorbing.
There are nuances to the show that I can’t go into without spoiling it but I will comment that, while slower than the previous season to build, it has a bigger impact than the previous ending. It will have longer reaching effects and will cause deeper ripples in Jessica’s relationships. While the hint of Kilgrave in the second season is not as important as the trailers teased, he does show up and his effect on Jessica is thought provoking. I’ll be interested to see if he returns in the third installment. But in either case, the characters and the world the writers have built will be highly anticipated come the next chapter.
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.

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