If you’ve been living under a rock, you may have missed last Friday’s release of the new Marvel Comics series Jessica Jones on Netflix. Starring Krysten Ritter in the titular role, this series lives up to last year’s hit Netflix/Marvel series, Daredevil, and then some. Jessica isn’t your average superhero – especially because of the lack of costume and codename – but also because she isn’t much of a hero at all. Running a crappy private investigation firm aptly named ‘Alias,’ Jessica is an alcoholic, abrasive, and genuinely mean person who also happens to have super-strength. In the first episode when Jessica’s nightmare of an ex-boyfriend Kilgrave (David Tennant) uses his mind control powers to cause one of her clients, Hope (Erin Moriarty) to suddenly shoot her parents, Jessica cannot ignore the signs of her former captor/rapist and reluctantly embarks on a journey to bring him in and get Hope free from prison.
About half of this season of Jessica Jones is dedicated trying to find legal proof of Kilgrave’s mind-controlling abilities so that Jessica’s high-class lawyer friend Jeri Hogarth, brilliantly played by Carrie-Ann Moss (The Matrix), and Jessica’s sister, talk-show host Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor), can help secure Hope’s release. Hogarth is also dealing with her own tragedy as she is in the middle of a very messy divorce from her wife Wendy (Robin Weigert). Jeri is now trying to build a life with a younger woman, her assistant and lover Pam (Susie Abromeit), which puts a Modern Family twist on the cliche story of the rich old man leaving his wife for his younger assistant.
The difficult journey to gather evidence against a man who can order anyone to do anything he says (even accidentally sometimes) and has spent his entire life trying to avoid being detected fills nine episodes of the 13-episode season. I must say that in the world that acknowledges alien invasions and hulking green men, it was hard for me to believe they couldn’t gain the attention of some scientist or S.H.E.I.L.D agent who could’ve verified the existence of mind-control. Considering the shared Marvel Cinematic Universe and the debut of Scarlet Witch in last summer’s blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron, I couldn’t help but wonder how people could be so resistant to a mind-controlling superhuman.
Classic Marvel character Luke Cage (Mike Colter) makes his debut in Jessica Jones as a tough bar owner and super-strong, indestructible, superhero love interest for Jessica. Jessica Jones is full of often hard to watch scenes of people being compelled to carry out suicidal or unbelievably cruel acts on loved ones, and the series deals with this by featuring an Alcoholics Anonymous-style group for victims of Kilgrave. Marvel executives seem to be hands-off when it comes to the Netflix original series because both Jessica Jones and Daredevil before that feature language and violence that would never be found in an Avengers film.