J is for Jessica Jones

Reviewed by Kerry E.B. Black

Marvel’s Cinematic Universe expanded in November, 2015 with the inclusion of the decidedly dark Netflix series “Jessica Jones” based on the Alias Comics. Jessica (Krysten Ritter) gave up Superhero work after a tragedy which left her with a wicked case of PTSD, overwhelming self-loathing, and raging alcoholism to take up P.I. work in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. Jessica’s assessment of “the city that never sleeps” is it “sleeps around,” which rather defines her skewed take on the world.

Jessica developed superior strength and limited flight, her super hero “gifts.” She encountered other people such as her lover Luke Cage (Mike Colten), the man with unbreakable skin. Dialogue is peppered with references to these special people, including a mention of the Avengers’ defense of New York against aliens. “Go after the big green guy or the flag waver,” Jessica said. Her best friend and adopted sister, Trish/Patsy Walker (Rachel Taylor) hosts a successful radio show and trains in martial arts to defend herself. A fan stated he missed her red hair, undoubtedly an allusion to Hell Cat. Even the incomparable Stan Lee appears in a photo during an episode.

The main villain, Kilgrave (David Tennant), exerts mind control over his victims, including Jessica. His evil is insidious. Resisting his influence proves impossible for most. After Jessica broke away from his hold on her, he grew obsessed. To protect them, Jessica pushes people away from her. Kilgrave’s evil and narcissism allows him to use people, even children, and then discard them without a care. Marvel’s Nuke also provides a villainous crossover.

Carrie-Anne Moss portrays attorney Jeri Hogarth, and Eka Darville does a brilliant job as Malcolm DuCasse. The characters work through serious issues, and the plot touches on various abuses, neglect, rape, infidelity, and other crime. Very little humor lightens the mood, making for somber viewing.