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A Bleak 'Marvel's Jessica Jones' Hits Netflix for Season 2
March 8, 2018  | By David Hinckley

If you thought the death of her worst adversary and the passage of two and a half years would brighten Jessica Jones’s world by even one milliwatt, you have not been paying attention.

Marvel’s Jessica Jones returns to Netflix Thursday with its long-awaited second season, and anyone who plans to sit down and binge-watch all 13 episodes might want to consider doing it in a cold room with the lights out to better match Jessica's grim and gloomy mood 

Even by the high standard set in the first season, this is dark stuff.

Krysten Ritter (top) is wonderful as Jones, and she’s well supported by a strong cast that includes Rachael Taylor (right) as Jones’s adoptive sister and resilient best pal Trish Walker.

But even the signature seasoning of clever wisecracking Marvel humor doesn’t do much to lift the clouds that envelop our tormented superhero-turned-private eye.


One of her ongoing diversions, besides drinking way too much, is meaningless sex. When a lout in a bar makes a crude remark, she figures why not, he’s as meaningless as it gets. They repair to some dark room, where she tells him the only rule is to shut up. When he says something anyway, she breaks it off.

“But I was so close,” he says. “That makes one of us,” she replies. Meaningless, joyless, angry, that kind of sums up Jessica’s view of life these days.

That Ritter makes us want to follow this character anyway, instead of switching off the TV and turning to drink ourselves, is a tribute to her acting skills.

She somehow conveys that underneath the cynicism and depression, a smart person is still twitching.

There has also been a major and inevitable reset in the storyline since the first season was released in November 2015. In that season’s final episode, Jones snapped the neck of her adversary, David Tennant’s Kilgrave (right), which has had at least two major consequences.

First, Jessica must convince herself and others that she’s not a killer. Since she already feels morally responsible for the death of her parents, which is a central factor in her depression and self-loathing, she really doesn’t need an indication that she’s also homicidal.

On a show whose first season featured almost as many fatalities as The Walking Dead, one of the few things to which Jessica could cling was the idea she didn’t kill people. Now that’s harder to say, even though Trish keeps assuring her it doesn’t count when you had no choice.

Second, the writers need to find and develop a new villain. Kilgrave was ideal, particularly as played by Tennant, who has more often played good guys.

Jessica’s biggest adversary going into the second season is herself, and good as Ritter is, it’s pretty much impossible to play both protagonist and foe.

She also has a lesser collateral problem from having whacked Kilgrave. Word of that development solidified her reputation as someone who can resolve seemingly impossible issues, so she gets a steady stream of would-be clients who want her to do the kind of superhero things she doesn’t do anymore.

This further annoys her, because she never much liked most of her clients in the first place. So when one fellow comes into her office and seems completely off the rails with paranoia, she shoos him away – only to find he may be linked to a repressed part of her past.

She’s been avoiding that past, with the drinking and the meaningless sex and such. Trish, in particular, understands that if she confronts it, perhaps she could offload some of the depression and move forward.

Trish’s urging and Jessica’s resistance quickly become a key element of season two, which correctly suggests the season has an even stronger psychological component than season one.

And there’s no Kilgrave to serve as a distraction, albeit a dangerous one.

That doesn’t mean Season 2 won’t have any action. It does suggest some of the demons may be harder to pin down and the hunt won’t always be fun. Welcome to Jessica’s world.

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