Last year, she reluctantly joined a super hero team to save New York.
Now, super-powered PI Jessica Jones faces her own origin story, which soon evolves into a very personal struggle with the last person she ever thought she’d see again.
Nope, not Kilgrave, although he does make an appearance
That person is a woman who is just as strong and skilled as Jessica….
Alisa Jones, her mother.
That twist made this latest Marvel series from Netflix very different, maybe too different for some people.
The series did ramble towards the end, but it was an interesting try to see what would happen if Jessica found out she wasn’t the only person who underwent experiments that gave her powers… and that her mom was one of them.
This doesn’t just create mother issues, but also intensifies Jess’ issues about powers she never wanted.
The first five episodes center on Jess and Trish (Rachael Harris) looking into IGH, the group that supposedly experimented on Jessica after a car accident that claimed her family. Their investigation revealed a weird looking guy who was move very fast and ex-black ops mercenary Will Simpson were both linked to IGN. Then both are killed by someone who is as strong and as fast as Jessica.
The big reveal that it’s Alisa comes at the end of episode six, and it literally knocks Jessica out.
Janet McTeer does a fine job as the mother thought dead. She’s strong like Jess but suffers from terrible side effects including violent mood swings. She even has a very close relationship with Dr. Karl Malus (Callum Keith Rennie), who claims the experiments actually helped people.
Yet Jessica is torn. Should she save her mother, who has killed people, or put her down to protect everyone?
The relationship between Jessica and Alisa is interesting. When Jess learns mom isn’t dead, she is very upset at her mom and Malus. Their banter is angry, especially when Alisa reveals their family life was not as ideal as Jess remembers. As the story continues, Jess finds it harder to let Alisa go. Jess has been a loner for some time, scarred by the accident that claimed her family, the experiments that changed her and the powers of Kilgrave. Despite how destructive Alisa has become, she is still Jess’ mom and it’s a connection that can’t be broken easily. In the last episode, they rescue a family and truck driver who were in a serious auto accident. At that point, it looks like Jess will give up everything to have her mother back.
However, a happy ending isn’t in the cards. Alisa is killed at the Ferris wheel at the Playland where Jess’ family used to go on vacation. The pain of losing her mom a second time is hard to see.
There is also the label that Jess can’t shake: killer. She says she’s no murderer and killed Kilgrave in self-defense. Yet people know she once killed someone. She’s even accused of killing the associate of a rival PI who destroyed her IGH evidence, even though she was somewhere else. Then she kills an abusive prison guard, again in self-defense, increasing her fears. It also brings back the ghost of Kilgrave, taunting her at every turn. By looking at Alisa and how she has killed, Jess fears that is her future.
Her reputation of having a bad temper doesn’t help, either. Who else would bounce a rubber ball against a wall and break both of them?
Still, Krysten Ritter once again shows why she is the best heroine in the Netflix section of the MCU. She carries on her uneasy mix of anger, pain and sarcasm as she battles her demons and assorted bad guys,
By the way, even though Kilgrave is only shown in episode eleven, David Tennant makes the most of his screen time being the taunting illusion still in Jess’ head. Still, she’s able to get rid of him by remembering she’s no killer because she can keep her anger (mostly) under control. He’ll still be in her head, though, and the show is wise to keep that threat around.
If there’s any hope for some happiness, it comes in the form of Oscar (J.R. Ramirez), the new super in her apartment. He has a criminal past, but is a good dad and has a cute son. While she welcomes this new guy in her life, and even enjoys a very intimate moment covered in paint, she is afraid her baggage will drive him away. Actually, it doesn’t, especially when she helps him stop his ex-wife from taking his son away illegally.
While Jess dealing with her equally powerful mom is the main story, there are plenty of side stories to keep things going. The “B” story involves Trish Walker, ex-child star and radio personality who yearns to be more. She’s dating a war correspondent, and hopes she can be a real journalist by investigating IGH. She does some really surprising things to uncover the truth. After that, Trish thinks she wants to be just like Jessica. After using an inhaler Simpson had to enhance his abilities, she turns to Malus to give her enhanced powers too. Jess is upset over what Trish is doing. Trish had a good thing going with her radio show, but her insecurities led her to make bad decisions.
The worst one: killing Jessica’s mother. True, Alisa knew her days are numbered even if Jess tried to avoid that fact. Trish thought she had to be the hero and save Jessica, or the cops would have killed Jess and her mom. That is something Jess may not understand or forgive.
High-powered lawyer Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss) also has her own problems. She started the season trying to get rival PI Bryce Cheng (Terry Chen) to take over Jess’ business. Jess’ temper gets the better of her, and he gets roughed up. It looks like they could put Jess out of business until Hogarth finds out she has ALS, and may have only a few years to live. Cheng leaves after the plan falls apart.
This health scare splits this plot line into two stories that aren’t as well done. Hogarth is desperate to find a way out. A homeless woman named Inez (Leah Gibson) who was an IGH nurse who claims she saw Alisa kill someone at IGH, knows a “healer” named Shane (Eden Merryshow). It turns out Hogarth was scammed and her retribution is swift. The story line still makes Hogarth look weak.
After Cheng fails to take over Jess’ business, he returns to kill Alisa after she killed one of his employees. There’s no explanation why he wanted to destroy the IGH evidence. He winds up ahead in the end with a new boss and employee.
As for Malcolm (Eka Darville), Jess’ associate which she reluctantly has taken on, he comes into his own. He tries to prove to Jess she needs him for leg work and occasional renovations. He even teams up with Trish on dealing with Malus and Alisa. He is upset when Trish uses Simpson’s super-charged inhaler. He is happy staying clean and doesn’t want to go back to bad habits. He eventually helps Hogarth with her dispute with her law partners and leaves Jess behind. His decision will hurt Jess a lot.
Looking at the reviews for this season, people are split on the overall story. Usually, super heroes battle major villains. Actually, people forget Luke Cage had to deal with his own brother in his first series and he was also a super-criminal. The idea of a hero with mother issues is new, and that may have thrown some fans. Jess took too much time deciding what to do with Alisa, but that’s because she didn’t want to be alone.
In the end, Jess is back at work, taking incriminating pictures. She has broken things off with Trish while Malcolm has moved on. She’s alone, and not liking it.
However, the season does end with hope. Jess decides to have dinner with Oscar and his son, and tells how she stopped a robbery.
Trish may have a future, too. She drops her cell when she trips, but catches it with her foot. This hints that she may get into the hero biz as Wildcat if there is a third series. Of course, it might mean crossing paths with Jessica, and that will be very awkward.
Meanwhile, a former boyfriend of Jessica’s is making his own plans. Luke Cage will be back in June, and plans to make a difference in Harlem.