The return of Marvel's hard-drinking private eye is imminent, and the embargo just lifted on the first five episodes of Jessica Jones.
The second season of the Netflix series features the return of Krysten Ritter as the titular character, as well as her allies Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor), Malcolm Ducasse (Eka Darville), and Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss), with a new investigation into a string of suspicious murders. Murders that just so happen to be pinned on Jessica.
The review from ComicBook.com praised the characters but criticized the pacing of the series, which has been a common flaw among all of Marvel's offerings on Netflix.
Krysten Ritter is still a charismatic dynamo as Jessica, and Season 2 thankfully opens the character up to reveal more depth and vulnerability than in Season 1. Indeed, much of Season 2's early run time is dedicating to probing the depths of who Jessica Jones is, the traumatic origin of her powers, and how that damage has affected her ability to get close to others. Ritter sinks her teeth into the new dramatic meat and continues to evolve her character: watching Jessica finally put cracks in her hard shell is worthwhile payoff, as the detective perhaps takes the first steps towards becoming a full-on hero.
By now, the series has a well-established neo-Noir influence, but Season 2 indulges in those genre tropes a whole lot more than Season 1, in a way that not a lot of viewers may initially warm to. The ominous atmosphere of Season 2 creates a certain amount of narrative drive, but the elevation of atmosphere over narrative also makes the primary storyline boringly plodding. It's only at the end of Episode 5 that something even resembling "major conflict" finally starts to jump off, as the main plot and character build-up finally converge and begin to gain traction.
But we're not the only ones who have reviewed the new season of the Marvel Television series.
Read on to see what other outlets are saying about Jessica Jones.
There was an undercurrent of terror throughout “Jessica Jones” Season 1 that gave the series a darkness and dynamism which elevated it over previous Marvel series; Season 2 lacks that in its first five episodes. Yet there are still eight to go, which is plenty of time for Jessica to make bad decisions in her fight to do right. And one thing remains unchanged — her story is singularly hers, uncompromising and unapologetically all about what we’ve come to love about this character. The point of Jessica Jones isn’t that she’s a hero, but that she’s still standing despite everything that’s happened to her, and everything she is. So even if her story takes its sweet time to get going, we’re still glad to be on the journey with her.
The first few episodes are about setting up the main players in this story. IGH is of course the main focus, as Jessica reluctantly pursues them to know what they did to her. Kilgrave’s presence still lingers as Jessica’s PTSD is still something she is grappling with. Everyone has their stake in the mystery one way or another and what might be the most terrifying aspect of this season is, will Jessica lose it all? Her friends, her home, her job, her sanity, these are things that are very fragile in Jessica’s life and this adventure may just shatter it all.
While every Marvel-Netflix show has suffered from having at least three episodes too many (even The Defenders, which only got eight installments instead of 13 and still managed to feel like it was spinning its wheels), the characters that inhabit Jessica’s corner of New York are so well-drawn and, in contrast to so many superhero properties these days, so fascinatingly complicated, there’s a weight to the interpersonal relationships that is often absent in the mystical kicky-punchery of Iron Fist and Daredevil -- meaning that it doesn’t feel like a chore to spend time with these people even when they’re not driving the plot forward.
In sum, this season feels less binge-worthy, thanks to its story and villain problems. But I still loved getting to reunite with these characters. This is still very much a series with something to say—about trauma, about women’s anger, and about trying to survive without losing the person you want to be. In the era of peak TV, when so many series are technically well-crafted but not necessarily showing up with something to say, that makes Jessica Jones so worth watching for me.
The episodes available to press presented a show that told its story too slowly, and a story that was difficult to become invested in. I can admit: I’m going to stick it out until the end, because of the goodwill Jessica Jones bought with its first season. And also because the fifth episode showed a bit of an upswing, by finally giving our villain the time and space to be properly frightening to the world. But I don’t see Jessica Jones’ second season winning over anyone who was lukewarm about her first — or anyone who skipped it entirely.
Krysten Ritter’s still on top acerbic, deadpan form, and the (mostly female) writers’ room is generous and proficient with its one-liners. When a cocksure alpha bro-dude struts into Jessica’s office, announces he’s another private eye who wants to buy her out and says he doesn’t take no for an answer, Jessica retorts, “How rapey of you.” So while the plotting feels like it’s back-stepped towards the super-vigilante conventional, she at least remains the most textured and spikily interesting of the Defenders — one whose guilt, self-loathing and rage at least come served with a potent dose of wit.
While it’s nice to give the supporting players more to do, the show’s main draw remains Ritter and her marvelous lead performance. Equal parts droll, damaged and fierce, Ritter is so damn charismatic that she’s able to carry most of the lopsided season with seeming ease, and almost (almost) distract you from plotting issues. Sure, it might be slightly cliched at this point to watch Jessica knock back a staggering amount of booze while providing wry, hard-boiled narration – but it works. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
More than anything, Alias Investigations once again provide a nice noir framework for the show’s central mystery this season, one that is interesting to unravel and certainly feels more grounded than anything we’ve seen in the past with villains like The Hand. The show is also wisely taking the time to give those around Jessica more to do, while keeping everyone connected. There’s certainly room for more humor (especially for someone besides Jessica to try and wield) and the episodes could be a lot tighter, but Jessica Jones once again puts character first over super-heroics. It makes all of the difference.
In the five episodes made available to critics, the season’s true villain hasn’t fully emerged. This seems like a smart choice after Kilgrave, who was so unambiguously hateable. Jessica’s life is too messy for a simple hero/villain binary like Daredevil, so it’s better to keep us guessing. Smart and tightly paced, that mystery keeps Jessica Jones feeling fresh in its long-awaited second chapter.
This is now the eighth season of this collaboration between studio and streaming service. Anyone expecting some kind of radical change in approach and execution at this point is like one of those saps who kept being surprised when Frank Underwood stabbed them in the back on another Netflix drama. But these shows, and this one in particular, are good just often enough that it’s hard not to feel like they should be capable of that more frequently. In both the comic books and the TV show, Jessica Jones is held up by her friends and enemies alike as a textbook case of wasted potential; it would be a shame if the TV show named after her ends up the same way.