Jessica Jones, season two, is kind of like Netflix’s Iron First, except better in every way. Iron Fist suffered primarily from having the main plot be immensely less satisfying than the subplots of individual characters. Colleen Wing was the only strong narrative piece of that entire 13 hours, and yet the show barely focused on her. In season two this happens again, but to a much lesser extent.
As far as individual performances in this season, each actor has improved, which is saying something. Kristin Ritter did an amazing job of feeling vulnerable while also boasting strength enough to lift cars. In this season however, everything she does has a quality of pain to it. Like she wants to swim upstream, but it hurts to push everyone away. She is fully aware of the failure she is to those close to her, but she’s going to keep going anyway. The standout in my eyes in this season was Eka Darville, who plays Malcolm Ducasse. He really gets time to shine now that Malcolm is a fully recovered ex-addict and has some strong scenes with Rachael Taylor’s Patricia Walker. Trish in this season, while I won’t describe it, makes some choices that are in character but horrible to watch. Perhaps the best performance of this season (especially because so much of it is done alone) is Carrie-Anne Moss.
All in all, every individual performance was strong this season. However, the show’s problem lies in the narrative. Once again Jessica Jones feels like it is quite possibly two or three episodes too long. There is a serious problem this show has with overstaying its welcome as it simply spins its wheels waiting for something to happen.
The season’s villain has a similar problem as the villain in season one. They’re only really compelling when they aren’t in constant flux between being captured, escaping and being captured again. It is this problem that really weighed down the course of the main overarching narrative of this season.
The action in Jessica Jones has never been the point of the show which has always been something of a draw to those who aren’t invested in more action oriented shows like Daredevil or the Punisher. As such, season two continued this trend with a few moments here and there of action but largely keeping it only plot relevant and character focused scuffles.
One complaint I would levy is that while the show does a fantastic job of incorporating feminist elements this season felt like it suffered slightly for it. Specifically, with the character of Pryce Cheng played by Terry Chen. His character only serves the purpose of being another muscle-bound jock who thinks he can take Jessica on due to her gender. However for some reason he sticks around the entire season, constantly ramming his head against the immovable object that is Jessica Jones. This character felt like the epitome of lazy character writing and one note acting and sorely stuck out from the cast as superflous.
However, that being said with such strong individual performances and each of the subplots this season being solely character focused escapades — there was a lot to like in Jessica Jones season two. That all to say, the show’s only major innovation of the season was episode 11 “AKA Three Lives and Counting.” This was, by miles, the best episode of the season and perhaps the series. Without saying anything about its form or function, it is where everything really comes to a head in this season of Jessica Jones and without it, the show would’ve really felt off this season. While it is a bit of a slow start – the show is fantastic as usual and definitely worth the watch.