Krysten Ritter, David Tennant, Mike Colter, Rachael Taylor, Carrie-Anne Moss
November 20, 2015
Summary for Moms:
Hard-driving, abrasive Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) struggles to maintain her Private Investigation business and the personal walls she’s erected to keep people from getting too close to her. Both come under fire when her former captor and tormentor Kilgrave (David Tennant), a man who can command people at will, reappears. Having thought him dead, Jessica, with the help of her friend Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor) and the mysterious Luke Cage (Mike Colter), must find a way to defeat Kilgrave once and for all.
My mom had no interest in seeing Jessica Jones right off the bat. I had showed her the first episode or two, but she found it “too dark”, which is a valid complaint. The show is a direct metaphor for Rape and PTSD, so it’s probably as dark as you can get. However, following her positive reaction to Jessica’s appearance in The Defenders, I decided to try again. And to great success.
Jessica Jones may be the Netflix MCU’s greatest work to date. It balances a gritty, heavy storyline, with small bursts of Jessica’s sarcastic humor, which my mom already liked. She repeatedly praised the writing, stating that she had “never seen a story like this anywhere before”. She also admired the directing, and was frequently on the edge of her seat during the show’s myriad tense moments, often gasping in suspense while Jessica investigated dark apartments.
The show’s plot is not a simple one and involves several different moving pieces: Hogarth’s divorce, Hope Schlottman’s case, Simpson (aka Nuke) Trish’s Mother, Luke Cage’s wife, creepy bother/sister incest duo, and Kilgrave’s various plans and schemes. When we began, I was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to keep track of everything, but I definitely underestimated her as she was on board the entire time.
While a number of different elements come together to create the vivid world and plot of Jessica Jones, as with most superhero media, the real litmus test for success is the quality of the villain. And while Krysten Ritter’s performance as the sarcastic, closed-off Jones is beyond reproach, she does tend to get overshadowed…
David Tennant’s turn as the mind-controlling sadist known only as Kilgrave (or ‘The Purple Man’, if you prefer) is a top-notch performance that terrified my mother to no end. She was constantly “freaked out” by this “real psycho”. She told me that she found “mind control to be the scariest thing”, which I happen to agree with, and that she “hoped to god nobody like [him] really exists”. Regardless, Tennant’s performance kept her glued to the screen and really made her invest in the plot. She never could be certain who was or wasn’t ‘Kilgraved’, and always accused anyone on screen of being under his control. She absolutely wanted to see him go, and often called characters “idiots” for dealing with or even getting within arm’s reach of Kilgrave. Needless to say, he left a mark on her.
Mom remembered David Tennant from a few old episodes of Doctor Who, where he played a completely different character and a no less snappy dresser. and was thoroughly surprised when I told her that he would be the next voice of Scrooge McDuck. She watched DuckTales with me as a child and loved it and now has her doubts that someone “so evil” could be Scrooge.
Once Jessica finally did away with Kilgrave, she was surprised, since she had hoped for a longer final battle. Strange from a woman who was so shocked by the series that she sometimes “wanted to get it over with”. Regardless, Jessica Jones was a masterpiece tour de force that kept her both engaged and horrified at the same time.
…BUT it repeatedly forced me to sit through several scenes of rough, passionate sex between two characters with my mom sitting next to me, so I’m going to have to give it…
Mom Rating (Out of Five):
- Yeah, yeah. I’m kidding. 5/5.
- She calls Kilgrave’s powers “mesmerizing powers”.
- When Malcolm, the “dope guy”, is revealed to be Kilgrave’s spy, she let out an audible “holy shit”.
- When Simpson opted into the IGH drug program, she wondered aloud why people take drugs. “It makes them crazy.” Again, I am told to never take drugs.
- Kilgrave is too evil and should “never, ever come back”. I was requested to write a letter to the “Netflix People” to tell them that.
- Sorry, mom, but…