Meet Jessica Jones, private investigator. Normal clientele – people looking for evidence on their cheating spouses. But when desperate parents ask for help looking for their missing daughter, it throws Jessica back into a world that she thought was gone for good…
Unlike Daredevil, where I knew many of the key plotlines that were mined for Netflix’s first Marvel TV series, Jessica Jones is pretty much a new character to me, so I’ll be reviewing this very much for what the series is, rather than what it could have been based on the comics (although I will be looking out for the first run of Alias based on what I’ve seen so far). Krysten Ritter plays the hard-drinking PI, clearly suffering from some form of PTSD who has her mantras to help her cope when memories of… whatever happened to her surface.
This first episode throws us into Jessica’s world, courtesy of some noir-esque voiceover, and we meet the lawyer who throws her cases (played by Carrie-Ann Moss) – whose assistant I suspect will be one to keep an eye on, given the jealous looks she throws at someone she sees as a rival for her boss’s affections; the friend with the TV show who’s obviously tried to help Jessica in the past (and if this who I think it is, then it’s a link back to the comicbook Defenders); the barman who’s clearly more than he seems… and, with a purple glaze to the image, the seductive voice of Kilgrave, the man from whom Jessica is determined, at least initially to flee. By the end, though, we see a determination in her that you have to hope will be enough for her to be able to conquer her demons.
Jessica Jones is dark and adult in a different way from Daredevil. Sure, Jessica is gifted – she can hold a car up without problem, and throwing her boot at the ceiling leaves a large dent – but she’s not going to get into fights in the way that Matt Murdock did. Sex and addiction feature heavily in the episode, but not in any sort of glorified way. There’s violence, which is all the more shocking for the realistic way in which it’s portrayed. But most importantly, there’s a central character who’s damaged, and knows it, but still puts herself in danger… and I suspect like me, once you’ve reached the end of the first episode, you’ll want to know more about her.
Verdict: A strong first episode that leaves you needing another quick fix. 9/10