The much anticipated second season of our favourite Marvel heroine, Jessica Jones, premiered on 8th March to mixed reviews. Previously heralded as one of the best shows on Netflix, the second installment was met with decidedly less enthusiastic reactions. Poor character development and the lack of a good villain (especially when compared to David Tennant's Kilgrave) were two glaringly negative aspects. Let's take a closer look at what went wrong this season, and what the showrunners can do to improve on them.
WARNING: SPOILERS! Do not read if you haven't watched Season 2.
5. Weak Villain
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While I thought Janet McTeer gave a fine performance (definitely on par with Tennant) the Big Reveal halfway through the season was more than a bit soapy and over the top. I mean, she literally pulled off a wig. The emotional resonance was there, but I've never been a fan of family members or loved ones mysteriously rising from the dead and neither do a majority of audiences nowadays. Aside from that, I found the IGH storyline to be cliched, unoriginal and way too drawn out.
4. Poor Character Development
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Characters like Jessica who are written to be surly, inward looking and rather mopey tend to suffer and regress with storylines that are too insular. Jessica's trademark sarcasm and dark sense of humour are intrinsic personality traits that are staples of her characterization; however, I felt that this season her dialogue and devil-may-care attitude grated and went from charmingly brusque to childish, immature and annoying - particularly with regards to the way she treated Malcolm. Dealing with trauma is one thing, but it's tiring to watch characters who not only do not grow but consistently refuse to.
3. Continuity? What Continuity?
Eight episodes of the Defenders came and went... with nothing to show for it in S2 of Jessica Jones. A big part of what makes Marvel's streak of success on the small screen as well as the big is its shared universe. What's the point of all the characters overlapping and teaming up together if they don't at least drop a mention of each other in their own series? Even a scene of Jessica reading Matt Murdock's obituary in the papers or at least a passing reference to Luke Cage (who appeared on TV for the first time in the previous season) would have been nice. We did get Jeri insisting on keeping Danny Rand as a client when she went solo - but that's it.
2. The Trish Problem
I mean... where do we even start with Trish? One of my favourite characters last season, she quickly rushed to the top of my Please-Kill-Them-Off list in the second. We all loved flawed characters, but Trish was just bratty, stupid, jealous, selfish, dishonest... there was barely anything left to like about her by the time the season ended. The fact that she was rewarded by the narrative by briefly suggesting she may have been left with powers was just insulting. Writers: please kill her off or make her the S3 villain (which would actually be interesting) as I can't ever see her relationship with Jessica come back from the bullshit she pulled. Not to mention what she did to Malcolm.
1. A Glaring Lack of Diversity
The treatment of POC on the show sadly has not improved - particularly for women. The main three female characters (Jessica, Trish and Jeri) are all white, and the black female cop who appeared as Detective Costa's partner was underdeveloped and given a brutal and undeserved death. This show doesn't celebrate women's strength - it celebrates white women's strength. Pryce Chang was portrayed as sleazy, amoral and untrustworthy - and the character of colour with the biggest role on the show was treated terribly by Jessica and Trish and by the narrative itself. Can we get #justiceformalcolm trending?
Wording by me. Image sources:
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