Jessica Jones: 2.01 AKA Start at the Beginning
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After what feels like years (because it was, Neftlix please don’t let this happen again) Jessica Jones has finally returned to the our screens, premiering on the most appropriate day to do so - International Women’s Day.
The first season of Jessica Jones aired way back in 2015, at a time where there weren’t that many female superheros (or villains) that had their own TV show or were protagonists of their own films. Since then we’ve had Supergirl arrive on the small screen, Wonder Woman last year and Nakia, Shuri and the women of Wakanda burst onto the silver screen in a triumph of female power. The new season of Jessica Jones comes at a time where female superheros are really starting to come into their own, which gives the show a slightly different edge than it did before. It will be interesting to see how Jessica Jones will fit into this (relatively new) landscape, following on from it’s critically acclaimed first season. So let’s dive straight in with episode one AKA Start at the Beginning.
Wasting little time catching up on the events of last season (because that’s what Neftlix recaps are for), Jessica Jones dives straight in. Jessica is pissed. Both in the alcohol induced sense, and the frustrated at everyone and everything sense. Though Kilgrave is dead, Jessica has yet to face her past and it seems to be gaining on her. Familiar faces are back - Trish and Malcolm attempt to get through to Jessica in their own ways, but it doesn’t work. As usual, Jessica’s answer to her problems is found at the top, middle and bottom of a bottle of whisky. Whilst Jessica is drowning her sorrows, Trish is busy attempting to get information about Jessica’s childhood and her ‘twenty missing days’ after the car crash, which involves performing as her childhood alter-ego Patsy in exchange for medical records. That's friendship for you.
In other news, Jessica and Malcolm (mostly Malcolm) are desperately trying to keep Alias Investigations afloat but their efforts are hindered by the arrival of Pryce Chang (Terry Chen), a PI whose firm wants to absorb Alias Investigations and have Jessica work for him. Naturally, Jessica isn’t a fan of this idea. It's not immediately clear why Chang is so desperate for Jessica to join his firm, but it's later revealed that he actually works for Jeri Hogarth - another familiar face from season one.
Jeri appears (at first) to be doing pretty well after the trainwreck of events she went through/caused in season one. A prime example of white feminism in action, Jeri graciously gives thanks at an awards ceremony for women in law, only to immediately start victim blaming her former assistant/lover as soon as she sits down. She’s being sued on a sexual harassment charge, to which her only response is ‘she was practically asking for it’. As is relatively often in the Jessica Jones universe, Jeri is a character who says one thing and then behaves in the complete opposite manner. Jeri, by the end of the episode, seems to be on a path of absolute self destruction and, along with Chang, is determined to drag Jessica down with her.
Though showrunner Melissa Rosenberg introduce interesting subplots with Geri, Chang and Trish - the show firmly remains focused on Jessica. The constant drinking, Jessica’s low lit office and the moody soundtrack remind us that Jessica Jones may be a superhero show, but it first and foremost takes its cues from the noir detective movies of the 40s and 50s, and always will. Visually, Jessica Jones is gritty and feels low-budget - this aesthetic makes it feel much more relatable than many other high concept superhero TV shows. Jessica’s apartment is messy, threadbare - representing her mental state. She hasn’t fully dealt with her anger (as witnessed when she almost beats Pryce Change to death) and it seems that this season, Jessica’s own anger might be her biggest enemy.
AKA Start at the Beginning suffers from a bit of a slow start, but it quickly picks itself up again around the midpoint. Highlights include Trish singing as Patsy (I’ve already placed an order for Patsy's dress), and of course, every time Jessica gets an opportunity to emasculate a male character by using her super strength. Perhaps it’s unnecessary (we are very aware how strong she is) but it’s always entertaining!