Jessica Jones: Initial Thoughts

Editor’s Note: Mild spoilers to follow.

“A big part of the job is looking for the worst in people,” Jones says in a voice-over. “Turns out I excel at that.”

If you have gotten on Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, or the internet in general within the last few months, you’ve probably been exposed to Jessica Jones in some kind of capacity.  If you haven’t, allow me to introduce you to the character and show via this trailer:

And just for good measure, here is the more recent trailer they released.  It is my favorite of the two:

 Alright, now that we got that out of the way, I want to start off by saying that I know nothing about Jessica Jones.  I have yet to read any of the comics and up until this show was teased a year or two ago, I had not even heard of Jessica Jones.  Now I could go over to Wikipedia and copy/paste the summary for this character, but I actually do not want to do that.  I am afraid that could potentially paint the wrong picture or skew the Marvel/Netflix vision for the show in some way, which is the last thing I want to do.  Instead, I can give you my very limited take on the character based purely off of what I saw in the first episode.

Who is Jessica Jones?

That’s a great question!  I’m sure I can answer that in it’s entirety, once I watch more episodes!  Like any great show the character development does not take place all in one episode, but it’s spaced out and given to the audience in bits and pieces; and Jessica Jones is no different.  The first episode gives us a glimpse of both who she is and who she has the potential to be, but only a glimpse.

Jessica Jones is a private investigator.  Got a cheating lover?  Need to serve someone papers? Trying to locate a missing person? Jessica Jones can handle that… And she is good at it too, which she demonstrates in this first episode.

Yeah, but who is Jessica Jones?


That’s Jessica Jones.  She is played by Krysten Ritter, whom you may recognize from the fantastic show Breaking Bad as Jane, Jesse’s tragic love interest (the first one).  Again, since I do not know anything about the comic book I can’t speak to how well Ritter represents that version of the character.  But I can say that I like her direction in the show.  I have been a fan of Krysten Ritter since Breaking Bad and when I heard that she was cast in the title role for this I was excited simply because I thought it’d be interesting to see her in this type of role.

What can she do?

As I mentioned before she is a private investigator, and a damned good one at that. Whether or not abilities maker her an exceptionally good P.I. remains to be seen.  As far as her abilities are concerned, in the first episode we get to see her: lift and hold a car in place, jump up to a second or third story fire escape, and display impressive strength for such a small person.  This being the first episode I am sure that there is more to be seen and we’ll surely witness some awesome fights and other feats.  The trailers clearly hint at much more to come.

What about the character herself?

I loved Daredevil.  It is easily one of my favorite Marvel productions to date, outranking some of their movies by far.  But there was something about Daredevil that bothered me… His moral dilemmas.  He was just too much of a good guy.  I’m drawn to characters who are damaged and operate in grey areas more so than black or white.

So I was thrilled with Jessica Jones.  The first episode does a wonderful job of establishing the fact that she is carrying around some pretty heavy baggage.  She drinks whiskey… like… exclusively.  Seriously, I don’t think she had anything but whiskey to drink the entire episode.  Drinking to forget? Probably.

She is quite aware of her strength and other abilities, yet she keeps a low profile and chooses to be a private investigator instead of being a hero.  That suggests that she either tried and failed to be a hero at one point or had something go horribly wrong and she couldn’t stop it, even with her abilities.

She does her best through her attitude, body language, and responses to let everyone know how “over it” she is with everything.  That suggests that deep down, she probably does care but caring means opening yourself up to be hurt and she has been hurt enough, so it’s just easier to pretend you don’t care.

And then there are the flashbacks/visions/hallucinations she has occasionally.  Here’s where I am going to tread lightly and simply say I’m very interested to see the full reveal of what these imply.

Final Thoughts

All of this adds up to the types of characters and heroes that I am drawn to the most.  It feels more realistic and less idealistic.  It’s far more interesting to watch a character shed their insecurities and rise to meet the darkness than it is to watch a character start out pure good and end as pure as they started.  The latter is very one-note, but thankfully Jessica Jones is not.  I am very excited to see where this show goes.


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