Jessica Jones, the hard-drinking, sarcastic, superpowered New York private eye is back for another round of solo adventures in Season 2 of her Netflix show, and the reviews are in. While critics praise Krysten Ritter’s performance as Jones, they are not pleased with the pace or lack of urgency in Season 2, with some critics lamenting the absence of the first season’s villain, David Tennant’s mind-controlling creep Kilgrave.
Coming off of the events of the first season (where she murdered Kilgrave to stop his reign of terror) and The Defenders series (where she and her superfriends defeated the Hand), Jessica Jones enters Season 2 somewhere between reluctant hero and well-known vigilante. In spite of these major events, she is still the person viewers met when Jessica Jones debuted in 2015. The new season’s mystery is personal, as there was the first season, but the search for the origin of her powers isn’t quite as gripping or urgent as Kilgrave’s haunting presence in Season 1.
Variety’s Sonia Saraiya praises Jessica Jones as a character, calling her “a gender-bending mishmash of noir character traits — femme fatale and hardboiled detective rolled into one, with the dank P.I. office and effortless smudged eyeliner to prove it,” and Ritter’s performance.
“Ritter has to sell a character that is an inherent ball of contradictions as a recognizable, appealing whole. She makes it a breeze, playing Jessica with a contained, slouching energy that belies her readiness to snap.”
Jessica is not the only character critics write about fondly. Many enjoyed the new stories for several supporting characters, specifically Trish Walker and Jeri Hogarth. After stumbling upon information about Jessica’s origins, Trish will push the investigation forward and the season’s story along with it while also continuing to have a well-developed and compelling relationship with best friend Jones. The Hollywood Reporter’s Daniel Fienberg writes the series is smart to push the friendship to the forefront, calling it “the most underrated aspect of the first season.”
Ritter’s the show’s star and we’ve established my respect for her, but Taylor gets to show more emotional range since Trish puts in the effort to create an appealing public persona, when we know and keep learning more about Trish’s own dark childhood.
What the series fails to do, in the first five episodes of the new season at least, is find a replacement for compelling villain Kilgrave. While we do know the character will appear during the second season, his death removes him from the playing field as a primary antagonist. The Marvel villain brought with him both a powerful, personal story for Jessica and a dark presence that added urgency to the story, but without him, Uproxx’s Alan Sepinwall, who called Kilgrave “a superb nemesis,” feels there’s an emotional void in the middle of the show.
Jessica Jones does introduce a mysterious new character, played by Janet McTeer, but in the first batch of episodes she does not compare according to Indiewire’s Liz Shannon Miller. The episodes that were provided to critics don’t make it clear if this face from Jessica’s past is truly a villain or not, but the character isn’t packing a punch.
While she has potential as a foil, there’s not enough of her to keep us hooked, not to mention the lack of the emotional hook that we had with Kilgrave in Season 1.
The highly anticipated series does have many great characters viewers know and love, but that does not make up for the pacing issues that these Netflix shows tend to struggle with. Collider’s Allison Keene writes that Jessica Jones’s pacing is “is not as bad as any other Marvel series on Netflix,” but it’s still a problem.
The show is still too slow, with a minimal or non-existent score, scenes that go on for too long, and a limited number of edits that add up to everything feeling like it’s happening in real time.
Jessica Jones Season 2 premieres on Netflix on March 8, 2018.