4 Problems I Had With Marvel's Jessica Jones


Marvel’s Jessica Jones, the newest Marvel property to get a Netflix adaptation, was critically slated to be as good, if not better than last April’s Daredevil. But when my brothers and I finally found the time to binge watch the shit out of that show, we found out that the critics miiiiiiight have slightly been overstating things.

The most badass super-heroine on TV with one of the coolest villains ever.

Even though I don’t share my brothers’ passionate and very vocal hating on the new Netflix show, I do understand where they’re coming from and agree with a lot of their arguments. Marvel’s Jessica Jones had cool moments for sure, some of which were deliciously horrifying, but as a whole, Jessica Jones season 1 felt frustrating and repetitive.


Weak character motivations

Hogarth 2
If only you hadn't done that one stupid thing Hogarth.

If I had a nickel for all the times my brothers and I shouted at the screen from all the stupidity going on...I’d have a few nickels. Every so often the show tries to justify a character’s stupid and irresponsible action with flimsy rationale. Like when Hogarth released a mind controlling serial killer to get her divorce papers signed; how the hell is Killgrave expected to live up to that deal if he could just make it go away?? OR KILL YOU?!?! Dangit Hogarth, you’re supposed to be smarter than that! Then there’s Simpson killing that nice, old detective and trying to kill Jessica, because…they didn’t want to kill Killgrave? Seriously?? Why not just try to kill Killgrave? Why go through the trouble of killing two other people?! Sure he was jacked up on crazy pills, but that was too much stupid to still be the pills’ fault! It was as if his programming was that anyone who doesn’t want Killgrave dead deserves to die too. I hope he know just how ridiculous that sounds.

Will Simpson is the comic books' pill junkie, 'Nuke'.

And finally, (the worst one of all) the idea that Jessica doesn’t just kill Killgrave because she needs him to get Hope out of prison – sure that’s not a bad intention in itself, but consider the damage Killgrave’s wrought while Jessica was on her foolish errand AND all the damage he could potentially MAKE – was it really worth it keeping him alive? In trying to prove a girl is innocent, a few dozen other people have died. And the more people died throughout the season, the weaker her justification became. Jessica, who’s supposed to be the leading authority in all the evil Killgave could unleash on the world, should know how much she’s risking by keeping him alive. And yet she does so, even when the cost already greatly outweighed the benefit…No wonder Killgrave thinks he has a chance with her.

The season’s aggravating cycle of cat and mouse

Jessica 2
Search, catch, release, repeat.

When you take a step back, you’ll realize that the season was all about catching Killgrave and letting him escape. Jessica catches Killgrave and keeps him suppressed until some numbskull supporting character makes the bonehead move of letting him go. I could overlook the first time he escaped, but the second? And the third? By that time it started feeling like a contrived ploy to stretch the season. There wasn’t any real payoff until the very end of the season, so it just grew more and more frustrating. 

Unlikeable supporting characters

Hope is supposed to be the whole reason why Jessica’s so adamant about taking Killgrave alive. It would’ve been easier for us to accept the paper thin reasoning if Hope didn’t come off as such a bitch so early on! She was ungrateful, angry (at Jessica) and demanding. Sure, those exact same qualities might be what Jessica associates to, but from a viewer’s emotional standpoint, how are we expected to root for that??

Jessica’s incestuous neighbor, Robyn, is such a caricature. She was consistently annoying, like the Mr. Wilson to Jessica’s Dennis…except infinitely less charming. There was not one redeeming quality about her and you just know from the get go that she was going to cause Jessica trouble eventually.

I'd be pissed too.

All of Jessica Jones’ supporting characters would sooner or later have a role to play in the main narrative but before they’re brought into the fold, they just float around in the background. Anytime it’s about Hogarth’s marital crisis, or the incest twins, or the Killgrave support group, you can’t help but feel like their mandatory screen time just took up space from the more gripping and pressing main plot of catching Killgrave. The show spends too much time on the lives of the supporting characters that instead of making us invest in them, only ends up emphasizing our disinterest.

Luke Cage, the only supporting character we cared about.

Anti-climactic ending

Killgrave 3
Not just one of the best Marvel villains ever but one of the best villains, PERIOD.

With the show being so creative in its use of Killgrave’s powers, I was surprised he didn’t have more in store for Jessica in their final showdown. Killgrave didn’t even play his ultimate contingency card – for innocent people to commit suicide if Jessica were to harm him. It was something he had in place almost every time we saw him; you’d think he’d realize that it was an effective strategy. He instead opted to tell his hostages to “kill each other”, a slower version of “commit suicide”, which gave Jessica a chance to get near him and ultimately dispatch of him.

Also that earphone gimmick? Seen it before. Not to mention it was the obvious strategy and something they could’ve done from the very start! The Trish reveal was cool and all, but what did it really accomplish? Jessica was spotted and shot at anyway. It would’ve worked better if Trish’s distraction had actually amounted to something.

There’s no big winning moment. It just sort of ends and you just go “oh, okay, that was it.”


The John McClane of Marvel - tough as nails, witty, and forced into the hero role.

I think this show wasn’t meant to be binge-watched. If it had been the garden variety weekly show, maybe the story-telling issues wouldn’t have been as glaring. But as problematic as it was, it was still a good show all in all. Beyond the idiotic decisions, frustrating characters and repetitive plot developments, Marvel’s Jessica Jones was still a gripping drama/tragedy about a broken super-powered individual’s battle with her own demons. With a strong rape and psychological trauma undercurrent, creative and uncomfortably macabre use of mind-control, one of the best, if not THE best and most badass super-heroine to ever get a live-action adaptation, and a vile, unhinged, charming, frightening villain that was Killgrave, Marvel’s Jessica Jones is still one of Marvel’s better TV efforts.



*First seen on The Philippine Online Chronicles!

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