Jessica Jones season 2 episode 1 review: AKA Start At The Beginning
Krysten Ritter is back on Netflix as Jessica Jones in season two of the superhero private investigator series. Spoilers ahead...
Following her appearance in Defenders, Jessica Jones is back on Netflix for a second season. As ever, we’re going to be reviewing every episode of the series – one per day – providing analysis, easter egg spots and speculation for those who aren’t planning to binge it all in one go. All discussion is welcome but please don’t spoil future episodes in the comments.
This review contains spoilers.
2.1 AKA Start At The Beginning
Aaaaand we’re back. Back, that is, in what you might charitably call the critically uneven corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But let’s be positive: the first series of Jessica Jones was one of the better products of the Netflix-Marvel deal, and Krysten Ritter’s performance undoubtedly a highlight of The Defenders. Season 2 of Jessica Jones has everything to play for.
The setup is this: Jessica, back in the detective game but trying to avoid cases where she might have any involvement, is drawn into one involving some unusual criminal activity that might have some connection to her own past.
It’s interesting to me that the story is dealing with Jessica’s new status as a murderer, however justified her actions might have been last series. Indeed, for a corner of the MCU as bloodthirsty as the Netflix shows, it’s a welcome change that they’re openly pointing out that murder might actually have some human consequences. Of course, there’s a nagging doubt in my mind that says Kilgrave might actually be alive, and not just because we’ve seen shots of him in the eason two trailer.
When we’re reintroduced to Trish, she’s singing the theme song from her childhood show, It’s Patsy. The theme tune was previously featured in Jessica Jones 1.11. The red wig is, of course (and I say “of course” as if we’re all super-familiar with Marvel Comics Z-listers) a nod to her comicbook incarnation, where Patsy “Hellcat” Walker has naturally red hair.
The papers Patsy acquires as a result mention Kozlov and IGH, the company that gave Will Simpson (from the previous Jessica Jones series) his superpower drugs and are probably responsible for Jessica’s own superpowers. I’ve long held the theory that they’re also linked to Luke Cage and Matt Murdocks’ powers but at this point I don’t think that’s actually been made canon by anything – it just sort of makes sense.
Speaking of Will Simpson, I would bet a reasonable amount of money that the guy in the hoodie with an inhaler is actually him. We’ll have to wait and see.
Most of the new characters in this series – Pryce Cheng and Griffin Sinclair, for example – are original creations, but the mention of Maynard Tiboldt the hypnotist threatens to make The Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime canonical in the MCU, which absolutely delights me. They first appeared in Incredible Hulk #3 (1962). Jessica also accuses Hogarth of having bigger clients to look after, “like Rand”. Which would be Rand Industries from Iron Fist. But you knew that.
The really BIG moment for me, however, was the appearance of The Whizzer. The comics version of The Whizzer is almost completely different from this guy – he existed in the 1940s and was part of various superhero groups including The Invaders, the 1940s/1950s superhero team that Captain America led. His powers were also not connected to his emotional state, he was just a standard speedster.
The bits that are the same, though, are that he dressed all in yellow (To paraphrase Deadpool in Deadpool #0 – a guy dressed in yellow called “the Whizzer”? Are you ASKING to get beaten up?) AND that he has a connection to a mongoose. While this version of the character has a pet mongoose named Emil, the Canonical Whizzer merely received his powers from a transfusion of mongoose blood. As you do. He first appeared in USA Comics #1 (1941). Also in the comics Emil is the name of his father, not his pet. Freudian choice, much?
So, off to a reasonably good start. A little less grounded than the first season, perhaps, and definitely a lot brighter – but otherwise quite tonally similar, and focusing on subtext as much as text just as the first season did. I’m enjoying being back with the cast, and getting little reminders that Defenders took place – like when Jessica remarked that “Heroes die.” She’s clearly thinking of Matt Murdock, even though we know he’s not actually dead. Also call me a nerd but I’m looking forward to seeing more super-powered bit-parts, even if they’re only used as jokes who can then be immediately killed. The Avengers, these guys ain’t.
In any case, the story’s only getting started. Let’s see how it goes.
Read James’ review of the series one finale, AKA Smile, here.