“Jessica Jones”: The Final Analysis

All right, here we go. This will be in the style of my “Daredevil” analysis from earlier. Spoilers abound

Worse than:

  • “Daredevil”, kind of. Will explain later. This automatically means worse than “Sherlock”, “Justified”, and Firefly.

Better than:

  • Pretty much everything I’ve seen on television now (will have to check out the new season of “Fargo” soon though.) “House” too.

As good as:

  • Roughly, (what I’ve seen of) season one of “Fargo”, though from what I know that show didn’t get as good dumb as “Jessica Jones” did later on.

Annnnd, the next part of the analysis:

Great Episodes:

  • The pilot, “AKA Ladies Night”. Still the most terrifying movie or episode of television I’ve ever seen. Son of a bitch, that scene at the end…Wow. Great pilot.
  • “AKA Top Shelf Perverts”, because it contained the police station scene, which is the best one in the series. If you haven’t seen it, you will, and you’ll know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.
  • “AKA Take a Bloody Number”. It’s amazing that in a show where literally anybody but the main character can potentially be mind-controlled, I still did not see the twist at the end coming. Excellent writing.

Very Good Episodes:

  • “AKA WWJD”. This is very nearly on the list of great episodes. In fact, it really only isn’t because the great episodes are so great, and I don’t think it contained any of those top shelf moments. Still a great episode.
  • “AKA Smile”. The final episode. Perhaps a little too much Claire, as much as I like the character (also, the moment when she casually drinks Luke’s bottle of water was awesome), but the dock scene is terrific. Kilgrave’s death was tremendously satisfying. Also, I love Malcolm joining the team.

Wow. I had higher praise than I thought I would. Buuuuuut, we get a bonus section: Why this show was still worse than “Daredevil”:

At times it was really, really, really stupid.

Episode ten. “AKA 1000 Cuts”. Holy shit, it was so dumb, in so many ways. It was so dumb that my opinion of this show dropped considerably. Let’s talk about why:

  • Simpson burning down the sealed room and killing the police officer was beyond stupid. It was unbelievably, aggressively stupid. It was stupid in a billion different ways. First, it accomplished nothing. Actually, it did worse than that. He literally just destroyed the only possible way he could have his cake and eat it too. Keep the officer (who he had no reason to kill) alive, keep the video evidence, and Hope gets out of jail. And then he could STILL kill Kilgrave! Getting rid of the room and cop only hurt his case! I mean, come the Hell on.
  • As is a general problem with the show, Jessica’s powers are totally inconsistent. When the small group of normal people shows up, it should be a laughing stock, a complete joke. We later see that she can go toe to toe with Luke Cage. She can stop a car! How can she possibly be overtaken by the wimp group? It’s ridiculous.
  • Worse though: Kilgrave’s powers are directly contradicted. He tells Jessica that if she kills him, people will commit suicide. Except…they won’t know he’s dead. And we know this makes a difference, because when Simpson thought he killed Trish he stopped the attack. Direct knowledge of events matters when it comes to Kilgrave’s orders. And don’t tell me that he had to give a text every hour or something, because if Jessica believed that she wouldn’t have bound and gagged him.
  • Meaning…Jessica had absolutely no reason not to kill him. As far as she knows Simpson hasn’t started playing around with the idiot ball, and they have several witnesses and video of Kilgrave’s powers. She kept him alive for no reason except plot.

That episode was full of really, really, poor writing. However, the whole series has plot holes. Let’s go:

  • Earplugs. Earplugs. EAR. PLUGS. Why, why, why does Jessica not use ear plugs when she knows Kilgrave is near? This would have been relevant at the hotel at the beginning. This would have been EXTREMELY relevant for the dock scene at the end. It would have been much harder for Trish’s headphones to come off. How on Earth did she not think of this incredibly obvious protection against Kilgrave’s powers? And how does she not have earphones available for emergencies immediately outside the hermetically sealed room, so that the team could put them in in case he got free? Come on, guys.
  • Anesthetic is the worst weakness ever. Just saying. At least it was dropped quickly.
  • By the way, can you imagine how badass the dock scene at the end would have been if Jessica had earplugs in? Imagine this: We see Kilgrave trying to order Jessica away and slowly panicking. We see Jessica continue forward unphased, fighting off attacks. We see Kilgrave desperately yelling in her face. And then…we cut to Jessica’s point of view. She can’t hear a thing. And we get this line:

Kilgrave: Obey me! Love me! STOP. MOVING!

(Complete silence as Jessica stops in front of him. Then:)

JESSICA: Sorry. I didn’t hear that. (Picks him up): Now smile…*snap*

…And Jessica takes out ear plugs. That would have been awesome. Though the scene as-is was pretty great anyway. Still. Earplugs.

Anyway. Onto the show’s biggest achievement: Its general lack of feminism.

Sure, the show in my estimation did have a couple of missteps. Jeri from the comics was changed into a lesbian girl, because…any excuse for lesbians, I guess. There were too many explicit sex scenes. The abortion subplot made me roll my eyes, though it wasn’t handled nearly as badly as it could have been (Jessica takes a shot at “Assholes who would call Hope selfish”, though. Wonder who she’s referring to? Not pro-lifers, surely?), and anyway it’s based around my personal culture war concerns. I guess your mileage may vary on the sex scenes, but I would argue that the pro-life potshot was unnecessary even if the abortion worked as a character moment.

But these are minor critiques. For a supposedly feminist show, “Jessica Jones” was shockingly non-feminist. It was a show driven by how its characters act – how they really would act given what we know of their personalities. Jessica’s enemy wasn’t “the patriarchy”. “All men are rapists” never came up, and commentary on “victim blaming” was subtle and very much fit the context (Also, can you blame people? What’s easier to believe, really, that Hope is just crazy or mind control?). There were no preachy speeches, no feminist sloganeering…basically, no shoed-in message fiction.

It’s being defined as a feminist show because it stars a rape victim who is a complex character. Except that that’s not feminist. It never was. It’s just one variety of story, and that it was well-written doesn’t change that.

It’s ridiculous to imply that anything that portrays rape victims in a realistic and sympathetic light is feminist, yet reviewers just loooooove to say that. Because of this reviews of the show are nigh-impossible to read, to say nothing of the comments sections.

So serious props to the “Jessica Jones” team. This show is based around characters and a concept that practically screamed to be SJW’ed, and instead they took those characters and used them to craft a compelling drama. Well done.

As an aside, I think Jessica Jones and Daredevil would work much better if they weren’t part of the larger MCU and instead stayed in their own little universe. I feel like as time goes it’s going to just become harder and harder to find ways not to involve those characters more fully. References to “the Incident” already scream awkward.

Final thought: Jessica and Kilgrave were absolutely sensational. The only villain who ever made my skin crawl as much as Kilgrave is the Joker, and I think Kilgrave might have frightened me even more. Tennant’s performance should get him an Emmy nom – Ritter as well. What a great pairing.

I look forward happily to season two, flaws aside. It really is a well-done, entertaining show, and you can’t ask for more than that. Highly recommended.

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Finished “Jessica Jones”

I’ll do a real retrospective later (probably one for here and a slightly less partisan/foulmouthed one for Superversive SF), so here are my quick thoughts:

  • This was thoroughly entertaining, and I’m genuinely glad I binge-watched it. Highly recommended.
  • That said, episode ten, and to a slightly less extent episode eleven, were phenomenally stupid. So…Many…Plot holes…

    Also, Trish taking out a former spec ops soldier because she took a pill. What the Hell was that?

  • Tennant and the actress-who-plays-Jessica-whose-name-I-forget were stunningly good. Tennant especially was bone-chillingly terrifying.
  • EarplugsEarplugsEarplugsEarplugsEarplugs…If you think Kilgrave is nearby, WEAR EAR PLUGS! Son of a bitch, Jessica…
  • That anesthesia thing was dropped pretty quickly, and a good thing too. It’s a stupid weakness.
  • Reviews of this show suck, and the comments sections of the reviews are even worse. Apparently Kilgrave is an MRA now? Ugh.
  • That said, it leads into my biggest compliment of the show: It had every opportunity and reason to go full-on SJW, and, despite a couple of minor (in my opinion) missteps, it didn’t do it. It stayed true to its characters and its story and crafted a compelling drama around those elements. Feminism didn’t need to enter into it, and feminism didn’t enter into it. A little more on that later, though.

Still not as good as “Daredevil”, but that’s a high bar. No shame in not living up to it. In the show’s best moments it was absolutely terrifying.

I am reaally looking forward to season two (though sad to see Tennant’s Purple Man go). Good job to the Jones team!

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Screw You, Trish

Arrrrrrgh, Trish just gave excuses for why she didn’t want to kill Kilgrave and I nearly punched the fucking computer.


*Deep breath*

I hate that trope. One of the reasons I love “Firefly”.

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Missing the Point

Reading reviews of Jessica Jones is really aggravating me. The truth is that “Jessica Jones” is a good show because it’s not a feminist show. With a couple of exceptions, we’re seeing characters live their lives. Whether it shows us a complex lesbian relationship, interracial sex (“Jessica Jones” just loves having Jess and Luke go at it like rabbits), or super-strong ladies, it works because that’s not what the show is about. It’s about a mind-controlling villain named Kilgrave and the superhero/PI who’s trying to stop him. Everything else is action based around the characters, but it doesn’t seem like it’s inserted to make a point.

So I’m complimenting the show. So far, at least, it’s had every opportunity to go full-on SJW and I don’t think it has, even if I think the lesbian drama is unnecessary and we don’t need to see every detail of Luke and Jess boning.

Other notes (With spoilers):

  • Come on, did anybody not know Malcolm was the photographer? Who else could it be?
  • Kilgrave’s weakness is…anesthesia? Not for nothing, but that’s everybody’s weakness. It’s like saying his weakness is a bullet in the head, or poison. It’s not that helpful.
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Watched the First “Jessica Jones”

Strong language warning.

HOLY FUCKING SHIT. That was absolutely terrifying. That was seriously one of the most frightening things I’ve ever seen on TV or screen.

The whole thing was unsettling, but that ending? WOW. WOW. My hands are actually still shaking slightly.

Other impressions: The whole thing is very, very noir. Some of her quips early on seemed a little bit too try-hard. Yes, I get it, you’re very noir Jessica.

The explicit sex scene was entirely unnecessary and had no business being there (Isn’t noir a more “fade to black” sort of genre anyway?), but then reviews wouldn’t be raving about how Jessica “takes control of her sexuality” without that scene, would they? Which of course has absolutely nothing to do with the real reasons this was such a strong episode of television.

Ditto with the lesbians. No point, except to advertise that they had lesbians. Wheeeeeeee.

I still prefer “Daredevil”, though. The strong Catholic element and man, those fight scenes, still put it over the top for me…even when comparing pilot to pilot.

But wow. WOW. I’m mightily impressed. Will continue with this series later, after I take a few more deep breaths. Main Street, Birch Street, Higgins Drive…

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How Christians Should Fight Wars

This scene, narrated by one of Arthur’s friends and warriors, Bedwyr (translating, I think, to Sir Bedivere), is from “Arthur”. Arthur and his men are prepared to do battle with an allied force of various barbarian tribes, but before the battle begins Arthur meets with the barbarian leader:

At [Arthur’s] use of the barbarian word for War Leader, the Angli glanced at one another. Then up spoke one of the barbarians “I am Baldulf,” he said, and his speech was not good. “What do you seek?”

“I seek peace,” replied Arthur, “which I gladly grant to you.”

Baldulf muttered something to one of his advisers, who muttered back. The Irish, of the tribe called Scotti, frowned mightily but said nothing.

“What are your terms?” asked Baldulf.

“You must leave this land. As you have done no harm here I will suffer no harm to come to you. But you must go from here at once.”

Again Baldulf conferred with his chieftains. Then, turning with a haughty sneer, he said “If we do not go?”

“Then you will all be killed. For I have given my promise to God that there will be peace in this land.”

Don’t fight if you can help it, but if you must, fight to win.

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A Couple of Superversive SF Posts

First up is my review of “Merlin”, the second book in Lawhead’s Pendragon series. I didn’t intend to do a review of another book in the series so soon after my first one, but I saw a lot of parallels with T.H. White’s “The Ill-Made Knight” and I wanted to make sure I wrote it all down before I forgot. Don’t worry, I won’t post the next review until I finish all of it. Here’s an excerpt:

Lancelot is such a sympathetic character because he is sadistic and unfaithful. That White uses these qualities as motivation for Lancelot’s greatness is a stroke of genius. It proves to be a driving force not just for Lancelot’s character but for White’s entire cycle: As brilliant as Camelot is, and as great a king as Arthur is, it was ultimately founded by a man who once drowned nineteen infants. Camelot, whatever it seemed, was not pure and unstained goodness personified. It was so good because the people involved in the making of Camelot worked so hard to overcome their faults.

Contrast this to Merlin. Make no mistake, Merlin is given depth, and he is given flaws, his main one being fear – fear of the enormous responsibility laid upon his shoulders, and fear of Morgian, the Queen of Air and Darkness, and the embodiment of evil in Lawhead’s cycle. By the end of the novel Merlin is a different person than the man he was at the beginning or even the midpoint: More sure that he’s not the fabled king of the Kingdom of Summer, and more sure of the path he must choose. This is all well and good.

But unlike Lancelot, Merlin’s motivations are driven by goodness.

Check it out at the link.

Then we have my pitch for “Gravity Falls”, which I’ve talked about before. An excerpt”

“Gravity Falls” is basically a children’s version of a Stephen King novel. For folks who were fans of “Courage the Cowardly Dog” – itself something of a cult classic – “Gravity Falls” shares some of its DNA, though GF is much funnier and has much stronger continuity and a real storyline – and I liked “Courage”.

I’ll just summarize the premise: Twelve year old twin siblings Dipper and Mabel Pines are staying with their Great Uncle (“Grunkle”) Stan for the summer in the small woodland town of Gravity Falls, Oregon. Dipper and Mabel quickly discover that something very strange is going on in Gravity Falls, and this “strangeness” drives the plot of the show, which alternates seamlessly between standalone episodes and episodes that contribute to the overarching story.

For what it’s worth, I managed to convert one of my colleagues, Josh Young, who posted in the comments, and he’s older than I am. Also, apparently one of the writers worked on “Homestar Runner”, which I’ve never seen but is apparently very popular. So really, check out the show.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Comment here, there, or anywhere if you so choose, I’m up for all of it.

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