*This SPOILER-FREE review of Jessica Jones season 3 is based on the first 8 episodes of the season.
This is the end of an era. In 2013, Disney and Netflix announced that they had partnered to bring four street-level Marvel heroes to the small screen. Fans were treated to some of the greatest superhero television ever to grace the screen; well, maybe save for Iron Fist. After Daredevil wowed audiences with its groundbreaking first season, Marvel’s resident alcoholic “anti” hero, Jessica Jones, made her star studded debut. Praised for its message of female empowerment, striking images, and powerhouse performances, Jessica Jones proved to be a trailblazer for more female-centered projects in the superhero genre. Now, as all the other Marvel/Netflix shows have met their end, Jessica Jones readies for its third and final season, effectively closing the Netflix chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Jessica Jones is not a superhero; and that is what makes the character so enticing. She’s not an anti-hero, but rather, an “anti” hero. She’s someone who would rather drink the night away than put on a costume and fight crime, yet is somehow always drawn to the battle for good (in a way, similar to Scott Lang being a dad first and a hero second). Having experienced sexual abuse at the hands of Kilgrave, Jones initially suppressed her emotions, experiencing severe PTSD. By the time season three rolls, Jones has, to some extent, embraced being someone the people of New York can look to for help. But even with Alias Investigations on the rise, Jones remains haunted by demons of her past, this time concerning the events of season 2 involving her adoptive sister Trish. The dynamic between both women remains the strongest aspect of the series, as we see Trish fully dive into the world of superheroes. The juxtaposition of Trish wanting to give it her all as a new crime fighter while Jones wishes to remain low-key with her work is stellar, giving rise to their conflicting ideas of heroism. Both Krysten Ritter and Rachael Taylor deliver terrific performances, as they breathe a new sense of life into these characters, clearly giving it their all as the stories draw to a close.
Season three also marks a return to form for Jeri Hogarth, played superbly by Carrie-Anne Moss. While season two struggled with the reveal of her ALS diagnosis, this season finds the character looking for some sense of redemption for her past wrongdoings. A deconstruction of the wicked, but complex New York lawyer, Hogarth’s character arc no longer seems like a side mission as it did in season two. The stakes are raised as she navigates towards the expected light and the end of the tunnel, and Moss perfectly captures feelings of both helplessness and “powerful in everything” beautifully.
The same can be said for Jessica’s neighbour, Malcolm Ducasse. Season three is by far, the strongest outing for the character, with actor Eka Darville delivering new, and enthralling sides to the former drug addict. Working closely with Hogarth, Malcolm struggles with his darker side, as his job takes him down less than desirable paths. Similar to Daredevil in season three, Malcolm is constantly locked in battle within himself, always wondering where the line is when it comes to his work.
The third season continued the series’ trend of compelling direction, once again making great use of colour and voyeur-esque camera angles. This is a much leaner story in comparison to season two, and with that, comes a tighter grip on the storytelling. The “less is more” approach also improves on a common problem experienced in most Marvel/Netflix series’, pacing. Whereas season two opted for an incredibly slow burn (only really kicking into gear by episode 8), season 3 hits the ground running, with the main story taking shape by episode 3. The series then moves at a solid pace, balancing the main plot along with around 3 major subplots that, as said above, still tie in nicely to the overarching story.
I hesitate to actually call this a negative because I did not watch the full season, but where I did find some fault in season three unfortunately lies with its main antagonist, Gregory Salinger, played by Jeremy Bobb. Salinger is an intelligent psychopath, a pretty interesting one in fact. He’s out to prove that Jessica Jones is a “fraud,” someone who cheated to become “special.” While Bobb’s performance as the character is great, a villain like Salinger runs the risk of becoming pretty one-note as the episodes play out. My negative mainly revolves around wanting the series to do more with his character, because there is potential there. Now, like I said, I’ve only seen the first eight episodes. So here’s hoping that the back half of season three fleshes out the character even more.
In the end, season three of Jessica Jones is a solid conclusion to the Netflix corner of the MCU. While nothing may ever come close to the masterwork done in season one, the story here marks a dramatic improvement over season two, featuring compelling performances, strong direction, and higher stakes. Looking back at the Marvel shows on Netflix, it is quite amazing to see what these creative teams accomplished, and I hope that this will not be the last time we see Krysten Ritter suit us at the alcoholic P.I who fights for good. With a leaner story, stunning imagery, and superb character arcs, season three of Jessica Jones allows for the Netflix corner of the MCU to go out on a (mostly) high note. Here’s to the Defenders.
Rating – 7.7/10
Jessica Jones season 3 hits Netflix on June 14, 2019.