Finally! Jessica Jones, not a superhero at all. But something much better.

2:51:00 AM

Jessica Jones Recap, review, detective, Alias

It seems like everybody is been bingewatching Jessica Jones since it came out last friday. I am half way though, and if you are not, I will try to convince you to go for it.
First of all, if you are not into Marvel, I am with you
Remember her those episodes on The Wire, and Breaking Bad, dealing with making up names of the re-up, same shit, different name, just to deepen your addiction, and create loyalty to one supplier. That's how I think about all this Marvel stuff coming out. Same old, different suit, no thank you, rather stay clean.
So why Jessica?
Well I will argue that she is not a superhero at all. That's just the premise. She is a detective.
Sure she can punch the highest score on a boxing ball, and jump really high like some leather clad locust. But it is her tenacity, her attention to detail and her wisecracking abrasive personality that are her real strong suits.

It has not been not easy to be a female PI in movies or TV.
The female detective became a thing in the Nineties, Sue Grafton, Patricia Cornwell, Nevada Barr, and Sara Paretsky, and lots more changed the game when they created her, this single, sarcastic girl. She is kick-ass, comfortable packing heat.  Sex is not the primary way she relates to people, compassion and intelligence is. 
Banking on the success of those thrillers they tried to bring V.I Warshawski to the big screen, with Kathleen Turner. What a mess of a movie that was. And if you hear Sara Paretsky, you see one reason why: ' Disney, you know, they bought the rights and then they were afraid to have a feminist project out there. They wouldn't let any women work on the screenplay and I didn't want to work on the screenplay because I don't know how to write screenplays and I knew it would be a big mistake to have my own work be the first venture into it. And then they would say that no women wanted to be associated with it when I had friends who were begging to work on it and who were being told that they didn't want women involved in it. The whole thing was, their way of doing it left a sour taste in my mouth.'

Sure we have seen many woman investigating, police officers, FBI, CIA. There have been so many great investigative minds, from Cagney and Lacey, to Olivia Benson, to Maya In Zero Dark Thirty to Carrie in Homeland.

But a PI is not affiliated, she works for nobody but herself. That's so cool about her. She has to balance the books, man! (Jessica: The only thing you can charge me with is trying to make a goddamn living in this goddamn city!)
I had to think really hard to find an example, the only one that comes to mind is Veronica Mars  But she moonlighted ( see what I did there?) for her pop, and it was her dead girlfriend who had the insight to be sarcastic.

To come back on Jessica Jones. I am glad that Krysten Ritter was cast in this role. The last time I saw her she was leading our Jessie on the path of heroine and destruction, and saved him, by dying right in front of dear WW. So, yeah, girl deserves better. She nails it, her eyes always observing, her face immobile, always waiting for the shoe to drop. The casting and acting is fresh, crackling. Rachel Taylor as Jessica best friend Patricia Trish Walker is dazzling, and I really like Will Travel, another Australian like Rachel, who plays sergeant Will Simpson and Mike Colter as Luke Cage.  
Rachel Taylor Jessica Jones


 So finally what is it about? Quite simply Jessica Jones is trying to combat Kilgrave ( an acerbic David Tennant). He is a lunatic mind controller, who plays with people, making them do all kinds of crazy shit. Jessica was once under his spell, and is still living the consequences of the evil deeds he made her commit. Since then she tries to stay aways from other people as much as possible, earning her money by observing the worst part of humanity from the safe distance of her telephoto lens. But, Kilgrave is not done with her. As in a classic PI story, it all starts with new clients, asking Jessica to track a missing girl. 

In the the first scene of the show we see Jessica punch a deadbeat paying right through the window in her door. Every self respecting PI has to have that door, from Philip Marlowe to Jessica's Alias Investigations, the name written on the frosted glass. Classic yes, but she breaks that glass right away, punch the hell through it, blow it to smithereens.  Think about it.

The show is fluid, hypnotic, real, subdued in a satisfying way, without the hysteria of a Scandal, HTGAWM, Scream Queens, and so many other shows these days. All underscored by that hunting saxophone urging the noirish nights to brighten. As I say, I am halfway through, scared that the dark will not pass. The show can still go downhill from here. But it is too self assured for that. It is the kind of show that you can trust.
So Go Jessica, Go Trish, go Luke and go Will!

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