Jessica Jones: AKA Ladies Night
November 20, 2015 3:08 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

NYC PI Jessica Jones gets hired to look for a girl who's gone missing, and it turns out she knows whodunit.

So Jessica is a broke, tired, mostly drunk PI who's good at finding people. But when "somebody at the police station" refers a nice couple of parents from Omaha to find their missing daughter Hope, things don't go so well. The daughter ran off with a guy--isn't that always the way--and she's still around using her credit card to buy lingerie. But as the investigation goes on, Jessica recognizes the situation: her quarry's been caught by a guy (Kilgrave) with the power to brainwash you into doing whatever he wants--and she was caught by him herself once upon a time. She thought he was dead, but of course he's not.

Alas, Jessica's urge to flee for Hong Kong is thwarted by lack of money. She does manage to track down Hope--who's been mentally trapped in bed and forced to pee on herself and fight Jessica when Jessica hauls her out--but in the end, Jessica manages to rescue Hope, return her to her parents, and demand that they leave.

However, Kilgrave's brainwashed Hope into shooting her parents once she's left alone with them. And he's the one that told the parents to look up Jessica, of course.

In other news: (a) Jessica boinks the hot guy working in the bar nearby, Luke Cage, and then leaves, (b) a client of hers is cheating on her wife with her secretary.

Okay, short rundown because I didn't take notes this morning while watching it, but have at it, folks.
posted by jenfullmoon (34 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm sure some people have finished the season hours ago. I'm just on episode 8, after binge watching the first 6 last night. I'm having trouble remembering what happened when, it seems so long ago now. But I only got as far as episode 5 of Daredevil, so I consider this a major win.

Krysten Ritter is amazing the main role. The supporting cast is pretty great. And the music, the music! Slow jazzy music with noir lighting and a drunken hard bitten female private eye with super strength. I've been waiting for this show all my life.
posted by crossoverman at 3:53 PM on November 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

I've been so excited about this show -- although I'd hoped I wouldn't give in to the temptation, I ended up watching the first six episodes this morning after it became available at midnight PST (2AM for me).

I'm enjoying it a lot, although it might not be quite living up to my expectations. Some things about the show work better than others. I've been a fan of Krysten Ritter's ever since she was on Veronica Mars -- I was happy to see her when she showed up on Breaking Bad. And when I heard they cast her in this role, I was thrilled. So I feel bad for saying this, but I'm not sure that she's exactly right for this role. She's doing a pretty good job, but I'm not actually that impressed with her acting in it. She's not quite as believable to me as the alcoholic wreck she's supposed to be. And her physicality in her fight scenes (none in this first episode, IIRC) isn't quite believable.

What I've found is that humor and off-kilter, wry stuff that the show aims for is weaker than it's intended to be and the show doesn't work as well as it should in that respect. On the other hand, when the show is emotionally intense and full of dread, it works very well. I think we really see the first example of this in this episode, when the elevator doors are closing and Hope pulls out the gun to shoot her parents. That, for me, was the moment when the show "clicked". And I do think it continues to deliver on this front in later episodes as Kilgrave plays more of a role.

Does anyone have any thoughts on Carrie-Ann Moss's character?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:56 PM on November 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

It's a boss of hers who's cheating with her secretary.

I got to episode 4 and have now decided to show some restraint so I have something to watch later on. This is a major win for me.

But, yes, it's terrific.
posted by Grangousier at 3:56 PM on November 20, 2015

Jeri Hogarth, played by Carrie-Ann Moss, isn't really Jessica's boss, but a partner at a law firm who contracts with Jessica as a freelance PI.

I asked about people's thoughts on the character, the affair, and the portrayal because it all seems kind of odd to me. It's hard to talk about because I've seen the next five episodes, too, but the basic idea in here in this episode. I do think it's interesting that she's playing this character in this genre show, given her iconic status as Trinity in the Matrix trilogy. But right here at the very beginning -- when she's on the phone with Jessica and her assistant, Pam, comes to snuggle behind her. Moss plays all of her interactions with Pam in a very sinister fashion and I can't decide if this is meaningful. Well, I think it's at the very least meaningful in the sense that Moss is trying to convey that Hogarth is a controlling and possibly amoral attorney who is definitely not a nice person -- but I can't decide if there's more to it. I try to see this as a high-powered, middle-aged male attorney cheating on his wife with his secretary, and see if this is intended to just be a direct representation of that trope. And, if so, if it's convincing and whether we're supposed to see it as anything beyond that. It could just be that trope used as part of painting the portrait of this character.

I pretty much liked Trish from the beginning and I think the actor is doing a good job with that character -- a character I think presents a lot of challenges. The character is pretty much a stereotype and two-dimensional, and I think that Rachel Taylor is doing a very good job in making her seem more real.

IMDB lists Rosario Dawson as "rumored" to appear as Claire Temple in this episode -- I don't recall her in this episode, but possibly later in the show at the hospital? Or did I miss her in this one?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:20 PM on November 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

I blew through the the first three episodes fast. Very compelling. Full of great touches and texture (the ongoing saga of the door, the dad's desire to fix it, mind control being discussed before a doctor says "drink it or I'll make you drink it" the fact that Kilgrave is basically a super villain Pick Up Artist. Who even tells women to smile..ahhhhhh)

Also the show feels really inside its location. You see street names, building numbers, very characteristic apartment lobbies, it really wants to show off the NYC location shooting. (Jessica's apartment is a bit ....way too nice? Big? But that's true of every spTV show/Movie in NYC )

Ritter deserves real praise, there isn't a HINT of her usual bug-eyed manic glee or catty mean girl comic timing. Every inch of her body posture and facial express shouts GO AWAY.
posted by The Whelk at 5:10 PM on November 20, 2015 [7 favorites]

I'm enjoying the hell out of this, but I'm pretty disappointed we jumped right into the Killgrave story line. I was kinda hoping we'd get a couple episodes of regular life with Jessica Jones first. Some regular PI jobs, botched dates, etc. Instead, the stakes and tension are ratcheted up from the jump before we even really get to know her.

Still, it's awesome and I look forward to watching the rest.
posted by ODiV at 5:46 PM on November 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

Just talking about this episode-

Enjoyable and interesting, but the voice overs are heavy headed. While a fan of Ritter, I wasn't sure she'd be right for the role, as it requires a physicality that she doesn't quite pull of in the fights. But she nails the emotional complexity of the character with her "I don't give a shit" attitude being used as a mask to hide how messed up emotionally she still is.

There's not a lot to say about this particular, as they're clearly doing a slow burn with Kilgrave while introducing everyone. But they're doing a great job of building up what he is and what he's capable of doing.

Hope killing her parents like that and then smiling was chilling and the right kind of terrible to let us know just how dark things the show can get. Whether that'll be a good thing and if he show can continue to pull off the complex emotional landscape will be interesting to see.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:46 PM on November 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Just finished the episode and I pretty much love everything about it. What especially thrills me is the emotional complexity of Jessica and Ritter's portrayal--she nailed tough/vulnerable combination well. JJ is profoundly fucked up, and lack of moralizing about her choices is also refreshing.
posted by chaoticgood at 7:14 PM on November 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

That was very well done and super disturbing. Possibly too dark for my tastes.
posted by roger ackroyd at 10:32 PM on November 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Liked it a ton, thought it was way better than any of the other new shows this season. Not sure I can correctly remember what happened in what episode at this point though.
posted by Justinian at 10:54 PM on November 20, 2015

Just watched the first one last night, knowing nothing at all about JJ from the comics.

I love Krysten Ritter and would watch anything with her in it anyway, but I thought she did the modern noir thing very well. I love that they start out with slow hints about what she can do (how did she leap to the fire escape? She broke a door?) and build to understanding with Kilgrave. We haven't even met him yet and he's already a scary guy. I haven't watched any more episodes yet but I'm assuming David Tennant will play Kilgrave and I am having some cognitive dissonance about that.

There are still a lot of mysteries for the viewer: the photo of the woman in Luke's bathroom cabinet, for example. But you can't have all exposition all the time or it will be super boring. Overall I plan to watch...maybe not binge just yet but yeah, I'm more hooked than I was with Daredevil, and I liked that show too.
posted by tracicle at 10:59 PM on November 20, 2015

I'm enjoying the hell out of this, but I'm pretty disappointed we jumped right into the Killgrave story line. I was kinda hoping we'd get a couple episodes of regular life with Jessica Jones first. Some regular PI jobs, botched dates, etc. Instead, the stakes and tension are ratcheted up from the jump before we even really get to know her.

I'm up to episode 4, and this is my only really major complaint; this show handles the emotional trauma and paranoia created by Kilgrave really, fantastically well, making it constant, intense but relatively restrained, but because that constant heightened paranoia is done so well, the rest of the show basically gets overwhelmed in claustrophobic, suffocating dread all the time. Fabulously well done but it makes it hard to get to know what there else there is to Jessica Jones outside the context of her damage from Kilgrave.

But I am also kinda sympathetic to the show's dilemma there, since the first half of season 1 of Agents of SHIELD was basically that low stakes "regular life" and a lot of people hated it/were bored by it/bailed on the show. Maybe they could get away with it better here with this being a Netflix show and released all at once, but I'm not sure. For now I'll just hope that a Season 2 of Jessica Jones gets a little more room to breathe and explore other stuff.

Does anyone have any thoughts on Carrie-Ann Moss's character?

I am assuming that her affair with Pam will eventually be significant in some way (working theory: Pam is mind-controlled by Kilgrave for some nefarious reason) because if not, the whole melodrama of the lawyer's personal life is both tonally off, compared to the rest of the show, and really weirdly shoehorned in. It's a minor gripe, but yeah - the show is privileging glimpses of Hogarth's personal life more than any other supporting character's, and it gets played off as sinister (the soundtrack corroborates Carrie-Ann Moss's interpretation, there) and the show has yet, 4 episodes in, to justify any of that.

But that's really a minor nitpick, to me, because I'm willing to wait and assume it pays off eventually. I am loving all the performances, I am loving the very faithfully film-noir artistic sensibilities of the show, and I'm loving how smart the writing is, in terms of both a.) having really thought through the implications of what it's showing us and b.) writing characters that are believably flawed but otherwise consistently behave very intelligently.
posted by mstokes650 at 7:53 AM on November 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Does anyone have any thoughts on Carrie-Ann Moss's character?

Interesting counterpoint to Jessica and no doubt a future ally of sorts. After all, Jessica is going to need legal help at some point probably.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:30 AM on November 21, 2015

I just read Zoe Quinn's response to this, which is that she found it really hard to watch after the last year.

There is talk of a Gamer Gate film, but I sort of think this is the first Gamer Gate film, in which a jilted ex triggers an army of anonymous attackers, and the main character and her friends find themselves victims of men who want to silence and control them.
posted by maxsparber at 8:45 AM on November 21, 2015 [12 favorites]

I'm enjoying the hell out of this, but I'm pretty disappointed we jumped right into the Killgrave story line. Some regular PI jobs, botched dates, etc. Instead, the stakes and tension are ratcheted up from the jump before we even really get to know her.

Going for the Kilgrave storyline was pretty much the only narrative move they could make, I think - I don't know how closely they're following the comics, but IIRC, she wasn't a private eye before what happened with him. Plus, if they had a before and after, they'd have to have a 'during' of some sort to sell the viewer on how bad the events were.

This is hard to watch, but seeing her actually *with* Kilgrave would be so much worse. I'd rather that were left to flashbacks and PTSD.

I pretty much loved everything here - a big gripe of mine about people with superpowers, (and a reason I took up writing) - was that the mainstream properties when I was growing up didn't spend much time thinking about how people with them might really behave. Going from 'I can control minds' or 'I can punch through concrete' to 'I will take a silly codename and easily identifiable costume to run around the city hoping to rob/prevent the robbery of a bank' is *really* weird.

Jessica Jones and Daredevil have both been a lot better here: good or bad, everyone's just following their own agenda. Plus, the world honestly doesn't seem better off for having superpowered people in it. (I really, really don't think it would be.)
posted by mordax at 9:28 AM on November 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

Note: Luke Cage wins for "Smoothest Entrance Ever". There is never any doubt as to why Jessica, or really anyone else wouldn't go for him.

It's really Krysten Ridder's eyes that carry the scenes. She could be doing a totally cliche'd "tough girl routine, but her eyes just perfectly portray what her actions are covering up.

Had to go easy on this show, wit decompression between episodes, consistng of watching Star Wars Rebels or deep frying gnocchi videos. Making a collection of kitten videos to watch between the rest of the episodes.
posted by happyroach at 1:03 PM on November 21, 2015 [3 favorites]

Had to go easy on this show, wit decompression between episodes, consistng of watching Star Wars Rebels or deep frying gnocchi videos. Making a collection of kitten videos to watch between the rest of the episodes.

Speaking as someone who spent all of yesterday binging on the show from start to finish, kitten videos are a *really* good call.

Also: yes, MCU Luke Cage is awesome, and I look forward to his solo series.
posted by mordax at 1:09 PM on November 21, 2015

I was excited for this just because Krysten Ritter has been awesome in numerous small roles before, but I didn't know Luke Cage was also going to be played by Mike "Lemond Bishop" Colter. I always thought he did good with that role and I'm glad Colter's getting a bigger chance here because looking at his IMDB page he's not been in much else.

I'm coming into this knowing only the basic about the Jessica Jones comics but I really enjoy seeing superpowered people that are more apathetic or ones that have reasonable fears. My favorite genre stuff is usually stories that don't go straight formula but put some twists to the regular tropes without going complete deconstruction mode.
posted by john-a-dreams at 2:15 PM on November 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

I get the feeling that if this had been made 10 or 15 years ago, we'd have Eliza Dushku in the starring role.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:41 PM on November 21, 2015 [15 favorites]

Wow, just finished the first one - and I don't know how you guys are watching this one after another! I need a drink and some cozy mysteries; the ending was just a gut punch, especially with how vivid the parents and Hope were. I mean... FUCK.

I love how they're doing the ptsd; the flashbacks, the dreams, the avoidance, the startle response, the semi-fugues and dissociation. I love how none of the women are sexualized. It's so raw for me, but if they were sexualized I'd be done; even the sex isn't really... sexy. It's real, it's messed up, but it's not low lights, jazz music, and female body parts. The violence (in this episode at least) is similarly that you're dealing with the effect and not the graphic imagery - which makes it more effective imo.

The moment with Jessica said to Hope, "None of this is your fault." Fuck. And how this rape narrative is centering the effect it has, why it's messed up, and how even if in the moment you went along with it that doesn't mean you consented... it doesn't mean you wanted it... woooooooo~ I can't remember ever seeing this laid out so plainly in a movie before. There's always the wink and the nod of "but women are sexy, amirite" or "suffering is pretty, amirite" and here any movement int hat direction aligns you with Kilgrave and he is clearly just horrific.

It'll take me a while to make it through. It hits so close to home. But damn, I want to watch. They sold me the moment her voiceover went into, "Knowing it's real means you've got to make a decision: 1) Keep denying it or 2) do something about it." and she turned around to walk back in the building... I was sold.

Ok, now for liquor, chocolate, and something soothing.
posted by Deoridhe at 5:13 PM on November 21, 2015 [12 favorites]

We alternate JJ with a few classic episodes of Weeds to take the edge off. Or Archer.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:27 PM on November 21, 2015

Wow, just finished the first one - and I don't know how you guys are watching this one after another!

I blame the pacing - everything is just... wound so tight, for lack of a better way to put it. (I watched the first season of Breaking Bad in a single day too, for similar reasons.)
posted by mordax at 7:22 PM on November 21, 2015

I did it because my sleep schedule recently got all messed up and I can't tell if its nighttime or morning. I never really understood the bit in Fight Club about not ever being truly awake and not ever being truly asleep before.

Watching all of JJ in that state was pretty trippy.
posted by Justinian at 7:57 PM on November 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

We just watched this episode, and my husband -- who binged Daredevil over the course of a few days -- said, "I think I'll wait until tomorrow to watch the next one." For my part, I couldn't watch DD because it was so intense I got the shakes. I'd be working in the next room and hear a fight scene, run to the living room to watch it, then return to my office to calm down, breathe, just breathe.

And this show, I think, is going to have the same effect on me just because, as mordax put it, it's wound so tight that I spent the entire episode waiting for that tension to release in ghastly ways. I wasn't disappointed, but, damn, I don't know that I can take that eleven (?) more times.

Hubby commented that we made it through the entire first episode without an origin story. Given that we get the Batman/Superman origin story every three years, this seems positively decadent on the part of Marvel/Netflix.
posted by malthusan at 8:31 PM on November 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

12 more times!
posted by Justinian at 8:44 PM on November 21, 2015

Finished the show yesterday, I don't have anything specific to say about this episode but I have an observation on the series that I don't think is has any spoilers for this show (vague spoilers for some other marvel things).

Every single character's primary motivation at this point is self-protection, either physical or emotional or in many cases both. The only difference between them is how much they let that turn into narcissism, an absolutely suffocating need to protect their right to eat steak in exclusive restaurants over the right for others to breath. I think this is unusual because the whole point of a superhero or supervillain is that they're concerned with the protection of other people first and their own lives and comfort absolutely last- see Captain America, for example, who in the last scene of Winter Soldier was so concerned with helping an old friend remember some good times that he would have let himself be murdered, or SHIELD agents like Mac rushing in to fight powered supervillains with a pistol.
Even on netflix Daredevil is constantly sleep-deprived, works for peanuts, and risks his life every day upholding a no-murder code of justice while Claire and Foggy potentially sacrifice their careers to help him and any innocents they find- Kingpin too is sacrificing the possibility of real friendship to make his city a better place as he sees it, and Vanessa throws away her own public persona to help what she sees as a great man.

Contrast that to Luke and Jessica who are so relentlessly HUMAN about having powers and getting tired and only being able to put up with so much before breaking, and the people around Jessica like Hogarth who are apparently more concerned about money and career reputation than any amount of personal happiness or fulfillment or legacy.

Hydra heads like Malick want to take over the world or burn it to ash with their death cult. The Purple Man wants to see you in lingerie.

Pulling back a little- I too watched the whole show in a state of deep, drunken exhaustion ("2am marathon! Take a sip if anyone uses superpowers or drinks alcohol!") and I think it sort of helped get in the same headspace as the lead. I hope everyone from this show ends up all over the MCU.
posted by sandswipe at 2:58 PM on November 22, 2015 [4 favorites]

Here's a review of the episode from AV Club.
posted by bq at 3:52 PM on November 22, 2015

I was concerned when I first heard about the show - on the one hand, yay female main character in the MCU! but on the other hand, the storyline evidently was going to involve a woman who had had her agency removed and while I was pretty sure they wouldn't fridge the main character, I really wasn't sure about this.

Instead, they're doing a great job of making it creepy, not titillating, and issues of consent and responsibility are suffusing the whole thing.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:27 AM on November 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

unless I missed something we don't know why JJ had Luke Cage's bar under surveillance.

yeah not knowing anything about the characters, I sorta figured it was about her having a huge creepy crush on this dude. But there's also a sense that they know each other even when they're acting like they just met. I'm only 1 episode in though and figure this stuff will get explained later. Seeing it put as "under surveillance", I wonder if maybe he's been suspected of having powers and by coincidence Jessica got the contract to do surveillance and she's covering it up? Time will tell.
posted by Hoopo at 11:04 AM on November 24, 2015

I had to take a break after watching the episode because it's so stressful and intense--that ending is a gut punch. They did a good job showing Jessica's state of mind and using her PTSD/flashbacks to give you a sense that you're not quite sure all that you're seeing is happening. I'm enjoying the Veronica Mars vibe with the voiceover and the character's attempt to project a standoffish and sardonic vibe.
posted by angelchrys at 8:00 PM on November 24, 2015

We watched the first episode last night, and I was so, so, so, so, so delighted, at least from a person-who-appreciates-well-executed-powerful-stories standpoint -- I've been off Marvel for a while because Daredevil and Agent Carter were enjoyable, but I have serious issues about their execution. And I thought Ultron was entertaining, but miserably lacking in the careful character development that I want out of Marvel.


In particular, I really love the model of heroism that's shown here -- I mean, the ending with Hope in this episode is brutal, not least because of how vivid and Midwestern-y her parents are drawn, and the moment where she comes back and throws her arms around Jessica, and then that moment, the first moment when she is alone with her parents with Jessica Jones? And you see that smile, and you see the Saturday night special come out of her bag, and then Jessica Jones and her absolute dread and the sound overlay of the shots, and then Hope coming to herself in the elevator and whimpering Mom and then her screaming?

And how Jessica is horrified and afraid and so are we, the viewers. That awful creepy feeling we had when Jessica was carrying Hope out of the hotel room comes back about 10134897234x fold, and suddenly, we get hit with shock and horror and pain. I mean, the bits with Kilgrave are terrible, and Jessica has our sympathy, but oh man, this is the moment the show drives home just how brutal Kilgrave is.

And then, just as we're about to emotionally sign onto Jessica running away to Hong Kong and having the rest of the season be about her adventures in East Asia -- she is a flawed human being, with real weaknesses and issues and flaws. And she turns around and walks back in.


If this is the caliber of storytelling we can expect, I'm so excited for the rest of the season.
posted by joyceanmachine at 1:25 PM on November 25, 2015 [7 favorites]

I loved that there are POC in this show. So many shows seem to exist in a world devoid of POC, but not just the hot bartender, but Hope's roommates, too!

I did not realize the lawyer lady was Trinity. I mostly thought she was a brunette version of Claire Underwood from House of Cards. Which isn't a bad thing.

I was also surprised by how big her apartment was.

I loved midwestern dad Bob who was coping with his missing daughter by offering to fix the door. My midwestern dad named Bob would do the same thing. The actress for Hope did a fantastic job both in this episode and the next one of having this fractured personality of the real Hope and the mind-controlled Hope.
posted by jillithd at 4:02 PM on November 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

Mod note: One comment deleted; please leave out info from other sources that isn't covered in this episode. Thanks.
posted by taz (staff) at 1:04 AM on November 30, 2015

This just turned up on Disney+ UK. Whoa, that was a whole lot grimmer than I expected from more recent Marvel stuff.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:20 AM on March 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

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