Jessica Jones’s whole shtick is that she doesn’t care, but deep down inside she does.
However, the same can’t be said for Season 3 of the Marvel TV show. Marvel’s Jessica Jones the show doesn’t really care about Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) the character anymore, and this isn’t just some act. What should be a grand finale for the Marvel Television Universe on Netflix doesn’t go out with a bang, or even a whimper. Instead, it simply ends, leaving you to wonder why you even cared about the character and her journey in the first place.
Some of that is probably to blame on the fact that, slowly, one by one, Netflix canceled every single Marvel series on its platform. Even though by the time Jessica Jones’s cancelation came in — in early February 2019 — the show had already wrapped production, it’s like Netflix and the producers knew the end was near and that gave the show a case of senioritis: Why bother to work harder when you’re already set to leave this place behind? It’s a shame to see Jessica Jones end like this, considering the first season of the show finally gave us a no-nonsense female superhero that refused to fit into any heroic mold.
Season 3 picks up shortly after the end of Season 2, which saw Jessica reunited with her mother, Alisa (Janet McTeer), only to have Alisa killed by Trish (Rachael Taylor) in order to “save” her foster sister. Trish has never been one to hide the fact that she’s envious of Jessica’s powers, and she’s finally got some having gone through the same procedures (even though her powers are never really defined other than an extended parkour scene early on). This is Trish becoming Hellcat, her counterpart in the comics, and while it’s exciting to see the birth of a new hero, even Trish seems confused as to why she’s doing this. Is it because she wants to help people? Right wrongs? Be better than Jessica? Show her mother she’s finally shed her Patsy upbringing? Stop working her night job as a home shopping network barker? It’s not clear (she also walks around looking like a Daredevil knock-off, with a hat and scarf tied around her head).
While Jessica and Trish work to mend their broken relationship, what really weighs down the series is Jeri Hogarth’s (Carrie-Anne Moss) B-plot as the lawyer tries to rise to power once again. While Jeri has been a constant in the series since the beginning and has always been intertwined with Jessica’s shady PI practices, now she’s front-and-center snagging a solid half of all screentime — and it feels forced. We know Jeri’s bad news, but for Season 3, the show turns her into a full-on villain with little to no redeeming qualities, and her scenes drag on for an unnecessary amount of time. The only tolerable parts of her storyline involve Malcolm (Eka Darville), Jessica’s one-time partner, who now works for Hogarth’s law firm as an investigator. He’s trying to grapple with right and wrong on his own terms, without superpowers. If Netflix hadn’t canceled every Marvel series, now would be the time to start asking for a Malcolm spin-off.
Season 3 also gives Jessica a new love interest, Erik (Benjamin Walker), who’s a super himself (a version of Mind-Wave), and while this is nice, it’s a shame the show spent all of Season 2 setting up J.R. Ramirez’s Oscar only to have him disappear because he “met someone else.” The show also does away with Oscar’s son, Vido (Kevin Chacon), after a few episodes — not in like the “he’s dead” way, but the “he doesn’t do anything anymore” way.
As for the villain, that’s another misstep. The show introduces us to Gregory Salinger (Jeremy Bobb), who’s playing a version of Foolkiller. Salinger has no powers, but he has a deep vendetta against supers and he’s also a serial killer. But somehow Jessica can’t seem to stop him? It’s honestly maddening at points considering Jessica is one of the strongest Marvel characters and she can fly (OK, fine, she can jump really high). The show could have gone out with guns blazing, but honestly, no villain was ever going to match Season 1’s Kilgrave (David Tennant). The addition of Salinger would have worked better as a secondary villain, not the main big bad.
Netflix sent the first eight episodes of Season 3 out for review, and somehow I had convinced myself that there were only 10 episodes this season. I was wrong. There are 13 episodes this season, and while I’ll watch the last remaining five, they’re not exactly high on my priority list. And once they’re done, what will be Jessica Jones’ legacy? Unfortunately, it will live on as nothing more than the first time the character appeared on screen since eventually she’ll be rebooted (whether for television or movies, who knows). I honestly hope she is, and soon. The character is still interesting and intricate and it’s a shame that the last season is cursed with an actual lack of apathy.
TV Guide Rating: 3/5
Season 3 of Marvel’s Jessica Jones is available Friday, June 14 on Netflix.