Review: Jessica Jones, season 3

Krysten Ritter in Jessica Jones

The final season of Jessica Jones, Marvel’s flawed but admirable super hero, brought the show to a surprising conclusion. No spoilers about the ending here, but I do have things to say about season 3 of this series.

Krysten Ritter played Jessica Jones with the same bourbon-fueled pain, heartbreak, and cynicism she demonstrated throughout. At the start of season 3, Jessica’s biological mother has just been shot by her sister Trish (Rachael Taylor). Jessica is in no mood to understand or forgive Trish.

The true center of season 3 is the slow coming together of the sisters, and the way they ultimately deal with the fractures in their relationship. Their love for each other is a microcosm for the themes of right vs. wrong that create the action.

Rachael Taylor in Jessica Jones

Trish has powers now. She takes the law into her own hands as “the masked vigilante.” It takes a few episodes for the sisters to start working together. The season’s biggest baddie is Sallinger (Jeremy Bobb), a threat to them both. That threat inspires cooperation between them.

Sallinger is no Kilgrave, but he’s terrible enough. He’s an angry white guy who thinks he has to work too hard for what he has when compared to people with powers. Poor thing.

Jeremy Bobb does a terrific job being evil. Overall, however, I’d say this season’s acting VIP is Rachael Taylor. She stretches into different territory with her new powers. We see her in new ways.

Krysten Ritter in Jessica Jones

Trish’s behavior as a vigilante puts Jessica into a media spotlight that is most unwelcome.

Jessica decides to try to actually do good, be a hero. It’s what her biological mother pushed her to do in season 2. It isn’t easy. She’s constantly faced with moral ambiguity. Choosing between right and wrong is a major theme of season 3. That dilemma faces all the characters – not just Jessica.

Carrie-Anne Moss and Eka Darville in Jessica Jones

Early in season 3, Malcolm (Eka Darville) works for Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss). Jeri is as ruthless as ever. Malcolm faces a number of moral choices that make him question his allegiance to Jeri. Malcolm’s girlfriend Zaya (Tiffany Mack) also works at the same law firm and is an enthusiastic devotee of Jeri Hogarth’s effectiveness.

Benjamin Walker and Krysten Ritter in Jessica Jones

Jessica meets a barfly named Erik (Benjamin Walker). He has powers. When he’s near evil, he gets a stabbing headache. If the evil is really bad, blood runs from his eyes. He says being around Jessica is like aspirin for him. Jessica is not convinced she is capable of being a hero and doing good. This is encouragement for her from someone who knows good when he finds it.

Erik’s ability to find the bad guys without knowing what they’ve done – and without any proof of their crimes – causes quite a few problems for Jessica.

Jessica is a day drinker who lives an unmanageable life, yet she’s one of my favorite characters ever.

Other important characters in season 3 include Trish and Jessica’s mother, Dorothy Walker (Rebecca De Mornay), Jessica’s friend on the force Detective Costa (John Ventimiglia), an old flame of Jeri’s named Kith (Sarita Choudhury), and Jessica’s takes-no-shit assistant Gillian (Aneesh Sheth). There’s a surprise cameo from my other favorite Marvel character, but I’ll leave that name unspoken.

I’ve liked Sarita Choudhury since 1991’s Mississippi Masala and enjoy seeing her in anything. Whether she’s climbing all over Denzel Washington or climbing all over Carrie-Anne Moss, I approve. I was glad to see Aneesh Sheth in a Marvel series because she’s transgender. Progress.

The question of what a hero is and what a hero does ties the final season together. What is right? What is wrong? Do the means justify the ends? What is heroism? How much sacrifice does it require to be heroic?

The answers to these questions come with an ending about doing right that befits Jessica Jones. It’s messy, it’s full of hard choices, and it’s full of truth. It requires sacrifice. Jessica is a day drinker who lives an unmanageable life, yet she’s one of my favorite characters ever.

Jessica Jones was created by Melissa Rosenberg, who also wrote in every episode. Women directors in season 3 included Jennifer Getzinger, Mairzee Almas, Neasa Hardiman, Sarah Boyd, Krysten Ritter, and Liesl Tommy.

I’m glad Netflix gave Melissa Rosenberg and the writers a chance to bring this series to an ending of their choice, rather than canceling it without warning. Thanks to Krysten Ritter for making Jessica believable and admirable. Go get ’em, Jess!

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Watch the season 3 trailer

Have you seen season 3 of this super powered thriller? What did you think of it?

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