Episode Title: AKA Ladies Night
Original Air Date: 11/20/2015
Jessica Jones is hired to find a pretty NYU student who’s vanished but it turns out to be more than a simple missing persons case.
When Marvel first announced their Netflix shows, the one that had me the most intrigued was Jessica Jones, simply because I knew nothing about the character. I knew some details about Daredevil, Iron Fist and Luke Cage but not her. This intrigue only increased as the cast for the show was assembled as a lot of great actors kept being added and now the full series has been released and, based in this first episode, we’re off to a good start.
What needs to work in a story about a private investigator is a sense of their abilities and the first case we see can make or break one of these shows. Here, the case is the right one for a first episode, allowing us a good chance to see the skills of Jones, along with having enough connections to other events to set up a greater world for the show. Throughout we see the intelligence and resourcefulness of Jones but as it goes into, we know that something about the case is setting off warning signs for Jones which creates a great scope for the rest of the series, particularly with how it reveals the main villain of the show.
The other parts of the episode meanwhile add to the world of lawyers, talk shows and bars to create a believable world and as the episode progresses, this world becomes more expansive and ads a great deal of mystery to the whole thing when the plot veins us into everything.
However, without strong introductions to the character, the episode would fall apart and it’s here that the episode shines. Krysten Ritter makes a strong impression as Jessica. We see how intelligent and resourceful she is but we know that something has gone wrong with the character that has left her seriously disturbed and suffering from PTSD, especially by the end of the episode. However, this isn’t a bleak performance and there’s a lot of great deadpan comedy from Ritter which helps make the episode so entertaining. Mike Colter meanwhile makes a strong first impression as Luke Cage. We don’t get to the full nature of his characters abilities int his episode, but there are hints at a more tragic past for the character that will be interesting to explore in later episodes. Carrie-Anne Moss is a lot of fun as Jeryn Hogarth, although again I need to wait before I talk more about her. One thing I will say, I think she’s the first openly gay character in the Marvel Cinematic Univese and I have to say, it’s about damn time. Rachel Taylor has a good scene showing a lot of care for Jessica, Eka Darville is fun in his scenes and Erin Moriarty is really compelling showing the damage that the villain can do to people.
Speaking of the villain, this is one area that I think the show will shine one. Just from the brief glimpse we have of him and the overall presence he has, David Tennant has made an incredible first impression as Zedediah Kilgrave (I love comic book villain names). Knowing that he can get anyone to do anything opens up some terrifying possibilities for the character and its completely understandable why Jessica is so afraid of him. This presence is aided by SJ Clarkson’s excellent direction which adds this surreal quality to every scene related to Kilgrave which adds to the creepy demeanour we’ve seen so far.
AKA Ladies Night is a strong first impression for Jessica Jones. We get a good sense of the characters’ abilities, the world the shows setting up is really compelling and it keeps the trend of the Marvel Netflix shows with brilliant introductions for the villains. Here’s hoping the rest of the show can follow this trend.