I’d like to say episodes five through eight were an improvement. I would like to say the story made incredible leaps forward. I would like to say even the acting improved. I would like to say all that and more, but it would be a lie.
Ritter/Jones’s horrible voiceovers are still present. That’s to be expected. The series was completed months ago and the showrunners weren’t going to change something in the middle of filming. That’s one drawback of filming an entire season all at once- you won’t know what works and what doesn’t until it’s too late. Maybe season two ( Dear God, season two?) won’t have voiceovers.
It’s not that voiceovers are bad. Voiceovers were the bread and butter of noir films. However, there’s a big difference between Humphrey Bogart doing voiceovers in The Maltese Falcon and Krysten Ritter doing voiceovers in Jessica Jones. Bogart’s are good while Ritter struggles at being the tough girl. The voiceovers in Jessica Jones don’t add anything to the series. If anything, the voiceovers detract from the series. Jones tells us in a voiceover she owes Luke Cage a favor and then reminds us a scene later she owes him a favor. Here’s a tip to the showrunners- You don’t need to do both, telling us once is enough.
The acting is just as bad and so is the dialog. That’s no surprise either and there’s no need to visit old ground, except to highlight some epically shitty scenes. Jones finally tells Luke Cage she killed his wife while under Kilgrave’s control. “You slept with me, ” Cage whines. “I didn’t plan that. It just happened.” It “just happened” four times!
Or there’s the scene where Jones yells at Hogarth (Carrie-Ann Moss) after Hope is attacked in the prison. Who could have attacked Hope in a prison full of convicts? It must have been Kilgrave! How would anyone know if it was because, as Jones says, “He doesn’t leave fingerprints.” What the hell kind of line is that?
Let’s just skip over the cheap cop out of Kilgrave’s escape from certain justice at Jones’s hand. How about the random scene of Jones confronting Trish Walker’s mother about things that we have no idea what she’s talking about. One of my favorite worst scenes, including voiceover and panning shot, is Jones standing at the top of a bridge telling us she doesn’t do goodbyes, she just leaves. When? When did you” just leave?” You stayed in the city, had the same friend for years, and have had a career long enough to have clients be referred to you for business. That’s not leaving, that’s called setting down roots.
It can’t all be bad, right? Right. David Tennant is the only shining light in this void of a series. Tennant brings a little of the old Dr. Who magic to the role of Kilgrave. Sure, it’s easy to say because he was Dr. Who, but in the scenes where he is actually acting we can see the old Dr. Who twinkle in his eye. While everyone is overacting and straining hard to be serious, Tennant is having fun with the role of Kilgrave. I almost want to call Kilgrave an evil Time Lord. Either way, Tennant is the only thing holding this series together.
How deeper down the rabbit hole of shit can Jessica Jones go? Who knows? I’m sure the cell phone Jones keeps recording on, even after Kilgrave said he hated being recorded and kept it, will play a big role in the final episodes. If we’re not subjected to lines like “I’m rude to everyone” and “You use your power to compel murder” it will be an improvement. I’ll consider it a victory if there aren’t any more sanctimonious sermons like the one Jones delivered at the end of episode eight. But I’m not holding out hope.