Review

Netflix's Jessica Jones Season 3 Review: A Fitting End

  • First Released Jun 14, 2019
    released
  • television

No spoilers here!

The Netflix Marvel shows went through their ups and downs, but now that they're all canceled for good, at least they're going out on a high note with Jessica Jones Season 3.

Netflix sent us eight of the final season's 13 episodes, so this review is based on those alone--although we won't get into any spoilers.

Jessica Jones' first season was one of the strongest shows produced in Netflix and Marvel's partnership, but Season 2 was a major letdown. Even in a world set after the Defenders defeated The Hand--which we had hoped would improve this TV universe moving forward--Jessica Jones' sophomore season didn't hold up, due to issues ranging from poorly written new characters to the lack of a narrative throughline. But like Daredevil's final season, Jessica Jones Season 3 is a return to form--and then some.

As always, Jessica Jones follows the titular super-powered detective as she chases down leads, fights bad guys, and wrestles with her own soul-crushing nihilism. Krysten Ritter remains an inspired casting choice, and her version of this character retains all the complexity she's always had. You want Jessica to get it together, but at the same time, it's hard to argue with her worldview. Almost everything about Jessica Jones' last season is great, but the show really works because of Ritter.

Season 3 is a direct follow-up to Season 2, but in case you didn't watch that--and we can't really blame you--here's a quick recap: Trish (Rachael Taylor) has powers now (she's Hellcat in the comics), but Jessica is mad at her because Trish killed Jessica's mom, who wasn't actually dead like Jessica thought, but unfortunately turned out to be kind of a psycho murderer.

Much of Season 3 is about the possibility of Jessica and Trish's reconciliation. As the audience, you'll want Jessica and Trish to team up, for obvious reasons--they're awesome badasses. But there are plausible reasons why they can't. A lot of the tension this season comes from their relationship, which feels true to life. The direction things are headed at the conclusion of Episode 8--the final episode Netflix sent us--is extremely promising, and the rest of the Season seems perfectly poised to stick the landing.

Unlike Season 2, Jessica Jones Season 3 does have a villain. We won't spoil who it is, because there's a gradual buildup. But even if you're well read in the comics world, you might not know this villain off the top of your head. It's a strange choice, but one that completely works within the world of Jessica Jones. And the casting for said villain--Jeremy Bobb, who we last saw earlier this year in Netflix's time travel dark comedy, Russian Doll--is a wonderfully terrifying foil for Jessica's raw power.

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Most of Jessica's side characters are along for this final ride as well. Carrie-Anne Moss is back as ruthless lawyer Jeri Hogarth, who is still dealing with her slowly developing ALS, a disease that will eventually kill her. After the events of Season 2, Jessica's former assistant Malcolm (Eka Darville) is working for Hogarth, doing some things he's not entirely comfortable with. Trish's mom, Dorothy (Rebecca De Mornay), is an irritating presence (as always). And there are some new additions who play interesting roles, particularly Benjamin Walker's Erik, a rare love interest for Jessica.

Jessica Jones Season 3 gets back to what the show is good at: gritty, noir-tinged detective stuff. Despite her powers of super strength and semi-invulnerability, Jessica tends to lay pretty low, using these powers mostly to pry into cases by intimidating suspects or punching through locked doors. And Season 3 is full of that stuff, with great pacing that will make you want to keep watching, at least through the first eight episodes. That said, as was almost always the case with these shows, 13 episodes still feels too long.

This season is also largely concerned with power as a concept--what individuals are willing to do to get it, what they do with it once they have it, and the effect it has on the lives of the people around them. This emerges through Trish's new super-powered activities, but also through Jessica's relationship with her new villain. At least one other powered character is introduced early on, and all three have to make hard choices about the responsibilities of the life they've chosen--or that chose them, in some cases, including Jessica's.

That may sound like typical superhero fare, and in a way, it is--we've seen Season 3's themes and narrative arcs many times before. But when this superhero comfort food is done well, it can resonate with viewers nonetheless. And that's the case with Jessica Jones Season 3.

It's fitting that the Netflix/Marvel universe is coming to an end with a season that reminds us how good these shows were at their best--fitting, and more than a little bit sad. I'm going to miss bingeing these shows a few times a year, because even at their worst, they were watchable junk food TV. At their best, they were much more. I can't wait to watch Jessica Jones Season 3's last five episodes and see how it all will end.

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The Good

  • Jessica Jones is a complex but relatable protagonist
  • Gets back to what the show is good at
  • Good writing with strong themes
  • Excellent new villain
  • Pacing and structure will keep you hooked

The Bad

  • 13 episodes still feels like too many
  • Dorothy Walker is so annoying

About the Author

Mike Rougeau is GameSpot's Senior Entertainment Editor. He loves Game of Thrones and dogs.
11 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

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DeadManRollin

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"Dorothy Walker is so annoying"

So the script writers create an annoying character, who stays true to her character for three seasons, and that's a bad thing?

I'd rather say give that woman a medal. It's easy to act as a person who is loved by all, but you don't get too many genuine, hate-worthy characters in movies and series.

I might not be a professional critic, but this much I understand well.

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W4rl0ck

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ANYONE that says a show they like to binge watch is too long needs to fucking kill themselves and save everyone from their fucking stupidity. I can't stand when some fucking moron says a show/game/movie they liked felt like it was too long.

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salty101

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Now the reviews list is half movies and shows, farewell gamespot.

It's long overdue to find a new gaming site.

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kenundrum7

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@salty101: Yes. This is what I thought when I came here wondering what this game is all about. Gamespot has lost its way. I actually reduced my time on this site because of the SJW garbage it promoted. I check in now and then, and it is always sad anymore. The Gamespot I knew and liked is dead.

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csward

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This is my 3rd favorite Netflix Marvel series after Punisher and Daredevil. Like all Netflix superhero there is a lot of filler and that killed some shows like Luke Cage and Iron Fist for me.

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jj2112

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Not willing to sit through 13 episodes for a meh story. The only ones I found really enjoyable were DD seasons 1 and 3 and Punisher season 1.

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deactivated-5dd711115e664

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I love Jessica Jones and have read all the Alias/JJ comics. She's a great character with many dimensions to her. She's a broken super hero who, despite her flaws (and alcoholism) is still a hero deep down. No matter how much she wants to distance herself from the hero world, she always seems to be on the fringes of it still. Always getting pulled in just enough to remain low on the radar, but never quite out of it. JJ season 1 captured this perfectly (as well as her main adversary and their relationship). JJ season 2 was horrible because it wasn't JJ. It wasn't the same character, it wasn't the same material, it wasn't the same struggle. Season 2 was ok for something, but there was nothing about it that resembled the JJ in the comics or S1. Nothing other than name and Ritter. So I really hope this season does the character Justice. I had such high hopes for Marvel on Netflix and so much of it has been mishandled. The people behind the movies understand the material and what makes those characters. The people behind the Netflix shows didn't seem to get it in the same way.

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xxmavr1kxx

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Sad that Netflix and Marvel split.

I enjoyed all of them, and was hoping for another season of the Defenders.

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Izraal

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@xxmavr1kxx:

Really, one final season of the Defenders would have been a much more appropriate note to go out on. If they'd added Punisher into the mix, they'd essentially be combining all 5 of their Netflix Marvel shows into one final team up. If they did a limited run, with some sufficiently high stakes villain that would force them to put aside their differences, including the morality judgments of the Punisher's actions, it could have been an epic way to bring it to a close.

Unfortunately, with The Hand dealt with, they didn't really have anything in place that could justify such a team up. I'm sure if they've been given a green light for it they could have came up with something and made it work for the grittier tone of the Netflix shows. They have decades of comic source material to pull form.

It's not to be, of course, but I would have at least felt a lot more closure on the Marvel Netflix setting if one last Defenders season had brought it all together.

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cejay0813

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@xxmavr1kxx: Think they'd be on Disney's platform maybe...

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uninspiredcup

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Good to hear.

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