Marvel’s Jessica Jones: Playing with Fire
Season 1 Episode 3: “Never Saw It Coming”
By Lauren Beukes, Vita Ayala, Sam Beckbessinger, Zoe Quinn, and Elsa Sjunneson
Narrated by Fryda Wolff
Marvel’s Jessica Jones: Playing with Fire is about the reluctant superhero Jessica Jones. But it’s also an examination of what it means to be human. And to be human is to learn to live with pain, sorrow, and loss.
“There is no right demographic for depression and suffering; there is no archetype for the need to self-medicate. She, of all people, knows that despair can sometimes run so deep it hits bone, regardless of what’s happening on the surface.”
Requiem for an artist
In Season 1 Episode 3: “Never Saw It Coming”, Vita Ayala takes over the writing chores from Lauren Beukes, who penned the first two episodes.
Since this is already Episode 3 of this Serial Box exclusive, I will be giving away more details, which some might consider spoilers. You could read my reviews of Episode 1 and Episode 2 before proceeding.
“Jessica isn’t much for believing in what isn’t in front of her and punchable, but she hopes that the boy — his name was Jamie, Jessica reminds herself as she sits up and takes in a groan of a breath — is at peace now.”
Vigils for the dead are a funny thing. That’s what I think, at least, and I suppose Jessica might agree with me. It’s an awkward gathering, where we remember the person who has passed away. And, in a way, bring that person back to life in our minds with our memories, anecdotes, and tributes. It’s a way for us to share our grief with each other and try to make sense of what happened.
And in this episode of Marvel’s Jessica Jones: Playing with Fire, the vigil is a way for us to get a clearer picture of who the artist Jamie was in life, through the eyes of his friends. It’s also a way for us to quickly get to know many characters at once, bringing to life the commune that Jamie belonged to, and introducing their “den mother or something”, as Jessica put it.
The title of this episode refers to the fact that no one among Jamie’s friends saw this coming. Not only are they shocked by his death, but also the way he died. And while her investigation is technically closed. Jessica just won’t let go of this case.
A flare for mystery
Remember that famous club that I’ve been talking about since Episode 1? Since it’s already Episode 3, I’ll tell you that it’s the Hellfire Club, which X-Men fans are quite familiar with.
For some reason, the Hellfire Club has been hiring young performers with superpowers, whom it calls flares. From what we’ve seen so far, these flares all have minor superpowers. Jamie was one of them, and he and his fellow flares live in the commune.
The mystery about Jamie’s companion Brendan grows in this episode. Nobody in the commune likes Brendan, and they think he’s just using Jamie. Is he the one responsible for his death?
As I’ve said, this serialized novel, which is both an ebook and an audiobook, is a real page-turner. Also, the transition from Beukes to Ayala is seamless. I don’t think I would have noticed the change in writers if it hadn’t been indicated. The writing is still as enjoyable as ever.
And, yes, my favorite character is still alive! Now on to Episode 4 for more snark and sympathy from the one and only Jessica Jones.
(Editor’s note: This review is based on an advanced reader copy provided by Serial Box. Marvel’s Jessica Jones: Playing with Fire Season 1 Episodes 1-3 came out on May 28. Exclusively available on Serial Box.)