The Marvel-Netflix street-level avengers "took on ruthless crime bosses, augmented henchmen and undead ninja cults, but ultimately could not prevail over corporate synergy," says Graeme Virtue. She marked the end of the Marvel's partnership with Netflix, with the release Friday of Jessica Jones' third and final season, noting that the two companies produced an impressive 12 seasons of TV in just four years. "That Netflix’s Marvel journey ends with Jessica Jones is probably more an accident of timing than design, but it feels appropriate, and not just because the nocturnal investigator has always seemed the most likely to loiter once last orders has been called," says Virtue. "When the first season launched in late 2015, it felt like a rare example of TV outpacing the movies in the superhero boom, nimbly placing a female character front-and-center before Gal Gadot headlined her own Wonder Woman film in 2017. Here was a relatable hero, who drank too much, occasionally slept in her clothes and was generally ambivalent about her work. While it was refreshing to see a Marvel character who preferred a scuffed leather jacket to spandex, Jessica’s bruising backstory also chimed with the times. She was a survivor of trauma at the hands of David Tennant’s Kilgrave, a scrawny, self-regarding villain who used his exotic mind-control powers to callously rob his victims of all agency. It felt like a potent metaphor for a cultural moment when the commonplace abuse of male power had been belatedly dragged into the spotlight. Thanks in no small part to (Krysten) Ritter’s performance – enjoyably sarcastic, occasionally swaggering, but always wary – Jessica Jones felt raw and real in way that felt unusual for genre TV."
It's better for Jessica Jones to burn out than fade away: "Regardless of whatever average meta-rating or common evaluation that this season ends up with, I hope people ultimately remember that the eponymous heroine of Jessica Jones powered through a trajectory that fittingly reflecting a hero’s fate: she burned brightly out of the gate," says Melanie McFarland. "Regardless of the narrative trip-ups that may have encumbered her journey, Jessica Jones herself never stopped swinging."
What the Netflix-Marvel partnership proved is that the superhero genre isn’t all-powerful: "For Jessica Jones and the rest of the Marvel-Netflix experiments, they’ll exist in perpetuity in the streamer’s ever-expansive digital library," says Miles Surrey. "Subscribers may yet stumble upon the Marvel-Netflix universe and decide to see how the whole thing plays out—though I pity anyone who sits through the strenuous second season of Daredevil. Throughout its ups and downs, the Netflix-Marvel universe tried to make the case that audiences would embrace superhero stories on a smaller scale (and a smaller screen). Sometimes, like with Jessica Jones’s first season, it succeeded. But these series got in their own way more often than not, limiting their appeal to only the most devout Marvel enthusiasts who didn’t mind wading through exhaustive and stretched-out plotlines. The superhero industrial complex is as strong as it’s ever been, but what the past four years of collaboration between Netflix and Marvel proved is that the genre isn’t all-powerful. In the end, the legacy of the Defenders series is less as an industry game-changer than as a cautionary tale of creative redundancy."
Jessica Jones' final season feels too familiar: "In a lot of ways, it seems like Jessica Jones’ creative team went into this season knowing full well that it’d be the show’s last, and they wanted to return the character to her hard-boiled roots," says Charles Pulliam-Moore. "Season three pulls you right back into Jessica’s morally grey world, and while there’s a certain kind of comfortable familiarity to it all, that familiarity often leads to Jessica Jones’ third outing feeling like the rehashing of a story we’ve already seen." He adds: "In addition to being overly long, Netflix’s Marvel shows have always been rather comfortable leaning into the classic 'hero must protect their vulnerable charge' plot lines in moments when they want to illustrate the moral fortitude of their lead characters. In addition to doing that, Jessica Jones also ends up circling back into familiar territory when it comes to her fight against the season’s main villain in a way that often leaves you thinking 'the show’s already done this.'"
Season 3 proves it was time for Jessica Jones to end: "Marvel’s Jessica Jones gets off on the wrong foot in Season 3 and stays there until the lackluster end," says Ben Travers. "Exhibiting the worst tendencies of the now-dead Marvel-Netflix franchise, the first two episodes get stuck repeating themselves, bloating their thin stories and familiar themes to exhaustion while star Krysten Ritter does all she can to add a little bit of life to the proceedings. But like the canceled franchise it’s closing out, Marvel’s Jessica Jones feels like a walking husk of itself in Season 3 — a zombie that’s still standing, out of obligation more than desire."
Creator Melissa Rosenberg anticipated Season 3 being the final season: "Yes," she says. "It was going to be my last season, in any event, because I was moving on to Warner Bros., but then it became the last season for the show, as well, which enabled us to really look at, 'Where do we want to leave each of these characters? If you look at all three seasons, as whole, what feels like a complete journey for all of the characters?' We really got a chance to land them, in a satisfying way, for us and, hopefully, for the audience."
Rosenberg felt Jessica Jones best worked as a play in three acts: "Each character kind of told us in some way where they wanted to go," she says, adding: "I feel like it’s three acts of a play, you know? It’s really a complete journey for all the characters, not just Jessica. I have to tell you, I feel incredibly proud of what was done. It did feel like it was a full story. It was a complete story and arc for our character. So that it ended was really right I think. It was serendipitous in a way."
Krysten Ritter is satisfied with Jessica Jones' series finale: “We didn’t get canceled in the middle of the night as a shock," she tells The Wrap. "This show is deeply personal and has been a psychological character study of Jessica Jones. We’ve spent a lot of time with her and I think that this length of storytelling is perfect and fitting." Ritter adds: “Melissa and I worked very carefully and closely to make sure that we’re completing her journey in a way that feels very Jessica. A little ambiguous, not perfect, not tied up in a bow, but hopeful and always about those baby steps of emotional growth.”