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Wow. That’s pretty much all you can say after watching “AKA 1,000 Cuts,” the tenth episode of Jessica Jones season 1. This is pretty much the episode where everything starts going to hell and we are left wondering just who the real villain is. Kilgrave becomes far more sympathetic in the first half of the episode—though he continues his psychopathic ways before he can really become redeemable—but he is outclassed by even more duplicitous and unsavory actions from seeming-allies of Jessica’s. What is the right way to react to a power like Kilgrave’s?
The episode opens with Kilgrave’s perspective of the conclusion of the previous episode, “AKA Sin Bin” (1x09), in which Kilgrave escaped from the containment chamber, ordered Trish to put a bullet in her head, and fled out the door, pursued by Jessica. After Clemons attacked Jessica to get her off of Kilgrave, Kilgrave flees out the door and finds Hogarth attempting to drive away. Hogarth pulls a gun on Kilgrave, but he orders her to throw it away, an order which she obeys, to her shock. Kilgrave then gets in her car and orders her to drive him to a doctor she trusts. Which doctor does she bring him to? The one to whom she is still married, of course! Hogarth brings him to Wendy, and he orders Wendy to fix him up, though he has evidently agreed to help Hogarth by forcing Wendy to sign the divorce papers for her. However, Kilgrave and Wendy begin commiserating about their horrible lovers (Jessica and Hogarth, respectively): Kilgrave is exceedingly frustrated by Jessica’s lack of appreciation for all the trouble he went to in giving her back her “home.” This whole scene really serves to humanize both Kilgrave and Wendy—though it doesn’t do Hogarth any favors.
It is during this conversation that Hogarth is semi-forced into revealing the crucial information that Hope had been pregnant with Kilgrave’s child and gotten an abortion, and that Hogarth had sent the fetus to “Hammond Labs” (can you say “Original Human Torch Easter egg?”) to see if his powers could be replicated from it, though the experiment failed. At this point Kilgrave still wants to find and finish off his father, so when Jessica calls Hogarth he orders Hogarth to find out where his father is. Jessica already knows Hogarth helped him escape, and does not reveal the information. Unfortunately at this moment there is a knock on Wendy’s door, and Kilgrave thinks it’s Jessica. Instead of carrying out his part of the deal with Hogarth, Kilgrave gives Wendy what he thinks she wants: a opportunity for revenge against Hogarth. Kilgrave orders her to give Hogarth a taste of her own medicine, 1,000 cuts. Pam comes in before Wendy can kill Hogarth, and Pam has to kill Wendy to save Hogarth. At this point Jess finally arrives and learns from Hogarth that Kilgrave is going to go after his father. To conclude the plot with Pam and Hogarth, Pam is arrested, Hogarth visits her, and Pam realizes that Hogarth freed Kilgrave and set all these events in motion—and to top it all off, she’s lying to her. Pam refuses Hogarth as legal counsel, and appears to have broken up with her entirely. Here is yet another unintended victim of Kilgrave, as Pam was forced to kill to defend Hogarth, only to discover after the fact that Hogarth was at fault for the whole situation. I’ve already made it clear how much I dislike Hogarth’s character, but I do like how this whole sequence goes down, perhaps because it gives Hogarth some understanding of just who Kilgrave is and what he’s capable of.
Returning to Jessica, she goes back into the control room to find Trish trying to carry out Kilgrave’s last order: “Put a bullet in your head.” However, Trish comically can’t follow through on loading her revolver before having to try jabbing the bullet into the side of her head. Finally Jessica grabs a bullet, tells Trish to put it in her mouth (“The bullet’s in your head”), and then has her spit it out. By technically fulfilling the order, Kilgrave’s hold is broken. It’s at this point that Jessica reveals the good news: Kilgrave’s power does not work over her anymore for some reason. Kilgrave’s father (handcuffed so he can’t cut his heart out) explains that because Kilgrave’s power is virus-based, Jessica may have developed an immunity to the virus, making her the missing ingredient for a cure that could protect someone from Kilgrave’s influence—though how that happened is still up for debate. Trish agrees to take Albert back to his apartment and help him work up a cure. I think Jessica’s solution to Trish’s orders might be the funniest part of this episode (there really aren’t a lot of comedic moments in this season). Watching Albert try to create a cure is also quite interesting, though it seems like a foregone conclusion that he won’t succeed.
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Jessica returns to her office, where she finds Malcolm outside helping Robyn put up flyers for Ruben (in case you forgot, Kilgrave forced him to kill himself in episode 7, “AKA Top Shelf Perverts”). Jessica confronts Malcolm for leading Robyn on when they need to tell her the truth before going up to her office to change her shirt. However, when she gets to the office, she finds Kilgrave waiting for her with a proposition: he has arranged for Hope’s freedom, and in exchange he wants his father. The two of them then discuss their shared history, including why Kilgrave thinks that she stayed with him of her own free will: he gave her exactly 18 seconds of freedom, which she did not use to escape. However, she tells him that it took all 18 seconds to fully regain herself, and that he put her under his control again before she could attempt to escape. Then he made her start cutting her ears off, though he relented after a single cut.
Unfortunately, this is when Robyn goes nuts. She follows Malcolm to the Kilgrave support group, hears him admit to helping cover up Ruben’s murder, and incites the support group members to blame Jessica for their trauma and join her in attacking Jessica, despite Malcolm’s protests. They all go over to Jessica’s apartment, where she is telling Hope the good news that she will be released. The support group members overwhelm her before Robyn discovers Kilgrave and removes the duct tape from his mouth. At this point in the story, Robyn is not the best character, although after everything she has been through (including her twin brother’s death), I suppose you can’t particularly blame her. She represents all the people who do not know what Kilgrave is capable of and blame the victims of his crimes.
When Jess comes to, she goes to the prison to pick up Hope, but discovers that Kilgrave has taken her prisoner and is demanding that she bring his father to him to secure Hope’s freedom. Jess goes to the apartment and collects Albert, who brings along his antidote, which he sprays on himself before they enter the restaurant where Kilgrave waits. However, when they arrive they find that Kilgrave has taken the support group hostage and is using them as leverage: one word and they hang themselves by stepping off the bar. The antidote does not work, Kilgrave takes control of his father, Hope stabs herself in the jugular (of her own free will), and Kilgrave has the support group hang themselves so he can escape. Jess succeeds in rescuing the support group, but she does not reach Hope in time to save her. Hope’s dying request is for Jess to kill Kilgrave now that he can’t use Hope as leverage over her. This is insanely intense: after everything Jess has done this season to trap Kilgrave and expose his powers, Hope still wound up dead. Yet again, Jess is left at the end of her rope thanks to Kilgrave remaining 2 steps ahead of her.
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The final subplot of the episode involves Simpson, who arrives at the CDC facility after everyone has left but before Clemons’ backup can arrive to secure the crime scene. Clemons tells Simpson that they have all the evidence they need to put Kilgrave away, but Simpson tells him that that’s not enough: “I have no other option. I’m taking him out.” Simpson forces Clemons to tell him where Trish is, and shoots Clemons after he reveals the information. Simpson then douses everything in flammable chemicals and lights Clemons and all the evidence on fire. I guess they won’t be putting Kilgrave in prison any time soon. Simpson then goes to Albert’s apartment to try to keep her safe and away from Kilgrave. Trish is immediately suspicious of his behavior—dilated pupils and the fact that last she saw him he was half-dead. She forces him out and keeps the bottle of red pills. Yet again, Simpson is behaving erratically, though this time around he can blame his actions on the extenuating circumstance that he’s taking adrenaline-based super-soldier pills. However, I still don’t think that his actions align with his motivations as well as the other characters.
Even though this episode features three of my least favorite characters doing especially stupid things (Hogarth, Simpson, and Robyn), I actually enjoyed this episode. It helps to make Kilgrave a little more sympathetic and gives Jessica everything she’s been working for this season. However, that could never be enough, not with someone like Kilgrave involved.
What did you think of this episode? Which are your least-favorite characters in Jessica Jones? Let me know in the comments!
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