And I thought the pilot was dark.
In its tenth episode, “AKA 1,000 Cuts,” Jessica Jones turned the macabre meter all the way up. There were stabbings, hangings, lots of cuts, and the image of a woman with her head smashed against a glass tabletop. Why did they have to show that so many times? I was reminded who we’re dealing with here as a showrunner. Melissa Rosenberg wrote on the early seasons of Dexter — so, the good ones — and we see a bit of her sick side on display here.
But really, this is all Hogarth’s fault. If she hadn’t been so terrible to Wendy, her ex wouldn’t have demanded so much money in the divorce. If the settlement hadn’t been so large, Hogarth never would have turned to Kilgrave in order to convince Wendy to sign the papers. If Kilgrave hadn’t been involved, it’s likely that Wendy’s skull would still be intact. See, it’s all cause and effect.
Be nice to your significant others, lest they get brainwashed into killing you via 1,000 cuts and your lover is forced to smash their head. Lesson learned.
As the chaos of Kilgrave’s escape settles, we learn something about the nature of Kilgrave’s abilities that could be the key to defeating him. His mind-control power is technically a virus, spread through microparticles that he emits. Because the powers come out of something biological and not magical, they are inherently vulnerable, and we saw such a weakness in the previous episode. Jessica is immune to Kilgrave’s virus, and her DNA could contain the secrets to beating him. Or that’s what Kilgrave’s dad, Albert, says. The doctor is still trying to cut out his heart, so Trish has to accompany him back to his hotel, where he has his equipment and can get to work on a vaccine.
Jessica has another task to see to. Somebody cut the fail-safe cable on the shock box that was connected to the Sin Bin. (This is beginning to sound like a really bleak Dr. Seuss book.) There’s really only one suspect: Hogarth, because of course she did it. The two meet up outside and drive away. He needs a doctor. She needs a divorce. It sounds like the basis of a sitcom.
The solution to both problems is a stop by Wendy’s place. As a doctor, she’ll be able to patch up the part of Kilgrave’s arm that Trish shot up, and if she has time, maybe she can be forced to sign the divorce papers. Except doctor and patient get to talking, and they both agree that the women in their lives have done them dirty. So as repayment for the sentiment, Kilgrave orders Wendy to take some very literal revenge out on her ex by killing her by way of a thousand tiny cuts.
Small but numerous, the slashes are absolutely brutal. The show did a really good job making the cuts feel real. I mean, they kind of had to, right? It would have taken a lot for us to care about Hogarth dying. Someone who has no problem doing that, though, is Pam, who shows up in the nick of time to smash Wendy over the head with a vase. But that’s not the bad part. Wendy’s head then ricochets into the edge of a glass-top table. It was really gross.
Jessica arrives just in time to see how everything shook out and tell Hogarth that she knows the truth. And Pam isn’t logically very far behind. At the police station, as Pam is held in custody, she connects the dots. There’s no other reason that Hogarth would have been where she was, doing what she was, if it didn’t involve Kilgrave. She must have been the one to set him free. Good job, Pam.
NEXT: Jessica’s promise…
And poor, Clemons. What did the dogged detective ever do to deserve the send-off he got. Responsible for holding down the fort, Clemons was the only one around the hermetically sealed room when Simpson showed up. He’s looking for Trish due to his intense sense of duty to protect her, and he wouldn’t mind taking out Kilgrave if given the chance. Eventually Clemons tells Simpson that Trish is with Albert at the hotel, and the soldier shoots the detective in the head. He follows that up by lighting the whole room on fire with an American flag lighter, a nice nod to the comic book character’s signature face paint.
Simpson eventually does make it over the Trish and Albert, but it’s mostly without consequence. The real story is what happens after Jessica gets there. She intends to use Albert as bait once the scientist is able to synthesize a Kilgrave vaccine, but before that happens, the maniac shows up at her apartment. The way Kilgrave sees it, Hope Shlottman is the living embodiment of Jessica’s guilty conscience. She’s what keeps Jessica in this mess, so Kilgrave proposes a solution. In exchange for his father, Kilgrave will secure Hope’s freedom, which he arranged through quasi-legitimate means. It’s a tempting offer, but she suggests an alternative: punch.
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But let’s talk about that flashback sequence for a second. Kilgrave informs Jessica that for 18 seconds during her imprisonment with him, he allowed her to go without any of his mind control. The way he tells it, she chose to stay. We see a slightly different version, as Jessica imagines herself jumping down from the rooftop apartment and riding away on a white horse. Shortly after, we’re pulled back to reality, where Kilgrave sees what Jessica doing and commands her to cut her own ear off. His power was mostly still intact, but she was beginning to slip away from him.
And so, after all of her struggles, Jessica has Kilgrave unconscious in her office, and Hope’s about to get out of prison. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that an annoying, unnecessary character doesn’t stir up trouble and ruin it for the sake of complicating matters and justifying a 13-episode run.
Shoot. I forgot about Robyn.
Ruben’s twin sister has rounded herself up a posse of Kilgrave survivors, and they manage to break in, knock Jessica out, and free her prisoner. It’s a boneheaded move that leads to a catastrophic outcome. Now freed, Kilgrave has Hope. He informs Jessica that she needs to deliver his father, who recently finished his vaccine, to her favorite restaurant in order to get the girl back. When Albert and Jessica arrive, they find the Kilgrave survivors strung up by their necks, ready to hang themselves if given the command.
As Jessica and Kilgrave have their exchange, something truly tragic becomes clear. While Hope’s freedom remains in question, Jessica cannot rid the world of Kilgrave. What’s most unfortunate is that Hope figures this out first. In order to free Jessica up to do what she needs to do, Hope stabs herself with a wine glass on the table. The survivors step off the counter, but Jessica’s quick thinking and jumping ability saves them. But Albert and Kilgrave are gone, and Hope lies dying on the floor.
But before Hope dies, Jessica leaves her with a promise.
“I will,” Jessica says. “I’ll kill him.”