In the cage room that is now a super-gross murder scene, AKA 1000 Cuts picks up right where AKA Sin Bin left off. Kilgrave compels Jeri to drive him to medical care, while Jessica rallies her remaining allies: Trish, Clemons, and a still-compelled Albert. Clemons takes over like a boss, ordering Trish not to call an ambulance until he can get some guys he trusts on the scene.1 Meanwhile, Jessica will go in pursuit of Kilgrave, and Trish will take Albert to a hotel where they can start working on a vaccine: Kilgrave’s power, Albert reveals, is a virus, and one to which Jessica’s blood may hold a cure.2
Left to his own devices, Clemons putters about the crime scene long enough to give Simpson time to show up, murder him, and set the whole crime scene on fire.
Bro, like — even if your plan is to murder Kilgrave, are you sure you don’t want this exculpatory evidence that provides proof of Kilgrave’s evil powers that nobody believes in? And also, even if Plan A is murder Kilgrave, is it that terrible an idea to have Plan B (vaccine) and Plan C (trial) underway as failsafes?
The Simpson plotline actually frustrates the hell out of me. Theoretically I could have been way into a story about how “Nice Guy” Simpson becomes a dangerous enemy under the influence of some misguided idea of What Masculinity Should Look Like (i.e., saving the day and getting the bad guy). But the way it plays out is kind of troubling. The primary ideological disagreement between Simpson and Jessica (both of whom are past victims of Kilgrave) is whether or not to let Kilgrave live.3 And as you know if you’ve watched the season all the way through, Jessica does eventually come around to Simpson’s way of thinking. So like — why was Simpson being so vilified for wanting to do the exact thing Jessica ends up doing?
The answer is supposed to be, I think, that he doesn’t listen to what Jessica wants. Of course, she doesn’t listen to what he wants, either, or to what Hope wants, or what any of the other Kilgrave survivors want. It’s odd! For a show that’s superb on the gaslighting of and violence against women (of which more in a minute), it weirdly gaslights Simpson (though not Hope, who wants the same thing Simpson does), then forestalls any potential argument in his favor by turning him into a murdering, unequivocal villain.
Meanwhile, in the grimmest of team-ups, a wounded Kilgrave forces Jeri to take him to a doctor she trusts: Her soon-to-be-ex-wife, Wendy.4 A stray command from Kilgrave accidentally makes Jeri reveal that she helped Hope abort Kilgrave’s child and kept the remains. On his way out the door, a furious Kilgrave orders Wendy to perform “death by a thousand cuts” on Jeri. Pam and Jessica show up in the very nick of time, and Pam — who continues to deserve better — knocks Wendy out with a heavy piece of bric-a-brac. Wendy hits her head on the corner of a glass table, and then all the lesbians are either dead or murderers. SHE SAID WITH A HEAVY SIGH.
On the other hand, it sets up an interesting parallel between Kilgrave and Jeri. As Pam realizes, with increasing horror, exactly what Jeri did, Jeri tries to replace the real story with a different one, a narrative more favorable to herself. “I didn’t do anything,” she says, in a scene chillingly reminiscent of Kilgrave’s insistence that Jessica was at fault in Reva’s death. “You chose to pick up that thing and crush her skull.”
There follows one of the best scenes in the series — predictably, between Kilgrave and Jessica. Having arrived at Jessica’s apartment with his demands (she gives up Albert in exchange for Kilgrave arranging Hope’s release), Kilgrave insists that she chose to stay with him. For eighteen seconds, he says.5 For eighteen seconds, on a rooftop, he was not controlling Jessica, and she still stayed with him.
But here’s what Jessica remembers: She was free, so briefly, from Kilgrave’s power, and for eighteen seconds she tried to shake free of the hold he had on her mind, to convince herself to jump off the rooftop. Just as she was making her decision, though, Kilgrave called her back. And then he came within a hair’s breadth of forcing her to cut off her own ears as a punishment for not listening to him right away.
I love this show for the way it takes on gaslighting. Women get this always. Didn’t you really want it though? Shouldn’t you have been walking in a safer area? Was it as big a deal as you’re making it? Aren’t you bringing it on yourself anyway? Kilgrave tries all of these tactics on Jessica, and neither she nor the show gives him an inch on it.
Through a series of events too stupid to rehearse here6, Kilgrave gains access to the entire Kilgrave support group and uses them as failsafes in the event that Jessica tries to kill him. He offers her a trade: Hope for Albert. Hope begs Jessica to kill Kilgrave7, and when Kilgrave explains that nah, Jessica will never kill him while she has a chance of saving Hope, Hope stabs herself in the throat with a piece of glass. She bleeds out in Jessica’s arms.
Jessica breaks things: The glass in Wendy’s door, to break in? I think. That could have been Pam actually. The pipe fixture in the restaurant where Kilgrave’s holding the support group, to save them all from death by hanging.
- Lester. Goddamn. Holt. ↩
- I guess Albert just has vaccine-making supplies on hand wherever he goes? Like all scientists do? ↩
- Hope thinks not, BY THE WAY. ↩
- Again: Do all doctors keep medical bags in their house? To do stitches on private citizens? I am pretty sure scientists don’t actually keep vaccine supplies lying around, but the doctor-medical-bag thing could be truth in television. Anyone? ↩
- The title of this episode should have been “18 Seconds,” incidentally. ↩
- Malcolm blurts, is the short version ↩
- MAYBE SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE ASKED HER OPINION EARLIER. ↩