Jessica Jones, Episode 10: AKA 1000 Cuts

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.

AKA 1000 Cuts

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.

AKA 1000 Cuts
RIP, dude. It didn’t really make the world’s most-ever plot sense for you to be killed, yet here we are.

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.”

AKA 1000 Cuts

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.

AKA 1000 Cuts

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.

AKA 1000 Cuts
Downer episode, bro.

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.

  1. Lester. Goddamn. Holt.
  2. I guess Albert just has vaccine-making supplies on hand wherever he goes? Like all scientists do?
  3. Hope thinks not, BY THE WAY.
  4. 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?
  5. The title of this episode should have been “18 Seconds,” incidentally.
  6. Malcolm blurts, is the short version

The best linguistics link I have ever linked: A links round-up

THIS IS LATE and many of these links are now old, but hopefully you will still love me. You do, right? Just in case, I’ve made my first link super fascinating. And also, let me point out that today is Oscar Wilde’s birthday! Happy birthday, my dearest Oscar Wilde!

The rules for inventing a ship name, using linguistics.

Romance author KJ Charles on how to take an edit.

Tired of making fun of Jonathan Franzen? I’M NOT.

Brian Friel, author of Translations and numerous other plays, and virtually the only Irish author I’ve ever loved, has died.

Did I mention that Mary Beard has a new history of Rome that exists out there in the world? She does, and I cannot wait to read it.

Jenny Diski, again. Just assume I’ll always link to Jenny Diski’s writing every time she writes anything.

Okay, guys, I know that Stephenie Meyer is not that good a writer and this book won’t be good BUT: Don’t you think it will be interesting to see how all this plays with the genders swapped? I consider that it will be of substantial sociological interest TO ME. Meanwhile you can read a live-tweeting of it under the hashtag #sparkletime here.

Meg Rosoff said some dumb things about diversity in children’s books and then kept doubling down on it even though it would have been much better for her to shush. Sigh.

You should buy the Hamilton cast recording: A links round-up

If you haven’t yet listened to the Hamilton cast recording, you are not living your best life. It’s out today for digital download, and you should buy it. As of this posting, you can also stream it on NPR First Listen.

Did you miss my linguistics nerdery? Great news: Here’s an article about how language shapes our brains.

Jenny Zhang on being a writer of color and the Best American Poetry mess.

If you like Return of the Jedi but hate the Ewoks, you understand feminist criticism.

Remembering to use a trans person’s preferred pronouns is no harder than remembering to use a woman’s married name: An appeal for good manners.

A high fantasy novel without incestuous subtext.

Awesome Person Sofia Samatar interviews Awesome Person Sarah McCarry about monster girls.

I heave enormous sighs every time I read about the Stonewall movie: Learning about Stonewall was my way into intersectional feminism, way back in high school, and I want there to be an awesome movie about it. But want must be my master. Here’s the wonderful Meredith Talusan on trans erasure.

Also: Stonewall is apparently terrible. A real stinker.

I gazed blankly at the news that Ta-Nehisi Coates is going to write a run on Black Panther for Marvel, for like twenty seconds. It sounds like the kind of joke somebody would make to illustrate why Marvel is so much better than DC. BUT IT IS REAL.

Strunk and White, grammar cops.

As usual, I need more internet: A links round-up

I have an exceptionally great collection of links this week, y’all. The internet is the best, isn’t it?

Terry Crews on misogyny and toxic masculinity. Apparently this dude also works to prevent human trafficking. Yay for allies.

Some thoughts on Islamophobia in dystopian fiction.

Not sure of your language when you’re talking about race / sexuality / disability / whatever? The Conscious Style Guide is here to help, rounding up links that explain why you shouldn’t say that, what to say instead, and generally how not to be a dick accidentally.

A reminder that these exceptionally gorgeous coloring books for grown-ups exist. My sister has one, and I plan on stealing it from her at some point and coloring a page myself. I promise I will make my page pretty.

On lightening up women of color in comics (gross).

Emily Nussbaum being awesome about Kimmy Schmidt and the stories TV tells about rape survivors and PTSD. Also, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was originally called Tooken, and that is awesome, even though I get why they changed it.

An interview with the lady who writes Guy in Your MFA and Dystopian YA.

Emily Asher-Perrin on criticism and anger in fandom.

The Firefly theme song is not the best theme song there has ever been. Except when Jesse Martin and two other people from The Flash do a beautifully harmonized cover of it to thank Joss Whedon for contributing to their Kickstarter for a short musical film about a family hiding from slavery in the 1850s, which incidentally also sounds super great.

Some awesome bloggers created the Socratic Salon this month, which will be an all-spoilers space to discuss books in-depth. The five ladies who created it will have conversations among themselves, and other readers are encouraged to engage with them and each other in the comments. Yay!