A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
AKA 1,000 Cuts is the weakest episode of Jessica Jones by a significant amount, an episode that is derivative in almost every single way an episode of this series could have been rendered derivative. It’s a bit flabbergasting how this could occur in a steady, exciting series that had its fair share of difficulties but that were largely rendered moot by the strength of the material. A similar juncture befell Daredevil at the end of its freshman run and it renders a similar sense of disappointment here. The most ostensible problem with AKA 1,000 Cuts is that it brings so many storylines to their denouement that it never takes time to breathe. It’s telling that the parts of the episode that work the most significantly are the ones with Jessica and Kilgrave in their past, the past that was Kilgrave’s happiest circumstance and Jessica’s terrifying nightmare. There was, however, a blip in the space of time where Jessica was free, eighteen seconds to be exact. Jessica stands on top of the rooftop where Kilgrave and her were enjoying (a term used pejoratively here) a sunny morning before he leans in for a kiss. She turns the kiss away, turning him away in turn and instead walking towards the edge of the rooftop, looking down quaintly below into the street. In the most overt act of symbolism yet in the show in terms of color, the dress Jessica is wearing on the rooftop is yellow. Yellow symbolizes hope, happiness, and enlightenment, drawn most ostensibly from the color of the sun (in terms of general perception). On the other hand, however, yellow can represent cowardice and deceit, both terms that apply clearly to the twisted relationship at the center of this show. She sees a white horse galloping below and for a moment she thinks of jumping down onto the horse and galloping away. It never happens.
The symbolism with the white horse may have been too much, but there was at least a significant amount of logic that could be drawn from it. Little else makes more than a little sense here. The episode opens with Jeri driving Kilgrave away, the purpose of her subterfuge becoming clear as soon as she opened the doors to her home and Wendy stormed in. Jeri, in her selfish and unrelenting attitude of making sure she got what she wanted over the needs and or desires of anyone else, made the most confounding decision she has yet to make and here it even defies logic. Everything she has done so far lacks a significant amount of morality, but it at the very least has been somewhat understandable from a pragmatic point of view. Sure, Hope may be innocent, but she needs proof. She fell out of love for someone else, there was that. She wanted a favor that she used at the opportunity most present to her, that was iffy. But using Kilgrave so he could influence Wendy to sign her divorce papers was by far the most petty thing she could have used him for. Kilgrave ordering Wendy to cut Jeri 1,000 times is something that produces no sympathy. It’s a chilling reverberation back to when Jeri had suggested the value of Kilgrave if he worked for the “good guys” but if Jeri’s definition of good amounts in Pam murdering Wendy in self-defense, then it’s beyond worthless. Jeri tries in vein to defend herself to a disgusted Jessica by claiming that she had no idea what Kilgrave would do, but Jessica merely looks at her in disgust before continuing on her mission to destroy the Man in Purple.
Everything else sort of falls through the cracks. Jeri’s reveal of Hope’s pregnancy to Kilgrave is an oddly emotionless moment, Kilgrave exhibiting some real surprise and an undercurrent of some sort of shock, but remaining in large part terribly muted. Simpson’s injuries get him on a medication regiment that is clearly sending him down the trail of developing antagonistic superhero powers but rather than that being an intriguing development of any sort, it has the opposite effect. The relationship between Trish and Simpson never really worked, appearing far too conventional in a way that didn’t offer up anything exciting to compensate for that lack of originality. Slowly his desire to garner vengeance from Kilgrave was replaced with more than an air of toxic masculinity, an aggressive macho behavior that was rendering him and his relationship with Trish more one-note as the season progressed. Detective Clemons becomes the first victim of this new Simpson, shooting his own associate before setting the entire lab on fire because dramatic exits seem to be in high demand this season. Speaking of dramatic exits, Hope is suddenly released and Jessica is ecstatic at some level. The release of Hope means that Jessica can at last simply hunt to kill Kilgrave, eschewing those ridiculous, elaborate plans that had little to no chance of working to begin with. But Kilgrave of course gets to Hope before Jessica does and between Hope and a crew of people about to commit suicide by hanging on his orders, Jessica is stuck. Suddenly Hope stabs herself with glass as Jessica rushes to save the soon to be hanging victims. Hope’s thought process is that if she can be removed from the picture, Jessica would at last be free to kill Kilgrave and bring an end to his monstrosity once and for all. As long as she was alive, Kilgrave would simply continue to use her a means to an end. It’s a somber moment, but one whose melodramatic, underwritten aura robbed it of its complete emotional catharsis.
Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+“I have Hope. The person, not the feeling. Well, the feeling, too! I’m a hopeful man!”
+“You’re stalling, Jessica.”
-The entire subplot of the support group wanting revenge on Jessica is completely idiotic
-Robyn as a character is the most pathetic caricature, despite her loss
Episode Title: AKA 1,000 Cuts
Written by: Dana Baratta & Micah Schraft
Directed by: Rosemary Rodriguez
Image Courtesy: Uno Torrent