Jessica Jones Recap: Evil Is As Evil Does

Rachael Taylor as Trish. Photo: Myles Aronowitz/Netflix
Marvel's Jessica Jones
Episode Title
AKA 1,000 Cuts
Editor’s Rating

From the very first episode, Jessica Jones has made clear that Kilgrave is evil and must be stopped. (Even the quasi-sympathetic "child abandonment" card Kilgrave tried to play last episode was yanked away.) As "AKA 1,000 Cuts" shows, though, Kilgrave isn't the only one capable of terrible things.

Unable to find Kilgrave, Jessica heads back to the facility and finds Trish uselessly tapping a bullet against the side of her skull. She's trying to follow Kilgrave's command to put "a bullet" in her "head." Jessica, wise to Kilgrave's tricks, tells Trish to put the bullet in her mouth. She calmly explains that the bullet is now in her "head," which breaks Kilgrave's spell. Clemons reappears with a bloody hand, then Jessica tells them that Kilgrave couldn't control her. She's immune to his powers.

After they tape up Albert's hands to prevent him from cutting out his heart, he reveals that Kilgrave's powers are actually a virus emitted by his body. Albert suggests Jessica may be the cure, and he might be able to create a vaccine using her blood. He'd only need 24 hours to do it, but as Jessica points out, there's the small issue of Kilgrave's instructions to "stab" himself. ("Cut my heart out," Albert politely corrects.) Trish volunteers to conduct the lab work per Albert's instructions, and the pair leaves for Albert's hotel room. (Never go on the lam without your lab equipment, kids.) Meanwhile, Detective Clemons receives a promotion to Captain Obvious, as he tells Jessica that Jeri must have cut the live wire. Jessica heads out to find Jeri.

Although Jeri did make a deal with Kilgrave, she wants nothing to do with him after witnessing the murder of his mother. What Jeri wants doesn't matter, though. A bloody and barefoot Kilgrave compels her to bring him to a doctor she trusts, so she goes to Wendy. While cleaning his gunshot wound, Wendy talks to Kilgrave about being dumped. His continuing refusal to understand why Jessica rejects him is both funny and frightening. Wendy asks, "How do you avenge a death by a thousand cuts? All those little slices over the years …" Moments later, Kilgrave says in passing, "Tell me something I don't know," which unintentionally compels Jeri to reveal that she and Jessica helped Hope abort his child. Jeri also confesses that she kept the remains to see if she could harness his powers, but that didn't work. Kilgrave wants to know the location of the fetus, which cannot be good news.

Wendy's doorbell rings, and Kilgrave thinks it's Jessica. He bolts, but not before he hands a knife to Wendy and says, "Death by a thousand cuts. Do it." Wendy's eyes go blank and she robotically slashes Jeri. The word "one" has never been so terrifying. As Wendy gets to cut eighteen, the doorbell ringing becomes pounding. The door busts open, but it's not Jessica. It's Pam, and she whacks Wendy with a large decorative object. Wendy's head slams into the edge of a glass table. She's dead. Jessica arrives soon after and lets Pam off the hook, explaining it was "self-defense." Jeri's not so lucky. "What you helped Kilgrave do was murder," Jessica says with venom. "You're on your own."

Meanwhile, Kilgrave wants to play nice. He shows up at Jessica's apartment and admits that his powers are useless against her. He wants to make a deal: He'll exchange Hope for his father. (He compelled the D.A. and the judge to release Hope.) To sweeten the deal, Kilgrave promises to stay away from Jessica, though he'll miss her "provincial-yet-snappy repartee." Jessica can't fathom how he deludes himself into believing that she has feelings for him, and Kilgrave claims there was a moment — 18 seconds, to be exact — when she was not controlled and she stayed anyway.

He flashes back to a picturesque scene on a terrace, where they sweetly kiss. But his perfect memory differs significantly from hers. She remembers standing on the ledge of the terrace, fantasizing about an escape. Kilgrave calls her down from the ledge angrily, and when she doesn't listen, he orders her to slice her ear off. He stops her before she finishes the job, then pulls her into a hug. Kilgrave is appalled by such revisionist history — until she shows him the scar behind her ear. Then, she knocks him out cold. (Her "I'm all ears" line is so cheesy, it detracts from the emotional impact of the scene.)

Malcolm, tormented by keeping Ruben's murder a secret from Robin, confesses to his Kilgrave therapy group what he did. Robin just so happens to be sitting near the group, who gathered at the usual diner, and confronts Malcolm. She blames Jessica for all the group's problems and, despite Malcolm's protests, riles them up to confront Jessica. There's a certain Lynch-lite feel to this scene. (Cuckoo-bird Robin even reminds me of the curtain-obsessed Nadine from Twin Peaks.) No other aspect of the show mirrors this tone, though, so it's more confusing than interesting. It's also unbelievable how easily Robin convinces the group to challenge Jessica. This scene was one of the show's few glaring missteps.

Eventually, Robin and her posse attack Jessica in her apartment. During the melee, Jessica is knocked out with a piece of wood. Robin sees a tied-up Kilgrave, then rescues him from the evil and terrible Jessica. He's free, again.

After Kilgrave escapes, he beats Jessica to the police station for Hope's release. Although a compelled police officer, he tells Jessica to meet him at his favorite restaurant with his father — and if she doesn't, she'll  "lose all Hope." Jessica brings a compulsion-free Albert to the restaurant. He's trembling, but willing to be the vaccine's guinea pig. He sprays it all over himself like cologne. (Introducing … Calvin Klein's Kilgrave.) When they enter the restaurant, Jessica sees Robin, Malcolm, and two dudes from the therapy group standing on the top of a bar with nooses around their necks. Nearby, Kilgrave nonchalantly eats at a table with Hope. Kilgrave compels the four to step closer to the edge of the bar, then tells Jessica that he wants her to apologize for striking him. To prevent four hangings, she does.

Hope, who is not under Kilgrave's control, begs Jessica to kill Kilgrave. "She'll never kill me," Kilgrave says mockingly. "Despite her callous, hard-bitten, and frankly poorly styled façade … she still hopes that, at her core, she can be a hero."

Kilgrave then compels his father to come closer. At first, Albert doesn't move, but a second request forces his feet forward. Albert gives Jessica an apologetic look; the vaccine doesn't work. Kilgrave pulls his father into a hug that does not promise to end well. Suddenly, Hope breaks her dinner glass into a sharp point and plunges it into her neck. Kilgrave commands, "Step forward!" and the four on the bar hang themselves as he escapes. Jessica jumps up to the ceiling to rip down the pipe that holds the ropes. After tearing it down, she races to Hope, who has blood spurting out of her neck. Jessica wants to know why she did it. Hope says she was tired of being Kilgrave's leverage. She sacrificed herself to give Jessica a clean slate, so she can finally kill him. Jessica promises Hope that's just what she's going to do.

Other Thoughts:

  • Why was it was so easy for Albert's dad to fight the urge to cut out his heart? Duct tape isn't that strong.
  • "Yes, this is a great time to correct my phrasing," Jessica to Albert, who corrects her use of the word "stab."
  • "A stupid name and a death wish?" Jessica to Kilgrave, who says that Jessica wants what he has.
  • Jeri tries to shirk her role in Wendy's death by pointing out that it was Pam's choice to hit Wendy. Classic Jeri!