Episode Title: AKA 1,000 Cuts
Original Air Date: 11/20/2015
A discovery has the potential to change the entire game – if Jessica can refuse Kilgrave’s offer.
A main theme for this episode is the damage that anger and revenge can do in order to get justice, notably through Robyn in relation to her brother. Here, she finds out that Ruben was killed a few episodes ago and immediately decides to take revenge on Jessica for it. This action allows Kilgrave to escape with Robyn releasing him from Jessica’s captivity, showing how, in the long run, revenge doesn’t do anything. This is in contrast to the power that courage presents through Kilgrave’s dad. We see both the intelligence of the character in trying to create a vaccine that will protect people from Kilgrave’s control (which ultimately ends up not working) and the courage when he willingly goes with Jessica to rescue Hope, even though at that point he has no idea whether the vaccine will work, along with the prospect that he’s trying to atone for the sins he committed that led to the creation of Kilgrave.
Whilst I have given praise to the character, throughout the series the main element that hasn’t really worked for me as a whole has been everything related to Jeri Hogarth. The performance from Carrie-Anne Moss was great and the character was great to watch but it didn’t really click with the rest of the show before, but in this episode it all falls into place. Firstly, we see the horrible nature of the character when it’s officially revealed that she was the one who sabotaged the fail safe for Kilgrave, along with keeping the tissue from Hope’s abortion to try and replicate Kilgrave’s powers, creating complete disgust for the character. We also see that Hogarth does still trust her wife, Wendy, taking Kilgrave to her for medical help when Kilgrave tells her to take him to someone she trusts, but we also see the emotional damage that Hogarth inflicts on people, her relationship with her wife being a parallel to the relationship between Jessica and Kilgrave. This leads into some brilliantly done hypocrisy from Kilgrave, condemning Hogarth for her attitude and giving her wife the chance for revenge (death by 1000 cuts) whilst he’s done very similar actions to Jessica and Hope. The emotional detachment from Hogarth comes through when her girlfriend Pam ends up killing Wendy and Hogarth goes to defend her in a cold, emotionless way, saying that Pam murdered Wendy to try and absolve herself of guilt, and here Pam calls out Hogarth on her attitude and Hogarth’s final scene in the episode is her emotionally broken and Carrie-Anne Moss nails this scene, making you equal parts repulsed and sympathetic towards Hogarth.
In relation to Kilgrave, this episode best exemplifies the attitude he has that he hasn’t done anything wrong and his incredibly creepy courtship of Jessica is justified. Here we see that he’s twisted the past into something that supports his view and justifies his actions in his head. But when we see the same memory from Jessica’s perspective, we see how it really played out and how disturbing the memory really was. This is another great tie to the overall rape metaphor for the series, Kilgrave being the rapist in denial over what he does, convinced that his victim wanted what he did to her, never accepting any responsibility.
This nature comes to a head in a really powerful ending, mostly due to a great performance by Erin Moriarty, a culmination of all the damage that has been done to her over the series, along with the continued delusions of Kilgrave. All of this coalesces into Hope ensuring that Jessica has no reason to keep Kilgrave alive by killing herself. After everything that Hope’s been through this series, the psychological and physical damage that Kilgrave has done to her, the way people have treated her as a whole whilst she was in prison and the prospect that Kilgrave would do everything all over again to get to Jessica, it’s almost like a mercy killing for Hope and the emotional pain that Moriarty shows in this scene, along with the determination to make sure Kilgrave pays for his crimes, is brilliantly handled, although it does come across like ‘fridging’ the character to give Jessica motivation to kill Kilgrave.
For the future of the show, more interesting stuff is seen with Simpson, again with the pills he was given in the last episode. We see that they’ve heightened his anger issues and his desire to kill Kilgrave, leading him to kill Clarke Peters’ detective (even though it was obvious from the dialogue he was going to die), and even harming Trish, once again bringing up the idea that anger leads to nothing but violence. We see that the pills were part of a covert military project to boost the strength of soldiers so they can survive longer in the field and have more advanced senses, helping to explain how he recovered from the explosion two episodes ago so quickly and the potential this has in relation to Kilgrave’s control and the ideological conflict with Jessica about Kilgrave will be really interesting. We also see the loopholes that exist for Kilgrave’s orders as, in the last episode, Kilgrave ordered Trish to put a bullet in her skull but Jessica puts it in Trish’s mouth, technically fulfilling the order, and this loophole abuse opens up more interesting possibilities for the ending, along with the idea that Kilgrave has people under control that will kill themselves if he dies, raising the idea of whether it is worth killing Kilgrave.
AKA 1000 Cuts is a clear set up for the end of the series and a damn good one at that. This episode makes plot elements that felt disjointed in the past come together for the episode as a whole, shows the delusions that Kilgrave has placed himself under to justify his attitudes, shows the damaging effect of revenge and sets up a lot of interesting concepts to be explored in the final few episodes. Once again another strong episode.