Hogarth finishes her messy divorce, Trish works on a vaccine against Kilgrave’s powers, and abandon hope, all ye who enter here.
While Kilgrave’s escape puts her friends in danger, Jessica has discovered a crucial detail; he can no longer control her. With this new information, Jessica, Trish, and Dr. Albert Thompson, Kilgrave’s father, begin work on a vaccine against the virus that gives Kilgrave’s his power of persuasion. It will take them a day to make, and even then it’s a long shot, but Jessica is looking for any weapon she can use against him.
Kilgrave’s escape was helped by Hogarth, who sabotaged his cell and, being ordered as he was escaping, now takes Kilgrave to a doctor she trusts, her soon to be ex-wife, Wendy. Kilgrave finds it amusing that Hogarth chose to take him to her, immediately ordering her to mend his wounds, while bonding with the scorned ex-wife, comparing Hogarth and Jessica’s misdeeds against each of them. Someone at the door interrupts them and Kilgrave makes sneaks away, but not before giving Wendy permission to take her revenge against Hogarth and cutting her one thousand times for every hurt Hogarth has ever put her through. Wendy is close to thirty deep cuts into her ex-wife’s flesh before Pam is able to break in and crush Wendy’s skull with a statue to save Hogarth, and Jessica steps in right behind her. Hogarth, sitting in her own blood, finally realizes the terror Kilgrave leaves in his wake.
With Kilgrave out of reach once more, Jessica comes up with another plan to use Albert as bait, once the vaccine is finished. With a moment to breath, she heads home, only to find KIlgrave waiting for her with a proposal. He’s assured Hope’s release and proof of innocence and she’ll be released the following morning, only if Jessica hands over his father, Albert. Jessica stalls for time until she’s able to knock out Kilgrave and hold him captive once more. With Hope’s release in just a few hours and Kilgrave once again under control, the end of this case is in sight.
Lately, members of Malcolm’s Kilgrave Survivors Group have become angry, losing their focus within their fear of Kilgrave returning. This anger is pushed over the edge when Robyn, Ruben’s (frustrating) twin sister follows Malcolm to a group and overhears his confession of helping Jessica hide Ruben’s body. She stokes the flames of their collective anger, shifting blame from some made up abuser like Kilgrave and puts it on Jessica, who she sees as the source of everyone’s problems. With metaphorical torches and pitchforks in hand, Roby leads the group to Jessica’s apartment, beating her unconscious, then releases Jessica’s captive, Kilgrave.
Jessica awakes, bloodied, the following morning to discover Kilgrave and the group gone, and he’s taken Hope. She gets Albert and the vaccine, then tracks him down to his favorite fusion restaurant to find him waiting, with the group ready to hang. Kilgrave and Hope wait patiently for the trade off, while Hope screams for Jessica to kill him, end his abuse. But Jessica, trying to save everyone is too slow. Hope makes a decision and cuts her own throat. Kilgrave orders the group to hang themselves and grabs Albert and his failed vaccine and escapes, while Jessica has little time to save the hanging Survivors and Hope. Once the group is safe on the ground, she catches Hope’s last words, begging her to kill him. She will.
“AKA 1,000 Cuts” brings change to the rules Jessica has been following throughout working Hope’s case. While she is free of Kilgrave’s control, she needs to be careful about him hurting others just to get back at her. Throughout the case she’s need Kilgrave alive and has so far been operating within those limits. But now, with Hope taking her own life, nothing stands in the way of Jessica unleashing everything she’s held back to kill their abuser once and for all.
Malcolm and the Survivor’s group also continues to explore the themes of abuse and how survivors learn to cope. Specifically, this episode shows the unfortunate reception Survivors can receive at the hands of society, who turn to denial and shift blame on the abused. This is perhaps one of the reasons I find Robyn so much harder to deal with than Kilgrave. Kilgrave is by far the most vile and demented villain to be introduced into the MCU, but, while his acts are very real, he’s still more or less a super villain and a work of fiction, or realistic fiction. Robyn, on the other hand, while not exactly a villain, is a very real person that survivors of abuse face in the real world. Denying their abuse as made up, or shifting the blame to the abused. This is one of the particular strengths of this show, not focusing so much on the “superhero” aspects, but more on ordinary people trying to get by and survive in this universe, plagued by both enhanced people and ordinary shitty ones.