Jessica Jones: "AKA 1,000 Cuts" - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
15Mar/160

Jessica Jones: “AKA 1,000 Cuts”

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The best laid plans of Jessica and Trish have backfired in the worst way possible.  Kilgrave is free, hurt, and - with Jeri in tow - has a well-connected puppet.  Both sides prepare what meager forces they have available to bring the other down.  Andrew and Ryan look at the tenth episode of Jessica Jones, "AKA 1,000 Cuts."

It's in your headIt's been almost a month, to the day, since we last caught up with Jessica Jones.  "AKA Sin Bin" was clearly setting the stage for the last few episodes, and "AKA 1,000 Cuts" left me with mostly the same conclusion I had last time.

That being - Jessica Jones is a bad show, and I am going to watch these last few episodes in the hope that we get some of the entertaining insanity that fueled the better episodes.  I just can't do the bizarre tonal shifts anymore where one moment we're watching a somber feminist psychodrama about a woman who would rather try and leap to her death than live one more second as a rapist's slave, before we cut to an only somewhat connected thread across town where the overacting Kilgrave survivor support group takes cues from Jessica's crazy neighbor to string her up because - hey - why not?  Jessica Jones has been so many shows in one so far that it might as well turn into a '50s-styled paranoid science fiction film because lord knows we could use one more genre.

"AKA 1,000 Cuts" once again circles around to make sure we get the direct correlation between Kilgrave and Jeri with a shot / reverse shot reflecting image of one pressed against the other while they both aim to manipulate Jessica.  I hope, perhaps against hope but we'll see, that this is the end of Jeri's saga.  The sequence where Sam (that's her name, right?  It's not like she's been much more than Jeri's eye candy) breaks in to kill Jeri's ex (and I again don't remember her name because "Jeri's ex" has been her entire character arc) was as baffling as anything Jessica Jones has done.  I didn't realize just how poorly "AKA 1,000 Cuts" set up who was where until the door flew open and I swear for all of me that Trish was the one swinging the statue.  Thematically, sure, it makes sense for Jeri to somehow manipulate Sam (?) into killing her ex.  But since Trish is usually palling around with Jessica I thought Trish had abandoned Kilgrave's dad to team back up with Trish.

Just stop, for a moment, and consider all these plot threads.  They're getting wrapped up so messily, both in blood-by-liter and writing, that they're either offensive or land with a thud.  Poor Clarke Peters serves as yet another "token black guy who dies", mirroring Ben's death in Marvel's Daredevil, and didn't even get the opportunity to act out the pain when we see bone coming out of his freaking body.  Then there's the matter of the blonde, red-white-blue pill popping American supercop who did the killing, where if I try and parse the subtext of this moment with the rest of the series it's either on-its-face racist or some terrible attempt at commentary.

There was still some bonkers entertainment to be had with "AKA 1,000 Cuts", but whatever goodwill Jessica Jones generated in the first two episodes has long vanished for me.Lets not overlook the symbolism hereI think Jessica Jones is far from a bad show, I think it is a really good show with a REALLY bad supporting cast.  If the show was 6 episodes long and was just about Jessica vs Kilgrave the show would be wonderful.  Hell, I am even digging the story of Nuke in a “I never thought I would see this character in the flesh” kind of way.  The problem with the show is I never cared about the supporting characters or their subplots. Thankfully, “AKA 1,000 Cuts” fixes a lot of these problems by creating a bloodbath in this episode and thinning the herd substantially.

Poor Clarke Peters was the only character I was sad to see killed off and that is more because I have a deep love for him since The Wire but he did become the black man I like from another TV show that has to die near the end for dramatic reasons in this Marvel show.  I am just expecting Carl Lumbly to show up in Iron Fist just to die in the 9th episode.

The rest of the supporting cast to get offed in this episode didn’t bother me at all. I too hope that we are done with the love triangle but I have a feeling it is just being turned into a courtroom drama with the woman who clearly acted in self-defense being put in legal peril because they need something for Carrie-Ann Moss to do.  I wish the neighbor would have been killed because she is long overstayed her welcome in this show.  She was funny for a bit but now she is just shrill, nasty and is a speed bump in the show.

Finally, I am confused by the last death, did Hope kill herself or did Kilgrave make her do it?  I watched it twice and am sure that she does it herself but no character reacts as if she did it herself.  I read it as she was done playing these games and wanted out of the world and killed herself to spur Jessica on.  The name was a little too on the nose but the imagery or Jessica in Hope’s blood all over her clothes was powerful and I wonder what they are going to do now that her last “hope” is gone.Where's my child nowNewer Andrew cutout commentaryMan, I wish I could say that the "thinning the herd" improves the show.  Remember back when crazy neighbor's brother was killed and we thought that was the end of it?  Instead the Jessica Jones writers keep finding ways to make these terrible supporting characters the center of whatever's going on in the next episode.  On the one hand, kudos for the show runners giving the performers time to "shine".  The other hand, as you put it, is that this is a 13 episode series with maybe 6 episodes worth of great material in there.  Since Jessica Jones wasn't playing by the normal network rules, there's no reason they couldn't have just gone with 6 episodes and called it a day.

Then I remembered, oh, Marvel's Daredevil had 13 episodes, and if there's anything Marvel's good at it's trying to repeat its past successes by carbon copying them.

On the good end of the spectrum, I am going to be sad now that Erin Moriarty's Hope is dead.  Moriarty honed her ability to deliver the nihilistic / sardonic Hope's dialogue so well that when she said, "Sanity was touch and go for awhile," she let's all the right syllables linger to give us the sense that she's let go of whatever's kept her here.  That made her suicide at the end predictable, but also disappointing that someone who understands what sexual abuse Jessica went through opted for suicide over anything else.  Given the survivor mentality of the show, her action was directly at odds with everything Jessica Jones has strove for.  I mean, what kind of message is "Woman, kill yourself to empower others to kill misogynists"?  Maybe there's some brilliant turn coming, but Hope's suicide was the last straw for me.

In lieu of complaining about the way Jessica's powers seem to fluctuate wildly from episode to episode, I'll give a shout out to another player saddled with rough material and say Wil Traval has been a goddamn trooper throughout all of this.  Simpson has been an atrociously written character, but now that they've got him lined up to be one of the three jilted men (along with Luke Cage and Kilgrave) he goes full bananas and it's a load of fun to listen and watch.  While Peters was stuck with godawful lines like, "We got all the evidence we need to put this bastard away," Traval gets to flit around the once-functioning containment cell like a coked out super villain quarterback.  This leads to the best moment in "AKA 1,000 Cuts" when he confronts Trish, and the neon lights from the window crash on their bodies as they struggle among the multicolored lab bubbles away in the background.  He's obviously one of the three last clashes we've got with Jessica Jones and, honestly, is the only one I'm looking forward to.Manic whateverRyan Commentary StampOther than the main villain and plot, I am starting to get a good grasp on what season 2 of this show is going to look like.  Jessica, Trish, possibly Kilgrave and Luke are going to be part of the show going forward.  They are going to introduce new cases and with it a new supporting cast that they can dispose of how they want. The only wildcard is Malcolm and he is the character I am worried about.  The show hasn’t given him a chance to show his full potential but he is a good guy that needs to stay in Jessica’s orbit.  Since he is the one good guy left, will he be the last death on this show?

"AKA 1,000 Cuts" is depressing, and it does that well, but I was hoping that we might see some happiness at the end of this episode.  Marvel's Daredevil did the darkness well in its first season, then Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy made a lot of money being fun, but the “dark and gritty” sheen is taking over this genre right now.  In the upcoming months we are going to have Batman and Superman fight and we are going to have all the Marvel Superheroes pick sides in a civil war.  I know this show was shot and released about 6 months ago now but with the way our political climate is now and these other comic book films, I want to see Jessica Jones be the hero in the end.

She has gotten the shit kicked out of her for 10 episodes and I need that feeling of people finally seeing what she is made out of (other than Malcolm and Trish).  You might not like the show much but I am really liking the ride and am hoping for that end.  Maybe it is just because with all the hatred spewing out in the real world I want to have a fantasy world where things that are good win in the end.  For this to happen I need Malcolm to stay alive and move on to the next season.  This last part of mine is not saying much about this particular episode but what I am hoping for from the show.  Now if Malcolm meets a grizzly end in episode 11-13, you will know that I am traumatized and upset, even if it is just fiction.  We will find out about my sanity next week when we review “AKA I’ve Got the Blues”.

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Next week, "AKA I've Got the Blues."

Posted by Andrew

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