This is Jessica Jones’ best episode, their Red Wedding. It’s the episode where we feel the full weight of Kilgrave’s path of destruction, of how he almost casually ruins and destroys every life he touches.
After he escaped last episode, Kilgrave confronts Jessica, even after she discovered he can’t control her. Kilgrave gets around this by holding a lot of offscreen people hostage; if he dies, they commit suicide. While Jessica is empowered, this doesn’t really change their dynamic as much as I’d hoped for yet; Kilgrave still maintains control by holding the rest of the world hostage as he pursues Jessica’s love. Kilgrave is convinced their love is real because when he could control her, he gave her eighteen seconds of freedom and she didn’t flee.
But Kilgrave is a narcissistic monster, blind to the misery of those around him. For him, forcing Jess to cut her own ear is just another day. Jessica, though no longer under Kilgrave’s control, still can’t bring herself to just punch him like she did Reva. She works with Kilgrave’s dad to develop a vaccine to eliminate Kilgrave’s control over others. After all this, Jess still needs Kilgrave alive to exonerate Hope. Even when he’s not holding hostages directly, Kilgrave’s path of destruction still works to his benefit.
And his casual destruction is felt nowhere more than with Jeri Hoggarth. When the Jeri/Wendy divorce subplot started, I thought it would be either the two of them reunited, or Jeri humbled and learning a lesson. I never imagined it would end with Wendy giving Jeri a thousand cuts, of Pam being forced to kill Wendy to protect her fiance. And in the end, Jeri blames Pam for Wendy’s death, not herself. Kilgrave was part of Jeri’s life for maybe two or three hours, and managed to dismantle it almost in its entirety.
Kilgrave doesn’t need to give Simpson orders in order to control him. At this point, Simpson is abusing power pills, mentally unhinged, and can only see red on his pursuit of Kilgrave. Anything keeping him from Kilgrave is another threat to be eliminated, including Clemons. The fall of Simpson is so damn interesting to me on paper. When he and Trish shacked up, it seemed like he was recovering from his attempted murder/suicide under Kilgrave’s control. But his obsession with stopping Kilgrave lead to his regression, to the point where he wound up even worse off than before. It’s fascinating stuff, but the story-line just hasn’t quite clicked for me. I think Wil Traval is probably the weak link here. Even when Simpson was a good guy, Traval still played him like kind of an asshole.
Kilgrave is such a bastard, that there’s an entire support group for the people who’ve encountered him. And his soul is so utterly black, that he holds the support group hostage, keeping them wrapped in nooses. As with Jeri above, I never thought that Robyn’s story-line would see her weirdo brother killed, her lashing out in anger and grief and confusion. Kilgrave ruined her life before she ever met him, and he did what he could to end it entirely. Even for a character as obnoxious and grating as Robyn, her life is mired in tragedy, and her character is entirely relatable.
Yet no one in this show has lost more than Hope. She was kidnapped by Kilgrave, raped and impregnated, and forced to kill her parents, all just to send a message to Jessica. Hope ends the episode back in Kilgrave’s possession, and she decides that she’s no longer going to be a hostage for Kilgrave to use against Jessica. I never really cared much for Hope as a character, but for me, giving an average character a great death can turn them into a great character. It’s a heartbreaking conclusion to the most tragic figure on the show.
5 Imaginary Horses out of 5. This is my favorite episode of the series, and the best hour of television that Marvel has ever produced. It’s very sad to me that Jessica imagined a big white horse to carry her out of the city that’s killing her.
- These are my notes for the final scene:
Holy shit he has the support group standing there in nooses, waiting to drop
The vaccine doesn’t work
JESUS FUCKING CHRIST
JESUS FUCKING CHRIST
JESUS FUCKING CHRIST
Hope fucking slashes her own neck, the people drop, Kilgrave runs out
SO MUCH IS HAPPENING AT ONCE
poor hope 🙁
I really liked Jessica dropping from the roof onto the street. It was fake looking, but very neat.
Lots of great lines in this episode. While I’m partial to Jessica comparing Kilgrave to a fungus growing in a window, I really like Kilgrave’s line: “I have Hope. The person, not the feeling. Well, the feeling too! I’m a hopeful man.”