Jessica cuddling up with unconscious Luke to tell him how she felt was like the stabbiest stab in the heart yet. I loved it and do not intend to ever give up on them (and probably won't have to, from what I know about the comics, but prediction is not the way to ship).
Even though it wasn't by design, spacing the episodes out like I did was really enjoyable and I hope to somehow learn from it. On the other hand, I watched the last four in one go and that was also enjoyable. It seems there were some complaints about the show's pacing, which I didn't feel at all, and I wonder if that's because I sped it up manually so that the final third was like a massive quad-length action-packed finale.
On the other hand, one thing I appreciated at the beginning was how realistic it was that each step of Jessica's goals took so long - she spent an entire episode finding out one dubious weakness that Kilgrave might have, and then another episode trying to obtain the drug in question. Contrast to, say, Buffy, which would have given us five minutes of the Scoobies researching and then breaking into a hospital at night. Not a criticism; Buffy was never meant to be realistic, but Jessica's slow progress wasn't frustrating and never bored me. It was part of the story, not the parts between the story. (It also makes the show easier to follow for someone like me. There's probably some mental condition I'm supposed to cite, but I'm also fine with just saying I'm totally dumb when it comes to complicated plots.)
The character who surprised me the most over the course of the show was probably Trish. Confident, successful, gorgeous, stylish, tough, intelligent, where have we seen this woman before? Oh, right, the entirety of modern television and cinema. I hate those characters. They're all the same. Trish isn't, though, and I honestly can't even pinpoint what makes her different. I just never got around to hating her. Maybe it's because Jessica didn't, and we knew right away that Jessica's opinions on people mattered. Their friendship, and the way it was expanded by the flashbacks and culminated in that final "I love you", might have been the only thing more touching than Jessica/Luke.
Simpson surprised me a lot too at the beginning of his arc, since it seemed so clear that he was just another one of Kilgrave's tools and he'd disappear right after Jessica saved him. I'm sure they played it that way intentionally, since it added so much dimension to the story to see how deeply one background victim was affected by what he had done. (Ripples. Every choice we make has consequences, even if we never know what they are.) I was rooting hard for him and Trish, but once the Nuke business started I kind of lost my grip on it. There hadn't been enough of him as a normal guy or as part of the if-you-wanna-call-it-that team to really feel his betrayal or madness or completely isolated motivation. Didn't quite blend with the rest of the story. We'll see what he gets up to next, though.
Claire's episode was awesome! I can't deny it was a disappointment that we didn't get more crossover goodness, but at least we saw her doing what she does best and talking openly about Matt. Her repartee with Jessica wasn't half bad either; you can see how they'll get along well in the future. There was even an interesting insight to her character when they had the conversation about being in control and how Claire wants everything to be her fault. I sympathize with both of them: it's terrible when you feel responsible for everything that's gone wrong, but the very moment you accept that you couldn't have done anything, you accept that you're helpless, and that's terrible too. Geez. Maybe accountability isn't just JJ's theme, it's the Defenders theme.
I closed my eyes when they had to draw the fluids out of Luke's skull. I feel uneasy just knowing that it's something that happened on my TV screen. Gotta say, though, the needles breaking on his skin was a brilliant superpowers dilemma. You've found my weakness, and it's my strength.
The way the divorce triangle ended up was horrifying and mostly Hogarth's fault, but I liked that it at least put her in a place where she can be redeemed. Poor poor Wendy. Nothing was ever fair for Wendy. Pam was in serious need of a wake up call but that was one hell of a rough way to get it. I hope she moves on, is happy, and does not appear in the next season.
Looks like Malcolm will be Jessica's little conscience-cricket and voice of hope, as well as her secretary. Those were all things she needed and he sure did become a sweet guy with a strong heart by the end. Go Malcolm! Please don't die.
Speaking of Hope...okay, I don't know what to think about a suicide for the sake of motivation but it was depressing as all hell. After spending that long believing that a win for the good guys meant peace and freedom for Hope, the audience kind of got a clear sign at that point that our side had already lost and everything else would just be minimizing the damage. If that's the story, so be it, but I wish we could have given Jessica a clear victory, albeit with some loss along the way. The girl who needed to be rescued but wasn't is now the girl who needed to rescue but couldn't.
Luke Cage can't come soon enough. Can we please start referring to him as Power Man? It tickles my funnybone. Come on, say it with me. Power Man.