Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Defenders Season 1, Episode 2, "Mean Right Hook" REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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This review is coming out later in the day because I have been really busy the last week or more with school starting up again.  Hopefully I will get back to my usual schedule next week.  Also, hopefully I will get to see Inhumans and review it this weekend, as well!

The Defenders might be the most fun MCU TV series yet, simply because we are finally seeing what this whole MCU “experiment” can really do.  DC has already been doing this same thing over on the CW with the Arrowverse shows, which (to the best of my knowledge) are doing great things.  But Marvel and Netflix are going beyond that by placing their shows within the universe of the movies, which gives both properties greater depth.

All of that serves as a long way of saying that this second episode of The Defenders is the biggest test case of why it is so important that these shows are all set in the same universe and in the same city:  this is when the universe narrows.

At the beginning of the episode, all of the heroes are on parallel paths as they react to the destruction (“earthquake”) in the city and investigate their respective cases.  Matt stops an angry store owner from killing a group of looters.  Jess works through the various shell companies that the Hand has used to hide their operations in New York (without realizing it’s the Hand).  Luke finds “White Hat,” the guy who’s been hiring Harlem kids and getting them killed, and tracks one of the kids to a rundown warehouse that the kid is “sanitizing” after a Hand hit.  Danny is tracking down a lead on a rare sword, which leads him to that same warehouse.  And this is when it gets interesting.

The first meeting between Danny and Luke comes as Danny is stopping the kid from escaping, and Luke intervenes to keep Danny from hurting him.  The fight sees Luke’s “unmovable object” stop Danny’s “unstoppable force” almost through the entire thing, up until Danny unleashes the Fist and sends Luke flying, at which point the fight breaks up with both heroes leaving to lick their wounds.  The effects in this fight are really good, especially when they recreate the slow-motion punch from Luke Cage, but this time the Iron Fist makes an impression.

Jess’s investigation into the Hand leads her back to the architect, Raymond, who is at her office holding Malcolm at gunpoint.  She tries to talk him down, but he only panics babbles.  Elektra shows up, and Raymond kills himself rather than let her capture him.  Jess tries to chase Elektra, but loses her in time for Misty to arrest her.  At the precinct, she is in the middle of being interrogated when Matt walks in and introduces himself as her attorney (having received the assignment from Foggy, whom Hogarth had instructed to watch Jess and keep her from becoming a problem for the firm).  This initial meeting between Jess and Matt was not quite the one I expected, but I still enjoyed the shock of it.

The other major element in this episode involves Alexandra, who actually does very little beyond hint that she is actually much older than she looks.  She makes for an interesting villain eventually, but this early on in the season her biggest draw is that she is powerful enough to give Madame Gao orders, something that even the Kingpin never did.  We don’t ever get to know her as well as other villains like Fisk and Killgrave, and that might be the biggest missed opportunity of the season.

Again, there’s not much to say about this episode except that it does a compelling job of connecting the Defenders together in a way that feels natural for a quartet of heroes (a couple of them with day jobs) living and operating in the same city.  The part of this series that I have been looking forward to the most is the dynamic between the characters themselves, and that is very much set up in this episode.

What was your favorite part of this episode?  Let me know in the comments!

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