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TV Review: Marvel's The Defenders - 1.07 "Fish in the Jailhouse"

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EPISODE 7: "FIsh in the Jailhouse"

SYNOPSIS: Matt, Jessica and Luke embark on a desperate search. Colleenand Claire debate heroism. Elektra tries to recruit an all-important ally.

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REVIEW: "Fish in the Jailhouse" is a curious title for this episode. Named after the Tom Waits song of the same name, it is primarily about Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Matt Murdock figuring out their next move in the wake of Elektra killing Stick and taking Danny Rand prisoner. But, the song the episode is named after is about a man telling everyone that no jail can hold him and he is going to escape. The Defenders do in fact escape from the NYPD but it is never really the focal point of the story.. Really, this episode doesn't have much of a focus aside from bridging Elektra's takeover of The Hand and the final battle between heroes and villains below Midland Circle. What it does do well is bring back some supporting characters who really haven't had much to do in recent episodes.

Knocked unconscious by Elektra, our heroes are picked up by the NYPD next to the headless body of Sowande and the corpse of Stick. In a brief flashback, we see Elektra and Stick chatting on the banks of the Hudson River (presumably during the events of Daredevil's second season) where Stick laments Elektra falling in love with Matt and being unable to do what is necessary in the war to come. Well, now The Chaste and The Hand are virtually destroyed and all that remains is what is behind the massive wall in the hole dug by Alexandra and The Hand. The remaining members of The Hand are a bit taken aback by Elektra having murdered Alexandra, but Elektra states she doesn't care about The Hand and only wants more of The Substance. Elektra seems to have fully embraced her role as Black Sky, even with the return of her emotional memories from her prior life. She threatens the remaining Fingers that if they do not do her bidding, she will kill them. After all, without the Substance, they are all now mortal. They, of course, oblige.

At the NYPD, Misty and her Captain meet with Matt, Luke and Jessica and tell them they have also been tracking The Hand and no longer view them as suspects. But, the Captain wants them to come clean about what they know. No one suspects Matt is one of them and see him just as their attorney so they meet alone and agree they need to rescue Danny. Matt has a moment with Karen where he finally acknowledges that being a hero is his calling and then Foggy tells him to do what he needs to and hands him a case with the Daredevil suit inside. The trio then break through the wall of the jail and make their way towards Midland Circle. On the way, they avoid cop cars and realize they need to travel discreetly. They make their way to a subway where Jessica helps herself to a passed out homeless man's beer. It is a funny sequence seen in the trailers and highlights how these three together have more chemistry than any of them do with Danny Rand. Iron Fist has always been such a cool yet niche character and he just isn't working the way they are writing him.

Below Midland Circle, Elektra takes Danny to the inscriptions Gao and Alexandra discussed earlier in the series. Danny recognizes some of the language but is not able to read it. He tells Elektra he would never help The Hand and she in turn proclaims that she is not The Hand. She equates herself to Danny in that both of them have been used by elders as weapons and they should work together to get what they both want. Elektra also reveals she killed Alexandra. Despite Danny making stupid decisions, he wisely refuses to help Elektra in her quest for immortality. She may not be The Hand but she is certainly not a good person any longer. Back at the precinct, Colleen cannot take sitting around any longer and steals the explosives Jessica's architect was going to use to blow up Midland Circle. She and Claire convince Misty to take them to the building where they unite with the trio of Defenders ready to storm the building.

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Inside, they are met by Gao, Murakami, and Bakuto who fight in what is one of the cooler sequences the Netflix series have done so far. Seeing Gao fight should be lame but I loved every minute of that old broad kicking ass. Eventually, when they sense themselves weakening, they ignite a gas pipe to escape. Luke closes it easily with his strength. Luke tells Colleen she should not be there but we know as well as she does that she is already more valuable as a warrior than Danny ever was. They agree that to destroy The Hand once and for all, they need to blow up the building and prevent the bad guys from accessing the gateway below it. With Claire and Colleen in tow, they all start descending the stairs to where Danny is fighting Elektra. Once again letting his anger rule him, Danny fights Elektra who deflects his fist into the inscribed wall. Danny's chi channels into the wall, lighting the symbols and eventually breaks through it. In the closing moments of the episode, we see Danny laying in rubble as the camera pulls back to reveal the skeleton of a dragon in the same shape as Danny's chest tattoo.

A slightly better hour than the previous one, this episode spends way too much time talking and not enough time fighting. I know these shows are predicated on a lot of exposition but it feels like the writers really aren't exploring the powers each of these characters possess and instead are relying on a plot that heavily favors Daredevil and more so Iron Fist. The bigger problem is Danny Rand was relegated to a damsel in distress plot in this hour. I do like how they are using Elektra as the new primary villain, but they should have really done this several episodes back. With one hour left in this event, I am hoping we are about to see some truly great comic book action that will make all prior complaints rendered pointless.

NEXT ON MARVEL'S THE DEFENDERS: "The Defenders" - As New York edges closer to disaster, Elektra sees what's beyond the wall, and the Defenders make a last-ditch effort to save the city.

Source: JoBlo.com

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