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TV Review: Marvel's The Defenders - 1.02 "Mean Right Hook"

08.19.2017

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EPISODE 2: "Mean Right Hook"

SYNOPSIS: As a new conspiracy takes shape, Matt finds old habits are hard to break, Jessica gets in over her head, Luke tracks a lead, and Danny meets his match.

Marvel Studios, Netflix, The Defenders, TV Review, Superhero, Comic Book, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, The Punisher, Sigourney Weaver

REVIEW: The Incident or Terrorism. For New Yorkers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, those two devastating memories loom large over the city. Between The Avengers fighting Loki or Ultron and September 11th, New York is always on edge. At the conclusion of the first episode of The Defenders, an earthquake brought those memories back to the forefront. It also serves as the catalyst for bringing our heroes together. But, the problem with this second episode is that instead of the story kicking into high gear, the momentum remains sluggish. Yes, we begin to get a trickle of information about what exactly is going on, but not much more than that. By the end of the hour, half of the team has met one another but no one is unified as of yet. It still feels like The Defenders is four separate shows occuring in the same hour but without a unified narrative, it is frustrating at best, especially since what we are seeing is as good as most of the solo outings for these characters.

Picking up immediately after the first episode, Matt Murdock finds himself flying into action during the tumultous post-earthquake unrest in the city. Briefly contemplating resuming the mantle of Daredevil, Matt instead gets a call from Foggy. Meeting his friend, Matt decides to take on some cases Foggy has in overflow to try and keep his mind off vigilante work. A lot of this episode is dedicated to the supporting players who get a lot to do. Trish Walker finds her radio show muted when she delves too deeply into the earthquake, Misty tracks Jessica and the missing man whose apartment she found. In fact, Misty remains on Jessica's tail after she nabs a brick of explosives. It is not until the end of the episode when the missing husband kills himself in Jessica's office rather than be taken by Elektra that Misty and Jessica reunite and she takes the P.I. in for questioning. Wanting to know what Jessica knows, the pair are interrupted when Murdock bursts in to reveal he is Jessica's attorney, likely at the behest of Foggy who was given the task of watching her by Jeri Hogarth.

While the main meet between Murdock and Jessica will be in the next hour, the majority of this episode's focus was on Luke Cage and Danny Rand. Danny is still the impulsive and immature character from the Iron Fist series, a characterization that irks me to no end. Danny tends to fly off, half-cocked, blinded by a single-minded hatred of The Hand. When he follows up on Colleen's discovery of a unique sword from their last encounter, Danny crosses paths with Luke. Luke, continuing his search for who is employing the youth of Harlem and getting them killed, gets some intel from Turk. Despite Claire's desire for Luke to stay out of hero work, she knows it is important to him. Luke learns from Turk that there is a man called White Hat (three guesses where the name comes from) who seems to be a go-between for The Hand in Harlem. Luke tracks him and that is where he and Danny meet.

The first interaction between the two heroes definitely lives up to the hype. The pair find themselves fighting in the same spot and are not sure who the other is. They begin to battle with Danny soon discovering that his martial arts skills make no impact on Cage. It is a funny moment when Danny asks Luke what he is made of. The fight is shot in slow motion with every blow from Danny resulting in no movement from Luke. When Luke knocks Danny back with ease, Danny summons his chi. His fist glowing, Danny punches Luke and we see the shot from the early trailers for the series that show the punch rippling across Luke's face. Danny is able to send Luke flying back. Their fight is interrupted by the arrival of the police and Danny flees with Colleen. Clearly, the next meeting between these two is going to be even better than the first.

Marvel Studios, Netflix, The Defenders, TV Review, Superhero, Comic Book, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, The Punisher, Sigourney Weaver

This episode also offers some new tidbits about Alexandra and her plan for the city. We first see Sigourney Weaver's character being given a private concert by musicians she seems to serve as benefactor for. In discussing the musical of Brahms and Beethoven, Alexandra offers some insight into the motivation for Brahms to write the piece. This seems more than just mere trivia and more like Alexandra is far older than she has let on. Could she be immortal and searching for a way to extend her life? Madama Gao arrives and seems cautious in delivering the news they have run into a wall bearing symbols and inscriptions from K'un Lun. Alexandra says it is not a wall but a door. Once again, Gao seems meek compared to the stoic and imposing Alexandra. By episode's end, we see Alexandra talking to a restrained figure whom she unmasks to reveal Stick. Stick recognizes her immediately which indicates their relationship is far from new.

Overall, this episode did provide some cool scenes between our heroes meeting and some new stuff about Alexandra, but it felt more like it was treading water rather than progressing the story. If this were a feature film, this episode would likely have been condensed or completely excised from the script as it really doesn't deliver anything truly vital that we couldn't have gotten added into the prior hour. Maybe I am rushing things but I would much rather see these characters unite and discover what is going on together rather than get these mini-episodes of their solo shows. Now that we have the heroes starting to meet, maybe the next episodes will pick things up a little bit more quickly.

NEXT ON MARVEL'S THE DEFENDERS: "Worst Behavior" - Elektra's secrets are revealed. Danny changes his tactics. Mattgives Jessica some legal advice. Luke searches for the White Hat.

Source: JoBlo.com

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