The One That Reminds You About the Supporting Characters
After a very dialogue-heavy episode, it was nice to start off this one with some high-octane action. The Defenders lack the cool team-up moves that the Avengers have, but no matter. The important thing that comes out of the action is watching our players show their character through their fighting style. It’s entertaining to watch the more refined martial arts of Matt and Danny flow well with the scrappy brawling styles of Luke and Jessica.
But this episode reminds us that this is a psychological battle as much as it is a physical one. As a captured Sowande (AKA White Hat) reminds Stick and the foursome, “This is personal for all of us.” Thus, our Defenders set out to protect their loved ones. After getting some time to develop the team, the characters briefly foray back into their individual worlds, with mixed results. it turns out, I’m not really big on some of these supporting characters.
First off, we have Luke retrieving Claire. Now, I’ve been surprised by how this series has been underutilizing Claire so far. You’d think that the writers would leverage the fact that she’s the first one to meet all four of the main characters. I mentioned in my last review that I thought she would be a Nick Fury-type, but I guess she’s more of a Phil Coulson, acting as connective glue.
Then we have Colleen Wing, who doesn’t exactly need to be retrieved due to her fighting ability, but she is still devoted some time here. Her confrontation with Bakuto was a bizarre distraction; while the show has overall been doing a good job mixing the four shows together, this scene felt like it was branching off into an Iron Fist season 2. Not to mention, Bakuto seems a lot cheesier than I remember him to be. I found myself frustrated with Colleen in this episode; I don’t understand why she was planting seeds of doubt into Danny about his new allies, and I don’t understand if she’s meant to have a bigger role in the story at-large.
Equally frustrating are Karen Page and Misty Knight, for separate reasons. The argument that Matt has with Karen carries very little weight. I understand that Karen is trying to move Matt away from his double life, but this is a superhero trope that I’m frankly tired of. And regarding Misty, her character has had very little to do other than move some plot points forward; she could be replaced by any other generic authority figure, and this series would pretty much be the same. On the other hand, I do enjoy how Trish has been somewhat active behind the scenes, trying to figure out the conspiracy behind the earthquake; she hasn’t gotten nearly enough screentime, though.
Stick has been the most present supporting character in this series thus far, and we get an interesting moment between him and Matt. He urges Matt to basically lead this newly-formed team, an idea that he rejects. “You don’t get to tell me who I am,” he tells Stick. Meanwhile, Alexandra and Elektra have a similar moment, with Alexandra reminding her that her purpose is to be the weapon for the Hand; Elektra, conversely to Matt, is compliant.
But our villains begin to have some buyer’s remorse for their Black Sky. After Murakami is attacked by Elektra, they begin to think that their new toy might have some defects. Alexandra is almost threatening to Elektra, warning her of possible failure. But the organization as a whole heightens their sense of urgency. Maybe their plan – this plan that I have still yet to understand – might not work; maybe their investment in the Black Sky wasn’t worth it. It’s hard to feel that urgency when what the urgency is for is still ambiguous.
Cracks are forming in these alliances, but the storytelling doesn’t impress me so much. I’m questioning on why Elektra needed to be kept a secret in the first place; keeping secrets is a tired narrative device that creates unnecessary drama and conflict, like something you would see in a soap opera. Still, the parts I enjoyed most were moments reminding me of the characters’ humanity. Alexandra seeks immortality partially motivated by her grief of losing her daughter, and the four Defenders are driven by some sort of grief or guilt as well. And I loved the final moment of Elektra enjoying Matt’s bed – after all of this crazy action, it was a nice, calming, and almost sweet ending to the episode.
I appreciate that this episode had some movement. The chess pieces of the story have been shuffled about, but many of the pawns have been relocated into this Harlem precinct. Now that they’re all in one spot, they have to come back into play for some reason. I just wish I had a better picture of where all of this movement was heading.
3 severed heads out of 5. This episode was all over the place, but it’s good (and convenient for viewers) to put everyone together now.
- White Hat doesn’t look as fly without his white hat. Or his head.
- Kinda weird to me that the “Fingers” of the Hand are doing this grunt work. Don’t they have a bunch of ninjas at their disposal?
- Danny trying to save Jessica and her telling him to get off is on-brand.
- Damn, Jessica really punted that old lady.
- Come on, do you really think you can capture the guy with super-strength and unbreakable skin?
- “You are the dumbest Iron Fist yet.” A lot of lamp-shading going on in this series.
- I love Jessica’s subpower of being able to wake up and knock out people instantly.
- Heh. Stick with the “I’m blind” jokes.
- “Maybe I got soft in my old age.” Explains his somewhat out-of-character talk with Matt in the last episode.
- Having the score done by Daredevil composer John Paesano is showing a bit; when Daredevil shows up in his costume, we clearly hear his theme song, while I don’t recall hearing any of the other heroes’ musical cues.
- The shot of the dude with the juice after Jessica launched Murakami was super awkward.
- Speaking of lamp-shading Iron Fist, thank goodness Misty called out Colleen on her weird habit of carrying her katana everywhere.
- Daredevil being the only character with a secret identity mucks some things up for me. So the Hand didn’t question who this Matt Murdock guy was in the restaurant, and now everyone loses their mind when Daredevil (as far as they know, a totally separate person) shows up.
Don’t miss my review for episode six, “Ashes, Ashes”, tomorrow!