Here we are, August 18, 2017, and The Defenders has finally made it’s way to our eyeballs. After 65 episodes of television leading up to this moment, we get to watch Matt Murdock, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Danny Rand come together to defend New York. As we always do here at the MCU Exchange, we will be reviewing one episode of the series every day, until we have made it through this full short series and go back to waiting anxiously for the next big binge brought to us from Netflix (The Punisher is coming in November).

Obviously, there are spoilers ahead for the very first episode. If you haven’t seen it yet, I send my condolences and you also have my respect for your restraint. You can read my non-spoiler review here.  Now go and watch, this article will be waiting when you are finished.

As a first episode, this was solid. We are introduced to all four of the heroes, reminded of where we saw them last, and reminded a little bit about where each one of them are, in their own lives. We also meet Alexandra, our villain for the series, and for a good portion of the time I was wondering if she was going to simply be a host for another being to embody, because she started off just so normal.

An interesting choice was to start the series off with some Iron Fist action, as Danny Rand and Colleen Wing are on their mission to find out what happened to the mystical city of K’un Lun. Surprise of surprise, what they are seeking is back in New York! How convenient is that?  With horrible dreams during turbulence, the audience is reminded of Danny’s horrible history with airplanes while also showing us that it pays to be rich.  Danny and his girlfriend are flying around the world in their own private jet.

Luke gives us our first big surprise of the series, as he breaks from his binds at Seagate Prison and into a holding area with Foggy Nelson. I screamed a little here, folks, when I first saw the episode at San Diego Comic-Con, because after seeing Daredevil Season Two, where Claire Temple is so very done with everything about Matt Murdock, I wondered if the “Good attorney” she was going to recommend was the smooth-talking Foggy Nelson.

Speaking of Luke and Claire, they waste no time before getting some coffee on and deciding what Luke should do with his life. Claire nudges Luke toward an investigation that only he could accomplish, one that has to deal with a gangster only known as White Hat taking young residents of Harlem and using them for his own enterprises.

We find Jessica where her Twitter feed, as well as her stand-alone series, would expect us to find her: passed out at a bar. But of course, it’s not too long before she meets up with her old pal Trish Walker and the two stroll down the street having coffee.  And no, not the Luke Cage kind.

Before too long, Jessica makes her way back to her apartment slash office, where she’s met but a mother and daughter pair who want her to try finding the missing husband/father.

Then there is Matthew Murdock, attorney at law who has no interest in putting on that Daredevil Mask that ruined his life in so many ways. He is working out of his swanky apartment pro bono, with no explanation of how he keeps the electricity on to run his Braille printer. In a modern New Yorker sort of way, he’s doing well and winning multi-million-dollar settlements for the little guys, inspiring disabled kids to pull themselves up like he did, and confessing his sins as frequently as every three days. He’s doing great. So great.

We even got a little scene with Matt and Karen, the latter of which is still processing the big confession at the end of Daredevil Season Two. It’s awkward, but productive. Matthew Murdock is doing so great. Until the world literally starts falling apart around him. I bet he’s a little bit relieved to not have to pretend that he’s doing great, actually.

The person who isn’t doing great and doesn’t care how much the world falls apart is Alexandra, who we meet as an older woman with a terminal illness with very little time left. Her team-up with Gao, who we already know prays on the terminally ill. (Or have you tried to forget Harold Meachum from Iron Fist?) But saving Papa Meachum didn’t involve death and destruction, so the picture is starting to be drawn of a character with much more power, power that can sway even Gao, who’s motivations are still a mystery. While Gao doesn’t appear to approve of Alexandra’s timeline, she does as the new woman asks.

Sigourney Weaver’s villain not only has Gao under her thumb, she also has a very confused version of Elektra at her side.

Over all, this was a solid introduction to the world and the characters, with a nice mystery brewing that presented some dire circumstances at the end. I can’t wait to see where it goes, and I’ll be here with you, tomorrow, to discuss how all of our heroes react to New York getting so shaken up.

Final Verdict:

4 Coffees out of 5.  You know, because Luke might have broken the record for soonest “coffee session” after being released from prison.


  • Character crossovers.  I mean, this stuff was completely expected and was one of the primary reasons every is some damn hyped for a show like The Defenders to hit Netflix.  Regardless, it was great to actually see the characters crossing over between shows and interacting with each other.  Almost right off the bat, we saw Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) meet his client Luke Cage (Mike Colter) as he’s released from jail and the exchange goes down almost exactly like one would expect.
  • Episodes within the episode.  Leading up to the show, there was so much talk about each character having their own color grading and cinematography styles and boy is that sure evident in this episode.  Throughout the events of the episode, each time we see one of the four main Defenders, it feels like we’re watching an episode of their own show.  Each character has their own theme and that’s certainly made evident.
  • Speaking of themes… Early on we see Alexandra feeding pigeons in the park when she’s approached by none other than Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho) and I noticed something right away between the two characters.  While Gao continues wearing her drab black clothes, Alexandra is wearing nearly all-white, and that shade sticks with her throughout the episode.  Anything Alexandra is seen wearing says much about her character as her words and demeanor, it just makes her seem high-end and pure.