We’ll be doing individual episode reviews for The Defenders which will culminate in a final season review. Although Netflix has released all episodes, some viewers may still want to savor the show one episode at a time. Each review is written as the episodes are seen without knowledge of any future episodes and as such, all theories presented about what lies ahead are pure speculation. The episode reviews may contain spoilers so discretion is advised while reading them.
Now that was a bit of a slowdown. Some really important plot developments happened in the last episode but we didn’t quite get to process them as much as we liked. Matt does mourn Stick’s fate and Elektra having taken over The Hand changes the dynamics of the organization and its core mission going ahead entirely. And with three out of the four team members being brought into the police precinct where everyone else is holed up, it sort of brings most of the cast together at the same venue.
At the precinct, we catch up with each of the Defenders after they were knocked out by Elektra in last week’s brutal fight. Jessica wakes up to be interrogated by Misty Knight who seems to be working with some of the most inept officers around in that they just can’t figure things out and constantly need to be asking direct questions to get their answers. Like if you ask Jessica where are you headed to, she’s going to give it to you on a platter. Matt wakes up similarly disoriented and grieves for what happened to Stick and at this age, it’s doubtful anyone else would’ve felt sad for him since he barely knew people (most of his clan were long gone anyway). And Luke wakes up the least expressing concern over Danny’s fate which scares Colleen even further.
By now the core team members have accepted the importance of their role in stopping this menace with Matt having gone as far as to accept his role as Daredevil. He looks ready to eschew the lawyer’s garb going forward and it should be interesting to see how that plays out in Season 3 of Daredevil. His exposure as Daredevil is what the scenes play with since he’s one of the only ones with a secret identity at this point, largely equivalent to Spider-Man in this case. There’s a small ever so minuscule nod to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe when discussing vigilantism but it’s quite faint and this show has done a remarkably good job of steering clear of any MCU references so far.
Of course the Defenders break out of prison and, in a rather hilarious sequence, hitch a subway ride to get to Midland Circle. It’s certainly one of the more realistic scenes that helps us explain the scarcity of resources at their disposal as compared to the other teams like The Avengers or even S.H.I.E.L.D.. Unlike them, these are day-to-day people living in unkempt substandard apartments with alternate lives of their own and have been forced into this situation to save the city they care for (and to get to the bottom of their respective cases) and do not really have the luxury of choppers or bikes to command.
The main characters are finally at Midland Circle, which is where we suspect the climactic showdown will go on. Two battles progress simultaneously: one between Elektra and the Iron Fist where the former provokes the latter into using his Fist to smash the wall and supposedly free himself from the clutches of slavery and following his team’s every command and the other between the three Defenders versus the three members of The Hand in what could’ve been akin to a final showdown. That said, the manner in which the fights inter-cut with each other seems to be rather confusing and is probably done to conceal a lower-budget and the possible heavy use of doubles. While the fights have been enjoyable as a whole, they certainly don’t come close to the fight sequences in the Daredevil series.
It baffles me though how empty the building for The Hand is. In an organization of that scale, I’d suspect many people would be busy working on something or the other day in and night out. Instead, The Hand at this stage seems to be comprised of its five fingers (two of which are now cut off) and a bunch of nameless assassins. Also, with Elektra now having taken over, I believe Alexandra and the casting of Sigourney Weaver to play here were seemingly part of a larger plan to distract viewers from the twist that was upcoming last episode. For all her screen time, Alexandra largely felt like an underwhelming villain in line with the Marvel Universe’s ongoing antagonist problem. Which is surprising seeing how strong the antagonists at the Netflix side have usually been.
The episode ends with the promise of an impending showdown of some sort which will hopefully give us a fight for the ages. At this stage, I understand it’s too late to expect another hallway fight but I’m still looking forward to see how the team-up concludes and in what state does it end up leaving each of the team members.
Overall Score: 8.0 out of 10.0