Plot summary: Following the ‘She-Hulk’ incident, Jen finds herself with limited employment options that force her to take on The Abomination as a client.
Episode Title: ‘Superhuman Law’
Air Date: August 25th, 2022
Directed: Kat Coiro (2)
Written: Jessica Gao (2)
While Jen is checking the news there are reports of both the events of The Eternals (finally!) and a man with metal claws in a bar brawl… hi, Wolverine!
GLK&H’s stipulation Jen only practice law as She-Hulk is the opposite of their stipulation she hide her ‘condition’ in the comics.
Abomination’s fight club antics were depicted in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
The media report on the incident in the courtroom, dubbing Jen ‘She-Hulk’ much to her chagrin. She also learns she cost her firm the case and is fired.
She also attends an awkward family dinner where she is bombarded with superhero questions.
Unable to secure employment anywhere else, she is offered a role by GLK&H heading up their new Superhuman Law division.
Unfortunately the role comes with two caveats: she must exclusively appear as ‘She-Hulk’, and her first client must be Amil Blonsky aka Abomination.
Meeting with Blonsky, he appears to have genuinely changed (literally, as he is back in human form) and points out he was employed by the government and influenced by the Super Soldier Serum.
Convinced of the merit of his argument, she obtains Bruce’s blessing, unaware he is leaving the planet on a Sakaaran spaceship… or that Blonsky has ostensibly escaped prison!
Emil Blonsky appeared but was not kicked into a tree by Hulk. 0 stars.
In all seriousness, this episode felt like it only had the Abomination scene in the chamber and nothing else to offer. It was a fine, relatively fun scene, but when the end credits hit it felt like a ‘is that it?’ moment. I wonder if this was written as a 40-minute drama that got forcibly changed to a 30-minute comedy and struggled to condense its episodes, hence the choppy editing last week and the abrupt ending this week. Or they just still don’t know how to make television properly, two years in. Equally plausible!
Once again, the talking to camera gimmick needs to be deployed more frequently, because when she doesn’t do it for ten minutes and then laughs to camera about a Edward Norton-to-Mark Ruffalo joke, it’s incredibly jarring.
This is emblematic of the entire show feeling like a low-commitment/half-baked concept. If you told me about it, I’d say it sounds great, but when actually watching it, it has its moments but is very blah. It’s a straight-up comedy that forgets to be funny for a while. It’s shorter, but feels like it doesn’t get enough done in its runtime. It’s inspired by Fleabag, but only breaks the fourth wall a couple of times an episode and isn’t even a fraction as witty and poignant. Jen’s employment issues and the gross conditions that come with her new job feel like they’re meant to be sharp commentary on the very real mistreatment of non-white-men in the workplace, but it’s all so surface level. Like pointing at a thing and saying ‘Huh? How about that?’ and leaving it there.
It’s been confirmed this was meant to be the first episode, with the events of last week intended to air as a huge flashback later in the season. So we met Jen’s family, got a tour of her new office (shout-out to Pug) and set up the ongoing moral conflict/central premise. It’s just that when you do two first episodes in a row and have yet to get to the meat of the show, it hurts overall sentiment for the series even if I continue to enjoy the writing of the lead character.
The family dinner felt like it came from a rejected pile of ideas that gave us the ‘Is Captain America a virgin?’ joke from the last week, with the writing staff trying to be self-aware of how silly the MCU can be by spit-balling some little nit-picks and ‘hot takes’. That’s all well and good… but maybe some better ones, please? Jen’s dad is nice, her mother gets overly involved in her personal life and her brother fails upwards. It all felt very placeholder.
Again, I think there’s a show somewhere in here that I would enjoy, but it’s still yet to present itself.
Most Marvellous Player
Tim Roth is a good actor. For more decades-old news, stay tuned! It’s cool that he was willing to come back and do this (I’m sure the payday didn’t hurt) and is clearly having some fun with it, giving Blonsky way more character quirks in 5 minutes than he had in an entire movie. His sing-song delivery elevated middle-of-the-road house-style writing and is likely the only thing I’ll remember about this episode in a few weeks.
Tatiana Maslany was still charming, and is arguably their most qualified series-lead they’ve had to date, but it felt like the script for this episode was deliberately a lot more about everybody else. Her co-workers, her family and Blonsky, with Jen a lot quieter. Still, she’s a funny drunk, and when they DO deploy the to-camera stuff, she’s very good at it (please do it more frequently!)
Very glad Mark Ruffalo is being taken as far off the board as possible.
Simply a horrible follow-up on Titania. They did confirm she’s a ‘Super Influencer’… and then completely dropped her. I understand last week going for chaos that they’d explain later, but to go 2 weeks in a row with what seems like the main villain seeming like a throwaway gag is No Bueno.
But hey, Abomination is back! Obviously he had to say his background out loud because I’d wager the average MCU fan barely remembers and may have never even seen The Incredible Hulk. That stuff is always clumsy, but I think we could have found a better way to do it, perhaps with GLK&H mansplaining him to her or something. Anyway, I think he’ll be fun and we’ll finally get some justice for our sweet Tree Kick Boy.
It probably will only result in an end-of-season teaser, but the stuff with Hulk returning to Sakaar may lead to a future Marvel villain. Potentially Hulk’s son, Skaar and/or a full World War Hulk movie as Marvel allegedly get the rights to make Hulk films back soon.
Stay tuned for a big site-wide superhero thing this week. As soon as today, in fact!
My MCU podcast, Ben & Matt’s Marvellous Journey has already finished for another year, taking a look back at Marvel’s 2021 projects alongside Ben Phillips. We’ll cover this show and the rest of the 2022 fare early next year.
Instead you can check out my other podcast with Ben, There Will Be Movies, which looks at 25 of our favourite movies from each decade. Our fourth and final (for now) volume is the 1980s, continuing this week with Trading Places.