Plot summary: Jen battles Titania in court over ownership of the She-Hulk name, while Nikki and Pug secure her the services of an illustrious superhero costume designer.
Episode Title: ‘Mean, Green and Straight Poured into These Jeans’
Air Date: September 15th, 2022
Directed: Anu Valia (1)
Written: Dana Schwartz (1)
The premise of the episode may be a nod to She-Hulk’s origins as simply establishing copyright of the name before anyone ripped off the popular Incredible Hulk TV show, as was the style of the times.
Blink and you’ll miss him, but Frog Man walks past Jen and Nikki as they enter Luke’s shop. Frog Man has been confirmed to appear later in the series.
Some hardcore nepotism going on here with various products and the ‘Avongers’ designs by series creator Jessica Gao’s husband, who runs the merch company 100% Soft.
In the end credits there’s a drawing of Pug’s sneaker collection, which includes shoes inspired by various Marvel characters, most notably Deadpool.
Jen and Nikki confront Titania, who has released a ‘She-Hulk’ range of beauty products. The ‘Super Influencer’ mocks them and holds fast to her claim to the name.
At their employer’s orders, Mallory Book successfully establishes precedent of Jen’s use of the name in court by calling her various dates as witnesses.
Nikki learns from Pug about Luke Jacobson, a designer of superhero clothing and after some hijinks are able to secure Jen an appointment after various digs at her attire.
Jen tries on her new items while Jacobson scolds his assistant about client confidentiality, tidying away a new Daredevil helmet.
I was hoping for a different vibe from Anu Valia as she takes the reins from Kat Coiro for a few episodes, as I’ve struggled with the show up to this point. I guess I can sense some minor differences between the two styles, but overall the same problems I’ve had every week remain. The most obvious one being there was only ONE instance of Jen talking to camera this week, compounding the problem with them not leaning into the gimmick enough.
Disclaimer: I’m not of the opinion every entry in the MCU has to be some grand epic story where Big Things Happen. The opposite in fact, as I think they need to tell more intimate self-contained stories that are just fun. Episodes of television don’t HAVE to advance The Plot every week, and the term ‘filler’ is disrespectful and used by people who lack media literacy.
That being said, I’m not sure anything was really achieved here other than continuing to tease the arrival of Daredevil (which is beginning to feel like a personal attack on me). Jen’s experiences with the dating app were effective and self-contained last week, and seeing the same parade of assholes take the stand and continue to be assholes didn’t move anything forward. Arthur walking out on her was a clear and impactful moment, and if anything him offering up a half-explanation took some of the power out of it. I understand that part of it was to bring back Todd, who may end up part of their long-term plans, but given she runs into him at her office, they could have still done that without this battle for copyright ownership. It did finally give Renée Elise Goldsberry something to do, but again, there are other ways.
The Nikki & Pug side of the episode was more fun. I relate hard to the “one to rock, one to stock” line, and it obviously laid the table for Daredevil to finally appear next week (though I’ve been burned before), but even that drifted into cringe territory with the knockoff Avengers merch. I talked last week about the MCU becoming too self-aware at a certain point, and this is the stuff I’m talking about. But that bothers me a lot less than feeling like time is still being wasted halfway through the season, and letting these two side characters riff together was nice.
Finally, not to be a broken record (again), but the CGI on She-Hulk when she’s in her office looks like hot trash. I think she’s looked much better than expected in general, but it’s something about her sitting behind that desk that makes the quality plummet. Kind of problematic given it’s her most frequent location.
Most Marvellous Player
This is the most difficult it’s been so far. Maybe since I started this column. Nobody was really outstanding in my opinion, and multiple people were Very Okay.
Tatiana Maslany was adorable when confronting Titania, reluctantly agreeing to take pictures for randoms out of politeness. Jameela Jamil nailed the brief of what they’re going for with this version of Titania. Renée Elise Goldsberry is someone I always enjoy seeing but this was relatively rudimentary stuff.
I am leaning more towards the other side of the episode, just like my general thoughts on the episode. Ginger Gonzaga and Josh Segarra’s roles so far have been somewhat limited but enjoyable, and letting them have more screen time has always paid off, including here. I’d give the edge to Gonzaga due to how she play’s Nikki’s responses to Pug’s gentle buffoonery.
Griffin Matthews had the showiest role in the episode as eccentric fashion designer Luke Jacobson, but you’ve seen this performance a thousand times.
I’ve said every single week that Titania has been set up to fail and it’ll take a lot of work to make her a compelling series antagonist. I’m not saying she’s been instantly transformed into Loki or Killmonger, but they cleared the very low bar they tripped over for four consecutive weeks. I already knew what they were going for because they gave interviews about their take on the character, but this served her much better than a throwaway line on a news report, with some well-produced fake commercials for her products. It’s a good idea, and I think Jameela Jamil is up to the challenge, but they still haven’t attempted to address her debut in episode 1. Unless it’s all systems go on the Titania train for the rest of the season, they might have been better served making her a villain of the week than trying to pass her off as Jen’s main nemesis.
Given I listed Jen’s dates in this section last week, I suppose I should do the same here. Diminishing returns on all of them in my opinion. Maybe the douchebag writer was slightly funnier? The obvious exception is Todd, who happens to be a GLK&H client. The door is open for him to be up to something more nefarious, but equally, it’s possible this is the last we see of him and he only returned to inspire Jen to call them all as witnesses to win the case.
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 The Karate Kid.