She-Hulk: LawyerThe refreshingly personal, down-to-earth commitment made the show’s first season seem different from the vast majority of Disney Plus’ other live-action Marvel shows. As was the case with WandaVisionboth She-Hulk‘s conceit and narrative format allowed the show to play with the limits of Marvel Studios’ approach to bringing characters to the screen. But in his final, when? She-Hulk could have cleverly pushed the boundaries of what could be a big, flashy cape series, the show chose to play it safe under the guise of going meta.
This piece contains spoilers for episode 8 of She-Hulk: Lawyer.
After a season of furious switching to be a half-hour legal comedy, a standalone tale of superhero origins, and a joke-filled ad for the rest of the MCU, “Whose Show Is This?” from writer Jessica Gao and director Kat Coiro trying to capture it all She-Hulk‘s storylines in one fell swoop. Between being a better Hulk than her cousin Bruce (Mark Ruffalo), beating her nemesis Titania (Jameela Jamil) in court, and when she hooked up with Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) was pretty hot in both her personal and professional life. She-Hulk was always intended to be a story about its heroine embracing the newfound duality of her irradiated existence, and the show seeded that idea well throughout the season as Jen grappled with what a superhuman meant to her personally.
But just when Jen began to see She-Hulk as an invaluable, powerful part of who she is, Lawyer finally turn her against Intelligencia, the collective of hateful men who have been planning to destroy her all season. And despite being physically invulnerable, she came out much worse for wear and tear.
Jen is still dizzy (probably from the sedatives) when she wakes up in a Department of Damage Control cell as “Whose Show Is This?” opens, but she knows exactly what happened at the Southern California Law Awards gala. She recalls how humiliating and infuriating it was to have her private data doxxed and broadcast footage of her sex without her consent at a public event attended by her friends and family. She also remembers tearing the room apart and seizing the opportunity to get hold of one of the masked Intelligencia members, who was sent to capture her frenzy on camera. But what Jen doesn’t quite understand when her former coworkers talk to her through reinforced glass is why it’s so easy for them and pretty much everyone else in Los Angeles to see her as an out-of-control monster, even though they all know why she lost her hair. calm.
Pretty much from the very first episode, She-Hulk‘s tended to do as many narrative showings as possible before it revolves around just telling you what’s going on, something the show sometimes gets away with due to Jen’s ability to break the fourth wall. But unlike some of She-Hulk‘s more joke-y, meta-moments, the way “Whose show is this?” leads with the audience turning on Jen strangely feels intruded here because of how little time the show has spent establishing why people would be afraid of She-Hulk. While people in the MCU once lived in fear of the original Hulk, that had seemingly all changed in Avengers: Endgame, where Smart Hulk had become a celebrity wearing a vest and signing an autograph. Jen and Bruce’s reputations aren’t exactly the same, and they’ve been in the public eye for very different times.
But Jen’s ability to maintain her mental abilities when she transforms is one of her defining traits that She-HulkIt’s been led from the jump, and it’s kinda shocking to see that idea so completely brushed aside as “Whose show is this?” unfolds.
if She-Hulk had the time, “Whose show is this?” may have slowed down a bit to dig deeper into the implications of how Jennifer’s body and her feelings are controlled in ways different from Bruce’s experience and how her predicament is complicated by her life as a relatively “normal” person. However, it didn’t. Instead, the show used its Intelligencia plot as an opportunity to reflect on the nature of Marvel’s approach to storytelling, and while She-Hulk may have been the ideal character to do that sort of thing, it’s hard to say whether “Whos Show Is This?” was the right place to do it.
Until She-HulkThanks to, it’s impressive how fast “Whose show is this?” moves as it describes Jennifer losing her job, moving back in with her parents, and sinking into mild depression after a judge rules she can no longer turn into She-Hulk without risking jail time. While She-Hulkhas occasionally struggled in the past to get the A and B plots in harmony, there’s some shrewd cleverness in how Jen’s decision to camp at Emil Blonsky’s Summer Twilights retreat is in sync with Nikki’s plan ( Ginger Gonzaga) and Pug (Josh Segarra) to infiltrate an Intelligencia gathering.
It’s totally predictable when Nikki and Pug find out that one of the scarier guys Jen went on a date with in She-Hulk‘s first episode is actually the leader of Intelligencia, that’s true. But his revelation that Emil (in his banned Abomination form) is the evening’s special guest is impressive for its effectiveness on a job. She-Hulkis done to make their pseudo-therapist/client relationship feel meaningful.
Just when it started to feel like “Whose show is this?” has found a surprising second wind, the episode starts to falter by simply telling you what’s going on again. It is immediately clear that She-Hulkmakes fun of the superhero genre as a whole when Intelligencia leader Todd (Jon Bass) begins to explain how he stole footage of Jen having sex, as well as a sample of her blood that he’s made into a serum to give himself Hulk powers . However, what takes a little more time to become clear is how unsatisfactory She-Hulk‘s attempt to replace meta humor with a big, flashy VFX sequence, even if the idea of going in that direction is a very good one.
It’s pretty funny to watch Jen grow increasingly frustrated when Bruce and Titania pop up out of nowhere to fight the Abomination and a Hulked-out Todd, then decide to leave the scene by jumping out of her show and on the front of Disney Plus page to climb. It’s quite interesting that Jen is seemingly aware that she’s a character on a streaming series, just like her comic book counterpart knew she was written and illustrated by John Byrne in the late ’80s.
But “Whose show is this?” gets very tiring when Jennifer on the She-Hulk writer’s room to dunk on them for being unimaginative, and they anxiously tell her that her real problem is with KEVIN, a “giant AI brain” reminiscent of Space Jam: A New Legacy’s central villain.
Although Jen and KEVIN’s conversation is all about her wish for She-HulkBypassing all the typical whizbang spectacles and thin plot twists that tend to define the final thirds and finales of most Marvel projects, “Whose Show Is This?” still does all the same things it is critical of. Nothing about the way Jen convinces Kevin to change the structure of hair changes the reality that “Whose Show Is This?” is another Marvel finale with so many ridiculous, nonsensical things happening that it becomes necessary to remind the audience what the show’s focus was before things went sideways.
It’s great to hear someone in the MCU call the X-Men by name and point out how the bigger franchise has plenty of male superheroes with boring daddy issues. But it would also have been nice to see She-Hulk send Jennifer away with a bang that was actually about her as a person rather than the megacorporation that created her.