It’s time to get back to talking about some She-Hulk. I want to apologize to you, dear reader. I normally have these reviews out on time each week but this week I was struck down by a plague and without the aid of much needed Sakaaran medical supplies (read: Nissin Top Ramen), I don’t even know if I would have made it to this very juncture to have this talk with you. Fortunately for me, Galactus was smiling down upon this day and so let us give thanks, but remember that this sickness comes for us all. Its name? The common flu. Okay, enough joking around. Let’s get to the review action we missed.
I’m going to cover two episodes in this review and we’ll be back to our normal review schedule now that I am on the mend. Before we get to that second episode, I just want to say that this show continues to impress each week. If Marvel can somehow find a perfect balance between the first half of Hawkeye, all of Loki, and She-Hulk, they would be completely set for the future. It’s the week to week nature of its ability to control a narrative while still having fun and creating smart and engaging television.
She-Hulk episode two picks up after the attack in the courthouse by Jameela Jamil’s character Titania. Though she’s not yet given her name and backstory, we know who it is because Marvel announced the character. The result of the attack leaves Jennifer Walters surprisingly getting fired from her job. Nobody wants the added risk of a Hulk as a member of their law firm. So, she loses her job and thinks she’s hit rock bottom until someone approaches her specifically about hiring a lawyer to represent superhero cases that now pop up everywhere. There’s just one little problem; she’s going to have to represent Emil Blonsky AKA The Abomination.
Jen absolutely refuses to do this at first until it becomes apparent that it’s either this or nothing. After a long talk with Bruce (read: after lecturing Bruce on why it would be best), Jennifer decides to take the job only to find out Bruce and Blonsky made up long ago and she never knew. It also helped that Blonsky himself did a pretty good job of selling his case to Jen. If we look at the events of the film The Hulk, Blonksy has a pretty good point about being recruited for the job by the U.S. Government and being told he was on loan to stop a threat and as Blonsky surmises, “the threat is out there celebrated and I’m in here.”
It’s right in moments like this that She-Hulk excels. Not only is it a good heart-to-heart on screen, but you’re given a different side of one of the MCU’s oldest villains. In fact, he’s the second oldest villain in the MCU if you don’t count the Ten Rings as a “villain” but instead a group. It takes an absurd argument and phrases it in a way that works for a show. If Blonsky’s situation were real, starting with the fact that the government itself brought you out here from the U.K. to deal with a threat it couldn’t handle gives you a pretty solid legal argument to kick off your defense. It would take some impressive lawyering, but are we suggesting that isn’t possible in a world where human brains have solved time travel and found something that renders a nuclear weapon pretty useless among other things?
The show ends with Jennifer finding out that Emil Blonsky had previously escaped from jail, making his upcoming parole meeting all that more impossible to win. I also think this is a great chase for Tim Roth to reinvent himself as a character. In fact, over the course of this episode and the next, Roth does a remarkable job of showing a humorous and wonderfully zany approach to Blonsky. He might be the standout side character of the show so far.
The third episode is first to introduce a running B-plot (there’s even a C, but shhhh) alongside Jennifers woes. With her role as a superhero lawyer confirmed, the only thing she needed was a cast of characters to fill out her office. Naturally she brings Nikki Ramos with her as her confidant, best friend, and paralegal. Ramos is played by the wonderful Ginger Gonzaga. Jen is also introduced to one Augustus Pugliese AKA Pug, played by the truly wonderful Josh Segerra. Pug is probably my favorite character on the show and I feel like Segerra and I would get along like peas and carrots. She’s told Pug will also be a fellow lawyer within her division, so Jen decides he can take the first case.
Why let him take her very first case? That case happens to be one of the lawyers from her old firm. You mean? No. Not that guy. Not him again. Yep, him again. Good old Dennis Bukowski is back from the pilot episode only this time Dennis here thinks he was dating Megan Thee Stallion only to find out he had been seduced by an Asgardian Light Elf by the name of Runa. She happens to be the daughter of an ambassador in New Asgard. She can change shapes and has defrauded our poor Dennis here. Pug will find a brilliant way to win this case later on, but over to Jen for now.
As we pick up with Jen, she’s meeting with Wong to find out why he absolutely had to break Abomination out of jail, potentially preventing him from being paroled now. Wong explains to Jen that he needed Abomination to make sure he could truly earn the powers to become the Sorcerer Supreme, and so Jen tells him that he’s going to have to show up in court to defend Emil with that story. Jen also brings Emil Blonksy’s harem of eight women there, lovingly referred to as his “other eighths” (I absolutely love this show). After waiting until almost the eleventh hour, Wong finally does show up and testifies on behalf of Blonsky.
Everything seems to be going okay enough for Jen until one of the parole board members asks what happens if Blonsky does trigger a change. The parole understands having a purpose, people to take care of you, and a house are the most important things in determining success, Blonsky isn’t your normal criminal because of what he changes into. Blonsky says that he has it all under control and then fully changes into the Abomination causes everyone to freak out thinking he’s going to go on a rampage. It’s here that Emil shows them he has complete control over the change and that he’s still his same self and all he wants to do is live quietly. After Jen yells at him to change back, Blonsky apologizes to the parole board, but Jen jumps on this chance to win her case and eventually secures his release at the end.
The B-plot wraps up nicely with Pug managing to bring witness after witness after witness who testify to the fact that Dennis Bukowski is so conceited, arrogant, and full of self-worth that he would absolutely think he was good enough to be dating someone like Megan Thee Stallion, which crushes Runa’s defense that no serious person could ever think they were actually dating Megan Thee Stallion without all the attention around her. That is, no person with the exception of Dennis Bukowski. The case was a hilarious and brutal look at the confidence of men in situations that absolutely scream they shouldn’t have confidence in what they’re doing, but yet here they are, full of themselves as always.
The show ends on an attack by the Wrecking Crew against Jennifer Walters in an attempt to get her Hulk blood or whatever. It doesn’t go well. The Wrecking Crew are absolutely destroyed and look even more clumsy than the Tracksuit Mafia Bros from Hawkeye. They mention something about a titular “boss” being mad that they failed and then Jennifer stands up after the attack and looks in the mirror of the car she was attacked by, ending the show save for an extra credit scene with Jen signing the actual Megan Thee Stallion as a new client.
This show has it all. It has smarts. It has running social commentary. It has humor that works well within Marvel lore. But most importantly, shows like this allow Marvel the chance to answer fan questions about what would happen if this or that or whatever. It gives Marvel a chance to indulge in the minutiae of the world in a low-stakes environment. Tune out the people who are talking about social justice this and that, all shows have social commentary of some kind but that doesn’t mean that’s what the show is about. This is a show about superheroes and the kind of absurd things that would happen if they existed within our normal legal world. It’s a chance for fans to check out of one reality and into another and have fun for a half-hour each week.
I wasn’t sure how She-Hulk was going to work, especially in light of some of these other shows. But it’s probably been one of Marvel’s strongest shows on a week-to-week basis outside of Loki, but it also covers content that the seriousness of Loki could never because it would be such a dramatic shift in tone and presentation. Think of She-Hulk as the lighter side of television and Loki as a more philosophical side. They serve different purposes but function similarly. I hope that Marvel can keep this up over the next seven weeks because this is currently my favorite comedy on TV.
New episodes air every Thursday on Disney+ for a total of ten episodes.
Kane Webb covers video games, comics, and film/tv for BSO and The Marvel Report. He also covers the USC Trojans for Athlon Sports. He is an entertainment journalist and you can follow him for more on Twitter: @FightOnTwist.