Good day, true believers! Victor here, tagging in for Josh Speer while he is off PAX-ing it up out west. I’ll be your guide to the ins and outs of legal super-heroics for the next four episodes.
Picking up where we left off, Jennifer Walters is racing back to prison to hear Blonsky’s explanation as to why footage of him as Abomination in an underground fight club leaked out. The explanation, as Marvel fans know from watching Shang Chi, was that Wong snuck him out. Jen’s paralegal, Nikki, tracks him down in no time thanks to his LinkedIn profile. Those emails get to everyone. (Maybe I should relent to those 600 emails I get each week and get the upgrade to Pro so I can see if Wong or She-Hulk is looking at my profile.)
Meanwhile, GLK&H has a new client, namely, Dennis Bukowski from the DA’s office. (He was the one telling Jen to smile more in her summation back in episode one.) Why does our Jeremy Jamm clone need a superhero lawyer? He was scammed by a shapeshifting Asgardian light elf named Runa, who convinced him she was actually Megan Thee Stallion. Dennis’s ego is so huge he absolutely believes that the real Ms. Thee Stallion would want to date him and ask him to buy her a Volkswagen Passat. Jennifer wants nothing to do with this chauvinistic jerk and begs off when Wong suddenly portals in.
Wong explains that yes, he had to smuggle Blonsky out of jail because he had to fight a worthy opponent to become the sorcerer supreme. But he put him back and everything! (Sorcerers Supreme seem to have some trouble understanding things like “laws of man” and whatnot) He agrees to come to the hearing and explain.
Since Jennifer Walters is now very publicly She-Hulk, she is now the subject of constant media frenzy. Hurrying past the media scrum, she dodges questions like “Did you get your powers from an attempted mafia hit?” and tabloid pieces claiming she’s pregnant with the Abomination’s love child and “flaunting” her baby bump. Jennifer doesn’t want to deal with any of this, assuming it will blow over once Blonsky’s hearing is done. Nikki reminds her that it won’t. This is a part of her life now and she has to deal with it.
Blonsky’s hearing gets off to a rocky start. The board is ready to wrap things up early, considering all the footage of him out of prison in an underground fight club halfway across the globe. All seven of Blonsky’s pen-pal soulmates have shown up to support him, in matching Midsommar dresses. They are all going to support Emil financially in running his meditation retreat.
Wong is late, so Jen has to go to her other witnesses. The prison librarian – who testifies that Emil started a prison literacy program, the counselor – who raves about the yoga and meditation classes he started along with his toilet kombucha, and Carl the guard who thanks him for saving him from a bad marriage. Wong finally shows up at the last minute to explain his abduction of the Abomination. “Have you ever heard of a kumite?” (All JCVD fans have!) The board responds that regardless, breaking an inmate out of prison is a crime. Wong nods and then portals out of there.
Jen is starting to sway the board, but they still have concerns about Blonsky in his Abomination form. If he transforms, won’t he be out of control? Emil tells them not to worry. Despite Jen’s urging him not to do so, Blonsky takes off his Crocs and transforms into Abomination. This goes about as well as you’d expect. Still, he changes back to prove he’s in control.
Later while having a drink at the local watering hole, Jen and Nikki find out things aren’t going great in Bukowski v Runa. The judge allowed the case to proceed (despite Runa making an appearance as the judge and playfully trying to dismiss it), but he expressed great doubt that anyone like Dennis could be so deluded as to think the real Megan Thee Stallion would be into him. The head lawyer, Augustus “Pug” Pugliese, asks how they put up with this doofus at the DA office for so long. Nikki says she thought about murdering Dennis a lot, and Jen adds that the guy was so deluded he thought that was flirting. This gives Pug an idea. Namely, put Jen on the stand.
So overall, a fun episode, but I’m not entirely sure they’ve got the tone right. This is a much more straightforward comedic episode than the last two. Even the fight scenes are played much more for laughs. But the jokes don’t all land, and some of the setups seem too cartoonish. For example, Dennis is way more sexist and oblivious here than he was two weeks ago. Blonsky having a harem/cult is a fun premise that doesn’t really go anywhere. There are more hits than misses, though, and the episodes know when to end before they overstay their welcome.
The best comparison I could make for She-Hulk is not to any other Marvel show but to Ally McBeal, the wacky lawyer show from the late 1990s. (If you are too young to remember it, enjoy your knees while they’re still pain-free, kids) Basically, it was about a young, impossibly thin, lawyer who had to navigate her fraught romantic life while trying weird court cases, with occasional cutaways into her inner monologue and fantasies. (Do you remember that weird CGI dancing baby from the early web? This is where it came from.) Sounds familiar, right? That show wasn’t my cup of tea, and I thought it struggled a lot with maintaining a balance between melodrama and comedy.
Similarly, with She-Hulk, I think they had a better balance between comedy and drama in past episodes. This was a little too elbow-in-the-ribs jokey for my tastes, and if they stay in this lane I hope there is some sharper writing.
The fourth wall breaks are back! Jen assures the audience that this isn’t going to be a cameo of the week show. Except for Bruce. And the Abomination. And Wong… Ok, just don’t forget who the star of the show is. I’m not sure if these all work. They aren’t doing them enough so the audience just accepts it as part of the show, like in Deadpool. It comes across more like Oh yeah, we’re doing this. Let’s work in an aside here.
In the social media montage, we get a bunch of meta-references to some of the online trolls critiquing this show. Posts scrolled past include “Why does every hero have to be female now?” “I don’t hate women, I just don’t like her.” “Why can’t she have her own thing? Why is it a female version of something.” Expect some hit dogs to be hollering online.
This episode marks the first appearance of Mallory Book, Jennifer’s rival at GLK&H, played by the wonderful Renee Elise Goldsberry. It is mean to only give her a 15-second scene and tease us like that.
And speaking of co-stars, Jameela Jamil is still in this show, right? We had a whopping 30 seconds of her in week one and not a sign of her since, and I will not have Tahani from The Good Place disrespected like this.
The post-credit scene this week has Megan Thee Stallion twerking with She-Hulk. Personally, I like these extra scenes that are strictly here to add a few more jokes, rather than introduce new characters.