The Defenders: Ashes, Ashes
August 19, 2017 7:13 PM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Stick offers up a theory, Danny finds himself sidelined, and Alexandra learns that it's not easy being the leader.

*Alexandra listens to classical music on an old-fashioned phonograph, but then the record starts skipping. Old things breaking down, and all.

*Back at Defenders HQ, Matt berates Stick for resorting to killing Sowande, but Stick says that they'd learned all they could from him anyway - that "Iron Fist is the key" was meant literally, that there are stories of chi being used to seal or open things, and the Hand must believe they need him to open something, so they must keep Danny away from them.
*Danny doesn't like this plan one bit, but everyone else does, and when he tries to stomp off, everyone tries to stop him, and a Defender-fight ensues in which Danny punches Luke with his glowing fist, the shockwave knocks everyone down, then Jessica knocks Danny out with one punch before he can get his chi back, and they tie him to a chair.
*Stick asks Matt about his experiences at Midland before the Defenders team-up, and he tells them about the mysterious hole. Jessica decides they should see if they can find any clues at the architect's place, and Matt goes with her while Luke stays to watch Danny with Stick.

*Back at Matt's apartment, Elektra dreams of him bringing her coffee. Awake, she looks into his trunk of Daredevil gear and finds her funeral mass card inside his journal.

*Stick tells Luke he'll deal with Sowande's body, the less Luke knows the better. (He puts the head in a box and puts it in one of Sowande's warehouses, whereupon it is delivered to Alexandra, who shows it to the remaining other 3 fingers of the Hand. She also lies to them about Black Sky being gone, saying she is keeping her secluded for their safety, in case she senses their disloyalty.)

*In the now-empty apartment, Matt changes clothes. He finds the journal on the floor and notices the mass card is missing, but doesn't tell Jessica anything is wrong. They go to the Raymond brownstone, and only Lexi is home.

*Back in her room, Alexandra takes her pills and is interrupted by Gao, who tells her she has convinced the others to continue to follow her, but only if Alexandra will allow them to capture the Iron Fist without the Black Sky. But then Gao tells the others they were right about Alexandra.

*Danny wakes up and struggles in his bonds, while Luke reads a newspaper and Stick meditates and tries to "focus his anima."

*Jess tries to get Lexi to open up by telling her a story about her 'friend's dad' which is the story of Matt's father's death. Lexi says that her dad changed - wasn't sleeping or eating, would sit at his piano and not play. Matt plays the piano and hears some of the notes are muffled, and they find Midland Center blueprints inside, showing where he planned to plant the explosives, that there is a structure beneath the building that he was trying to destroy.

*Alexandra finds Elektra at her grave. Alexandra confesses that she is dying, that the Hand have been kept alive by a substance they discovered in K'un-Lun but they used the last of it on the Black Sky, and she must put Elektra aside or they will both die.

*Stick tells Luke he was in prison for 10 years when he was a young man. The Chaste found him and trained him. The incense intensifies, and makes Luke fall over, as Stick explains that he's realized that they have a third option beyond letting Danny fight the Hand or keeping him away from them. He approaches Danny with his sword out.

*On the street, Matt asks Jessica how she knew the story of his dad. She reminds him she's a detective, and that she looked into his past same as he looked into hers, but maybe they should try trusting each other. Then he hears Luke's collapse, and tells Jessica something is wrong, and they race into HQ.

*As Stick is about to kill Danny, Elektra arrives, and she has a sword fight with Stick, as Danny passes out from the incense. Matt arrives and Elektra recognizes him, but kills Stick anyway, knocks out the Matt, Jessica, and Luke, then carries Danny away.

*Murakami comes to Alexandra at dinner and offers her an old rare vintage before preparing to fight her to death, but then Elektra arrives dragging the unconscious Iron Fist.
*Alexandra calls everyone to the boardroom, and Elektra's glance lingers on her old daggers on the way.

*With Danny strapped to a dolly, Alexandra gives him the "we're not so different, you and I" Evil Speech of Evil, then has him wheeled away. She tells Black Sky to go kill Luke, Jessica, and Daredevil whats-his-name, then continues to give the rest of the Hand the "how dare you for doubting me" Evil Speech of Evil, only to be stabbed in the back by Elektra with her old weapons.

*Black Sky tells Gao, Murakami, and Bakuto that her name is Elektra Natchios and they all work for her now.
posted by oh yeah! (15 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
DM: "OK, what's your plan?"
*players look at each other*
Players in unison: "WE'RE ALL GOING TO PILE ON DANNY!"
Danny's player *looking up from reading Reddit* "Wait, what?"
DM: "Roll for initiative! Iron Fist, you have a -5 Reddit penalty..."
posted by happyroach at 8:12 PM on August 19, 2017 [11 favorites]

Jessica's combination of eyerolling and eyebrow twitching when Matt gets up to play the piano is a thing of beauty.
posted by elgilito at 2:53 AM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Jessica's combination of eyerolling and eyebrow twitching when Matt gets up to play the piano is a thing of beauty.

I've been noticing the facial expressions. Alexandra also had this great "are you fucking kidding me, people? geezus" look when she and the rest of the Hand were talking and she turned away.

Also: two Whedon deaths in two episodes!
posted by curious nu at 8:55 AM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

DM: "OK sis, I'll tell you what. Just to make things easy for you, you get to play the ninja bodyguard of the baddy. She's really cool."
Elektra's Player "...'kay."
DM: Anyway, The Big Bad's giving a speech revealing her plans. Monologue, monologue, monologue..."
Elektra's Player "Am I there?"
DM: "Yeah, you're right behind her. Monologue, monologue, monologue, monologue..."
Elektra's Player: "BACKSTAB!
DM: "Mono-WHAT?"
Matt Murdock's Player: "You know, this happens every time you let your little sister play. Just sayin'."
posted by happyroach at 12:47 PM on August 20, 2017 [12 favorites]

Ancient rich super smart leader of centuries old criminal cabal gets stabbed in the back by the crazy assassin she brought back from the dead, abuses, tortures (ah, trains) and requires that she kill her noble BFF lover. Have not looked but is there a crossover with the Game of Thrones writing staff?
posted by sammyo at 6:02 AM on August 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

I actually wasn't expecting that.
posted by porpoise at 8:09 PM on August 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yeah that was a pleasant surprise. I did not see it coming either.

Soooo one more time, Elektra knocks out most of the defenders with some well placed kicks and punches. Like, she's basically as strong as Luke or Jessica, and have crazy martial arts. Of course she knows she can run things, and the last 3 of the Hand are rightly scared. But somehow her power comes and goes during fight scenes.
posted by numaner at 6:20 PM on August 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

I feel like someone trained in philosophy and war would know: you should always drink the wine.
posted by corb at 8:42 PM on August 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

I realize that the reason why the characters were paired up as they were this episode was to allow for Danny and Luke heroes for hire feelings, but man, I loved the Matt and Jessica scenes together and would totally watch that series all the time. Jessica is already used to working with lawyers, and they just bounce off each other really well.
posted by dinty_moore at 1:16 PM on August 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

I really like Scott Glenn, but I was getting pretty tired of Stick the character and am not sad to see him go.

Sigourney Weaver on the other hand...killing her character off seems like the biggest mistake since they got rid of Mahershala Ali's character in Luke Cage. I don't think Elektra will be quite as bad as Diamondback turned out to be, but there's no way she's going to be as good as Alexandra was.

Guys, your writing just isn't good enough that you can afford to ditch your best actors. If you're really go with crap like, "The truth is, you and I...we're not so different," you're damn well gonna need Weaver in there doing her best to sell that for you.
posted by straight at 1:00 AM on August 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

I was so so so glad to see Stick finally die and for one reason only: I was sick to death of looking at his shitty long "let's pretend I don't have a hand" arm thing he had going on. Seriously, don't write a character's hand being chopped off if you don't have the CGI budget to follow through. In one episode I almost cheered because it looked like they had fixed it to be shorter and then in every other scene it's that stupid long arm with a bloody stump that starts where his fingers should end.


I never knew I had this big a pet peeve about it but ... uh ... good to know, I guess.
posted by komara at 10:26 PM on August 30, 2017 [3 favorites]

This is so much better than I had expected. But. The fuck with this Danny Rand character? Seriously. Whatever calculus they thought they were mastering by casting a mediocre 'white' actor in the role of an asian character was so monumentally fucked. Every minute that 'The Immortal Iron Fist' is on screen I imagine it's a different actor. I imagine actors who are 'asian' 'black' 'white' 'female' 'male' indistinctly any one thing even, just give me someone who can do the fucking job.

Aside from the gaping hole that is 'The Immortal Iron fuck-tard' this was a tight episode. Jessica Jones is definitely my favorite character. Except when Luke Cage is there, then sometimes he is. Or Matt, sometimes. Or... any of them, really. Even Stick's stupidly obviously still attached right hand covered in bloody rags is pretty great. The thing about all of these characters with the exception of the Danny Rand Disaster is that they are totally fucking great at what they are supposed to be about.

Just to recap: WTF with the Iron Fist character? Why did they decide to ruin an otherwise perfectly cromulent show?
I look forward to the next episode - the hell is Elektra thinking? She doesn't even have a heart-beat.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:23 AM on September 1, 2017

From Bklyn: I won't defend the choice to keep the Iron Fist as a white dude just because "but but Danny Rand is a white dude and he's the Iron Fist!" because that's just dumb. They could very well have cast literally anyone (of any age, gender, ethnicity, etc.) as Iron Fist and I probably would have been happy.

Having said that: if they made the choice to keep the Danny Rand Iron Fist then why couldn't they have given us the goofy childish comic relief Iron Fist from the recent series reboot?
Example 1 [blog entry]
Example 2 [image]
Example 3 [image]

When the heart of humor in your show is Jessica Jones' sarcastic quips then you could probably stand to inject a bit more levity. I would have loved to see this particular Iron Fist.

but yeah I mean you're right, they could easily have kept Jessica Henwick and instead of having her play Colleen Wing she could have been Iron Fist - Wu Ao Shi and Finn Jones could have been her adorable sidekick or whatever.
posted by komara at 8:55 AM on September 1, 2017 [3 favorites]

So far I'm really enjoying the series. I like seeing the heroes pair off, Matt & JJ were great together in this episode & I even felt that Luke & Danny had a good scene there when the latter was tied to the chair.

That said, I'm pretty nervous now that the most interesting villain has been sidelined. I was completely surprised, but now I feel like this risks making the same mistakes as the back halves of Luke Cage & DD Season 2.
posted by Jugwine at 7:53 PM on September 4, 2017

lol komara, Stick annoyed the heck out of me too. The cutting his hand off stuff was a little ott and "dramatic" in the first place. That the character was portrayed as being skilled enough that losing a hand wasn't a big deal, loses a hand and it's no big deal is ... unimpressive?

Yeah Jugwine, I'm hoping that the current threat leads to a more interesting one.
posted by porpoise at 3:09 AM on September 5, 2017

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