The Defenders: Fish in the Jailhouse
August 19, 2017 8:55 PM - Season 1, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Matt, Jessica and Luke embark on a desperate search. Colleen and Claire debate heroism. Elektra tries to recruit an all-important ally.

*Some time ago - a flashback to Elektra telling Stick she couldn't get Matt to join them.
*Now: Stick lies dead in a pool of his blood, surrounded by the unconscious Matt, Jessica and Luke.
*Jessica wakes up to find herself cuffed to table in Misty's interrogation room, wanting answers about the unidentified dead bodies she was found with.
*Matt wakes up in a panic and Foggy rushes in and tells him he's in the break room of the Harlem precinct. He's in an NYPD t-shirt because they took his shirt for blood samples. Matt tells him that Elektra killed Stick and took Danny Rand.
*Claire and Colleen talk over still-unconscious Luke.
Claire: God, how the hell did we get here? With them? I did everything I could to avoid people with abilities. Quit my job. Moved my ass uptown.
Colleen: And how'd that work out?
Claire: You tell me. Is sidekick a good look on me?
Colleen: They are fighting a good fight. You're doing it too.
Claire: Not like them. And even Jessica.
Colleen: There are people who run from the fire, and there are people who run into it.
Claire: Dumb people.
Colleen: Okay, you said I was the foundation, right? Look in the mirror. Even before you met Luke, you weren't the type to just stand by and watch. Were you?

*Luke wakes up, asks what happened to Danny.

*Elektra wipes the blood spatter off of her, as Alexandra's body is carried out. She tells the 3 Fingers that she doesn't care about the Hand, only the substance, and nothing, not even death, will stand in her way.

*At the precinct, with everybody awake, Matt tries to play lawyer. Luke tells Misty the truth, that the organization she's been tracking is the Hand, that they've taken Danny, but he won't tell them where to look because the Hand is too dangerous to the non-superpowered.
*The captain threatens to charge them all with obstruction and lock them away, but agrees to Matt's request to 'confer with his clients.
*Karen talks to Foggy about Matt, Colleen and Claire talk about Danny, Misty talks to Luke. Lots of talking.

*At Midland, Elektra takes a semiconscious Danny on the elevator down the whole and wheels him out, as the Fingers observe and discuss/plot.

*Luke, Jessica, and Matt talk about what they're going to do about Danny. Foggy talks to Matt about the importance of keeping his lawyer identity clear of suspicion, and gives him a bag with a change of clothing - the Daredevil suit.
*As the Captain talks to Misty about what's on the line, an alarm goes off and they discover that somebody superpowered has punched a hole through the wall and the duo has escaped with their lawyer in tow.

*Elektra shows Danny the mysterious inscription, and tells him the power of the Hand is behind a door only the Iron Fist can open.
*Colleen rummages through an evidence room and finds the architect's blueprints.

*The 3 Defenders make their getaway on the subway via Jessica's Metrocard, and she steals a beer from a sleeping guy.

*Foggy tells Karen he gave Matt the suit. Misty tries to get Claire to tell her where the trio went but she says she doesn't know. Then Misty realizes Colleen "the chick with the sword" is gone.

*The 3 Defenders enter the Midland parking garage and begin fighting the 3 Fingers.

*Danny can read only parts of the inscription. Elektra tells Danny she killed Alexandra, gives him a "we're not so different, you and I" evil speech of evil, and they fight.

*The garage fight is going badly, then Colleen joins them, there's some fire from a pipe that Luke puts out, and the Fingers disappear/retreat.

*Misty and Claire arrive at the garage, and Misty asks how long they need her to stall the rest of the cops.

*Because Danny is indeed the stupidest Iron Fist ever, he lets Elektra goad him into charging up his chi-fist, then dodging his punches so that he hits the door and opens it.

*As the Defenders prepare to get to the elevator to Danny, Colleen reveals that she took the explosives from the remarkably unguarded evidence room, and says they need to carry out the architect's plan to destroy the underground structure and save New York from the Hand no matter what becomes of Danny.

*Danny awakens to find himself...somewhere.
posted by oh yeah! (13 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
* Because Danny is indeed the stupidest Iron Fist ever, he lets Elektra goad him into charging up his chi-fist, then dodging his punches so that he hits the door and opens it.

Word. So much of this is just Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones figuring things out and kicking ass, I feel like they are the three Defenders and Danny Rand is their annoying little brother that they have to keep saving from himself.
posted by donajo at 3:07 PM on August 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

Because Danny is indeed the stupidest Iron Fist ever, he lets Elektra goad him into charging up his chi-fist, then dodging his punches so that he hits the door and opens it.

Him using the iron fist actually makes sense, he does -not- use that ability often enough. His fist should be glowing constantly every time he fights.
posted by FallowKing at 4:48 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Because Danny is indeed the stupidest Iron Fist ever

Danny Rand is their annoying little brother that they have to keep saving from himself.

Clearly the writers & showrunners are aware of the concept of privilege (see Luke's speech to Danny in one of the previous episodes), but this is the point at which I have to wonder if maybe they're intentionally playing a bit of a longer game and making the failure of privilege a major theme here. Because, yeah, at this point the rich white kid is being a moron and fucking everything up, and the Catholic, the African-American ex-felon, and the woman are bailing his ass (and all of NYC's ass) out.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:08 PM on August 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm wondering if Iron Fist not Fisting all the time has to do with the writers trying to convey that he hasn't "leveled up" or developed his self control well enough - yet (last ep, Stick was a bit condescending towards IF's pretty rudimentary breath/heartrate control) - and it turns on for a prolonged time when he's super stressed (fight with Elektra). Also, IF Fisting seems to mess up his allies/buddies, especially those who depend on preternatural hearing.

Also a bit surprised that they managed to get a 1-on-1 encounter without having lots of cannon fodder dying. Makes sense from a production pov, though.

In general, I've been pretty impressed with the set-piece fight scenes through the season so far.

Interesting-to-me; the Elektra flashback has her in ... 3" suede thigh-length boots? Granted her red costume has flat heels. In contrast, Jones has (I'm pretty sure *non* Doc Martin) combat-ish boots (although the lengthy possible faux tapered straps suggest a fashion item more than a practical). I recall seeing shots, but can't be arsed to find a good frame. OTOH, DD's costume boots (as seen last ep in his chest when Elektra looks through his gear) look like pretty high end technical/XStreme/hiking/construction type boots. IF's ankle boots look like fancy-pants suede mall-walkers (noticed the fancy-lad checkered black/white decorative stud soles).

Cage seems to have off-the shelf looking (quality) work boots. In another shot (45m-ish), JJ looks to have decent mid-range ok fashion/ok function boots (to go along with her naturally distressed jeans, naturally resiliant leather jacket, and moth-eaten scarf). No good shots, but Colleen looks to be wearing functional workboots with metal lace grommets.

I *really* like DD's costume - there have been pieces about how James Bond's suits would have to be pretty highly customized to allow him to engage in hand to hand combat, and a lot of the compromises between style and function are reflected in DD's costume (some places tighter fitting/looser fitting than is fashionable, but still yields a nice silhouette. But I'm a fan of "technical" materials and texture.
posted by porpoise at 9:42 PM on August 22, 2017 [5 favorites]

It was established in Iron Fist that he left Kun'lun too early to finish his Iron Fist training and didn't know a bunch of stuff, probably including maintaining his chi so he could use his glowing fist constantly, and having two of them! (A old movie shown in one of the episodes of the show had a previous Iron Fist fighting with both fists glowing)

I thought the garage fight scene was great! Until it was just too dark to make out who was doing what. I had to rewatch it a couple of times to understand everyone's placement on the set, which led me to believe the Hand was not winning, more of a stalemate, even with Luke Cage (mostly because the Fingers could just dodge everything), until Colleen showed up and helped out Daredevil, who actually had it handled, but winning faster is good.

I kept thinking... they have clearly shown that Daredevil is a much better martial artist than Iron Fist, and he probably would've wiped the floor of that trial in that one Iron Fist episode.
posted by numaner at 6:31 PM on August 23, 2017

I thought the garage fight scene was great! Until it was just too dark to make out who was doing what.

Yeah, I mostly liked the staging of that fight, which included some legitimate surprises. For example, I didn't expect to ever see someone bash an elderly frail tiny Chinese woman with a massive fargin' pipe and think, good, that equalizes things a bit.

But it got a bit hard to follow and the cuts to the unrelated Elektra/IF fight didn't help. I get they were trying to ratchet up the tension but it took away, and did anyone watching or involved except the Iron Fist not know what was going to happen with that second fight?
posted by mark k at 11:05 PM on August 24, 2017

Also, except for the climax I think the underpowered writing is very noticeable in this one. The dialogue in the police station makes sense in that it hits the themes around trust and duty and sacrifice that are obviously in play at this point in a superhero plot, and the characters are not given anything bizarre to do to advance the plot, but in execution it mostly just seemed like too many characters with too little to say. I can live with what it is but it could be so much more.
posted by mark k at 11:11 PM on August 24, 2017

The garage fight scene was okay by me (overall there were too many fight scenes in the series for my taste, and they all went on longer than they needed to), but was anyone else bothered by the way the cinderblocks were multiplying and/or respawning?
posted by Spathe Cadet at 10:14 PM on August 25, 2017

You know how when Spider-Man fights the Rhino and goads him into charging something that he really shouldn't charge and basically tricks him into defeating himself? Well, you notice how you never read that scene in a comic book titled The Rhino?

Who thought it was a great idea to make a TV show about a superhero dumber than Aleksei Sytsevich?
posted by straight at 1:01 AM on August 26, 2017 [5 favorites]

The worst part is that scene with Danny and Elektra is so easily fixable. You just don't tell Danny why you've brought him here. Tell the viewers. Use some dramatic irony. It works! As his fist-of-death keeps narrowly missing that nondescript wall that we know is secretly the door to whatever horror The Hand wants to unleash, you can have viewers on the edge of their seats saying, "No!" instead of head-slapping themselves and saying, "Danny, you idiot."

As a bonus, you lose the stupid cliche "We're a lot alike, Danny, why don't you join me?" conversations with Alexandra and Elektra which have zero drama because Danny's too pigheaded to cooperate and listen to his own teammates so there's no chance he's gonna listen and choose to do anything but fight The Hand.
posted by straight at 9:47 AM on August 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

On the other hand, I really liked that moment when the other three Defenders faced off with the remaining Fingers of The Hand because unlike so much of the ninjas-fighting-ninjas action in these shows you had a bunch of people who were formidable indifferent ways and I really wasn't sure how the fight was going to go. I definitely didn't expect both Luke and Jessica to square off against Madame Gao.

I'm not sure how I feel about Matt seeming to have leveled up his ninja skills. I don't think the guy in the Daredevil series could have held his own against Iron Fist or two Fingers of the Hand. He was a very good fighter, but almost always at the cost of getting pretty seriously hurt himself and relied more on engineering situations where his senses would give him an advantage.
posted by straight at 9:58 AM on August 26, 2017

I was also really disappointed by most of the conversations between our heroes and their friends in the police station. Why exactly are Luke and Jessica and Matt unwilling to explain what's going on to Misty, Trish, Foggy, and Karen? Apart from the Iron Fist, the Defenders aren't actually categorically more capable of fighting The Hand than a well-equipped and well-prepared SWAT team would be. Doesn't the city deserve some kind of backup plan if they fail?
posted by straight at 10:24 AM on August 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

I absolutely hated the way this episode was directed. All those shots through the blinds at the police station, the hand held shots from waist level, the way serious dialog scenes had the camera flipping around the room at random... ug, and then those poor camera position choices spilled over into the fight scenes. It felt like the camera was a child sized voyeur with ADD. The entire effect was to defuse any energy this show had been trying to build. I began to wonder if the coverage was so spotty the editors pasted it together from what they could.
posted by Catblack at 11:41 AM on August 30, 2017

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