The Defenders: The Defenders.
August 19, 2017 10:56 PM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

As New York edges closer to disaster, Elektra sees what's beyond the wall, and the Defenders make a last-ditch effort to save the city. (Season finale)

*Luke isn't onboard with the explosives plan, but everyone else convinces him there's no other choice.
*Down in the bones of the dragon(?), Gao tells Elektra that now that the door is open they must quickly get the substance and get away from the Defenders.

*As team Defenders examine the plans, Luke points out that the explosives have no remote detonators, only timers. Claire convinces Colleen that she needs her to stay above to help her plant the explosives and to trust the 3 super-people to go rescue Danny.

*The NYPD find that the Midland building is on a high-tech lockdown that they can't break, and Misty gets word that the evidence locker was robbed of the explosives.

*At the precinct, Trish and Karen talk about Hand, then Trish asks about her lawyer friend ("What's Matt's deal?"). Foggy and Malcolm enter, and tell them that dispatcher called all available units to Midland's address, which Trish says is the epicenter. Of everything.

*Matt finds a false wall, Luke punches it open to reveal elevator shaft, and after a little quipy banter, the trio heads down the shaft.

*Claire and Colleen place explosives, but then Bakuto enters, and Colleen confronts him.
*Misty yanks on a few doors, then calls Claire to warn her about the explosives. She hears the sword fight in the background and starts shooting the door.

*Gao monologues at Danny in the bones of the dragon. In the elevator, Matt hears how many people they're up agains (30, including Gao, Marukami, and Elektra), and Luke has an idea.
*The elevator lands to reveal only Jessica inside. She exits talking, and then Matt and Luke swoop in from hiding above, and fighting ensues.

*Colleen's sword fight continues; two more henchmen arrive and Claire picks up a wrench and clobbers one, Colleen gets slashed from the back, then Misty arrives and takes one of the henchmen out.

*Down below, Danny gets caught up on the plot, there's more fighting (in the dark), and Danny's glow-fist flickers out.

*Misty empties a clip into Bakuto but he doesn't falter. He puts his swords to Claire's neck and tells Colleen he's going to kill her, Misty tries again to kill him and he chops her arm off, then Colleen manages to kill him, but his corpse falls on the bomb trigger and starts the countdown.

*More fighting in the dark underground, Defenders winning. Matt hears the timer go off, tells the others to get to the elevator and go, he's going to stay and try again to get through to Elektra. He whispers something to Danny.
*Luke, Danny, and Jessica take the elevator up, with a few minions clambering after them.

*Matt and Elektra fight and dialogue. She throws a dagger into the elevator's works which jams it halfway up the shaft, and ropes begin to snap, but Jessica holds the elevator up long enough for the guys to get out before it plummets down the shaft. More Matt vs. Elektra fighting, dialoguing.

*In the lobby, they reunite with Claire and Colleen, supporting a bleeding-out Misty. The cops arrive and tell everyone to put their hands up, but Luke tells them there's no time, and I guess convinces everyone they need to get out.

*An impaled-to-the-floor Murakami asks Gao what's happening and she tells him it's the end. The bombs detonate, the building collapses, and Matt and Elektra, kissing, are obscured by the dust.

*Outside, Danny says Matt knew he wasn't getting out, that what he whispered was "Protect my city."

*Back at precinct, Jessica hugs Trish and Malcolm. Foggy and Karen stare at the empty doorway, but no Matt.

*Later, on Trish Talk, Trish reports that unauthorized construction at Midland is said to be to blame for the earthquake, but that the implosion has now settled the instability.

*At Claire's Foggy tells her and Luke that since no police reports were filed on them before the precinct escape, no charges can be brought against them. Claire walks him out and they talk about Matt.
*Misty wakes up in the hospital to see Colleen waiting. She tells her that Danny owns the hospital, it's very high-tech, and they'll do whatever they can to get her back on her feet.

*At a bar, Jessica is joined by Luke, for a little heart to heart.

*Colleen returns to the dojo where Danny sits on the floor. He tells her New York is starting to feel like home, and she kisses him.

*Jessica comes home to find her door open, but it's just Malcolm, putting some spackle over the new bullet holes. Jessica finally takes the brown paper off her door to reveal the Alias Investigations sign.

*Karen lights candles at the church with Foggy, and says she can't shake the feeling that it's not real, that maybe Matt made it out somehow.
*We see a shadowy, Daredevil-ish figure on a rooftop, but then his fist glows and we see it's just Danny.

*Finally, we end in a convent, where a nun says "Get Maggie, tell her he's awake", as a bandaged and battered Matt opens his eyes.
posted by oh yeah! (72 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
oh my god that was terrible.

i mean, up to the last episode, it was actually pretty engaging - a major improvement over Daredevil S2 and a vast improvement over Iron Fist. but then, this final episode it just shat the bed.
posted by lapolla at 4:19 AM on August 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

Surprising boring considering all the action scenes. Plus the writers threw all logic out the door with that weak ending.
posted by KaizenSoze at 5:59 AM on August 20, 2017

The things I hated the most about DD season 2 were the ninjas and Electra, so, uh, this season wasn't going to flip my wicket from a narrative perspective. I knew that ahead of time. But I was looking forward to seeing this plot thread END. And it just hasn't.

I don't think Matt is a dumb guy, so his obstinate refusal to see the thread that connects his inability to give up the Devil of Hell's Kitchen with Electra's continued insistence that she's essentially an amoral sociopath is incredibly frustrating to me. Matt is literally telling Karen and Foggy that he IS Daredevil, that he craves violence and vigilantism on some level and that it's part of his identity and he expects them to accept that or gtfo. But he never really does this for Electra. He doesn't stick around to die because he finally believes her; he's expecting a redemptive Darth Vader moment. And for all we know, he got it. He's probably alive because Electra did some heroic thing right at the very end, further propping up his righteous ego and ridiculously dismissive attitude towards women. He knows Electra better than she does. He knows what's best for Karen. I love Matt, but I need him to get told for once.

So. He's alive. We didn't see Electra die, so the Genre Mortality Rule is in effect. If this is setting us up for a DD season 3 where he's still tortured about Electra and/or Karen ends up being a woman in the refrigerator, I'll be deeply disappointed.
posted by xyzzy at 6:03 AM on August 20, 2017 [6 favorites]

I think they wasted Jessica's character in this series.

Also, I am sure this has been suggested before but Danny needs to die while transfer or declaring Colleen the new Iron Fist. Then we can have a new season with Colleen learning to be the Iron Fist and no Danny!

Danny was a lot less annoying this show but he is by far the weakest link.
posted by KaizenSoze at 6:12 AM on August 20, 2017 [9 favorites]

I don't know, I didn't think the finale was significantly worse than the rest of the episodes -- some comic moments, bad fight scenes, a lot of cliche dialogue made compelling by sheer force of good acting, etc. (Mostly I was just happy to get to the end though, because I was so tired and ready for sleep after a day of watching episodes while paying attention and drafting posts.) I had mentally set the bar pretty low going into this, so, it didn't disappoint, and left me looking forward to everyone's upcoming solo returning seasons.

Some Den of Geek links:
*The Defenders Ending Explained - What does The Defenders ending mean for Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and future Marvel Netflix shows?
*The Defenders: Complete Marvel Universe Easter Eggs and Reference Guide
*The Defenders: A Comic Book History of Marvel's Weirdest Team
*Elektra: Assassin & The Making of an Anti-Heroine - Miller & Sienkiewicz's ridiculous miniseries is essential reading for fans of The Defenders or Daredevil on Netflix.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:34 AM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

Do series reviews go here? I'm going to assume so, not so interested in posting my thoughts on the individual episodes but wanted to get something down somewhere on what I thought of the series as a whole.

Having binged the series over the last couple of days, my ranking right now is JJ > DD S1 > DD S2 > Defenders > LC > IF.

I was excited about the show but kept my expectations pretty tempered. My initial feeling was that it was going to be roughly an average of the Marvel Netflix shows so far, and that pretty much panned out. I never really liked the Hand story arcs as they popped up in both DD and IF, the whole magical immortal ninjas thing felt out of place given the atmosphere that they setup for the whole Marvel Netflix Universe.

For the Defenders show, the series started off slowly and peaked around episode 5 before sliding downwards. The writing left a lot to be desired, and even Sigourney Weaver couldn't salvage a lot of the clunky material that she'd been given. Everything got really hand wavey towards the end as to why exactly extracting The Substance would destroy NY, why they had to blow up that building, and how it all got swept under the rug with no major consequences for any of our heroes.

Interactions between the characters and the side characters from the series were probably the highlight for me. DD and JJ especially paired off well together, and I found IF to be much more tolerable here during the IF and LC scenes versus how he was in his solo series. I still don't like this interpretation of IF as being an obnoxious and headstrong kid, and I feel like his story arc really dragged down the rest of the show. JJ and DD brought up the average, especially JJ providing the snarky comments and providing the sarcastic comedy relief. LC was in the middle, I enjoyed the character but it didn't feel like he was given all that much to do. I also felt like they powered him down a lot for this show, it didn't make sense that he seemed to be taking hits exactly like his teammates given his abilities.

I do hope that this means the Hand storyline is over, I feel like the show would have been much more enjoyable had they done more of a Defenders vs Crime Lords (Kingpin and Mariah) story instead of making the Hand the primary antagonists.

Overall it was an enjoyable watch but it's not going to convert anyone that wasn't a fan of the Marvel Netflix shows to begin with.
posted by C^3 at 7:08 AM on August 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

This episode was saved for me by Wu Tang Clan on the soundtrack. Also happy that they gave some lip service to DAUGHTERS OF THE DRAGON who DESERVE THEIR OWN SERIES which would automatically be BETTER THAN ALL THE OTHER MARVEL/NETFLIX SERIES ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME MARVEL/NETFLIX? But ultimately I'll be disappointed because that isn't going to happen.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 7:48 AM on August 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

Death has no weight in Marvel and it's their greatest flaw. They should have killed Danny. And kept him dead.
posted by FallowKing at 8:29 AM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

Well, this was better than Iron Fist.... but that's not a hard target to hit.
posted by Pendragon at 9:58 AM on August 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

Loved it. I have some minor criticisms, but I freakin' loved this.

My only real complaint is how this is only 8 episodes.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:36 AM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

I look forward to the day that Danny is not Angsty Anime/JRPG Teenager and is instead, y'know, interesting.

I assume Knight gets some kind of robo-arm in a hypothetical Season 2 (or her own show?!).

Also hope Season 2 is less Mystic Kung-Fu.

I'd really like to see JJ go through a Vimes arc and kick her alcoholism.
posted by curious nu at 11:53 AM on August 20, 2017

Also also I have never missed City of Heroes more than watching these ensemble battles. I mean, they had to ride the subway. There was a confusing battle in mystic caves beneath the city! The wounds, they have never healed.
posted by curious nu at 11:55 AM on August 20, 2017 [5 favorites]

DM "OK, So the detonator is counting down. What are you doing?"
Luke Cage's player: "I'm gone."
Jessica Jones' player "I am SO outta here."
Danny Rand's player: "To the elevator, chums!"
Matt Murdock's player: "Yeah, I think we're done here. I-"
Elektra's player: "BACKSTAB KISSES!"
Players and GM: "......"
Jessica Jone's player: "Oh shit. Not again."
Luke Cage's player. "Every damn time."
Matt Murdock's player: "I'm uh, I'm not really, uh..."
Elektra's player: "NORE FIGHTING! MORE KISSING!"
Danny Rand's player: ""You know guys, I have Arkham Horror in my car, just want to point that out."
posted by happyroach at 1:09 PM on August 20, 2017 [13 favorites]

Loved it. I have some minor criticisms, but I freakin' loved this.

My only real complaint is how this is only 8 episodes.

Seconding this. About the only complaint I feel is worth voicing is that too many of the fights took place in the dark. Apart from that? Eh. This was fun, right down to them not working very well together.

Some favorite bits across the series:
* Danny attempting to beat up Luke Cage and failing at every turn.
* Cage's lecture about white privilege. (Especially given that Danny is probably the one billionaire playboy who probably really shouldn't understand any of that.)
* Literally everyone calling out how dumb Danny is, even Colleen.
* Stick attempting to straight up murder Danny. And really, everything with Stick. One of my favorite exchanges in the entire show:
Danny: It's like you're making everything up as you go!
Stick: That's what survivors do.
* Jessica and Matt figuring each other out. I really appreciated how fast she put everything about him together, right up to his tragic backstory, and how little patience she had for his tortured routine.
* Foggy!
* Claire!
* Misty having learned a whole lot from Luke Cage's miniseries.
* 'Black Sky' Elektra had a real evil Captain America vibe, from the way she moved to the amount of punishment she could withstand. There's a fun interview where the cast of The Defenders talks about how they couldn't take on the Avengers (with the notable exception of Hawkeye), but I feel like this version of Elektra would've been able to hold her own against Cap, and probably elude the stronger team members. That was fun.

So... yeah. I get that it isn't perfect by any stretch, and I really hope they don't keep bringing back the Hand, but I enjoyed watching it. (Someone in one of these threads put it in the middle of the pack for Netflix MCU content, and I think that's about right.)
posted by mordax at 1:21 PM on August 20, 2017 [7 favorites]

I liked most aspects of it. I loved JJ and LC most, and also thought DD was good. I couldn't get past the first episode of "Iron Clad" and so I cared little for him here and didn't care what happened to Colleen.

The ending in all of these marvel/netflix series is always a let down. That is, they seem to hit a peak in the middle of the series rather than getting better as we approach the end. To me JJ made every scene she was in here, and I'm looking forward to her next season.

In this last episode, can anyone explain more clearly Elektra's motivations or goals (even over the series arc)? So she kills Sigourney apparently to save DD because she still loves him ("His name is Matt!") and then she takes control of the hand. Because why? Is she taking control of the hand because she wants to live forever because she fears death? And then what's the point of her fight with Matt in the cave? To keep him down there to die?? Because "that's living"? I don't understand why she would kill Sigourney but not the other three fingers of the Hand.
posted by about_time at 2:55 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

You know, Matt, however evenly matched you are, I'm not sure that attempting to beat the shit out of each other is the basis of a healthy relationship, anyway.

I think I enjoyed it as a whole more than any of the other series - I mean, there were some extraordinary moments of pleasure in Luke Cage particularly, though the one I remember most clearly is Jidenna serenading Mahershala Ali. But eight episodes is about right - looking back it strikes me that the others might have been about four episodes longer than necessary.

I loved the characters from different series playing off each other, a lot of the events and dialogue, a lot of the performances - you don't need to be a Great Actor to give precisely the right performance for the right moment, which I think many of the actors nailed. Looking forward to Luke Cage season two, Jessica Jones season two, and (who knows) Daughters of the Dragon season one, maybe?

I think it comes down to watch things for. If you're looking for things you'll enjoy, you'll find them. If you're looking for things you hate, you'll find them. The actual world is rubbish enough, that I don't need to find things I hate in my entertainment.
posted by Grangousier at 4:12 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Sorry, that last paragraph was probably a bit mean, but really.

Anyway, I'd quite like them to add an Elektra: Assassin prequel to their list as well.
posted by Grangousier at 4:20 PM on August 20, 2017

I think most episodes passed Bechdel-Wallace.
I wasn't actively keeping track, but every so often I'd notice scenes (usually with Alexandra or Claire) that weren't about menfolk.
posted by cheshyre at 5:30 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

In this last episode, can anyone explain more clearly Elektra's motivations or goals (even over the series arc)?

posted by happyroach at 7:26 PM on August 20, 2017 [11 favorites]

In this last episode, can anyone explain more clearly Elektra's motivations or goals (even over the series arc)?

Like Alexandra, she fears re-death so much that she will do literally anything to avoid it. So she wants access to the dragon bones to obtain her means of immortality. But is also massively opposed to being controlled, which is why she stabbifies Alexandra.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:10 PM on August 20, 2017 [4 favorites]

So, it's a bit of a scorpion and frog situation.
posted by Pendragon at 7:49 AM on August 21, 2017

I liked it. It was fun!
posted by P.o.B. at 1:23 PM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

Smartest Defender: Jessica
Most lovable Defender: Luke
Most irritating Defender: Matt
Most comic booky (not in a good way) Defender: Danny
posted by Bee'sWing at 4:26 PM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

Was hoping for at least some swirly cheesy low grade cgi sparklie entrance into another dimension behind the super sub sub sub basement "door", was disappointed with (apparently special) garden tiles.
posted by sammyo at 5:25 AM on August 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I liked the series, but it felt like a market research effort to determine which of the franchises to follow through on.

Iron Fist is OUT. Some of the supporting cast (Colleen Wing, Misty Knight) might have a spinoff chance, Madam Gao should remain a recurring villain. DD remains viable (psychopathic vigilante or social justice), as is JJ (if they focus more on her detective ability) and LC (if they focus more on his social justice).

Ramon Rodriguez/Bakuto did not work AT ALL (for me). Good riddance.

"Hip Hop" soundtrack for the fight scenes didn't work - hasn't since the reboot of Black Mask (1996), not going to work now.

Interesting background roles for Deborah Ann Woll/Karen Page and Elden Henson/Foggy Nelson. Reasonable, supportive, but not particularly inspired (especially given the [lack of] writing).

GoodGreat supporting characters, overall, but not something a series could be built off of.
posted by porpoise at 10:28 PM on August 22, 2017

Was hoping for at least some swirly cheesy low grade cgi sparklie entrance into another dimension behind the super sub sub sub basement "door", was disappointed with (apparently special) garden tiles.

Ramon Rodriguez/Bakuto did not work AT ALL (for me). Good riddance.

I agree with both of these statements.

I didn't think this was awful, better than Iron Fist, but worse than the first 2/3 of Luke Cage by a long shot. Maybe a 5 out of 10.

Besides the obvious issue of Danny sucking, I thought there was just a lot of unimaginative and dumb writing. So, there's been this "war" going on between the Chaste and the Hand or whatever for eons, trying to prevent the Hand from obtaining their ultimate goal! And their ultimate goal is basically just getting more of the stuff they already had, but used their supply up to create the Black Sky. That's certainly a believable goal for the Hand, but that's it? And somehow slicing up dragon bones 300 feet underground will make New York collapse? Ooooookay...

The Defenders' motive wasn't really all that strong either - it basically boils down to I <3 NY. Even the DD's last words to Danny - "protect my city" - did the writers think that was some really some super-dramatic reveal when it came out later?

The whole thing where Danny realizes he has methods other than using Kung Fu and telling people how he's the Iron Fist at his disposal seemed promising, but he doesn't actually come up with a plan to use his money or business contacts (there was a list of companies not to do business with any more, basically Hand fronts, put together by Ward), he just goes to the Hand's conference room and says the same stupid shit he always says, but this time, he wears a tie! Oooooh! But he can't bother buttoning the top button on his shirt. Why couldn't he be like, "I've just bought off the building department and they're going to come in and shut your building down for your totally not-to-code elevator in an unrated shaft without emergency brakes and I transferred a whole bunch of your business records to the SEC and blah blah blah". Instead he just makes stupid threats.

And like sammyo says, I would have thought the door would lead to some small thing that can only be accessed through the door, not some giant cavern. Why not dig into the cavern someplace where the door isn't? So, the door needed to be some mystical portal, or part of some totally impregnable smaller box or room containing some smaller thing that ensures the Hand's future domination of the world, like a kung fu WMD. Instead they were just planning on keeping on keeping on. Kind of lackluster.

But! It was nice seeing Luke Cage righteously nail Danny on privilege, and there were a few other moments. I like Claire, Misty, Misty's chief, and a bunch of other characters. At least 3 of the 5 members of the hand conveyed some actual menace - Bakuto and Murakami weren't really threatening at all.
posted by LionIndex at 5:20 PM on August 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

My feeling is that the Netflix Marvel series' are at their best when they focus on characterization and theme, and noticeably weaker when they focus on plot. Jessica Jones focused on theme and character, and was excellent. The first half of Luke Cage did and was great, but once Cottonmouth was out of the picture it was all plot resolution and it was... fine. The first season of Daredevil was fantastic and thematic, the first half of its second season maintained that, then capped it off with like 6 episodes of perfunctory ninja punching. Iron Fist was basically all plot, and was the weakest by a mile.

So, Defenders was not the best, but surprisingly good considering it sidelined all of the ideas that made for the best parts of its component series' in favor of ramping up the punching of ninjas (Who are IMMORTAL NINJAS which means you can punch them EVEN MORE!) I mean, the ninjas aren't gonna punch themselves, I guess. Jessica got to be clever and funny, Luke got to be kind and strong, Murdock got to be a conflicted pain in the ass. It all worked fine for me.

I think it was really carried through on the strength of the supporting cast, Claire Temple, Misty Knight, and Colleen Wing in particular. I'd love to see them get their own series. I know it's not canon, but give Colleen the Sacred Knuckledusters of Whatever and pretend Danny was never there and nothing of value would be lost.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 6:41 PM on August 23, 2017 [9 favorites]

I thought the season and this ending was just ok. Elektra's power inconsistency bothered me the most, because she could've cut the series in half if they let her be as strong as she seems. After that, everything else was predictable in terms of how much I'd like them, based on what I've seen.

I agree that JJ was vastly underused. I wish she got more screen time.

Oh yeah, what was up with Bakuto not going down from a whole clip? He's not fucking bulletproof and super-powered. He's just really good with a sword. This show can be so frustrating.
posted by numaner at 6:47 PM on August 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't have much else to add to what's been said above. Fun character beats, almost non-existent plot, and a very lame villain in The Hand, made for a mixed series.

One thing about The Hand really bugged me that I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere. Why, after existing for hundreds, if not thousands, of years do they not have a proper name for "the substance"? You would think that something vital to their continued existence would have a name.
posted by plastic_animals at 8:25 PM on August 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

There's a fun interview where the cast of The Defenders talks about how they couldn't take on the Avengers (with the notable exception of Hawkeye), but I feel like this version of Elektra would've been able to hold her own against Cap, and probably elude the stronger team members.

Ok well now I really want a Black Widow vs. Elektra movie. But no more ninjas, Elektra can just scoop up a bunch of the c-list Crossbones and Batroc level guys to order around as cannon fodder to slow down Natasha.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:37 PM on August 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Ok well now I really want a Black Widow vs. Elektra movie

@jason_steakums in case you haven't seen it (and everyone else of course):

Elektra vs. Black Widow ---> FIGHT!!
posted by alchemist at 12:45 AM on August 24, 2017 [4 favorites]

I actually loved the ending, when it was doing charcter beats, and hated every bit of the plot.

So, hurray for:
-Jessica Jones stealing a beer from a homeless man on the way to an epic fight
-Her and Luke Cage pretty much all the time
-Colleen being the one to ultimately kill Bakuto in defense of her 'new family' Misty Knight.

Boo for
-mystical dragon bones which are supposedly those of the dragon that Iron Fist punches the molten heart of, but somehow pre-date him as Iron Fist? Wtf?
-no one asks 'hey where the hell is your lawyer Matt Murdock?'
posted by corb at 4:24 PM on August 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


this "war" going on between the Chaste and the Hand

posted by curious nu at 4:21 PM on August 25, 2017 [12 favorites]

Yeah, this was a big let down for me. Jessica didn't have enough to do, Danny is insufferable, and the hand just doesn't seem evil enough? Scary enough? They pass the idiot ball around too much and the fight scenes were mostly underwhelming. I lovedJJ and the first 2/3rd of Luke cage before they killed cotton mouth, but everything else has been kind of meh for me. Being back some punisher/Karen ness and maybe I will be more emotionally invested in DareDevil. I couldn't watch Iron Fist after the first two episodes. So overall this gets a C+. It has the potential, but just didn't seem to put in the effort required to be good.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 4:27 PM on August 25, 2017

the hand just doesn't seem evil enough? Scary enough?

Absolutely. They had to wedge in this like "The Hand doing their thing will destroy the city for *reasons*" thing as the big scary outcome but it was just so nonthreatening because it was just some abstract whatever. Like maybe more destruction leading up to it than the one earthquake would have helped? Or maybe bring in Kingpin to take over the Hand at the last minute instead of having Elektra do that and then you have a known scary villain going after immortality instead of the Hand being all "we just want to go home". Or, hey, have Matt give in to Stick's hardcore war philosophy, and then that's a slippery slope to him joining with Elektra to take over the Hand, and you get evil Shadowland Daredevil and the team has to deal with that! idk, something does need to change with the stakes though. It's a common problem with a lot of the Marvel big bads, just this abstract world ending threat.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:27 PM on August 25, 2017

Aaaaaah you guys, you guys!!! This episode is my favorite of the series, and I hope the gang gets back together for another adventure soon, BUT, I realized this morning that this episode also includes a continuity error that scrambles not only the timelines of all these shows, but the MCU movies as well, and I need to TALK TO SOMEONE about it. What's the trouble, you ask? It has to do with the Wu-Tang Clan.

Like the Luke Cage series, Defenders makes prominent use Wu Tang music, particularly "Protect Ya Neck" in the climactic fight. Furthermore, in Luke Cage it is established that Wu Tang, Method Man and Enter the 36 Chambers all exist in the MCU, presumably in states similar to how they exist here. It is also established as on our Earth, the MCU's Wu Tang Clan did most of their recording back in the day. Enter the 36 Chambers is not a new record in the MCU. Why is that important? Because of what Inspectah Deck says right at the top of the song.

"Terrorize the jam like troops in Pakistan
Swinging through your town like your neighborhood Spider-Man"

This is an album from around 20 years ago, but here it is in the Defenders referencing a superhero who made his public debut, at most, a year before the events depicted in this series. How the hell did Inspectah Deck know who Spider-Man would be five years before Peter Parker is even born?

When I was a kid, Marvel changed the rules for No-Prizes. It was no longer enough to point ou a continuity error - you also had to come up with a creative reason why it wasn't an error at all. You had to engage in the Marvel Method and make it work. It's just Negative Zone radiation making it look like the colorist forgot to fill in all those boots, you see. That kinda thing. So, if I want my MCU No-Prize, I gotta make this work.

The theory that does the least violence to the timestream is that Inspectah Deck was just making up a nonsense phrase to finish up the rhyme, but Enter the 36 Chambers was one of Aunt May and Uncle Ben's favorites, so Peter heard it a bunch growing up and sometime after he got his spider powers, this was the lyric that popped into his head. On our Earth, Inspectah Deck is referencing a Marvel comics character. On Earth MCU, Peter Parker is making a Wu-Tang reference any time he calls himself the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.

The theory that would make for a series I would rather watch than the Defenders is that on Earth MCU, the Wu Tang Clan can either gaze or travel through time. Possibly they are working with the Watchers in this scenario. Uatu is nothing to fuck with.
posted by EatTheWeek at 11:00 PM on August 25, 2017 [17 favorites]

Oh god what about Ghostface Killah AKA Tony Starks
posted by jason_steakums at 11:24 PM on August 25, 2017 [4 favorites]

Oh man that's tough too! I suppose it's possible that Stark was juuuuuust taking over the family business when Wu-Tang began recording, but that's cutting it really close. I think there's also a song where they reference the Hulk as fucking DAVID Banner, meaning they have some knowledge of Earth-Bixby, meaning the Wu-Tang Watcher Clan theory gains a point or two.
posted by EatTheWeek at 11:34 PM on August 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

Hello? Is this where I request a Madame Gai series?

Also, no more ninjas please.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:05 PM on August 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

I am here to say that I enjoyed the depictions of POC, men and women, approaching middle age as desirable and powerful and self-actualizing. I'm really straight, but I would listen with rapt attention while Luke Cage read the menus of every pizza joint and sandwich shop in town. Misty Knight with her cyborg arm for next season, Clair... I mean, just Clair...

And now, Iron Fist - give an actor a good script and a competent director and enthusiastic fight choreographer, and we have Defenders Danny, who is awesome, as opposed to his-own-series Danny, which is dreck. Also, Coleen, who is made of Bruce Lee UHF matine├ęs and Stan Lee Soap Opera. Nice.

Jessica is criminally underutilized until the very last episode, but her Big Bad was bigger and badder than most, using and abusing the team entire.

Last Season on Daredevil - "We hate you because you wear a super-suit!"
This Season on the Defenders - "Put on the super-suit! PUT ON THE SUPER-SUIT!"

Matt - "OK, but I'm going to have to fight her until she wins and then we get to kiss. Also Luke is the leader of the team, how is this even a question?"
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:38 PM on August 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

Krysten Ritter really nailed that scene with Mike Colter at the end. Jessica Jones was at her most vulnerable, even while displaying her strength and that simple "Maybe we can get coffee sometimes," spoke volumes on her part.

Damn fine acting there, kudos!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:24 AM on August 27, 2017 [6 favorites]

So a couple of things I noticed:

They really have to have changed out fight coordinators from the first season of Daredevil to now. Think back to the hallway fight scene in Daredevil season 1 and how physical the hits seemed and how the bad guys would pile on Matt instead of standing around waiting their turns and it was only what, 4 maybe 5 obvious cuts over the whole fight? Wonderful choreography - not the best ever, but it really sold the brutality of the fight.

Now they're using the Avengers Fight Technology and they're just compositing individual green screen fights into something that's sort of a cohesive battle, but it loses out on a lot of the story the fight can tell the viewer. Now it's just unintelligible bodies flying around and foley . Too much floating around and dancing and not enough impact. *sigh* It's one thing for Danny and Colleen to be magical ninja badasses, but Jessica, Luke and Matt? Matt is a boxer, Luke is a brawler and Jessica is a thinker. They all have different approaches to fighting and it was sort of disappointing we only saw that once or twice in the series, and mostly it seemed to melt down into a puddle of wire-fighting ninja action.

I liked Danny more in this, but mostly because Luke could shoot him down when he was particularly stupid. Of course, he still got to be the most stupid comic book hero in existence at the very end and punch the _very wall_ that Elektra was trying to talk him into punching earlier. Good Jaerb Danny, well done, you can go home now.

I do like the plot efficiency of showing Madame Gao, a scary mofo badass in earlier seasons, being very deferential to the new character on the scene - it immediately sets the tone for Alexandra and who she is to Gao.

Bakuto still didn't feel like a real threat in this season, his carryover from Iron Fist was that he watered down the Hand from scary mystical ninja badassery that Daredevil established. And yeah, he shouldn't have been able to take 3 shots from Misty's sidearm without flinching. Does Rand have a robotics division, or do we get Stark Industries to make an appearance in S2?

And yeah, I agree, I sort of wish there'd have been maybe a bit more with the people that the Defenders were fighting for getting together - there were little bits and pieces, but they were all shoved into the same room together and the writers never really did anything with it.
posted by Kyol at 10:41 AM on August 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

yeah I wanted a whole episode of all the friends telling stories about their heroes without trying to reveal who they are.

I actually don't mind ninjas, but apparently that was only the Japanese fingers of the Hand. These random people in all black outfits didn't really have the same threat.

I also never understood why getting to the dragon bones would destroy NYC. Like is it a giant dragon bone structure holding up all of NYC? And the fingers kept saying they wanted to go home, but that was clearly not Kun'Lun (and to echo another comment above, yeah why couldn't they just dig down a different hole to where there wasn't a door-wall?), unless that door did lead to Kun'Lun, where the dragon is buried (which makes me question if it's just one dragon repeatedly granting Iron Fists their powers, or a generation of dragons, which is not what they implied), in which case, again, how does that destroy NYC?

So many plot holes just to get all the heroes and all the villains in the same room fighting.
posted by numaner at 12:44 PM on August 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think they sort of missed an opportunity to highlight that the individual fingers' gangs were distinct, yeah. White Hat's guys brought guns, for example, Gao's fighters (were?) blind mystical ninjas, Bakuto had. Uh. Slightly different more traditional ninjas (I guess), I never really saw if JapaneseDude brought his own fighters or if he was just supposed to be badass enough to carry the weight on his own. I mean, expecting gang colors and styles to differentiate them was probably too much, this isn't West Side Story.

But in the end it sort of turned into Henchman Slurry #23. Please wait your turn for the next available superpowered person to throw you into a wall, do not skip places in line.
posted by Kyol at 1:32 PM on August 27, 2017 [4 favorites]

I think Kimakura (sp?) led the traditional ninjas that Nobu led, but i guess after Nobu died he pulled them back.
posted by numaner at 1:46 PM on August 27, 2017

Daredevil Season 3, episode 2:
Matt: Heeeeere's Johnny!
Karen/Foggy: Why didn't you tell us you were alive?
Matt: Amnesia/Walk-about/Discovering myself/Other bullshit.
Karen/Foggy: We grieved for you and spent thousands of dollars on an empty coffin!
Ninja enemies: Fight!
Foggy/Karen/Matt: Sure! Let's also never speak of this improbable sequence of events again.
posted by jojo and the benjamins at 1:57 AM on August 28, 2017 [7 favorites]

Dang, I sure wish Hollywood execs were a tenth as good at recognizing good writing as they are at recognizing charismatic actors and beautiful visuals.
posted by straight at 10:19 AM on August 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

mystical dragon bones which are supposedly those of the dragon that Iron Fist punches the molten heart of, but somehow pre-date him as Iron Fist? Wtf?

Aren't they the bones of another dragon?

The thing that bothered me was that you'd expect the destruction of New York to register on the Avengers threat index. The writers need to walk a line between too small a threat and Avengers level and I'm not sure they managed it.
posted by knapah at 12:01 PM on August 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

For the record, I predicted that there was a dragon in the hole way back in Daredevil season 2.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 8:21 PM on August 30, 2017 [4 favorites]

The thing that bothered me was that you'd expect the destruction of New York to register on the Avengers threat index.

Admittedly, it would be amusing to watch the entire Hand try to take on one of the heavy hitters like Thor or Iron Man. But the problem would be actually trying to explain the problem to the Avengers. Even their hot line probably has filters designed to screen out stuff like "There's a dragon under New York, snd a bunch of ninjas are trying to dig it up, which will destroy the island. No I'm not crazy."

Anyway, the Avengers have their own problems right now, like infighting that makes the Defenders look like a loving family. Maybe try calling Dr. Strange or Spiderman- oh wait. Damnit, they need a symbol that can be stuck on a searchlight.
posted by happyroach at 10:24 AM on August 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

The best part was how periodically a character would say, "This is ridiculous." "Everything all of you have said for the last five minutes sounds like some kind idiotic fantasy." Seems like the best of this show - a small rebellious faction (that wrote Lucas Cage's talk with Danny the moronic Iron Fist about priveledge - a high point of the show) trying to sneak in moments of worth into pulp.
posted by From Bklyn at 5:01 AM on September 2, 2017 [3 favorites]

The Defenders Is The Best Thing To Happen To The Netflix Marvel Universe
The Defenders was meant not just to link the worlds of Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones, but also to bring the story of The Hand to a climax. The organization's five leaders finally came together in one show, which could have been epic. Instead, these ancient, immortal warriors were easily defeated, decapitated, and disposed of by three lovable but small-time heroes, plus their sidekick Danny Rand. No wonder the whole thing felt anti-climactic.

Here's where that silver lining comes in: The Hand is likely finished.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:37 PM on September 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

There's no way I could have binge watched this. Too many episodes were just slow and the Hand storyline was never intriguing.
I thought the series was better than IF but didn't rise to the level of any of the other characters' individual series.

Luke Cage + JJ + Misty solving crimes and helping neighbors would be a great show. Matt has to get over himself, but Trish and Karen teaming up for expose's would be fun too.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:06 PM on September 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

They really have to have changed out fight coordinators from the first season of Daredevil to now.

I definitely noticed that too. In this season when someone got punched they would spin three times in the air instead of just falling down. The Daredevil scenes were a lot more enjoyable to me.

About that corridor scene, I've noticed that it's turned into a bit of a trope for the Netflix Marvel stuff - there's the first one (a ripoff of / homage to the iconic scene in Oldboy), then in Luke Cage there's the scene where he goes into the community center and fights his way upstairs, and then in this one there's the fight at the corridor T-junction with all of our heroes. I don't remember a similar scene in Jessica Jones, though I suspect she would just go somewhere else instead of trying to fight through a whole corridor of bad guys, and the bad reviews have still scared me off from watching Iron Fist.

It seems to me that these series live or die on the interestingness of their villains. Kingpin, Cottonmouth and the Purple Man were all great villains, and the Punisher was a great antagonist / foil for Daredevil. Much as I love the old Frank Miller ninjas vs Daredevil stuff, The Hand, as depicted in these Netflix shows, are just not interesting villains. They barely seem like ninjas. I mean, Madame Gao is pretty interesting, but even Sigourney Weaver can't do much with the writing for her character (Thumb? Middle Finger?).
posted by whir at 10:52 AM on September 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

So I finally watched this, and while I don't think it's a novel conclusion: basically everything wrong with this comes down to how stupid and boring Iron Fist is. Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Daredevil all have a lot going for them (even though the end of LC S1 and the second half of DD S2 are pretty flawed). Iron Fist, meanwhile, is just generic whiteboy angst.

Having Luke Cage call him out for his privilege doesn't noticeably fix the fact that Danny is a privileged whiner. He's also dumb as a rock -- the audience saw the "trick him to punch the lock" thing coming from like 4 episodes ago. So, the series to unite this team of don't-call-them-heroes revolves around a rich, privileged, angsty white dude who is ridiculously naive. Big shock: this doesn't work so great.

Also not a novel idea: if The Immortal Iron Fist is a title and not a birthright, why the fuck couldn't Iron Fist have been a woman (or, god forbid, a woman of color)? I like Daredevil but he's already almost too much white dude angst for one shared universe, the last thing the Netflix Marvel Universe needed was Danny Rand.

I'm not going to say I wish I hadn't watched, but the Iron Fist stuff downgrades the series pretty substantially into "eh, kinda worth it for completionists and for some good banter with the other, better characters".
posted by tocts at 1:03 PM on September 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

Here's where that silver lining comes in: The Hand is likely finished.

Please Allfather, let it be true. Never been crazy about them, and there's just a little bit too much Yellow Peril in their recipe for me.

Maybe try calling Dr. Strange or Spiderman- oh wait. Damnit, they need a symbol that can be stuck on a searchlight.

In my wildest dreams, Marvel's plan after all the Avenger actors' contracts start running out is to do a Defenders picture with a team makeup a little closer to the comics, with Dr. Strange, Valkyrie and the Hulk joining the gang to take on bugfuck crazy Bill Mantlo problems. TV heroes move up to the movies, making room for the Moon Knight series I've decided isn't too crazy to hope for if there's already a Cloak and Dagger one coming out.
posted by EatTheWeek at 12:24 AM on September 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Would also definitely buy a ticket to Spider-Man and Daredevil's Awkward Teamup v The Kingpin in 2020. Any Marvel producer reading these should feel free to steal them or, you know, hire me.
posted by EatTheWeek at 12:32 AM on September 5, 2017

Whitewashed yellow peril at that. My initial instinct is to laugh at it. Then sigh.

Agree with whir, I don't have a strong sense, or evidence, of The Hand's motivation(s). They feel like very generic villains.

Daredevil certainly leveled up hand to hand in Defenders but I'm ok with that. The choreography is being lazy but that applies to everyone else too.

Maybe a symptom of focusing on the action too much. How many different ways can Cage turn his back on gunfire and soak up some bullets?
posted by porpoise at 2:53 AM on September 5, 2017

In my wildest dreams, Marvel's plan after all the Avenger actors' contracts start running out is to do a Defenders picture with a team makeup a little closer to the comics, with Dr. Strange, Valkyrie and the Hulk joining the gang to take on bugfuck crazy Bill Mantlo problems.

Change that to bugfuck crazy Steve Gerber problems then I think you got something.
posted by Ashwagandha at 11:06 AM on September 5, 2017 [5 favorites]

Dr. Strange, Valkyrie, and The Hulk are all appearing in Thor: Ragnarok. Along with sketchy rumors of a Namor appearance.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 11:21 AM on September 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Maybe a symptom of focusing on the action too much. How many different ways can Cage turn his back on gunfire and soak up some bullets?

But This brings up one of my main complaints of this and many superhero group stories -- that's exactly what LC should do -- it's like they never talk about maximizing the different skill sets of the members. Got a bullet-proof guy? make sure he's the first through the door to soak up threats from a distance; got a guy in a fancy ninja-proof suit? send him against the sword wielders; let the smart gal make the plan, make sure the dumb privileged guy uses his one and only weapon as much as he can and plays no part in the planning.
Instead we get the horizontal line of fists at the ready for all-comers and dull, dull action scenes.

The first fight at Midland circle was the best fight, and they'd never even fought together before and things just got worse after that one. sloppy.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:21 AM on September 5, 2017 [6 favorites]

Change that to bugfuck crazy Steve Gerber problems then I think you got something.

For sure, but did Mantlo not also have a run on Defenders? I swear I have some back issues around. Am I mixing it up with his Hulk run? Has Kang the Conqueror been screwing with my timeline again?
posted by EatTheWeek at 12:04 PM on September 5, 2017

sure, but did Mantlo not also have a run on Defenders

As awesome as Bill Mantlo could be, I believe he only filled in for Gerber once on the Defenders but I don't think he had much of a run on it. Maybe you're thinking of the Champions? I could be wrong tho.
posted by Ashwagandha at 6:47 PM on September 5, 2017

Okay yeah, that sounds right. If I dig into a longbox to double-check, I'll just wind up reading comics all day.
posted by EatTheWeek at 8:42 AM on September 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Mantlo's Hulk run featured Dr Strange very prominently, so it was fairly Defendery. I never did follow the actual Defenders book very closely, so beyond that my knowledge runs out.
posted by whir at 9:04 PM on September 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Mantlo's Hulk run featured Dr Strange very prominently, so it was fairly Defendery.

That must be what I'm thinking of, yeah.
posted by EatTheWeek at 10:33 AM on September 8, 2017

Jesus, the finale was so fucking stupid. If you're trying to evade capture by the police, I can think of few things that are worse to do than take the subway in NYC. I mean, it did give them the opportunity for one of the few legitimately great beats in the episode, but what the literal fuck, right?

Also, the explosives plot was stupid.

Also, the fight choreography is terrible.

Also, the entire dragon bone thing was stupid.

Also, Matt Murdock waking up in some kind of nun-run hospital (????) was stupid.

Also, what the fuck was that whispery so-called attempt at drama by creating plot twist I missed the end of what happened because my eyes were rolling so far out of my head that they actually spun out of the sockets and rolled under the couch and feeling around the dust bunnies was preferable to paying attention to what was onscreen.

It's a measure of how much everything that comes out of Iron Fist sucks that, like, I actually failed to enjoy, in any way, a story about an Asian lady beating the terrible negging mansplain-y dude who taught her. Me! An Asian-American lady! With a long track record of immediately loving anything if it features an Asian lady doing awesome things! Ask me about my opinions on Pacific Rim! Or Disney's Mulan!

posted by joyceanmachine at 6:21 AM on September 11, 2017 [4 favorites]

I haven't watched Mulan but I'd love to hear your opinion on Pacific Rim.
posted by jojo and the benjamins at 11:09 PM on September 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

So, yeah, I finished this. It was a thing that I watched.

I am left wanting a series that just features Trish, Karen, Foggy, Malcolm, Colleen and Claire getting together to have coffee, shoot the shit, and bitch about the superheroes in their lives. The major threat that everyone is off facing is never shown, we only learn about it via discussions the sidekicks have. Jessica and Luke are allowed limited cameos.
posted by nubs at 9:23 AM on September 19, 2017 [4 favorites]

That was pretty boring. Neflix Marvel has really been trending downward for a while. I loved the first DD and JJ and sorta liked LC but never got past the first episode of IF and had to be dragged through this by my wife.
posted by octothorpe at 7:34 PM on September 30, 2017

Welp, I just finished the miniseries, and if anyone else is listening, I have opinions. First, there's the obvious problem with the series overall and especially with the last episode: it was structured like a minor-league Avengers movie. First, the Avengers movies were worked up as basically being centered around a particular Avenger and their villain: Thor and Loki in the first one, Iron Man and Ultron in the second. Then there's the need for big ol' fight scenes, and a threat that can plausibly wreck shit on a greater-than-9/11 scale, even though the heroes involved are a martial artist, another martial artist who can hear real well, a lady who can lift a truck, and a dude who can lift a truck and also shrug off bullets. There's also the cheat at the end, that even though the entire plot revolved around the dragon crypt having only one way in or out, that, well, guess it must have had a back door! That or Madame Gao clonked the kissy-birds over their heads and dragged everyone over to where the emergency rebreathers were and waited until the digging crews broke through and then managed to ninja everyone out unseen.

A few notes on No-Prizing things away and various stuff:

- I think that the thing about New York collapsing may have hinted that the dragon skeleton had more than a physical attachment to the bedrock. This was something that Ghostbusters II kind of hinted at but ultimately fumbled the ball on, that there were mystical things that were intrinsic to the very physical fabric of the city and that disrupting them made bad things happen. (The Stephen King book IT does a much better job of this, saying that Pennywise's evil has penetrated the infrastructure of Derry and much of it gets destroyed when IT does.) And, yes, it's probably simply of the same species as Shou-Lao the Undying, not literally the same dragon.

- At least there's the possibility of Madame Gao coming back. Not as jazzed about Elektra; I'd be a lot more enthused about a spin-off series, if that's where they'd want to go, if Greg Rucka were involved.

- Generally agreed on the use of the various characters (especially Danny being a hostage, heh); sad to see Stick go; would have liked more of JJ; glad to see Colleen get her own fight scene. I figured that Bakuto, aka Mr. You-Can-Smell-His-Cologne-Over-The-TV, was using his chi powers (I assumed that everyone in the Hand had them to one degree or another and just used them in different ways) to block the bullets, not thinking that he had to save it for offensive use because he was that much better than Colleen. Ha ha, fuck you you Eurotrash-looking dude. Looking forward to the Daughters of the Dragon.

- The closing scene with the unconscious Matt being tended to by a nun is a direct lift from the Daredevil: Born Again arc by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli back in 1986.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:48 PM on March 31, 2018

One time I blew up a building and the police came by and said "hey, so ordinarily we frown on this sort of thing, but it turns out there was some mystic yellow peril plot involving--" [shudders] "--immortal immigrants trying to dig up dragon bones, and when we checked with some geologists at the university they said that that sort of thing could definitely affect ground stability, so Chief told me to tell you that if you ever blow up another building we will definitely have a problem with it and I don't care if there are dragons."

So I said "Hey Siri, take a note: no more blowing up buildings" and Siri said "Got it" and the cop said "Thank you for understanding."
posted by johnofjack at 2:39 PM on January 20, 2021

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