She-Hulk smashes onto the scene
August 19, 2022
She-Hulk got her start in the pages of “Savage She-Hulk” in 1980, and now Marvel Studios has created a Disney+ limited series, “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law,” based on the character. The series stars Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer Walters, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, and Jameela Jamil as Titania.
“She-Hulk” follows Jennifer Walters, a lawyer and the cousin of Bruce Banner, a.k.a. the Incredible Hulk. Walters has to discover what it means to be a Hulk and how she can live a seemingly normal life as one.
The series started on August 18 and will run until October 13 releasing on Thursdays. Each episode will run for 37 minutes, with some episodes including after-credit scenes.
Staff Writer Micah Freeman will be here every Friday to recap and analyze each episode.
For how first episodes go, “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” breaks the mold set up by other series by speeding through the origins of the character and going straight to the action.
In this episode, the audience is introduced to Jennifer Walters, a lawyer who is the cousin of Bruce Banner. After a car accident involving a Sakaar spaceship, Walters is contaminated with the gamma-radiated blood of the Hulk and transforms into She-Hulk.
During the episode’s opening, the audience is reintroduced to Bruce and told how he was in his human form during the post-credits of “Shang-Chi.” The five-year gap between “Infinity War” and “Endgame” is also filled in, showing an underground lab made by Tony Stark where Bruce worked on merging both Hulk and himself.
He tries to help Jennifer control the Hulk but since she can control her anger from the start, she does not need help.
Something I really enjoy about this show is Jennifer herself. It is refreshing to see a character who actively does not want to be a part of the superhero life and just wishes to be normal. Bruce tells her that since they are two of the strongest people, they have to help. This conflict of interest showcases a vast difference in views between our leads.
The show is not entirely serious, however. As a legal comedy, it is important that the jokes land and I can confidently say that they do. Whether it be the conversations about Captain America between Bruce and Jennifer or the end fight against Titania in court that had a lot of build-up only to end in one punch, the show is funny.
This first episode introduces a brand new character to the MCU and it also answers questions about the Hulk’s status post “Endgame.” By the end of this episode, viewers should have a better understanding of the Banner family than when they went in.
To wrap up this week’s episode, here are some things to keep in mind going into next week.
- Someone is trying to reach the Hulk from Sakaar.
- Jennifer does not want to be She-Hulk.
- Bruce has a device that can bring him back to human form.
- Titania was sent to the court by something.
Following the debut of She-Hulk in the public eye in the first episode’s ending, Episode 2 focuses on Jennifer’s response to immediate fame.
Jennifer actively wants to avoid being in her hulk form, but due to its popularity, she is pushed into being She-Hulk more and Jennifer less.
However, this increase in popularity results in the loss of her job at her firm. This leads to Jennifer being in a depressed state that comes to a peak at her family dinner when everyone there talks about the loss of her job and her new status as a superhero – the two things she does not want to talk about.
There is a silver lining to this fame, however, as Holden Halliway hires Jennifer as the face of the superhuman law division at GLK&H. Her employment has one catch: she has to be in She-Hulk form.
Her first case is one with a history tied to her family, as her client is Emil Blonsky, a.k.a. the Abomination, last seen in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” After footage of Blonsky outside of his cell is released, Jennifer is put into a tough spot that she will need to find a way out of in the next episode.
Episode 2 focuses much more on the legal aspect of the character compared to Episode 1. While Episode 1 was more action-focused and showcased the strength of She-Hulk, Episode 2 is slower and more character-driven.
A big difference between episodes is the dynamics each focuses on. Episode 1 shows the relationship that Bruce and Jennifer have while Episode 2 is about how Jennifer acts in the workplace. These differences show that this show can have a variety of different kinds of episodes.
A big part of the episode is the return of the Abomination. Emil Blonsky made his MCU debut in 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk,” where he was the main villain.
Blonsky was a member of the British Royal Marine who was injected with imperfect super-serum and the blood of Bruce Banner on a mission to take down the Hulk. This power made Blonsky lose control of himself and go on a rampage through Harlem where Bruce defeats him. Since then, it is said that Bruce has forgiven him and they have moved past the fighting.
A question that can be asked after finishing this episode is what is Holliway planning? He puts Jennifer on a case that she has a familial tie to and states that he only wants her because she is a hulk.
A few things to keep in mind for next week’s episode:
- Jennifer is the face of the superhuman law department.
- Her first client is Emil Blonsky, a.k.a. the Abomination.
- Bruce is on his way to Sakaar.
- Footage of Abomination outside his cell has been released.
Continuing where the last episode left off, Episode 3 shows Jennifer’s struggle with presenting Blonsky as a reformed man.
Since the footage of Abomination being outside of his cell has been released to the public, it is a lot harder for Jennifer to convince the parole board that Blonsky is not a monster.
After learning that Blonsky didn’t leave of his own free will and was instead taken out of jail by the Sorcerer Supreme, Jennifer begins to formulate a plan. She gets into contact with Wong, the current Sorcerer Supreme, and asks if he can appear in court to help defend Blonsky.
She-Hulk’s rise in notoriety continues as the public begins voicing their opinions on her defending Blonsky, most of which are negative.
According to many witness testimonials, Blonsky has become a changed man and has been extremely helpful to those who know him. This, combined with Wong’s admission of taking Blonsky out of his cell for training and the control demonstrated over the Abomination, Blonsky is granted parole on the condition that he can never transform again.
A thing that elevates this episode is its structure as it has an A plot and a B plot. The B plot focuses on Dennis Bukowski, a former coworker of Jennifer, and his civil case to get $175,000 from a shapeshifting ex-girlfriend. The fact that this series is structured like an actual TV show instead of a movie split up into parts makes it distinct from other Marvel shows.
One thing that needs to be improved as the show continues is the CGI used on She-Hulk. When Jennifer transforms, the effects used look poor, which is odd because CGI is usually Marvel’s strong suit. During the final fight against a group of criminals, Jennifer sticks out as if she is not really there.
One question that can be asked is what were the criminals planning to do? They attack Jennifer on her way home and try to take her blood. They also mention that they were put up to this by their boss.
A few things to keep in mind for next week’s episode
- She-Hulk’s fame is growing
- Abomination is free
- Someone wants to take Jennifer’s gamma-radiated blood
Picking up after the Blonsky trial, Episode 4 focuses on how the fame of She-Hulk has influenced Jennifer’s regular life and how that fame gets her big-name clients.
One of those clients is Wong, who is trying to send a cease and desist letter to a former student named Donny Blaze. Blaze has been using his magical abilities irresponsibly and accidentally sends a woman named Madisynn to another realm. Due to the lack of a contract stating that Blaze cannot use his magic for his gain, it is a difficult case for Jennifer.
While she is coming up with a case as to why Blaze should not be allowed to use the mystic arts, Jennifer is also trying to find a date. In her human form, Jennifer is unsuccessful when looking for a partner, but as She-Hulk, she goes on several dates and ends up going home with a doctor after a successful first date.
Blaze, in an attempt to impress a crowd, summons creatures from a different realm, and he asks for Wong’s help in taking them back. While in the middle of her date, Wong enlists the help of Jennifer in the battle against the creatures. After the fight, Donny agrees to the terms of the cease and desist.
The next morning, Jennifer’s date leaves after seeing her in her human form for the first time and she gets the news that Titania is suing her for copyright infringement over the She-Hulk name.
Compared to other episodes, Episode 4 seems to be a more standalone outing for the series. The only connection to the last episode is Jennifer’s father trying to boost security in her home after being attacked by the criminals in Episode 3’s final moments. This makes this episode feel like it takes place in a bubble, void from previous continuity.
This episode is a more character-focused one, displaying more of Jennifer’s character outside of work. The audience sees how wrapped up in her work she can be, and her unwillingness to leave her comfort zone. Wong also gets new light shined on him, as we see a more relaxed side to him.
A question that could be asked is what happened to Madisynn in the other realm? She says that while there she met a goat named Jake that she made a deal with which she could not speak on.
A few things to keep in mind for next week’s episode
- She-Hulk continues to get clients after the Blonsky trial
- Jennifer is beginning to enjoy being in Hulk form
- Titania is suing Jennifer over the She-Hulk name
Following the last episode’s cliffhanger, Episode 5 highlights how Jennifer is beginning to embrace the She-Hulk persona.
After being released from prison, Titania capitalizes on Jennifer’s new persona and releases multiple beauty products named “She-Hulk.” She also sues Jennifer over her usage of the name.
After meeting with Halliway, Jennifer decides to counter-sue, with the help of her co-worker Mallory Book. Due to the media giving the pseudonym She-Hulk, Book makes the case that Titania is only using the name for the goodwill associated with it.
However, because evidence of Jennifer rejecting the name is used by Titania’s lawyer, Book has to show that Jennifer uses the name in her personal life.
The evidence that shows this is Jennifer’s dating profile from Episode 4. With her previous dates as witnesses, Jennifer shows that she has accepted herself as She-Hulk and wins the case. Titania leaves the courtroom after promising that the rivalry between her and Jennifer is not over.
During this episode, we see that the superhero world has expanded, with the introduction of a tailor for heroes, Luke Jacobson. Jacobson creates suits for heroes based on their powers or weapons, Making them to the highest combat standards. This shows that more and more superheroes have been appearing, expanding the MCU.
A big part of this episode is Jennifer enjoying the She-Hulk persona and its benefits. She states that she likes her appearance and no longer being scared to be out at night. This presents a contrast against Jennifer’s thoughts in the first episode and shows how much she has developed since then.
The ending of this episode teases the return of Matt Murdock, a.k.a. Daredevil. Last seen in “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” Murdock is a defense attorney who fights crime located in Hell’s Kitchen in New York, but why is Murdock in Los Angeles?
A few things to keep in mind for next week’s episode:
- The hero world of the MCU has expanded into businesses
- Jennifer is getting her own superhero outfit
- Daredevil will be appearing in the series
With She-Hulk’s fame continuing to grow, Episode 6 focuses on how Jennifer has to return to the balance she once had.
After being invited to the wedding of her high school friend, Jennifer is told that it is preferred if she stays in her human form to avoid taking attention from the bride. While there, Jennifer also runs into another issue who was invited: Titania.
Jennifer does not have a good time at the wedding since she has to help wash clothes, pick up glasses, and do other pre-wedding duties. There is a silver lining – she hits it off with a friend of the groom, Josh.
Jennifer is finally having fun at the wedding after meeting Josh. Titania is ready for a fight, however, and attacks Jennifer when she is off-guard. Jennifer has to break her promise and turns into her She-Hulk form and begins to fight back.
After losing the fight, Titania has a meltdown and leaves the wedding. The wedding guests praise Jennifer for defeating Titania, and she leaves with Josh to go on a date.
A big part of this episode is the inclusion of another super-powered person, Mister Immortal. The B-plot of this episode focuses on Immortal’s inability to respond to conflict and how he removes himself from it. He does this by using his powers to fake his death.
This creates a problem for him when his previous partners come to take what they deserve. This character shows that more people have powers than before and some just use them to avoid inconvenience in their daily lives.
The end of this episode focuses on Intelligencia. Fronting as a social media platform, Intelligencia is seen creating a serum from Jennifer’s blood that was stolen in the scene that ended Episode 3. The question is what do they plan to do with it?
To wrap up this week’s episode, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- More than just heroes have powers
- Intelligencia is plotting against Jennifer
- Jennifer is getting more comfortable as She-Hulk
Continuing where the last episode left off, Episode 7 focuses on Jennifer’s feelings about She-Hulk being more well-known than her.
After their first date in the last episode, Jennifer and Josh begin going on several dates. That progress in their relationship suddenly stops after they go home together on Friday night. Josh begins ghosting her immediately. This causes Jennifer to lose focus on work and only worry about getting a text back from Josh.
She regains some focus when Blonsky’s parole officer, Chuck, calls her and tells her that his inhibitor chip is malfunctioning, and he wants her just in case something goes wrong. They go to Blonsky’s residence, which he has turned into a mental retreat. After Jennifer’s car is damaged in a fight between two people attending the retreat, she is forced to stay there with no reception as she waits for a text from Josh.
After wandering around the grounds for any reception, Jennifer stumbles into the middle of the retreat’s group therapy. She also sees one of the criminals who attacked her in Episode 3. After sitting down with the group and talking through her issues, she leaves finding peace with herself.
This episode is more Jennifer-focused than anything. It focuses on her insecurities with her dating life and how she feels unseen when she is just herself. The therapy group helps her realize that if more people got to know both sides of her, they would love her.
The ending of this episode shows why Josh ghosted Jennifer. He is shown copying her phone and sending a confirmation text to the Intelligencia worker from the last episode. What could they be planning?
To wrap up this week’s episode, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Blonsky is working as a life coach
- Josh is working for Intelligencia
- Jennifer feels seen as She-Hulk
Following the last episode, Episode 8 focuses on the good She-Hulk can do outside of the courtroom.
After a failed attempt to stop a robbery, the new hero Leapfrog suffers 3rd-degree burns on his legs after a suit malfunction. That suit was made by Jacobson and Leapfrog goes to Jennifer for help in getting compensation for his suffering.
A problem arises, however, when Jennifer realizes that she needs to stay on Jacobson’s good side to keep receiving clothes that fit her.
Once in court, Jacobson is represented by Matt Murdock who quickly gets Leapfrog to admit that he used the wrong kind of fuel in his rocket boots, causing the burns. After the trial, Jennifer attempts to stay in Jacobson’s good graces but fails.
Later that night, Jennifer gets a call from Leapfrog, telling her that he is under attack by a man in a devil outfit. Jennifer arrives at the scene where Leapfrog is being attacked and begins to fight Daredevil.
After a brief fight and Jennifer finding out Matt is Daredevil, Matt tells her that Leapfrog has kidnapped Jacobson, and they team up to save him.
They arrive at Leapfrog’s hideout and begin planning the strategy to take out the henchmen. Matt wishes to do it quickly and quietly, while Jennifer wants to take care of it as fast as possible. Her willingness to rush in showcases her inexperience in the field of fighting villains.
After doing a mix of both, they corner Leapfrog who, in a desperate plan to escape, jumps through a window and injures himself. Matt and Jennifer leave the scene and head home together.
The next day, Jennifer goes to a gala where she is nominated for the Female Lawyer of the Year award. When it is announced that she has won the award, Intelligencia leaks her phone data to everyone in attendance and then shows a more intimate moment between her and Josh. This leads to Jen destroying parts of the building before being surrounded by troops with Hulk-busting weapons. Gi
A big part of this episode is the return of Daredevil. This episode shows a more acrobatic fighting style for him compared to the Netflix series. There are also many references to the Netflix show, making it clear that this is the same version of the character.
He also gives Jennifer a piece of advice: Jennifer can help people when society fails them and She-Hulk can help when the law fails.
With the show wrapping up, there are some lingering questions such as what did Hulk need to go to Sakaar for? Another is why did Intelligencia need She-Hulk’s blood? Hopefully, the series finale gives answers to these questions.
To wrap up this episode, here are a few things to keep in mind
- Jennifer is beginning to go into the hero world
- Intelligencia has released everything they have on She-Hulk
- Jennifer has been detained by troops
Serving as the season finale, Episode 9 focuses on Jennifer’s struggles and how she fights back against them.
After the last episode’s cliffhanger, Jennifer’s life is falling apart. She lost her job, was forced out of her apartment, and is followed by the news everywhere she goes. Jennifer has to move back in with her parents, and she is hyper-focused on finding everything she can on Intelligenicia. However, when her life seems to be too overwhelming for her, she escapes to Blonsky’s retreat.
Nikki decides to help in the search, by posting an embarrassing video of Jennifer on Intelligencia, which leads her to a meeting for the members of the website. In that meeting, it is revealed that Todd, a former date and client of She-Hulk, is the creator of Intelligencia and created the serum from her blood.
While the attendees of the meeting are getting excited by Blonsky speaking in his Abomination form, Jennifer walks into the meeting and sees Todd injecting himself with the serum only to become a new Hulk. Out of nowhere, Titania and Bruce appear and join the fight against Todd and Blonsky. Jennifer, just as confused as the audience, pauses the episode and breaks into the real world.
Once in the real world, she chastises the team behind her show for the unoriginal and messy finale. Jennifer is told by the team that every story in the MCU is carefully crafted by an AI named K.E.V.I.N., and if she has a problem, she must talk to it.
After a long and difficult conversation with the A.I., Jennifer convinces a reluctant K.E.V.I.N. to rewrite her finale to give her closure. When she gets back her show, Todd is put in custody, Blonsky is detained for breaking his parole, and Daredevil arrives, missing out on everything that just happened.
The season closes out with Jennifer taking Matt to meet her family. After Matt hits it off with the family, Bruce shows up and introduces everyone to his son, Skaar.
This episode gives a conclusion to Jennifer’s character arc throughout the season. Throughout the show, Jennifer struggles with what She-Hulk can do in and out of the courtroom. The last scene of the episode has her finally figure out that balance – She-Hulk can help people with legal counsel and as a hero.
A big part of this episode is the breaking of the fourth wall. With an opening reminiscent of the 1978 Hulk show, comments about an annoying narrator, and the entire K.E.V.I.N. sequence, this episode shows a self-aware side that is accurate to the character of She-Hulk.
To wrap up this season, here are some things to keep in mind for upcoming projects:
- Jennifer is both a superhero and a superhero lawyer
- Hulk has a son
- Matt is returning to Hell’s Kitchen after this adventure in Los Angeles
Listen as Staff Writer Micah Freeman and Editor Katie Johnson sit down and discuss the latest Marvel Miniseries, “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.” They discuss likes and dislikes of the series so far and what they expect from a potential season two.
Click here to listen to the full podcast.