I know I shouldn’t be focusing on this. I know I should be geeking out over “Mean Right Hook” finally bringing some of the Defenders together. But, seriously, what was with the camera work in this episode? It damn well better turn out that someone is indeed spying on all of them because if not all of the dutch angles and obstructed views, such as looking up through beer glasses (to see Foggy and Matt) or through a glass window (to see Colleen and Danny), will just have been atmospheric bullshit. The same goes for the iris-in, iris-out camera effect used for all of the scene transitions, i.e., the same transitions that also always featured a shot of a subway train flying by.
But I digress.
“Mean Right Hook” is a far better episode than “The H Word,” but it was always going to be. Probably more so than any Netflix Marvel series to date, The Defenders is going to play out like an 8-hour movie instead of a TV show. The first episode was the exposition and introduction to characters part of the movie, and “Mean Right Hook” is as well. It’s just more entertaining with it since it’s a little further into the story now, moving each character’s separate storyline forward, building to the moment when they finally start to intersect.
And man do they ever intersect. OMG, so cool when….
Say. You’re not reading this before watching the episode are you? You are! Apologies. Please accept this courtesy spoiler warning.
So, anyway, Danny totally super punched Luke and knocked him down, a true face-saving move after having been woefully unable to inflict any harm on the future Power Man. Prior to that, it was fairly hilarious to see Danny’s tiny fists and feet of fury bouncing off a not-so-much-annoyed-but-bored Luke. Danny and Colleen’s post-earthquake wanderings and Luke’s investigation into the mysterious deaths of local teenagers led them to the same spot, and a misunderstanding led the future allies to fight, Luke and Danny memorably greeting each other with, “Who the hell are you?”
Elsewhere, Matt finally did what I actually half-expected him to (surprise cameo) do in Jessica Jones or Luke Cage: he stopped a police interrogation short and claimed a new client who just happens to also be a superhero. In this case, he freed Jessica from Misty Knight, who seems destined to always act as a plot obstacle for the heroes to get around since she’s never clued in on what’s really going on in the neighborhood.
And now The Defenders have paired off and are probably a mere episode away from fully uniting (and deciding they don’t like each other). Until then, these pairings could be fun. Matt and Jessica are the two still struggling to move from their own drama which is keeping them from getting back into the game. Danny is plagued with guilt and mistrust. Luke wants to help but he also kind of wants to simply ease back into things. However, throughout “Mean Right Hook” their heroic tendencies kicked in, giving the impression that one of the themes of The Defenders will be that these people need the support of other people like them to truly accept who they are and what they need to do. Kind of a “just when I thought I was out these knuckleheads I met pulled me back in.”
Matt’s certainly not getting that from Foggy, who clearly wants him to stop. On the other end, everyone around Jessica is trying to prop her back up but she might need new voices sending the same message for it to really get through. Danny has Colleen telling him to forgive himself and open up to the idea of teamwork, but he just can’t. And Luke has an understandably nervous, but ultimately supportive girlfriend. Actually, on second thought, Luke might not need them as much as they need him.
- Not used to seeing Madame Gao serving as a constantly overruled messenger. Nice way to establish Sigourney Weaver’s supremacy.
- Did I hear that right? Did one of Trish’s radio callers refer to “the incident” when explaining what New Yorkers must always think about in times of turmoil? Seriously? They’re still using vague language to refer to The Avengers even after everything else that’s happened in the MCU since then?
- Remember my argument last review about the challenge of juggling the differing cinematic DNAs of Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and (to a lesser extent) Iron Fist? Yeaaaah, “Mean Right Hook” kind of stopped trying. It was shot, edited, lit and even scored (with the occasional exception) pretty much like a Daredevil episode.
- So, Weaver’s character is hundreds of years old, right? Is she their Vandal Savage (from Legends of Tomorrow)? Will she constantly be slipping in references to historical events and characters she happens to have first-hand knowledge about? Eh. As long as they’re all as good as her bit about Bach in “Mean Right Hook” I won’t have a problem with it.
- Did Hogarth really think Jessica would listen to her warnings? She still had to try, I guess.
- Elektra runs down stairs cooler than you do, Jessica.
- I have no strong feelings about the opening credits which merge the heroes with their respective New York territories, btw. It’s a perfectly fine sequence, a little blah, as is the new theme song.