Isn’t it kind of strange that hallway fight scenes have become the calling card of the Netflix Marvel universe? Some stunt coordinator obviously saw The Raid: Redemption and decided to put Charlie Cox and stunt people in a hallway together to make an homage to Raid’s signature moment. The internet went crazy over it, and now each new series (other than maybe Jessica Jones) has to figure out how to top it, tossing in chain whips and multiple stairwells to Daredevil’s second go of it in season 2, literally throwing couches at Luke on his raid of a crack house, etc. It’s a signature trait which also reflects the smaller budget these shows are working with compared to the big boys over at Marvel Studios. Let’s plan an intricate indoor fight scene because unlike the movies we can’t afford to rain CGI asteroids and alien ships down on Earth. Yay. I guess. But, at the risk of angering the internet gods, sometimes these fight scenes get a tad monotonous.
“Worst Behavior” is not one of those times. SPOILER ALERT By the end of the episode, The Defenders finally meet and engage in an epic hallway fight scene which makes clever use of their differing fighting styles. Danny and Matt ninja their way through everything. Luke pushes people through walls while Jessica pushes elevator buttons and swats away goons as if they were annoying flies. While some awkward camera movements (e.g., veering wildly around corners, awkwardly cutting and confusing spatial relationships) prevent the sequence from being as strong as it could be, it’s still exactly the slice of geek nirvana I was hoping for.
Of course, this kind of team-up is nothing new for the genre, as both the movies and CW DC Universe have given us multiple opportunities to geek out over heroes (and even villains) meeting for the first time. But it is new for this little universe, giving us giddy feelings to see our heroes departing the fight triumphant, gathered in an elevator and looking damn ready to finally get to know each other.
Except Danny and Luke already met. In fact, Luke schooled Danny on his white privilege and made fun of his mystical origin story.
Matt and Jessica played a delightful little game of surveillance tag on the streets of New York, each party quickly learning that the other is not as easy to follow as they would have thought. It was a real Spy vs. Spy situation, and I loved it, even if it felt (and sounded, thanks to the peppy musical score) tonally out of step with the rest of the episode.
And obviously Luke and Jessica already know each other.
It’s really just Luke and Matt who need to meet, and Danny needs to the same with Jessica and Matt.
But that’s next episode. What about “Worst Behavior”? Was it the best episode yet?
Easily. We got Black Sky-Elektra’s origin story, which afforded us the opportunity to watch Sigourney Weaver somewhat unconvincingly fake her way through a brief fight scene with a bloodied Elodie Young. It was also another chance to ponder how to feel about all those dead meat Hand soldiers, especially the ones offered up to Elektra in a glorified sacrifice/training montage. I guess they all would have been okay with dying for her since The Hand treats Elektra like some kind of Messiah, right?
But beyond the extended flashback to how Elektra became The Hand’s secret weapon, “Worst Behavior” gave us everything you could want from a team-up series this early into its run, earning jokes from the differences and similarities between the heroes before breaking them apart only to bring them together in the end and conclude with a well-earned hero shot.
Plus, any episode where Sigourney Weaver treats Danny’s puffed out chest and threatening words as if he’s simply a dimwitted grades school student delivering a half-remembered book report earns definite bonus points. Seriously, what was Danny’s actual plan there? And do you think he practiced that speech in the mirror beforehand before maybe showing a politely smiling Colleen more of his sweet nunchuck moves? To be fair, Danny’s ill-preparedness for the situation and failed attempt at throwing his weight around as Rand CEO is entirely the point and perfectly in keeping with who he is up to this point. It was just really funny to watch, though.
- Do you think The Hand board members go to every meeting that prepared for an impromptu rumble? Do they sometimes make an honest mistake and attack an intern who suddenly comes into the room to take lunch orders?
- They were so close to a Ward or Joy Meachum cameo. So close. But, no, Ward is out of town. Basil exposition will just have come from nameless new office lady, The Defenders’ version of the random butler in Spider-Man 3.
- Weaver’s Alexandra has died multiple times before. She’s killed multiple Iron Fists, still calls Istanbul Constantinople, knew composers in Bach’s era and can deliver some sick burns whenever Danny talks. It’s the last part I’ll remember the most.
- “All my babies are gone” – Something about the delivery of the line was more clunky than heart-heartbreaking.
- Stick’s one tough old dude.