Another season, another Marvel show. Welcome to Flixist’s weekly recaps of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. While I’m probably not the best person to be covering Marvel or MCU material as I’m pretty much burnt out on it all, She-Hulk called to me as I’ve been dying to see more of Hulk in general. For whatever reason, Disney and Marvel still haven’t been able to claw back the solo rights for Hulk from Universal, so his entire existence in the MCU has been lackluster. That it takes a show not even about him to bring more Hulk is… bizarre, but then I also do like She-Hulk as a character.
Anyway, today’s recap is going to be a short one as the first episode of She-Hulk isn’t too packed with standout moments. It has good pacing, solid acting, and surprisingly decent CGI effects, but it mostly serves as a primer for how Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) got her Hulk powers. We don’t even really get a good dissection of why she became a lawyer or how her new powers are going to disrupt that. The episode ends with her hulking out, smashing a villain in one punch, and then… that’s it!
Kicking things off, She-Hulk cold opens with a close-up on Jennifer as she is practicing her closing argument for a coming case. Speaking to her paralegal and colleague, she feels confident in the fact that she will be able to nail this case and walk away with a victory. Her paralegal, who is never actually named in this episode but goes by Nikki Ramos (Ginger Gonzaga), reminds Jen that if all else fails, she can always hulk out.
In the first odd decision of this series, Jen goes to leave her office, but then looks directly into the camera and fourth wall breaks an explanation for how she got here. We then flashback to a few months prior when Jen was on vacation with her cousin Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo). While driving down the road and discussing whether or not Captain America died a virgin, an alien spacecraft hovers close to the road and Bruce warns Jen. She makes a quick decision that results in a car crash, injuring the two and leaving some wounds. Without thinking, Jen helps Bruce from the car, and some of his blood spills onto her. As you can likely gather from the series title, this causes Jen to temporarily hulk out.
Later that evening (or maybe a few days later), Jen wakes up in the middle of the woods at night. Unaware of what just happened, she walks to a small bar and sneaks in through the back. Not wishing to draw attention to herself, she goes to the bathroom to clean up and happens to run into a group of women. Believing she was assaulted; the women start cleaning her and putting make-up on her while giving her some clothes. Jen then asks for a phone to call Bruce and proceeds to wait outside. Before he can get there, a couple of guys start cat-calling her, and Jen hulks out a second time.
Flash-forward another couple of days or so and Jen is now in some bizarre resort. Located in what appears to be Mexico (and is later confirmed as such), Jen walks around a rather swanky bar and sees a podium with one of Iron Man’s masks on it. Presumably believing this is her cousin’s place, she walks down a flight of stairs after hearing some music and calls out for someone. Bruce is there waiting for her and has some good/bad news. Jen is now a hulk.
For the next 15-ish minutes, we get a series of shenanigans where Bruce attempts to prod Jennifer and figure out what turns her into the Hulk. He explains the dangers of their powers and how it took him roughly 15 years to come to terms with his split personality. He even reminisces a bit about Tony Stark and how the two of them bonded in this remote location.
In probably the best scene of the episode, Bruce tries to get Jen to mediate with him and states that she isn’t yet ready to control her anger. Jen then gives him a speech about how being a woman is all about controlling your anger as your daily life is generally a guarded experience. She mentions being cat-called, being told to not act irrationally, and how she needs to bite her tongue when some man attempts to explain her own job to her. While maybe a bit on the nose, it highlights the discrepancy that she and Bruce will have with their respective Hulk experiences. He may be viewed as a monster when in Hulk form, but Jen acting out of expectations proves to be the same whether or not she is green.
Bruce still believes that Jen needs some more time to reflect, but she doesn’t agree. We then get a pretty decent fight scene between the two as they proceed to smash each other around. In a way, this fight shows that Bruce is potentially jealous of his cousin for not having as many drawbacks as him. He also isn’t able to have the same choice as her being that he was thrust into the role of a superhero without much say.
After bashing their troubles out and drinking some, Jennifer eventually returns to Los Angeles and bids farewell to Bruce. We then cut back to the present and Jen prepares to give her closing arguments for the case she is overseeing. Before she can even do that, some woman bursts through the courtroom walls and Jen is forced to hulk out. Funny quip to end the episode and then roll credits… But wait! There’s an after-credits scene.
Remember how I mentioned Jen was discussing whether or not Captain America died a virgin? Well, the last few lines of the episode show Bruce and Jen drinking at night and Jennifer pretending to be drunk off her rocker. She’s crying about Steve Rogers’ fine ass and how it went to waste and Bruce tells her that Steve lost his virginity during a USO tour. She then screams in joy and loudly proclaims, “Yes! Captain America fuuc…!” It’s pretty hilarious in its delivery.
That said, I’m not sure how I view She-Hulk: Attorney at Law just yet. The first episode was fine enough, but I get the feeling that Jennifer is possibly not going to be the main focus. It’s possible that this first episode puts more of a spotlight on Bruce as it may be his only appearance in the show, but recent trailers have shown that Daredevil will be sharing the spotlight a bit. We also have Tim Roth returning as Abomination and a slew of villains that have yet to be introduced. With the runtime of each episode being roughly 32-minutes, there is maybe not going to be much in the way of development for Jen.
I also don’t know what to make of the fourth wall breaking that goes on. In staying true to her comic origins, there are two moments in this episode where Jen looks directly at the camera, and then the characters even acknowledge that they are speaking to an unseen audience. Since the narration in most of the episode doesn’t take place from this same perspective, it mostly comes off as a lame attempt at meta-humor.
Whatever happens, as the show goes on, this first episode of She-Hulk wasn’t too bad. It has a light enough tone that you never wind up taking anything too seriously, which helps with episodes being relatively short. We’ll just see if the series has enough steam to maintain that energy for nine episodes.