She-Hulk: Attorney at Law: Episode 9 – Whose Show Is This? (Review) – Hulk-Smashing The Fourth Wall

DIRECTOR: Kat Coiro

CAST: Tatiana Maslany, Jameela Jamil, Ginger Gonzaga, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Tim Roth, Mark Ruffalo, Benedict Wong, Charlie Cox, Josh Segarra, Jon Bass, Mark Linn-Baker, Tess Malis Kincaid, Drew Matthews

RUNNING TIME: 35 mins

PREVIOUSLY, ON SHE-HULK: ATTORNEY AT LAW: Jennifer Walters (Maslany), having been targeted by an anonymous online group called Intelligencia, is publicly humiliated when intimate footage of her is broadcast at an awards gala. Enraged, she destroys the place as her She-Hulk persona, and is promptly arrested.

IN THIS EPISODE: Jennifer faces the consequences of being on the other side of the law, but sets out to bring Intelligencia to justice once and for all…

NOW FOR THE REVIEW…

Where was THIS show all season? Only now, right at the very end of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law – which up until this point was pretty slow to get itself moving in terms of plot and character – is Marvel’s legal comedy finally picking up the pace, and delivering the kind of comedy, thematic drama, and superhero action that many viewers have been expecting right out of the gate. However, as the series’ ninth and final episode (for now, anyway) sets out to prove, there’s been a reason for the completely different pace – and, honestly, it does change your perspective with how the rest of the show has been.

Titled Whose Show Is This?, we pick up from last week’s devastating cliffhanger, when Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) went on a Hulk rampage after the woman-hating online group Intelligencia broadcast some very private footage of her to the world. However, instead of caring about the horrendous crimes that these trolls have clearly shown to have committed, the world is more concerned about victim Jennifer’s temperament, forcing her to sacrifice her job, her apartment, and even her ability to transform into She-Hulk after entering a prison-sparing plea bargain. However, none of that stops Jennifer, with help from her firm buddies Nikki (Ginger Gonzaga) and Pug (Josh Segarra), from investigating the people behind Intelligencia and bringing them down the legal way. Her search eventually leads her back to the superhuman retreat run by Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), which leads to what seems at first to be a traditional big Marvel climax… until, without giving anything away, it isn’t.

There are things that happen in this episode, in particular during the climax, which are unexpectedly mind-blowing and beyond meta, but at the same time it fits extremely well with this character and their eccentricities both in the comics and in the show. Not only does it directly poke fun at how familiar and formulaic most if not all Marvel climaxes can be, but it also in a way explains why that is so in a rather fun and enjoyable manner, playfully leaning into the expectations one has with a Marvel product nowadays. Jennifer Walters, a character who is known for her own addressing of standard Marvel structures, is a perfect character for the audience to go on this rather trippy experience with, and it very much stays within her established persona enough to where you wonder why she hasn’t simply done this before. There are some good laughs that come from her confronting a number of Marvel issues head-on (I won’t even mention how they incorporate Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige into it), and it leads into a hilariously anti-climactic conclusion that might divide some viewers, but again it’s fitting for a character who has never wanted to just be another part of the MCU crowd.

This is easily the best episode of the series, just for how bonkers it gets during the big finale, but it kind of is a shame that She-Hulk: Attorney at Law only waited until these last couple of episodes to even get this good. Both this and last week’s Daredevil-centric episode (and yes, he does make another brief appearance here too) really are the only ones to actually feel like they’re going somewhere with developing this plot and these characters, with the seven preceding ones mostly just slotting into the more hit-and-miss structure that seemed to just stay in one place and barely go beyond that. Had those previous episodes been delivered with the same amount of energy, comedy, and even sweetness that these final couple of episodes did, then perhaps this show would have been a truly special entry into the Marvel canon. Instead, it’s mostly just been an okay show with a killer final act, and that in and of itself is fine – after all, not every Marvel movie or show has to be the next great superhero outing – but there is plenty of potential that just wasn’t explored enough to fully work.

A lot of it has been pleasant to watch, mostly due to Tatiana Maslany’s joyful lead turn, but again a lot of the non-fourth wall-breaking humour has been hit or miss, and some of the characters have just been left out to dry rather than be properly developed along with the titular hero. It’s certainly not the worst that Marvel has ever put out, but it perhaps needed tightening up in a lot of areas. Hopefully, it’s a problem that will be fixed in time for its second season (if there is indeed one), but even if it stays the same for that theoretical sophomore outing, at least Maslany will bring enough charm to carry it through another nine episodes of unbalanced, but harmless, superhero fun.

SO, TO SUM UP…

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law: Episode 9 – Whose Show Is This? concludes the series with a fun deconstruction of Marvel climaxes that goes to some mind-blowing places with its meta humour – if only most of the rest of the season was as energetic and on-target as this finale is.

AND NOW, FOR THE OVERALL SERIES GRADE:

All episodes of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law are now available on Disney+. 

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