“Whose Show Is This?”
The finale for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law was one of the most original and, frankly, gutsy finales I have ever seen. It stepped up and claimed the show that they wanted this to be in the most satisfying way imaginable.
Kicking off the show with a parody of the 70s TV program The Incredible Hulk’s opening was brilliant. Having Jen step in for Bill Bixby and seeing her transform into the “Savage She-Hulk” just like Lou Ferrigno used to do was such a stroke of genius that it started this episode off which such a wonderful burst of energy and nostalgia. “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry”- the iconic line from that show is used so well, including Mark Ruffalo’s subtle head turn (which was really funny).
We then discover that Jen has been arrested by Damage Control after she flipped out after the Intelligencia played the sex tape of her and Josh. A deal is struck for her to wear and inhibitor and not to be allowed to be She-Hulk again. In an unbelievably unfair series of events, Jen loses her job, her apartment and has to move back in with her parents.
Can we pause a moment to mention how awesome Mark Lynn Baker was as Jenn’s father? He was so supportive of his daughter (so much more so than her mother… what a horrible woman she was). With every comment like “People go to jail every day” or that “I have water pressure for days,” Baker showed to be a rare thing, a supportive father in the MCU… which is a joke dropped later in the episode.
Another pair of side characters that we really could have used more of this season was Nikki and Pug. They returned in episode 9 to infiltrate the secret meeting of the Intelligencia. Watching Pug trying to be a douchebag is one of the most charming parts of the episode. Nikki’s constant banter in Pug’s earpiece was very funny.
This was also where we found out that, in the worst kept secret of the season, Todd Phelps was behind the Intelligencia and that he was Hulk King. This revelation was not that earth shaking for anyone who has been following the MCU over the last 14 years. Even Nikki knew this made sense. When Pug realized that Todd was Hulk King, Nikki reacted at first with shock and then said, “Oh that tracks.” LOL. Still, just because it was not the biggest surprise in the world does not mean that it is not the right move.
This was when the show started to begin the big “Marvel finale episode smash fest” that has been a criticism of so many other Marvel Disney + shows. People have complained about the finales of plenty of other Marvel shows, from WandaVision to Moon Knight, that the finale just devolved into a gigantic fight. So Abomination is there. Titania is there. Bruce’s Hulk is there and everyone is fighting.
By the way, I loved that Emil (Abomination) was not evil here. He was just speaking to the crowd like he does all the time. He was spouting his platitudes to the assembled Intelligencia without any real knowledge of what they stood for and he was being very broad in his words. It was nothing more than a paycheck and, actually, when the fighting started, Abomination helped Jen.
During this whole fight scene, Jen was breaking the fourth wall, complaining that none of these storylines made any sense and wondering why this was happening. She said that this can’t be where the season was heading.
It was then that the biggest risk ever from the MCU happened. For a second, I thought that something had gone wrong with Disney + because suddenly, there was the Disney + Marvel page… and She-Hulk was smashing through… obliterating the fourth wall.
She-Hulk moved through the Disney + menu and found herself in the “real” world. She-Hulk went to the writer’s room and went to see Kevin. It was not Kevin Feige as we expected, but instead K.E.V.I.N, an AI running the MCU, appeared in a little black hat.
The the show went ahead and satirized itself unmercifully with shots at the MCU movies all ending the same way, with Marvel Studios use of the non-disclosure agreement (NDA), the lack of sex in the MCU, the persona of Kevin Feige and how he is looked upon in a worshipping fashion, Marvel daddy issues, the cost of the special effects… along with plenty of other jokes. Marvel was not afraid to poke fun at itself, using all of the criticisms from the internet and its audience from over the years. It was META beyond all meta. And the reference Jen made to KEVIN about “When are we getting X-Men” with a cheeky smile and a thumbs up to the camera was just everything!
One of the best facts about She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is that there is not really a “Big Bad” like most series. The villain of the show was the Internet trolls that complain about everything to give a voice to their misogamy. Todd was the face of the organization, but the Intelligencia could be the real internet. It is like Marvel knew how this series would be seen by a section of the populace and they poked fun at it all along. It is also epic that the “Todd uses blood to turn into a Hulk” plot point was discarded so easily because the show was not about that. t was about Jennifer Walters accepting who she is… coming to grip with both the Jen side of her personality, but also the She-Hulk side, and that when she finally started to bring those together, he entire world gets yanked away. The show is saying that they did not need a gamma-irradiated Todd. Jen said it best. The Hulk powers were not the villain, Todd was.
Oh, and Daredevil showed up again, per Jen’s request. Then, Matt Murdock joined Jen at a “Fast and the Furious” style cook out at the end where Matt is grilled by Jen’s parents and the Hulk returned from Sakar and casually introduced his son Skaar! Such a major moment in MCU history and it was dropped so nonchalantly by Bruce that it really wotked within the concept of the show. One wonders where Skaar is heading next.
I know there are people out there who do not like She-Hulk: Attorney at Law for reasonable, fair reasons, but there is also a section of the internet who hate this because of the female led property that was parodied in this show. For me, this was a lot of fun from the first episode and that it took risks that no other Disney + show (with the exception of WandaVision) would dare to try. Tatiana Maslany was exceptional as Jennifer Walters all season long and the side characters, though underused, were characters that I would love spending time with. Tim Roth reemerged as Emil Blonsky, who went back to prison for parole violation, and is now hanging out with Wong at Kamar-Taj after escaping form his prison cell thanks a portal. I saw that post credit scene coming when I spotted Benedict Wong’s name in the credits along with Mark Ruffalo and Tim Roth and I knew we had not seen the Sorcerer Supreme in episode 9 yet.
She-Hulk is unapologetic for what it is and it bravely carved out a place inside (and outside) of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was funny, full of comedic characters and still managed to move the MCU forward into the future. I enjoyed the series quite a bit.