We’re back, fellow Marvel viewers, to take part in more She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. Up until this point, the comedy series has been okay-ish. The lack of strong characterization makes Jen Walters a bit hard to care about — she’s already the perfect lawyer and perfect superhero, so what’s our reason for watching? — while the plot has inched along like a drunken snail on a piece of barnacle wood. So far, social media reaction continues to be mixed. Some love Jen’s plucky attitude and the show’s carefree demeanor, while others marvel at how far the MCU has fallen since the glory days of Captain America: Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, and Avengers: Infinity War.
Still, last week re-introduced Emil Blonsky/Abomination (once again played by Tim Roth) for the first time since 2008’s The Incredible Hulk and even acknowledged that weird Shang-Chi cameo where the villain battled Wong in an underground fight club. I’m sticking to my guns here and fully expecting this show to offer our big green Hulk pal a little closure by bringing back the likes of Liv Tyler’s Betty Ross and (possibly) Tim Blake Nelson’s Samuel Sterns, aka The Leader. Imagine if he’s behind whatever diabolical plot She-Hulk cooks up.
There’s also been a lot of chatter about an adaptation of the popular World War Hulk comic in which our boy is banished to space by the Avengers only to return a few years later with an armada and a massive chip on his shoulder. At least, that’s how I remember it. Well, at this point on She-Hulk, Hulk/Banner is most definitely in space, but I imagine he’s flying off to aid Nick Fury and the Skrulls as a means to help set up the planned Secret Invasion series. But who knows?
Anyways, let’s get to our third episode of She-Hulk, titled “The People vs. Emil Blonsky.” In case you wanted to know, yes, this one is about the same length as the last one — roughly 25 minutes without credits — which is probably why the writers are skipping over important character-building details; there’s simply not enough time to pack them into a show that runs roughly the same length as an episode of Full House.
What Happens in She-Hulk Season 1 Episode 3
Chapter three starts with Jen heading into the massive CGI prison to meet with Emil. She berates her client for lying to her about turning into Abomination. Ah, but he didn’t lie, you see? He only turns into the monster when he wants to. As far as the underground fight club is concerned, Emil insists he was taken from prison against his will by Wong and forced to participate in the tournament, which he only survived by morphing into Abomination. Sure, he doesn’t mention that he and Wong were basically throwing fights for money, but who cares?
Jen breaks the fourth wall to assure audiences that this isn’t one of those cameo-a-week shows — discounting Bruce, Emil, and Wong. “Just remember whose show this actually is,” she exclaims. Somewhere, Obi-Wan Kenobi rolls his eyes.
We get a montage of news footage where women praise Jen for taking on the Emil case while goofy-looking men take to TikTok to complain about the current #MeToo movement and lament the lack of male characters in the Marvel Universe. Don’t complain about the product.
Jen cares not about such criticisms. Nothing brings her down, see? Except for all the cat calls she apparently receives from men on a daily basis — none of which we’ve seen on this show, but I guess that’s another minor quibble we’re not supposed to talk about. Speaking of which, a half-rendered CGI Jen walks into Holden Holliway’s office and finds — “Dennis?!” The slime ball lawyer from the DA’s office who once stuck his tongue out at her for being a girl. Somehow he hasn’t seen the 24 hour news coverage of Jen’s case and is shocked to see her in the offices of Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway.
We also meet Mallory Book (Renée Elise Goldsberry), who also works at Superhero Law (and apparently graduated from BYU at the top of her class and won the title of Miss Utah, according to She-Hulk Wiki Fandom). Dennis can’t help himself and immediately hits on Mallory, who rolls her eyes and exits the room. The lack of subtlety in this show is hilarious. Anyways, Dennis is suing his girlfriend, a shape-shifting elf from Asgard (he spent $175,000 on her thinking she was superstar Megan Thee Stallion) and needs assistance. This is thrilling stuff.
Unfortunately, the amazing content is cut short by Wong’s sudden appearance. At first, I was like, “Please don’t butcher Wong on this show,” but then I remembered how actor Benedict Wong has essentially popped into the MCU for nothing but bite-sized comedy relief cameos since his first appearance in Doctor Strange and I shrug. He agrees to testify in Emil’s defense and we are rolling.
Dennis speaks with his lawyer, Pug, about Megan Thee Stallion, leaves and then comes back moments later to drop the case altogether. Clearly, this is Runa, shapeshifting elf. Shockingly, I’m right. Runa assumes the role of Pug — “I love harassing women in the workplace,” he/she says for no reason whatsoever other than because the writer’s simply can’t help themselves — then reverts back to her actual self. “Let that be a warning,” the creature screams before leaving the office. Comedy gold!
In the next scene, a reporter captures Jen entering the massive CGI prison and notes that Jen is rumored to have been rejected by the Avengers. My first thought is: who are the Avengers at this stage? Half of them are dead or missing. Also, did Jen apply? Or is this just a stale commentary on celebrity gossip?
Jen meets with Emil before the trial (consisting of a flurry of women he dubs his Soulmates) and utters the first clever line of this episode whilst noting Wong’s absence: “I don’t understand how a person with zero commute time is late.”
Standing before a committee, Jen does her best to defend Emil’s actions. The panel isn’t convinced, but Emil gives a half-hearted Red-at-the-beginning-of-Shawshank-like speech about how he’s rehabilitated and plans to spend his remaining days on a farm offering meditation classes. His Soulmates will supply him with money. We get a montage of people Emil has helped over the years, but that still doesn’t answer the important question: why did Emil escape from prison? Luckily, Wong shows up in the nick of time and defends Emil with the word kumite, which Google tells me is a karate practice focused on honing one’s skills by practicing against an enemy.
We cut back to Dennis and the shapeshifting elf storyline. A judge throws out the case because, he says, Dennis should have known he was dating a con-artist, or something. (As a side: there are a number of smaller, interesting storylines the MCU could spin out of this bonkers world full of heroes, gods and shapeshifting elves. Why don’t we get that show? I suppose that’s asking too much from a studio that glossed over the Blip like it was a minor inconvenience rather than an event that would have had drastic implications on the world, especially when those who disappeared returned from the ashes, so to speak.) Runa then transforms into the judge, which should help Dennis. So … ?
Back with Jen, Wong and Emil, our Sorcerer Supreme’s testimony does nothing to further the discussion. So, Emil does the rational thing and morphs into Abomination to prove how he’s fully in control of his monstrous alter ego. Everyone freaks out, but Jen manages to salvage the situation with a strong closing statement in which she suggests Emil could have escaped at any moment over the last several years but chose to stay in prison. This is Franklin & Bash levels of lawyering right here.
Jen laments her current predicament at a bar. Pug arrives and brings up Dennis. Jen thinks he was terminally deluded into believing he was with Megan Thee Stallion, which prompts Pug to ask if she would be willing to testify under oath. Cut to the next day. Jen testifies on behalf of Dennis by stating: “Dennis Bukowski is an almost pathologically entitled man. He would absolutely believe that he’s dating Megan Thee Stallion, because he’s truly that delusional.” I’m wondering if Dennis represents a man one of the writers dated in the past. Because, while the character is kind of a dope, he hasn’t shown to be anything more than an incompetent co-worker. Yet, this moment is framed like a crucial one for Jen. The camera even slowly zooms into her face as though she’s finally achieving some sort of moral victory here, even though we haven’t seen any kind of conflict between her and Dennis that would warrant such a payoff.
Nevertheless, the judge awards Dennis $175,000 based on Jen’s testimony. Dennis then half-jokingly suggests they remove the elf’s powers to keep her from pulling the same con on others. This gives Jen an idea.
Now, we’re back at the prison where the panel states Emil is to be set free, effective immediately. As part of his parole, Emil must wear an inhibitor to keep from turning into Abomination. Emil thanks his lawyer and then offers some interesting advice when she tells him to stay out of the news: “They’re going to write a story about you one way or another. Best to be a part of it.”
So, Jen gives a news interview. Her first order of business is to tell people she’s not She-Hulk — because this show hates comic books and superheroes — but rather Jen Walters. But the name has stuck, for better or worse. “I am forever She-Hulk.” Deep.
Later that night, Jen drives home, wanders through a dark alley and is predictably attacked by a group of men that look like they were ripped directly from Gob Bluth’s male stripper service. There’s a generic fight scene our hero wins without much effort, leaving the goons to retreat to a van where one of them states: “Boss is gonna be mad.” Hmmm.
Jen then sees her half-rendered She-Hulk reflection in a car window and … cue credits.
A post credit scene also sees Jen/She-Hulk dancing with Megan Thee Stallion.
She-Hulk Season 1 Episode 3 Final Thoughts
Damn, MCU. What happened? Like, how did we get here? I’m not looking for deep, dark cinema or anything, but She-Hulk is so lazy in its writing and execution that it fails to generate even the slightest bit of excitement. There’s a solid idea here, but the writers simply aren’t exploiting the clever concept to its fullest.
Where is this is going? I doubt Emil is just going to head off to a farm with his Soulmates — because it would be a colossal waste of Tim Roth if that were the case — but it honestly wouldn’t surprise me to see the character vanish altogether. This is Jen’s show, after all. Plus, I’m also not sure if She-Hulk is savvy enough to fully take advantage of a character like Abomination. At best, he’ll be a toothless villain whose strength pales in comparison to Jen’s, leading to a bland, half-rendered CGI fight sequence that’ll play out without much intensity.
I’m really excited for this, if you can’t tell.
Until next week, fellow She-Hulk watchers.