DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Defenders contains more spoilers than the number of times Danny Rand reminds everyone he’s the Iron Fist. Well, sometimes he refers to himself as the “Immortal Iron Fist.” Potato, am I right? You’ve been warned. Enter at your own risk.
Welcome back, Defenders of NYC! We’ve finally reached penultimate episode territory! Oh, how I wish this season was longer than eight episodes. We saw what Danny is supposed to unlock – an ancient door that’s supposed to house the greatest secrets of The Hand. Meanwhile, our remaining defending trio did their best to evade the law, all the while attempting to save their comrade. Elektra endured her first day on the job as leader of The Hand. Ruling is hard, you guys!
Alright, ready to dive in to “Fish in the Jailhouse?” First things first: this episode is definitely not about fish being inside a jailhouse. Or the jailhouse, for that matter. Let’s get that out of the way now.
We open with a flashback – I always love a good flashback. Stick (Scott Glenn) and Elektra (Elodie Yung) are talking about none other than our Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. Elektra’s task is to sway Matt to the side of the Chaste, as they prepare to take on The Hand. Mind you, this is prior to the Chaste’s demise. Elektra claims Matt doesn’t have it in him, and refuses to budge on the issue. Stick chastises her for succumbing to love. Love can make you do crazy things, like not follow orders.
Flash forward time! Present day. Stick is lying in a pool of blood, very much dead. We see Luke Cage (Mike Colter), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) and Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) also on the ground, unconscious from Elektra’s power punches.
Later, Jessica wakes up in an interrogation room at the police station. Misty (Simone Missick) is present. She launches into a line of questioning regarding the warehouse they just left. In short, the police discovered Sowande’s headless body and Stick’s freshly dead one, deeming said warehouse a crime scene. Jessica tries her hardest to leave no breadcrumbs for Misty, as it would only put her in danger. Misty, in turn, tries to convince Jessica that the police are here to help. Jessica reluctantly brings up The Hand, to which Misty replies that the police have been tracking them.
Meanwhile, Matt jolts awake in another room, temporarily disoriented and confused as to his whereabouts. Foggy (Elden Henson) finds him and attempts to calm his friend down. Matt finally absorbs the fact that Elektra killed Stick, and we see how emotional he becomes over his mentor’s passing. Then, Matt shrugs on his coat and tells Foggy he has to leave, since The Hand has Danny. Foggy knows this is a fight he can’t win – nobody can tell Matt what to do. Nobody puts Daredevil in a box! Misty visits Matt, and our hero goes into lawyer mode. Matt informs Misty of Danny’s kidnapping and how they need to help him.
Then, we see an unconscious Luke lying on a bed, with Claire (Rosario Dawson) at his side. Colleen (Jessica Henwick) is also present. They ponder on when he’ll wake up. Colleen worries over Danny, and whether he escaped or was captured by The Hand. Definitely the latter. Finally, our bulletproof man rouses from his temporary snooze. He too asks where Danny is. Time to save the Rand!
Meanwhile, at Midland Circle, a pair of guards wrap up Alexandra’s body and dispose of it. Murakami (Yutaka Takeuchi), Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho) and Bakuto (Ramon Rodriguez) are shocked at Elektra’s brazen act. She’s now the Head Honcho. The Big Cheese. Our remaining “fingers” tell Elektra that the murder she committed is not reflective of how The Hand truly functions. Alexandra worked hard to construct relationships with powerful people all over the world, and now said relationships could be undone with her death. Then, Elektra reminds them of their mission – to essentially avoid death at all costs. Not even death can stand in Elektra’s way.
Later, our trio of Defenders are heading to meet with the police chief. Said chief makes it clear that this is a crime scene, and our heroes are suspects in the matter. Of course, nobody reveals any pertinent information, for fear of putting everyone in danger. Smart move. Matt puts on his lawyer pants and asks the police chief to speak with his “clients” (Luke and Jessica) alone.
Then, Matt briefly runs into Karen (Deborah Ann Woll). She’s still coming to terms with the fact that Matt is back at it again – fighting the good fight. However, Karen seems more understanding of the situation than she did before, so that’s good.
Next, Misty pulls Luke aside and tries to warm up to him as a friend. Good tactic for attempting to obtain information. However, Luke stonewalls her. He doesn’t want her to get hurt. Luke’s a great friend.
Meanwhile, Elektra is taking an unconscious Danny (Finn Jones) downstairs, more underground to be exact. Madame Gao, Bakuto and Murakami are observing the pair via surveillance footage. They’re just like Santa – they see you when you’re sleeping. Finally, our Iron Fist wakes as Elektra wheels him off the elevator. He spots something of great interest upon arriving.
Then, Jessica, Luke and Matt debate whether they can escape to Midland Circle without the police being alerted. While that will be tough, it’s not impossible. However, that seems to be where all the crazy began. You can do it, Team Defend!
Later, Foggy hands Matt a bag containing his Daredevil costume. Aw, Foggy is still looking out for Matt! Bros forever.
Meanwhile, the police chief impresses the urgency of the situation not only on Misty as a cop, but as someone who wishes to move up in the world. She feels added pressure to perform well now.
Next, our protagonists make an executive decision – police be damned, saving all of New York is more imperative. We hear alarms go off as the police chief and Misty run toward where the Defenders were. A gaping hole resides within the brick wall, leading the pair to believe they jumped through the wall to freedom. I think Matt and Jessica hung on to Luke as the latter broke through the wall, considering he’s the bulletproof one. Just a hunch.
Meanwhile, Elektra reveals why she wheeled Danny to the underbelly of Midland Circle. A door inscribed in the ancient language of K’un Lun stands before them, glowing a phosphorescent blue. Elektra needs Danny to translate said door, and opening it will reveal the secrets of The Hand. Danny refuses to help, not wanting to contribute to The Hand’s success in any way. Elektra tries to convince him that she’s not The Hand, and she was used just like him. Danny puts his figurative foot down, reminding her he’s sworn to protect everyone from The Hand. Elektra frees him from his straps as an added incentive.
Then, back at the police station, we see Colleen breaking into an unauthorized room and nicking some items before she leaves. She plans on helping our Defenders in their rescuing of Danny. You go, girl!
Later, our trio is attempting to lay low following their escape from the police station. They know everyone will be searching for them. After they all come to the realization that no one has money for a cab, they take the next best thing – the subway. Hey, even superheroes need to travel affordably and quickly. Jessica spots a bum across from them with a six pack. She snatches a can from said pack and downs it in seconds. As the boys observe this unfolding, Jessica remarks that “it’s been a long week.” Preach it, sister. No one is judging you.
Meanwhile, Foggy and Karen reunite for a quick chat. Foggy confesses to Karen that he gave Matt his Daredevil suit in the hopes that if he squashes The Hand, he can hang his crime fighting hat (or suit) permanently. Karen, on the other hand, simply sees the act as enabling.
Next, Misty pays Claire a visit, asking her to give up Luke’s whereabouts if she knows. Claire claims ignorance, but adds that wherever he is is where he needs to be now. I’ve always liked Claire – she’s good people. Misty asserts that she just wants to help our Defenders prevent whatever catastrophe may be heading their way. Suddenly, the pair realizes Colleen is nowhere to be found.
Then, Matt, Jessica and Luke arrive at Midland Circle. They decide to go through the parking garage as a point of entry. Unfortunately, the remaining three “fingers” of The Hand are waiting for them there. Madame Gao, Bakuto and Murakami await them, poised and ready for a fight. Our heroes will certainly give them just that.
Next, Danny is standing free before the door. Elektra reveals she killed Alexandra, thereby freeing herself from her masters. Danny could also be free of his obligations as the Iron Fist, if he only seizes his destiny. Danny, in another attempt to rebel, decides physically fighting would do more damage than verbal sparring. Thus, the Iron Fist and the Black Sky commence a duel.
Then, we see a fight break out between the six in the Midland Circle garage, in tandem with Danny and Elektra’s fight. I love seeing our Defenders in action, especially since the fight sequences in all Marvel shows are always in top form. Suddenly, Colleen shows up and marches into the fray. She takes on Bakuto, her old master. Jessica battles with Madame Gao, and I’m always impressed to see an elder woman with a cane whoop someone’s butt. One of the perks of being a “finger” of The Hand, I guess. Then, Murakami yells “Lights! Now!” and Bakuto launches a streak of flame separating our heroes from the villains. Thus, this acts as a distraction, allowing the evil trio to escape. Luke extinguishes the fire by closing a pipe where said flames were emanating from…with his hands. So cool!
Meanwhile, Danny uses the actual Iron Fist on Elektra, sending her flying across the space. However, she gets back up again and the duo continues their battle. As they inch closer to the door, Elektra has an idea and moves to the side when Danny launches his next glowing punch. Said punch breaks through the door, and Danny tumbles to the other side. This act knocks out all the power in New York City. Yay for power outages!
Then, our heroes run into Misty, who distracts the rest of the authorities when they arrive so the Defenders can save the city. Luke blocks the side entrance so the police can’t break in. Now, our heroes are finally in the lobby. Colleen reveals she’s packing a punch of her own – she’s nicked the explosives under police custody to blow up Midland Circle. That’s what John Raymond was planning to do anyway, right? Jessica immediately protests the idea. They’re already breaking a dozen laws by being there. But, Matt reveals that nobody is in the building save Murakami, Bakuto and Madame Gao. Incinerate the three surviving figureheads of The Hand and perhaps the rest of the organization disperses. Worth a shot!
Next, Danny marvels (heehee) at the sight behind the magical door. Then, the shot widens and we see a cadre of bones – bones of ancient beasts. An outline of said bones creates a dragon symbol…the very same one on Danny’s chest. Uh oh. S*** is about to get real.
Guys, I don’t want The Defenders to end. I’m enjoying seeing the Marvel worlds collide, and how these characters interact with each other. From Jessica and Matt’s budding friendship to Luke and Danny’s blossoming bromance (only flower references for my heroes), witnessing four very different people come together to take down a singular enemy is a beautiful thing to behold. Also, hats off to the writing team for plausibly bringing our gang together with The Hand as a threat, and making it believable that said organization has affected them all.
Do you think Elektra’s only objective is eternal life? Or, is she possibly “playing” The Hand and really on the side of our heroes? Her motives seem murky to me. Also, do you think the Defenders will really blow up the building, or will we see a final showdown with The Hand? What do Danny’s discoveries mean? We have one episode left to find out!
The Defenders is now streaming on Netflix.
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