DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Defenders contains more spoilers than the number of times Jessica Jones has put whiskey in her coffee. I can only assume that’s a frequent occurrence. Proceed with caution.
Welcome, heroes of New York City! The day for Marvel fans has finally arrived – The Defenders are here and ready to, well, defend. We were blessed with a solid season opener, with glimpses into what our four heroes have been up to since we last saw them on their respective shows. Matt works pro bono for another firm and appears to be happy. Luke is released from prison and is currently canoodling Claire (they definitely went out for “coffee”). Jessica begrudgingly takes on a missing persons case while staving off the press from discovering her story. Danny, in his continued search for The Hand, meets a dead end in Cambodia and returns to New York. Now, how will our foursome eventually join forces? Methinks that monumental ending (thanks to Alexandra) might have something to do with it.
Alright, Team Defend, ready to delve into The Defenders pilot? Sweet Christmas, I know I am.
We open with a shot of the sewers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. A mysterious, shrouded figure is fighting a man named Shaft (Marko Zaror). Once they pass through a section of light we see the mystery figure is a woman. She is well and truly kicking his butt. Netflix needs to hold on to their fight choreographers, because they’re phenomenal at their jobs. Suddenly, she knocks him down and is about to go in for the kill when Danny Rand (Finn Jones) swoops in through the shadows. He immediately launches into attack mode, defending Shaft. See, he’s living up to the show’s title already.
However, mystery woman is faster. She goes in for the kill and takes out Shaft, much to Danny’s dismay. She scampers away when Danny’s attention is diverted. Colleen (Jessica Henwick) appears and urges Danny to chase her, but it’s too late. Instead, our duo stays with the dying Shaft. Danny admits that since he’s searching for The Hand he thought Shaft would have answers. The dying man knows he’s Iron Fist, and tells Danny to return to New York. That’s where the real fight will be.
Meanwhile, a sleeping Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) is rudely awakened in a bar by its bartender. Said bartender reveals that it’s A) daylight and B) time for her to leave. The party’s just getting started, dude. However, Jessica trudges outside, hangover and all.
Then, we see Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor) discover her car in the midst of being towed. Thankfully, Jessica yanks Trish’s car out of the tow truck’s clutches with her awesome strength. After Jessica’s display of power, the besties grab a coffee and chit chat about our hero’s future. Trish urges Jessica to tell her story in full. She faced down Kilgrave and won – that deserves recognition, right? But, Jessica will be Jessica. She prefers a life outside the spotlight.
Later, we see Luke Cage (Mike Colter) is being released from prison. A chorus of cheers rises from the cell blocks as he walks past, being led to freedom. Then, he’s in civilian clothes and speaking with none other than Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), who helped release him. He’s working for Jeri Hogarth now, if you recall. I need Murdock/Nelson to be a thing again, please. Anyway, Foggy offers Luke his assistance, should the latter require it.
Meanwhile, Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) is preparing for a case in his apartment. He stops when he hears a bout of violence occur outside. However, Daredevil is part of his old life. No more donning the red suit and fighting the baddies of Hell’s Kitchen. Later, we see our favorite lawyer (sorry Foggy) lawyer-ing it up during a lawsuit. Matt wins the case, which grants a cozy million to the family of a boy who was paralyzed. Before the boy soldiers into the fray of journalists and paparazzi, Matt gives him solid life advice on how to manage in a world of able-bodied people.
Then, our Daredevil runs into Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll). The former lovebirds decide to go out for a bite to eat, and to catch up on life.
Meanwhile, Danny and Colleen are en route to New York in the former’s lush private plane. Being a Rand has its perks, no? Danny is in the bathroom, and wipes a hand over the steamed mirror after his shower. He sees a blood soaked curtain behind him, and pushes it aside. Suddenly, he’s surrounded by slain monks. Blood pools everywhere, covers everything. He runs into another version of himself, who chastises him for the choices he’s made. Danny could have saved the monks, according to his twin. Then, we see Danny wakes up screaming, still on the plane. Colleen tries to coerce what’s bothering him out of him, but Danny refuses to budge. Well, initially.
Later, Alexandra (Sigourney Weaver) is making her way to the MRI ward in a hospital. She’s dressed to the nines in the nicest clothes I’ve ever seen. Well, for non-formal outfits, that is. After some testing, she meets with her doctor. Said doctor informs her she is terminally ill, and may have just months to live. Not always something one wants to hear.
Meanwhile, Jessica returns to her office and is surprised to discover a mother (Michelle Federer) and daughter (Chloe Levine) awaiting her arrival. The mother, Michelle, claims her husband is missing and it’s very unlike him. Jessica initially writes this off as a man having an extramarital affair, but when she receives a phone call persuading her to drop the case her mind begins to sing a different tune. Distorted phone calls are so horror movies in the ’90’s.
Then, Luke Cage finally makes his return to Harlem. He is greeted by Claire (Rosario Dawson) and the two immediately get “coffee.” “Coffee” stands for sexy fun times, guys. I dig these two together, but I want Jessica and Luke more. After their raucous fun, Misty (Simone Missick) pays Luke a visit. They take a walk together.
Meanwhile, Matt and Karen are enjoying their lunch at a diner. Diner food is the best (my opinion is fact). Karen enjoys her lush new gig, and having free reign to write about whatever she wants. She asks Matt if he ever regrets divulging his superhero identity to her, and if he misses that life. Matt replies, saying no to both. I’m not sure I believe the second part.
Later, Malcolm (Eka Darville) drops in to Jessica’s place. Jessica is annoyed by his very presence, and demands he give her the key she gave him. You know, the one that allows him to visit her all the time. He sees she’s looking up the missing husband, and falls down the rabbit hole of conspiracy. Eventually, the duo traces the call to a payphone. Who uses those anymore? Anyway, Jessica now has a lead, and she’ll follow it to the ends of the Earth.
Then, we see Luke and Misty are walking and talking. Misty reveals that Mariah and Shades have been up to the same tricks. Luke plans to take them down. Misty then shows him a case she undertook recently. A 25 year old boy died in a tragic car accident. He was Candace’s brother. His brother Cole, however, is still in the Land of the Living. Luke decides to emulate Pop by taking this boy under his wing. You do catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, Luke. Time to uncover the truth!
Meanwhile, Matt is at confession. He confesses to Father Lantom (Peter McRobbie) that he lied to Karen about not missing his old life. I knew it! Just put on the suit, Matt. It’s what you were meant to do. Father Lantom then reminds him of Elektra, and her potential response to Matt’s new life. Murdock believes she would scold him for giving it up. Father Lantom tells Matt that he hopes our Daredevil finds peace.
Later, Alexandra is sitting in the park, feeding the pigeons. Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho) sits beside her. These two are working together? I can dig it. Gao informs her that their plan is set in motion, and it should take a few months to properly execute. Alexandra, thinking of her terminal illness, demands Gao have their constituents work more quickly to enact the plan as soon as possible. She needs results now!
Then, Luke arrives at a rundown apartment complex. He meets Cole (J. Mallory McCree), the guy who lost his brother and sister. Luke asks him questions about his brother’s death. Cole seems to know very little about his brother’s life, let alone death. Luke, who discovers what Cole does for a living, urges the boy to find a new place to work. To save himself. Aw, Luke is such a good guy.
Meanwhile, Jessica is doing some digging of her own. She locates the missing husband’s apartment. However, he’s not home. So, she enters the empty apartment by simply extracting the door knob from the door with a tug. That’s it. Oh, to have strength like that. Even though for the most part she found nothing of significance, she did uncover a box of explosives. That’s not scary at all.
Later, Madame Gao finds Alexandra outside her home, studying NYC in all its nighttime splendor. Gao informs her that the plan will now be executed that very night – she moved mountains to expedite the process. What plan though? I’m nosy!
Then, Danny and Colleen are traveling via train. They’re just about to enter New York City proper. Colleen refers to NYC as “the greatest city in the world,” and she’s right. Also, I definitely thought of Hamilton just now.
Meanwhile, Matt arrives at his home and is rummaging through his fridge. His Daredevil senses begin to tingle. Something is wrong. Then, everything begins to shake. Danny and Colleen also experience the earthquake-esque shaking, along with all of the power in NYC being snuffed out. The ground splits under their feet.
Back in Harlem, Luke saves a woman from being smashed to death via light pole. He too is a victim to the violent shakes.
Jessica sees everything shift all around her, and hears the screams from people outside.
Then, we see Alexandra, still on the roof, observing the chaos below. This was the plan. Elektra (Elodie Yung) emerges from the shadows. We learn she was instrumental in this dangerous scheme. I also believe she was the one fighting Danny in Cambodia.
Now, we shift back to Matt. Suddenly, the shaking stops. He listens to the screaming outside, and the chaos the earthquake left in its wake.
The Defenders did not disappoint with this first episode! While there weren’t a lot of action sequences, the ones at the beginning were enough to satisfy me. I enjoyed seeing where our foursome was in life thus far, and the events that’ll lead them to joining forces and stopping Alexandra from whatever else she plans to do. Elektra as a potential villain? I dig it, although her expression at the end of the episode was not one of triumph or satisfaction. There’s so much they can do with this series, and I’m so excited to see where it goes next.
What do you think Alexandra plans to do (besides shake up NYC like a martini)? Will Elektra become Matt’s enemy? Do you think we’ll see Mariah or Shades at some point? Keep your eyes glued to this spot as I continue to recap The Defenders, only at Geek Girl Authority.
The Defenders is now streaming on Netflix.
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