DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Defenders contains more spoilers than the number of sushi rolls Danny Rand can consume. In short, it has a lot of spoilers. You’ve been warned. Enter at your own risk.
Welcome back, heroes of NYC! We’re now officially at the halfway point in The Defenders, and while I dread reaching the finish line, I’m excited to see the remainder of the season unfold. This episode gave us a ton of scenes with our foursome finally together. But will they stay that way? Only time (and perhaps a Stick) will tell.
Alright, Defenders, ready to dive in and chop off The Hand? Though, you might want to grab a bottle of whiskey first. Just please, don’t take Jessica’s.
We open with a shot of the Royal Dragon Restaurant, on W. 47th Street. Its owner, Mr. Zhang (Phil Nee) is closing up shop for the night. Well, at least he thinks he is. Suddenly, our Defenders barge in, seeking refuge from The Hand. Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) even barricades the front door. Mr. Zhang threatens to call the police. Thankfully, Danny Rand (Finn Jones) slips the owner his company credit card and offers to pay the rent for the next six months. Must be nice to be rich. Anyway, Mr. Zhang is content now. But, he has his cooks whip up two of every dish, as compensation for forcing him to keep the restaurant open. Payback is a b****, my friends.
Then, Jessica and Luke Cage (Mike Colter) finally have a conversation about how they’re doing. You know, how’s life post-Kilgrave or post-prison? That kind of stuff. Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) refuses to remove Jessica’s scarf, in spite of the remaining three Defenders protests. Obviously, he wishes to keep his identity secret for as long as possible. Our group chats about their next move. Matt throws his hands in the air, and tries to leave. Luke attempts to persuade him to stay, since he’s just as involved now as they are. Jessica reminds everyone that she’s not in this for the mystical aspect or the organization behind it. She simply wants to solve her case.
Meanwhile, Jessica pulls Matt aside in one last-ditch effort to convince our Daredevil to remove the scarf. She knows he’s the “Devil of Hell’s Kitchen.” Time to let the others in. Then, Matt begrudgingly removes the scarf, and returns to their table chock full of food. He introduces himself to Luke and Danny. Time to dig in!
Later, we see Elektra (Elodie Yung) standing in front of the mirror in her room, examining scars of battles long past. Alexandra (Sigourney Weaver) enters her room. She again explains to Elektra how important Black Sky is to the mission. Elektra is a weapon, meant to serve The Hand. Alexandra also throws in a subtle threat – if Elektra continues to fail, then the former has no use for her. Thus, she’ll be eradicated. Alexandra also goes on about how she thinks of Elektra as her daughter. Their relationship is a rather tumultuous one, just as mother-daughter relationships tend to be. Also, hats off to Yung for being such a gifted actress. She’s a pro at conveying a plethora of emotions without uttering a single word.
Next, our quartet is chowing down on their food, still contemplating where to go from here. Jessica, ever the logical one, brings up a laundry list of laws they broke regarding their encounter with The Hand at Midland Circle Financial. Luke mentions Misty as a police officer they can trust, but Matt believes the less people that are involved, the better. Danny, ever the idealistic one, believes that the forces of fate are at play here – they were obviously meant to unite as a team.
Suddenly, Matt here’s a familiar sound. Stick (Scott Glenn) arrives just in time for dessert. We see that Colleen must’ve bandaged the stump where his hand used to be. Matt is not happy to see the old man.
Meanwhile, Alexandra finds Murakami (Yutaka Takeuchi) slicing open a dead bear. Yes, a bear. In New York City. He carefully removes its innards, placing said organs in jars. Alexandra tells him that, in their quest to locate the Iron Fist, she discovered he’s not working alone. She mentions that three others fight alongside him. Murakami tells Alexandra that the problem with her leadership is her inability to get her hands dirty. Alexandra asks for his help in defeating our Defenders. White Hat and Madame Gao are on board, with another member of The Hand en route. Murakami agrees to this.
Later, Elektra is in the armory, studying the weapons that lay before her. Sowande AKA White Hat (Babs Olusanmokun) approaches her, flanked by two of his cronies. He doubts her ability to deliver as an unbeatable weapon since she allowed The Defenders to walk away unscathed. Elektra takes out his henchmen in one fell swoop, proving that she’s a bad*** and not to be trifled with. Then, she walks away. You go girl!
Meanwhile, Stick introduces himself and tells them he’s part of the Chaste organization, an army sworn to defend humanity from The Hand. Apparently, the Chaste was the Iron Fist’s army. Sadly, however, they’re all dead except for Stick. Then, he pulls out Danny’s phone and breaks it, calling him a “blundering dumb***.” Not going to lie, I dig that everyone is razzing on Danny. Danny apparently called Colleen, and Stick reminds the group that personal ties will get them killed. Matt reveals that he’s known Stick since he was a kid. He learned to fight from him. Our Daredevil attempts to pull Stick aside to talk, but Luke tells him that he can share whatever he’s going to say with the class.
In short, Stick reveals that our quartet is all that stands between The Hand and the potential destruction of New York City. They must band together to take them down. Jessica opts out, claiming she’s had enough of the mysticism stuff. Luke follows her outside.
Meanwhile, our former lovers wish each other well as they part ways, but there’s still a longing there. A singular spark that exists between them. Just get back together already! Jessica leaves.
Later, Alexandra is getting primped for a gala of some sort. Suddenly, she shoos her stylists away. We see her procure a bottle of pills from a desk drawer and she takes them. Alexandra phones someone and tells them that there’s been a “change of plans.” Her sickness is catching up with her.
Then, Jessica returns to Alias Investigations. After taking a swig of whiskey (my kind of girl), she opens her laptop and continues to work on her case. She studies a series of signatures from different people, all starting with the letter “A.” It’s the same company that changed names over the years. Jessica realizes that said signatures were done by the same person, spanning over hundreds of years. Alexandra starts with an “A.” Uh oh. Immortality, anyone?
Meanwhile, Stick is sitting with the boys and divulging everything he knows regarding The Hand’s origins. They originally started at K’un Lun as a group of people who simply wanted to pursue higher knowledge and access their chi, the life force. The Hand is the smaller faction that broke away, obsessed with becoming immortal and obtaining power. Now, The Hand has their hands (heehee) in all the cookie jars, operating behind the scenes in every facet of industry. There are five “fingers” to The Hand, each overseeing their respective areas. Alexandra is one of the fingers, as is Madame Gao, Sowande, Murakami and Bakuto, who Danny killed. Whoa, talk about information overload!
Then, Matt again asks Stick what he gets from all this. We see our Daredevil is still reticent about diving into everything headfirst. He’s technically retired now. Cox is very adept at conveying that inner struggle within Matt with such nuance. Matt storms off in a huff, while the remaining three sit in silence.
Later, a slightly buzzed Jessica shows up on Michelle Raymond’s (Michelle Federer) doorstep. Our favorite PI reveals she’s been digging into John Raymond’s case. Something suspicious is definitely afoot. Jessica tells Michelle she plans on getting round the clock security for her and her daughter. Michelle assumes she already did, as a man sitting in a black car has been parked outside their townhouse. Jessica urges Michelle to go inside and stay away from the windows. Looks like our girl has to go kick someone’s butt.
Meanwhile, we bore witness to the beginning of the Luke/Danny bromance. They shared food, you guys. Food! That’s the first step. Well, Luke continuously insists that he doesn’t need “super friends,” he’s just in this to save Harlem. Danny, on the other hand, knows they make a great team. Luke will come around eventually, Danny. Just you wait.
Next, we see Stick meander over to Matt, who is sulking near a window. Stick brings up Elektra, and how they’ve both seen her. He reminds Matt that she’s not the same Elektra he fell in love with. Matt reveals that she didn’t kill him while they fought. She had the chance, but she hesitated. Daredevil believes she could be saved. Stick, however, feels she needs to be eradicated in order for them to dispense of The Hand. Suddenly, our pair hears someone outside the restaurant.
Meanwhile, Jessica takes matters into her own hands regarding the lurking Hand member outside the Raymond residence. She pulls him outside via car window and roughens him up as only our girl can. He refuses to answer her questions. Well, he did shake his head “no” whenever she asked him if he would continue to survey the Raymonds. So, that’s a plus.
Then, the remaining Defenders are glancing outside the restaurant windows, knowing full well The Hand is planning their next attack. Alexandra strolls inside, hoping to barter a truce with her enemy. She insists that her organization’s only concern is maintaining life. Strange, considering the violence that surrounds The Hand. Alexandra tries to sway Danny to her cause, the Immortal Iron Fist being a great asset to The Hand. Danny refuses to bend, firmly rooting himself on the side of our heroes. Since talking failed, Alexandra deploys her latest and greatest weapon – Elektra. Black Sky enters the arena, sword at her side. She stares down our gang, a coiled spring ready to be released at any moment.
Suddenly, a car crashes through the restaurant and takes down Elektra. Jessica Jones saunters into the Royal Dragon. She decided to return after all, to fight the greatest threat to her city alongside her fellow Defenders. Our team is reunited and boy, does it feel so good.
Good golly, The Defenders just gets better and better. Can we get 18 episodes instead of 8, please? I’m thoroughly enjoying the dynamic between our Defenders – from Jessica’s dry humor to Luke’s running commentary on everything. Danny’s unbridled optimism and Matt’s inner struggle. Everything is pitch perfect. Not to mention, the revelations about Alexandra make her more menacing than ever. Marvel TV has their villains down to a science – they’re nuanced and multi-faceted.
Do you think Elektra still remembers Matt? How long until The Hand launches their next catastrophe akin to the tremors? Will Trish ever suit up as Hellcat (this is my wishful thinking talking)? Can Elektra be swayed back to the good side before it’s too late? Luckily there are four episodes left for us to find out!
The Defenders is now streaming on Netflix.