DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Defenders contains more spoilers than the number of times Luke Cage has been pelleted with bullets. We’re so, so thankful none of those said bullets did any damage. You’ve been warned. Tread with caution.
Welcome back, Defenders of New York City, to the beginning of the end! Yes, Episode 8 of The Defenders was the closing chapter of the Marvel series (sob). Marvel gods, if you’re listening, please bestow upon us at least five more episodes to give it a proper Netflix run. I’ll sacrifice the blood of my nonexistent firstborn, if that’s what it takes. Anyway, the season finale definitely kept me on the edge of my seat, with our Defenders attempting to eliminate The Hand once and for all. And save Danny, I guess. That might be important too.
Alright, New Yorkers, time to delve deeper into the season finale of The Defenders! Don’t forget to center your chi and take a shot of whiskey. You’ll especially need the whiskey.
We open right where we left off – with our heroes inside Midland Circle, contemplating their next move. Colleen nicked explosives from the police station, ones that were categorized as evidence in John Raymond’s now closed case. Her plan to utilize said explosives to take out the remaining “fingers” of The Hand is approved by some and disapproved by others. Luke Cage (Mike Colter) vehemently denounces the very idea, saying he’s not about killing people. On the other hand (heehee), Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) and Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) both are on Team Colleen (Jessica Henwick). Even Claire (Rosario Dawson), who’s doing the horizontal tango with Luke, supports the idea of taking out The Hand in this manner.
Now, how else can you destroy the source with such immediacy? If they were to go about it any other way besides death, there’s always the chance The Hand would return to power and slaughter more people. Not a risk our Defenders are willing to take. So, Luke reluctantly joins Team Colleen and braces himself for an explosion.
Meanwhile, Elektra (Elodie Yung) is exploring the newfound ruins of a dragon, the ones that were hidden behind the ancient door. She has a look of pure curiosity and intrigue on her face. Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho) joins her. She tells Elektra they need to extract the substance capable of granting them eternal life and get out of dodge. “Dodge” being NYC, of course.
Gao also reveals that our Defenders are on site, and the “fingers” successfully held them back. Technically, they’ve won the war. Now time to collect their earnings and leave. Elektra puts her foot down, claiming she’ll decide when they’ve emerged victorious. Danny Rand (Finn Jones) is eavesdropping on the duo.
Then, our protagonists are in the midst of crafting a hopefully solid plan of attack. Colleen and Claire will plant the explosives while Matt, Luke and Jessica will hunt for Danny and presumably battle The Hand once more. Go, team, go!
Later, we see Misty (Simone Missick) and her police chief Strieber (Ron Simons) discovering that someone stole the explosives from the precinct. They’re standing just outside Midland Circle, and after said discovery Misty calls on the bomb division to hightail it down there. Bombs are no laughing matter, folks.
Meanwhile, Karen (Deborah Ann Woll) is perusing the evidence photos from the various incidents perpetuated by The Hand. Trish (Rachael Taylor) sidles up beside her. The pair discusses their respective encounters with The Hand, as well as what it’s like being best friends with superheroes. Of course, Trish has no idea Matt is actually Daredevil. Then, Foggy (Elden Henson) and Malcolm (Eka Darville) enter, and inform the other two that police are currently outside Midland Circle. Trish knows the epicenter of the tremors existed in Midland Circle, and it’s also the epicenter of all things related to The Hand as well. Everything is coming full circle!
Then, our trio of heroes is attempting to locate a means of getting underground, to where Danny most likely is. Matt taps a wall that has an elevator on the other side. His Spidey senses know no bounds. Luke punches through said wall, then pulls it aside so the others can step through. Sure enough, a lift is waiting for them. Matt has a moment where he expresses his gratitude for having met his fellow Defenders. Luke and Jessica are, naturally, repulsed by it. Just let the love in, guys! They hop aboard the lift and slowly descend.
Meanwhile, Colleen and Claire find a suitable place to lay out explosives and construct a ticking bomb. However, they’re not alone. Colleen sees Bakuto (Ramon Rodriguez) step out of the shadows. It’s showtime! Colleen launches into attack mode and the former mentor and student duke it out. Misty calls Claire, who’s currently taking shelter away from the fight, to ask her where Luke is. Claire comments on how it’s not the best time to talk, and Misty hears swords clanking in the background. Claire hangs up. Then, Misty shoots her gun at the door Luke “locked” from the inside.
Next, Danny has an encounter with Madame Gao, as he observes his new surroundings. Not-so subtle threats are tossed back and forth between the pair. Gao reminds him that she’s known him since he was a child – always defiant, always wishing for independence. She even mentions his dearly departed mother. Please, Gao, pour a little more salt into that wound.
Meanwhile, our heroes are in the lift, descending to their doom. Well, hopefully not. They formulate a plan that involves Jessica being a pawn of sorts. She exits the lift solo when it lands at the bottom. We see Gao, Murakami (Yutaka Takeuchi), Elektra, Danny and other members of The Hand awaiting her arrival. Jessica waves a figurative white flag, claiming she only wants to talk, not fight. Then, Matt and Luke swing into action and commence the punching. Thus, everyone else joins the fight. So many fists (and one of them is Iron)!
Then, we see Colleen and Bakuto continue their battle. Claire is surprised when a slew of Hand henchmen enter the fray. Still, she’s able to beat them away. That’s my girl. Suddenly, Bakuto slices Colleen in the back, but it doesn’t appear to be as deep as last time.
Later, we see shots of each Defender fighting – Jessica using her super strength, Luke taking all the beatings with his impenetrable skin, Matt utilizing his Spidey senses, Danny his glowing fist. I’m still in awe every time I witness a glorious fight sequence from anything Marvel related. Such detail and precision goes into every move, every shot. Then, our team assembles together and we get a beautiful shot of the foursome, ready to take on The Hand once more.
Meanwhile, Misty arrives on the scene, bearing witness to the Colleen vs. Bakuto duel. She threatens to shoot the “finger” of The Hand. Bakuto has Colleen in his cross hares, but fortunately our girl ducks before she’s chopped liver. Unfortunately, Misty loses an arm as a result. Yes, her whole arm is sliced off. However, Colleen whirls around with lightening speed and cleanly lobs off Bakuto’s head, effectively demolishing him. Well, it appears Misty is fulfilling her comic prophecy by losing her arm – this can only mean we get Daughters of the Dragon, right?
Later, Matt hears the ticking bomb and knows it’s set to go off very soon. After only Elektra remains (Madame Gao sauntered off during the battle), our Devil of Hell’s Kitchen convinces the remaining Defenders to leave him behind. He still believes he can convince Elektra to return to the good side. While initially they’re reluctant to leave, they heed his executive decision. Prior to leaving though, Matt whispers something in Danny’s ear. My curiosity senses are tingling!
Then, we see Jessica, Luke and Matt are ascending in the lift. The remaining Hand members, including Murakami, are attempting to climb inside the elevator. Our heroes are now batting them away, continuing the fight from before.
Meanwhile, Matt throws all his cards in as he attempts to sway Elektra to his side. He tries not to physically attack her, and instead reminds her of who she was and what she meant to him. We see glimpses of the real Elektra peek through, but she immediately snaps back into Black Sky mode, and Matt is forced to actually fight her.
Next, our ascending heroes are still shooing away those pesky Hand people. Jessica climbs atop the lift and tosses our villains overboard. Luke is battling Murakami, and thankfully he too throws the “finger” over the edge. Murakami tumbles down into the darkness, presumably to his final death. Then, the ropes holding the lift snap. Jessica then grabs said ropes and holds the car in midair before it crashes into the depths below. My girl is so strong! Luke and Danny are awestruck by the scene. Jessica chastises them for gawking and urges our boys to climb upward to freedom. Once everyone is safely above the lift, she drops it.
Meanwhile, our former lovebirds continue their song and dance. Matt asks Elektra why she hasn’t killed him yet, after so many opportunities fell at her feet. Elektra replies that she loves playing “the game.” The Game of Thrones, perhaps? Because with that one, you win or you die.
Later, the police finally break inside Midland Circle and demand our Defenders put their hands up. Colleen and Claire help a badly bleeding Misty to the door. Our heroes try to explain that they want to help protect the city, and that the structure will explode in a matter of minutes.
Then, mid fight, Elektra reveals a secret: she’s loved him since the first time she laid eyes on him. Aw, a love story for the ages (and still better than Twilight). However, this is still a duel, so love has to be set aside.
Meanwhile, Madame Gao finds Murakami impaled and bleeding on the ground. She knows the bomb is about to go off, and that they’ll all die.
The bomb hits zero. Then, the building begins to crumble from the massive explosion. We see Elektra and Matt cease fighting as they realize the structure will collapse on them. They kiss, passionately and fiercely. One last hurrah, one last bang before the end. Well, I’d rather die passionately making out with someone than something worse – like drowning, for instance. We see the building collapse completely.
Our Defenders watch the whole explosion from the sidelines, safely outside the premises. Luke realizes that Matt never planned on getting out alive. Danny reveals Matt’s last words to him: “Take care of my city.” Ugh, right in the heart. I know Daredevil was renewed for a third season, but this killed me.
Later, our team arrives back at the precinct to the foursome waiting within – Foggy, Karen, Malcolm and Trish. They hug their respective friends. Foggy and Karen wait for Matt to appear, and once reality sets in the tears begin to flow. As do mine.
Flash forward! We see Trish is at it again with Trish Talks, and she is freely discussing the explosion at Midland Circle that happened a few weeks prior. Jessica arrives, and Trish tries to convince her to go on the show and tell her story. Well, it’s Jess, so chances are the answer will always be “no.”
Meanwhile, Foggy pays Claire and Luke a visit. He informs them that all charges have been cleared, and it’s as if the events at Midland Circle never occurred. Our lovebirds thank Foggy for his help and offer their condolences.
Later, Colleen is seeing to Misty, who wakes up in her hospital bed surrounded by balloons and flowers. I’m loving the rapport between these two. While Misty admits she’s not okay and currently missing an entire arm, Colleen reveals that Danny owns the hospital, so all the resources she needs are at her disposal. It pays to be rich, am I right?
Meanwhile, Luke finds Jessica at the Motherland – the pub. She’s gulping down all the whiskey she can get her hands on. Luke toasts with her, and admits that while he’s sad Matt’s gone, he’s glad she’s okay. He reminds Jess that she has friends, and doesn’t have to suffer alone. Aw, I love these two together. Jessica opens up to the idea of “getting coffee.” Uh oh. We know what that really means.
Later, Colleen arrives at the dojo post-Misty visit to Danny meditating, as per usual. He admits that NYC is starting to feel like home, which prompts Colleen to lay on a big ol’ smooch. It’s about time these two got together! Danny seems very receptive of said kiss.
Then, Jessica returns home to find someone is in her office…again. Seriously, she needs to consider chain locking her door. Or get a guard dog. Anyway, it turns out to be Malcolm, and he’s fixing the bullet holes in her wall. Such a good friend, that one. Since everything is starting to look normal again, Jessica pulls the paper off her door and we see a newly furnished “Alias Investigations” logo emblazoned across it. Someone’s back in business!
Meanwhile, Karen is at Matt’s church, sitting forlornly in the pews. Foggy joins her. She voices her thoughts aloud – perhaps they haven’t dug far enough underground and maybe he’s still alive. Foggy squashes that far-fetched notion (lovingly, of course), but Karen still can’t shake the feeling that he’s alive.
Later, we see the Empire State Building is glowing red, in honor of the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. Danny is sitting on the rooftop, fist glowing, paying homage to his fallen brother. He’ll keep his promise, and protect Matt’s city.
Then, a bombshell is dropped – we see a very much injured and unconscious Matt lying on a bed with a nun next to him, praying. He’s either in a church or an abbey. Regardless, he’s alive!
Good golly, Miss Molly, that finale! The Defenders ended its primary season on a high note, that’s for certain. And, if you waited for the end credits, you’ll have noticed a lovely little teaser for Marvel’s The Punisher was nestled within. Interesting that the shows are beginning to model themselves after the films of the MCU. So many wonderful things came together for us – from the always wonderful Sigourney Weaver being a bad*** villain to Scott Glenn‘s last bow as the curmudgeonly Stick, everything was near pitch perfect. Even the Main Title sequence is my favorite of all the Defenders’ respective shows. The fights, Jessica’s perfect one liners, the hidden Easter eggs, everything. I want more. Give me more, Marvel! Please?
You can catch more of my recaps of The Defenders here, on Geek Girl Authority. If you need me, I’ll be binge watching all the Marvel Netflix shows and counting the days until Season 2 of The Defenders is inevitably announced.
The Defenders is now streaming on Netflix.
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