Ricky Church reviews the second episode of Marvel’s The Defenders…
I said in my review for ‘ The H Word’ that a lot of it was playing catch up with where the heroes were in their lives and setting up how they would be brought together. While they still spent most of ‘Mean Right Hook’ in their individual stories, the final scenes brought some of them together in entertaining ways that also advanced the overall story.
‘Mean Right Hook’ moves at a brisk pace, allowing the episode to focus on the story and the characters. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given that this series is only 8 episodes compared to the 13 the other Marvel Netflix series have, cutting out the fat to get right to the good stuff. Each of the character get involved in disparate elements of the mystery, whether they know it or not, from Jessica’s investigation into a potential terror suspect to Luke’s need to save a kid from himself. Its all fitting together nicely and in a believable way.
Matt Murdock’s arc is an interesting one so far. He’s trying to let go of Daredevil and just be regular attorney. It’s an interesting place to see him, but also makes sense given the ending of Daredevil’s second season after how much was taken from him during those final episodes. Charlie Cox shows Matt’s inner struggle very well and his scene with Elden Henson’s Foggy showed how much of a gap was between them, no matter how much they tried to ignore it. Right now Cox is definitely the most impressive of the bunch with his acting.
There are some other cool moments here, such as Jessica meeting Luke Cage’s Misty Knight, played by Simone Missick. The pair’s personalities clash hard, but both Krysten Ritter and Missick do well playing off each other. The weak link of the cast right now is still Finn Jones, though at least Danny is going through his own arc as he deals with the guilt of abandoning K’un-L’un and possibly getting it destroyed.
‘Mean Right Hook’ ended nicely as well, with Matt and Jessica coming face-to-face and Luke engaging Danny in a pretty one-sided fight. Their battle had the earmarks of the ‘superheroes fight due to misunderstanding’ trope, but there was at least a fairly solid reason for their fight in the first place. The fight was entertaining and well choreographed, and it was amusing to see none of Danny’s martial arts worked against Luke until he summoned the Iron Fist.
The Defenders is still on a solid footing, avoiding any unnecessary filler to focus on the story while still delivering meaningful character moments. Its not rushing to get to the team-up straight away, which works in its favour, and the cast give good performances as they continue their characters journeys.