Title: Marvel’s The Defenders Season 1 Episode 1: “The H Word”
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Superhero
Platform: Streaming – Netflix
Director: S. J. Clarkson
Writers: Douglass Petrie and Marco Ramirez
Release: August 18, 2017
Cast: Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, Finn Jones
Feature image: Source
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“Go home…the war you are fighting is not here. It is in New York City.” Mystery Man – The Defenders
Under a sewer in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, there’s the sound of swords clashing as a mystery man fights a mystery woman. The mystery woman defeats the mystery man. Before she can finish him off, Danny Rand aka Iron Fist (Finn Jones) knocks her away. She fights Danny and he finds out she is too fast for him; she stabs the mystery man. Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) shows up; the mystery woman slashes Danny and runs. Colleen stays with the wounded man while Danny pursues the her. Danny summons the power of the Iron Fist and hits her with it, the mystery woman disappears. Danny rejoins the mystery man and Colleen. Danny is surprised when the man calls him Iron Fist. The mystery man gasps to Danny, “Go home…the war you are fighting is not here. It is in New York City.”
Danny and Colleen are flying back to New York in his private plane. Danny has a nightmare, he hears fighting and then sees dead monks on the ground. Next he sees the bloody survivors stare at him. A dream version of him says, “You abandoned them, because of you the Hand won.” Colleen wakes Danny up. She asks him if he’ll talk to her about what’s on his mind. Instead of telling her his dream, he tells Colleen he is upset that the guy they were looking for is dead and that he let the mystery woman escape. He wonders what the Hand wants in New York.
Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) is in a bar after drinking all night. The police are trying to impound Trish Walker’s (Rachel Taylor) car. Before they can haul it off, Jessica breaks the chain. The cops think better of tangling with Jessica and let it go. Trish has been trying to get in contact with Jessica, two different news outlets want to interview Jessica. Trish thinks it would be good for Jessica’s PI business if she even bothered to answer the phone. Jessica doesn’t want to do the interviews. Trish advises her to rejoin society. Talking with Trish is as much society as Jessica can handle.
A hung over Jessica battles an elevator door. A woman named Michelle Raymond (Michelle Federer) and her daughter Lexi (Chloe Levine) are waiting outside Jessica’s office/apartment. Her office door is banged up again, with cardboard covering the missing glass where her name should be. They are there to ask Jessica’s help in finding their husband and dad, John. He has been missing for over a week. Jessica tells Michelle that her husband is probably cheating on her. Lexi says Jessica doesn’t care, and Jessica feels bad for a second and tells them she hopes they find him. When she gets into her office/apartment, the phone rings. A distorted voice warns her not to look for John Raymond.
Of course the warning only makes her go online looking for information on John Raymond. Her neighbor and sort of employee, Malcolm Ducasse (Eka Darville) comes in. He asks if she is working on a case. They begin to bicker about him having a key to her place. He convinces Jessica to try to trace the call. She calls an operator and cons her into giving her the information about the call. It’s a payphone at 11th and 49th, a place Malcolm says is off the grid if you’re up to something or trying to hide. Jessica goes to the room John Raymond is staying in and breaks in. She finds a large number of boxes filled with explosives.
“How does being Harlem’s hero allow you an actual life?” Claire Temple – The Defenders
Two guards at Seagate Prison are escorting a handcuffed Luke Cage (Mike Colter) to see the warden. His fellow prisoners are cheering for him. When they get there the warden says he is being released today. The guards can’t find their keys so Luke casually breaks free of the handcuffs. They take Luke to a private room to meet with the attorney that has been working on his release, Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson). Bobby Fish had sent him the paperwork that proved Luke’s initial innocence. Foggy tells him if he needs any help in starting over, please contact his firm. Luke: “I’m not starting over. I’m moving forward.”
Luke is on a bus taking him back to Harlem. He looks at the sights of Harlem as they drive up. Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) is waiting for him. Claire: “Hi Stranger. Should we get that ‘coffee’?” They get back to her place and ‘coffee’ it up. After their ‘coffee’ break, Luke tells her he had some tough times back in prison but her letters got him through it. He jokes about the one poem she wrote him that she plagiarized from Nikki Giovanni. Luke gets serious and tells her he could tell she left off what was happening in Harlem. Claire: “How does being Harlem’s hero allow you an actual life?” Luke wants to help people. Claire wants him to take care of himself. They hear a knock at the door, it is Detective Misty Knight (Simone Missick). She can tell by their state of undress and disheveled looks, that they had just had ‘coffee’. He asks how Misty knew he was out and where he was. She tells him it wasn’t hard since he is the Hero of Harlem. She asks to take a quick walk with him.
Misty tells Luke she is on a city-wide task force. They get to a burned out car and she tells him a 25-year-old man was found in it. Several young men in Harlem have been found in the same condition. She thinks they might have been used as couriers. They both think it could be related to Mariah. What makes it personal for Luke, the young man was Candace’s brother. This is the second child this poor mother has had to bury. Luke wants to help with the investigation, but Misty is hoping he with be a guide to the dead man’s younger brother, and help guide him in the right direction.
Luke goes to the brother’s place, Cole (J. Mallory McCree), and tries to talk to him. Some neighborhood toughs want to get in the way until they realize who they are talking to. Luke tells Cole he is there to pay his respects for both Sean and Candace. Luke finds out Sean’s death wasn’t related to Mariah like Candace’s death was. He notices Cole has a lot of new sneakers lined up. He asks him about his gig. Cole says he is between gigs. Luke tries to offer his help, Cole won’t accept it from a hero. Luke: “Hero’s your word, not mine.” Cole: “It’s too late for heroes.”
“Purgatory is a place for the dead, Matthew, not the living.” Father Lantom – The Defenders
Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) is trying to ignore the upheaval he hears all around him. He has to get to court. Being brilliant in court, Matt is able to win $11 million for a boy who was paralyzed by a negligent corporation. When he is alone with Aaron (Gabe White) for a moment he tells him, “No one can give you your life back Aaron, you have to take it back.” Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) comes up to congratulate him and get a statement for her paper. She asks if he’d like to catch a bite and he says he would.
Matt and Karen are at a diner. He is doing pro bono work and Karen is happy with her job at the paper. She asks if he misses being Daredevil. He says no, he isn’t sorry that he was Daredevil be he is regretful about it if it drove her away. She says it didn’t. Matt tells her the city is better off without Daredevil. Karen says the city is better with Matt Murdock.
At confession he tells his priest Father Lantom (Peter McRobbie) that he feels guilty he lied to Karen about missing being Daredevil. Matt wants to ignore how he feels. Father Lantom: “Ignoring doesn’t change anything Matthew.” Lantom wants to frankly talk to Matt about his feelings for Elektra. Matt is afraid he is abandoning her memory. Lantom tells him he is moving on. Father Lantom: “Purgatory is a place for the dead, Matthew, not the living.”
In the hospital, an older well-dressed woman named Alexandra (Sigourney Weaver) is escorted by two other women wearing white. The older woman goes into a room to put on a hospital gown. Her doctor tells her she has months, maybe only weeks to live. She wants to know if there is a plan. Her doctor tells her that even with all her resources, there is nothing he can do, all of her major organs are failing. She goes to the park to feed pigeons and meet with Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho). Alexandra tell Gao how Manhattan was once forest. The Dutch bought it from an Indian tribe for $24, she thinks they overpaid for it. She asks Gao about the ‘plan’. Gao says it is in place and it will be ready in three months. Alexandra wants to move it up to now. Gao advises against it but Alexandra dismisses her concerns.
“It’s just a city, you’ll get used to watching them fall.” Alexandra – The Defenders
Danny and Colleen are flying back to Rand Industries on a helicopter. Matt is back in his apartment, he hears dogs barking and birds flying in panic. Suddenly the earth starts moving. In Harlem, Luke saves a woman from being hit by a falling street lamp. Jessica looks panicked and Danny and Colleen stare in amazement. Alexandra looks out at the city and tells a dazed and silent Elektra (Elodie Yung), “It’s just a city [chuckles], you’ll get used to watching them fall.” Matt is overwhelmed by the screams of people asking for help.
This episode catches us up on our heroes and the new main villain. Danny and Colleen are going around the world for information on the Hand. Even though Jessica killed Kilgrave and is seen as a hero by most people, she is still suffering from PTSD. She wants to withdraw, with her only contacts to humanity being Trish and Malcolm. Luke has been in prison since the last we saw him, but he is released and unlike Jessica wants to rejoin and help society. Matt is on the withdrawal train with Jessica, he has given up being Daredevil, but itches to put on the red suit again. Karen and Foggy have moved on with their lives, but Matt is stuck mourning Elektra and feeling guilty. The new villain Alexandra is dying, Madame Gao seems to report to her, and Elektra is under her control. She must be the Hand’s leader. Elektra was the mystery woman in Cambodia if you didn’t catch it. Alexandra caused the earthquake and it is clear she doesn’t have any good intentions for New York.
There was only one action scene, the fight in Cambodia. That isn’t enough action for a series built on action and fights. The episode felt slow. Regardless of the lack of action, it was good seeing Luke, Jessica, Matt, and even Danny.