Marvel’s The Defenders: We Serve Life Itself

Title: Marvel’s The Defenders Season 1 Episode 4: “Royal Dragon”
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Superhero
Platform: Streaming – Netflix
Director: Phil Abraham
Writers: Douglas Petrie and Marco Ramirez
Rating: TV-MA
Release: August 18, 2017
Cast: Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, Finn Jones
Feature image: Source


“The only thing keeping Manhattan from crumbling into a pile of dust [pointing to them] …the four of you.” Stick – The Defenders

The Defenders

The Royal Dragon Chinese Restaurant is closing when four individuals rush in. The owner tries to tell them in mandarin that he is closed, but Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) takes a cabinet and puts it in front of the door to barricade it.  Danny Rand (Finn Jones) stares at this feat of strength and says, “Whoa, she’s very strong!” They are busy trying to turn all the lights off to make the restaurant seem closed, while Danny who also speaks mandarin tries to calm the owner down. Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), who is still wearing the scarf over his face says that he still hears neon. Luke Cage (Mike Colter): “Who hears neon?” Jessica and Luke ask each other respectively about Matt and Danny, and they also catch up on each other’s lives. Matt asks them, “Have you met before”. Jessica: “We met. We drank. I shot him in the head.”  Danny and Matt try to explain the Hand to Jessica and Luke. Both are having trouble believing what they are hearing. Danny and Luke want to know who Matt is, since he is trying to hide his identity. It is getting heated between Luke and Matt. Jessica takes Matt aside and tells him she knows he is the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. She advises him that Luke and Danny will figure it out in a few minutes. Matt takes off the scarf and introduces himself to them.

Danny has ordered food, so the four Defenders sit at a table and discuss what is going on. Jessica warns them their fight at Midland Circle could get them in trouble, since they were trespassing and doing vigilante stuff. Danny points out that he was trying to do this in a legitimate way, “Look I even put on a tie.” Danny tells them he tried to fight the Hand as a one-man army and it didn’t work. He’d like them to fight the Hand together as a team. Jessica is just there to help her client, Matt has fought the Hand before and doesn’t want any part of this, Luke is there for Harlem. As they argue, Matt hears someone come in. Stick (Scott Glenn): “This is one shitty excuse for a hideout.” Matt introduces everyone to Stick and warns them he can’t be trusted. Stick explains that he belongs to the Chaste. Jessica: “Ugh, these names are killing me.” He tells them that the Hand have killed all the Chaste, except him. He explains the Hand are up to something and New York is in danger. Stick: “The only thing keeping Manhattan from crumbling into a pile of dust [pointing to them] …the four of you.” Jessica has had enough of this. Stick orders her to shut up and sit down. Instead, Jessica bolts. Luke goes outside to try to get her to stay. Jessica want no part of this mystical crap, she only wants to find answers for her client. Luke know it is a bunch of mumble jumble, but they can stay and help save lives. Jessica doesn’t understand how Luke can care so much. He understands she must go and wishes her well. They both agree it was good to see each other. Luke walks back in to tell them that Jessica is gone. Now it is time for Stick to tell them everything.

Stick begins giving them a lesson about the conflict. K’un-Lun’s elders planned on studying chi, as it pertained to healing. There were five heretics amongst them, people with darker intentions.  They wanted to use it for immortality. The five were banished from K’un-Lun. These five members became the Hand. They went back to their respective countries and build up their own fiefdoms. Alexandra is in charge, and he names the other members, Madame Gao, Sowande, Murakami and Bakuto (Colleen’s sensei). Matt counsels Danny and Luke about listening to Stick. Danny wants to hear more, since he is learning things they didn’t tell him in K’un-Lun. Danny and Matt start arguing with each other. Matt tells them Stick will have them lose people they love; he is alluding to Elektra dying in his arms.

“Jesus, am I the only one left that doesn’t know karate?” Jessica Jones – The Defenders

Jessica goes to her office and has a drink or two; she opens her computer to delete the documents from the hall of records. She soon realizes that all the signatures come from the same person. Jessica goes over to Michelle Raymond’s (Michelle Federer) place to check on her. Jessica tells her she is going to get Michelle and her daughter protection. Michelle thought that Jessica already had. There is a car across the street, the man inside the car told her he was a cop. Jessica asks if he showed her a badge, he hadn’t.  Jessica tells her to go inside while she investigates. Jessica walks past the car. Jessica doubles back without the man noticing and drags him out of the car. He pulls a knife and uses martial arts on her. Jessica: “Jesus, am I the only one left that doesn’t know karate?” Jessica uses her superior strength to overpower him. She tells him to leave the Raymonds alone. While this is going on, someone speaking in Japanese comes on his radio, someone speaking in Yoruba answers. Jessica asks him what they are saying, she presses his head against the windshield to get him to answer.

Danny is still eating. Luke: “How are you still hungry?” Danny: “It takes a lot of energy to summon my chi.” Danny says Luke has seen the Iron Fist twice. Luke admits it’s better to have it on your side instead of hitting your face. Danny offers Luke the last shrimp, which he accepts. The two are bonding. Matt and Stick are off to the side talking about Elektra. Matt thinks he can help Elektra. Stick warns him whatever they brought back isn’t Elektra. Matt counters that Elektra could have killed him in their fight but she hesitated, he thinks there is still some of her in there. Stick thinks that when they fight her again, she must die. Both blind men hear tires screeching outside.

“Your life is new, sadly your body is not.”  Alexandra – The Defenders

The Hand

Elektra (Elodie Yung) looks in the mirror at the bruises on her body when she died. Alexandra (Sigourney Weaver) walks up upon her and says, “Your life is new, sadly your body is not.”  Elektra asks is this all she is. Alexandra tells Elektra about herself before she died, she makes it sound sad and miserable, leaving out the Matt part. She turns her around and tells her, “You are my last hope…we will conqueror death together.”Murakami (Yutaka Takeuchi) is cutting up a bear. Alexandra walks in on him. Speaking Japanese, he warns her about sneaking up on people with knifes. The bear he is cutting up is an endangered bear he was hunting. He complains about Alexandra using the last of the substance on The Black Sky and her inability to capture Danny. Holding up a bear organ, he says, “The [problem with] with your leadership is getting your hands dirty.” She tells him that the Iron Fist has three “exceptional’’ allies. She wants him to bring his forces along with Gao and Sowande’s forces to take them on.

Elektra is looking at some weapons. Sowande (Babs Olusanmokun) walks in with two of his men. He asks Elektra if the Black Sky is a weapon if she can’t kill anyone (He is talking about her not killing three of the Defenders at Midland Circle). Elektra quickly takes out his two men and says, “Keep asking.”

Alexandra is getting dressed to the nines. She doesn’t look well and takes some pain pills. While they are looking at the van outside the restaurant, Stick realizes that Alexandra is in the Red Dragon.

“They’re like you, the only language they speak is violence.”  Alexandra – The Defenders

Red Dragon Restaurant

Alexandra is there to speak to Danny. She tries to convince him to leave with her, telling him he can prevent untold deaths if he goes with her. She includes not killing his friends. With Luke’s encouragement and support he refuses her offer. Alexandra is annoyed and says to Stick, “They’re like you, the only language they speak is violence.” The Black Sky bursts through the door and Elektra looks intimidating.  Alexandra gives the command, “Go on my child, serve life itself.” Before Elektra can do anything, a car goes through the restaurant’s window and hits her. Jessica walks in behind the car and she and Elektra exchange dirty looks. Jessica gets in line with the rest of the boys and says, “Who missed me?” Both Luke and Danny smile.



After an action filled previous episode, things slowed down a bit. Not that many fights, but very good character interactions. Jessica was sassy and stubborn with everyone, but showed her softer and vulnerable side to Luke. She feels overwhelmed by all the information Danny, Matt, and Stick were throwing at her, and she wanted to run. Jessica wanted to deal with a simple mission, help her client, she didn’t want to save the entire city of New York. Jessica has a good heart and came back to stand with her fellow Defenders. Matt didn’t want to have anything to do with this either. He wants to stay out of the vigilante business. Elektra being involved drags him back in it. He doesn’t trust Stick, but knows he can’t abandon New York. Danny is all in, and wants the group to form as a team. He realizes he can’t beat the Hand alone and he needs help. He has seen what the other three can do, and knows this is the help he needs. Luke is the bridge between Danny and the other two. He isn’t looking for a fight this large, but with lives at stake, he can’t walk away from it. He isn’t gung-ho like Danny, but he can’t walk away from this fight, and his personal connection to Jessica helps her come aboard. Also, Luke is beginning to like that skinny white kid.

We learned a great deal about the Hand’s history from Stick, but we learned something else, the Hand isn’t a cohesive unit. We saw some of that in “Iron Fist” when Bakuto’s forces were fighting Madame Gao’s faction of the Hand. It’s apparent that none of them support the other fully. It is apparent that Murakami hates Alexandra, and she feels the same for him. They work together when they must, but they aren’t in this together, they are just in it for themselves.

There weren’t too many action scenes, mostly Jessica fighting the Hand operative and pushing a car into Elektra. I thought she drove the car inside the restaurant during my first watching, then realized Jessica walked in after the car had hit Elektra, that made it better. I enjoyed the Defender’s interactions with each other.

Grade: A-


Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Editor-in-Chief
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