Instead of Daredevil, we get a wedding episode this week. I’m not mad or disappointed, just amused at how Twitter will react.
Most of this show’s goal is to poke fun at and infuriate Marvel Twitter, and I’m all for it. Marvel Twitter is easily one of the most annoying subsections of the site, so knocking them down a peg gives me great joy. Regardless, this episode isn’t all that great, and it seems to acknowledge that from the beginning with Jen’s fourth wall breaks.
Episode six is a self-aware bottle episode, taking Jen away from the courtroom and putting her in a ballroom for an old friend’s wedding. As the episode title “Just Jen” alludes to, this is a very Jen-centric episode. She-Hulk is moved to the background. Back at GLK&H, Nikki and Mallory (Renée Elise Goldsberry) help an immortal man come to a divorce settlement with several partners who he previously fooled into thinking he had died.
There’s just nothing of note happening here; there’s no plot progression until the last 30 seconds of the episode, then it stops dead in its tracks. The lack of a post-credits stinger hampers it too. We still have Daredevil to look forward to, but this episode feels like the writers were buying time until the actors they wanted to cameo were available.
I know I’ve said before that I’m fully behind the series being a court-case-of-the-week comedy, but the series is planting seeds for bigger things going on behind the scenes and not expounding on them until the last possible second. It feels like we’re going to get into another situation where the real villain of the series isn’t going to be established until the last episode, like in “Hawkeye” and “Ms. Marvel.”
“She-Hulk” continues to be coy on what’s going with Bruce and the Hulk blood. It’s just frustrating. The writers are leaving too much on the table to reasonably and satisfyingly set up and deliver in the final three episodes, especially when Daredevil still has to show up for at least an episode. The show joking about having a poorly-timed bottle episode is one thing, but actually having it at the worst possible time in the story is another thing entirely.
Also, not helping this episode’s case, the jokes aren’t as rapid-fire as usual, slowing down an episode that was already set up to have multiple self-admitted handicaps. Tatiana Maslany is fantastic and really saves the series, as always. The scenes where she’s drunk at the reception stand out as the best in the episode. Ginger Gonzaga gets a lot more to do this week as well, which is much appreciated. Letting her assist Mallory this week was a great choice by the writers, though I wish Pug was involved as well. The case’s subject, Mr. Immortal (David Pasquesi), is a fun addition to the show, but they don’t give him enough to do after his fantastic introduction.
Titania’s return this week might be the last we see of her. I’m conflicted because I love Jamil as an actress, but this role isn’t good for her, or really anyone. It seems intentionally underwritten, which is very frustrating. She and Maslany share the best scene of the episode together, where Titania tries to force her to Hulk out and fight her. It seems like they’re going to talk it out and maybe share some interesting character moments before Jen Hulks out and they share a (thankfully) short-lived fight. The fight is easily the episode’s low point, feeling extremely forced and cutting off what could’ve been a much more interesting scene.
Director Anu Valia’s inexperience with action really shows through in that fight scene, though. I’m happy that the series has focused on hiring female comedy directors for all of its episodes, but when the series inevitably dives into CGI-heavy action scenes, their complete lack of experience dealing with visual effects and action is devastatingly apparent. I’m honestly sick of having to bring this up, but it just keeps happening.
The effects this week are decent but suffer from poor visual direction, as is usually the case with this show. The lighting on set and on the She-Hulk model don’t usually line up, making the effects look much worse than they actually are. The on-set visual effects supervisor/coordinator needed to prepare the directors and actors better for these visual effects to be the best they could be. This could also just be another byproduct of the rushed MCU development schedule all these movies and shows seem to be having.
Hopefully, the series can buck my personal expectations and find a way to deliver a satisfying three-episode run to finish out the season. Otherwise, it could crash and burn after a promising start, like several major Disney+ series before it. I wish I could still just view it as a fun weekly sitcom set in the MCU, but the larger stakes it continuously sets up in the background make me want to learn more about what’s actually going on, and the show just isn’t giving me that. Maybe it can correct its course, and maybe it can’t. I’ll be watching and having as much fun as I can, regardless.