Daredevil is back!
While some may not like the more charismatic and lighthearted nature of Charlie Cox’s comeback, it works wonders in the context of being a guest star on “She-Hulk.” While I don’t think the series has needed the cameos and guest appearances it’s had to be as good as it’s been, this is by far its best. Seeing Cox dawn the horns for the first time in four years, and for much longer than I expected, was a blast.
Even without Matt Murdock to anchor this episode, it still would’ve been fantastic, but the banter between Jen and Matt solidifies this as one of the best episodes of any of the Disney+ Marvel shows. The chemistry between Cox and Tatiana Maslany is palpable and believable; I can fully see these two being buddies, or even more, moving forward. Their chemistry together is somehow better than the chemistry any other pair of actors on the show has had, even from the beginning. Helping this is the series’ best script so far, feeling tight and focused, having hilarious jokes and taking full advantage of the series' position as an MCU sitcom.
Episode eight, Ribbit and Rip It, sees Jen forced to take on Leap-Frog (Brandon Stanley) as a client taking legal against her costume designer. The designer’s lawyer, Matt Murdock, engages in a battle of wits with Jen before they must team up to take down a common foe.
This episode is just so much damn fun. It doesn’t take itself seriously and utilizes the slim amount of time it has to firmly establish Daredevil in the MCU to great effect. Director Kat Coiro, who I’ve criticized for her lacking action chops, absolutely nails the fight scenes this time around, defying the odds. We even get a new iconic colored hallway battle for the horned hero out of the episode; it’d be hard to ask for more.
While I was fully satisfied with the vast majority of the episode, basically everything from the start until Daredevil leaves, I don’t think it does a good job of properly setting up the finale. Sure, the ending is pretty disturbing and surprisingly closely tied to real-world issues women regularly face, but it doesn’t set up an actual ending in sight. You have guys like Todd (Jon Bass) and Josh (Trevor Salter) who are either implied to or confirmed to be a part of the incel Intelligencia community previously teased, but neither of them is an actual villain.
If the villains of the show end up being Twitter, YouTube and Reddit sexists, I can live with that, but it’s not going to lead to a super satisfying ending because there’s no real way of defeating that. Misogynists and trolls are always going to exist, no matter how hard the big, strong green lady punches them.
I feel like I’m getting ahead of myself though. If there’s anything the series’ writers proved they can do this week, it’s that they can provide a satisfying story that takes advantage of its medium and style. I have my doubts about whether or not they can pull this off again without a fan-favorite character to fall back on. Unless the person behind Intelligencia and/or the “Hulk King” is some insane pull from Marvel’s past or a major actor making their MCU debut, which I doubt could’ve been kept under wraps.
No matter what, I think we're set up for a fun season finale next week. Whether or not it gives us fans a satisfying conclusion is a whole other story.