Less "She-Hulk" and more "She-just-wants-to-live-her-life"
After a rapidly paced, action-filled first episode, She-Hulk's second entry slows things down a bit and takes a look at Jen as a person dealing with a sudden shift in the dynamic of her life. It was a welcome energy shift that not only did a lot of work developing Jen's character but also provided a lot of insight into the world of the MCU that we haven't been given by most of the previous shows and movies. We get to see what it's like for a super powered citizen of the MCU who doesn't have a government contract, isn't a villain or hero, and, most importantly, doesn't have a secret identity. It's a compelling angle that breathes a lot of much needed life and realism into the MCU.
Episode 2, titled "Superhuman Law," picks up right after the smash-tacular conclusion of it's predecessor. We are shown glimpses of news stories talking about the events of the trial, including one reporter who coins the term "She-Hulk" and definitely will never stop bringing that up for the rest of his career. Jen is now thrust into this new world of celebrity as a brand new superhero on the scene. However, her moderate annoyance at the attention quickly turns even more sour, as her boss informs her she no longer has a place at the DA's office, which makes sense. Imagine getting called in for jury duty and the prosecutor is Santa Claus. You're probably gonna be a bit biased in your decisions from there on.
Jen bounces from rejection to rejection at that point, constantly being told that she has too much attention to be hirable, succumbing to the fact that becoming a Hulk has potentially ruined her life (but sure tell me more about how changing the origin to an accident as opposed to Bruce willfully giving her Hulk blood was a bad thing). Begrudgingly, she makes a visit to her family, who all have questions about the Avengers (whom she's never met) and generally just treat her like families tend to, trying their darndest to connect but also being a bit awkward and condescending. Her father gives her some sage advice, and Jen leaves feeling maybe slightly better. It was a cute segment overall that didn't provide a ton for the story. However, it clearly separated this Jen even further from her comic counterpart, whose father was a tough Sheriff taking on the mob. Here we have a Jen that comes from fairly normal upbringing. An unexceptional, unsuper, loving family living out in the suburbs. I like it, honestly. As we'll discuss in an upcoming Key Issues episode, it's nice seeing characters with an uncomplicated family structure. Too often characters are forced into drama/conflict because a familial connection drags them into it, and while those stories aren't inherently bad, they can often be a bit stale. Having a super person be connected to just the most normal, basic people provides new opportunities for depth in the character themselves while also giving an easy outlet for grounding the character if things ever get a bit too larger-than-life-ish.
Toward the latter half of the episode, we get to the main hook of the show that was shown in many of the recent trailers: Jen gets hired to be a defense lawyer for a big firm that is setting up a super person division. It happens to be the same scummy defense lawyer she was going up against in episode one and who filed for a mistrial that subsequently got her fired, but hey, second chances are what Hulks are all about, yeah? Jen herself has mixed feelings about this arrangement, feeling as though she was hired for her green and not her mean. For her smash and not her flash. For her, uh.... tallage and not her knowledge? Because she's a Hulk. She is worried she got hired because she's a Hulk... Anyway, while being a fairly obvious commentary for being hired for reasons beyond one's merits (whether that be for diversity or nepotism or large green punchy hands), Jen's entry into the firm creates an interesting hook for the show, putting a prosecutor on the other side of the aisle and sending Jen face to face with the man who tried to kill her cousin - Emil Blonsky. Tim Roth returns as the Abomination and is Jen's first client. It's nice to finally have a solid connection to the original Norton Hulk and also provided a really fun joke regarding the actor change.
My only lingering worry from this whole thing is the direction the show is going to take. At this point, we've all seen the articles talking about how the writers discovered they couldn't do serious court room drama. Which, fine, it's definitely not an easy genre to write in. However, after the second episode I don't know if I truly WANT anything else. Tim Roth's return as a reformed abomination, Jen's navigating the law firm mine-field and the cavalcade of good and bad press shaking things up are all fun things, but I don't know how much life they'll truly have without court room sequences holding them down. Think of EVERY SVU episode you love and imagine it without the LAW portion. At that point it's just Stabler in tight pants, punching hoodlums and scowling. I'm exaggerating, obviously, but my point is just that I worry. I've liked both episodes so far and have the highest of hopes that I'll continue to enjoy the show. Tatiana Maslany is an incredible lead and makes every episode an absolute delight. I'm excited to find out the reasoning behind the 4th wall breaks, which has been said to have an in-universe explanation. I hope we find out what Bruce is up to as well, that sneaky ol' Hulk. All worries aside, I really do dig this show and am confident the showrunners are going to take it to incredible places.
She-Hulk Episode Three premieres September 1st. I'll see you then.
Cover B Podcast
Chris & Tee host this weekly comic-focused show, providing insight on new comics, entertainment news and more.