Defenders: Mean Right Hook

hook

The title, because heroes always get along at their first meeting…

After the set up and surprise earthquake in episode 1, the Defenders leap into their second episode, “Mean Right Hook.” After seeing as many trailers as I had, I was pretty sure I knew what the title referred to, and it looks like I was right. They’re continuing their slow build as the characters’ stories are being drawn together.

In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, Matt Murdock is perched on a roof, doing a great gargoyle/Batman impression. Unfortunately, in the recent tradition of so many hero movies and shows, he’s doing this in his grey suit, not the Daredevil costume. Remind me again why he wears a mask? At any rate, after scanning the area with his enhanced senses for a while, he hears an armed robbery. With a combination of parkour and his impressive fighting skills, Murdock breaks up the robbery and prevents the shop keeper from killing the criminals. At least he was smart enough to break the alley light on the way down, both helping conceal his identity (mask, Matt!) and giving the blind man the edge in the fight.

Trish Walker gets the next scene as she walks to work and sees the damage through the neighborhood from the quake. On her show, she gets callers worried about another Incident, as the Netflix shows call the Battle of New York, and terrorism. A lot more disturbingly, when one caller claims to be a geologist and starts talking about why that wasn’t a normal quake, the show goes to recorded mode when the bosses order them to stop.

Detective Misty Knight goes to a crime scene, which proves to be the apartment Jessica found the explosives in last time. Suprisingly, Jessica not only called the cops, but stuck around to talk to them, or snark at them at least. After a few go arounds with Misty, Jessica leaves, but not before doing something to piss off the Detective.

Colleen returns to the Chikara Dojo, which has come through the quake remarkably well. Colleen talks to Danny about what they should do next, and Danny seems to have gone back into sulky mode. Iron Fist is my favorite of these characters in the comics, but I have to admit they make him a bit hard to like in the shows. Finally, she manages to persuade him to check out a special workshop in town that might be a lead about the special sword the guy in the sewers had.
Before the scene ends, there’s some foreshadowing from Danny as he makes some sarcastic comments about joining a team.

Matt gets back to his place, clearly upset. Panting, he listens to the sounds of the neighborhood in distress, and then opens the chest he hides his Daredevil gear in. He regards it for a long few moments until Foggy calls and shakes him out of whatever mood he was in. If nothing else, it’s nice to know these two are talking again. Their friendship was one of my favorite parts of Daredevil.

The only ones who seem to be directly dealing with the quake are Luke and Claire. She’s treating people on the street while he clears away rubble. Claire isn’t thrilled to hear Luke is helping Misty, and less happy to hear he’s not getting paid. Luke really does seem to be fighting hard against the Hero for Hire back story he has in the comics. Resigned, Claire steers him towards the right seedy bar to be asking questions.

There’s a brief detour of a scene showing more of Alexandra and Madame Gao. There are hints about Alexandra’s past and her appreciation for the Fine Arts. There’s also a report of a problem with a project of theirs, and some foreshadowing involving one of the four heroes.

Jessica is off doing the unglamorous work of research, following up on her lead from Raymond’s place. Clearly this case goes back a lot longer than anyone thought. Jeri Hogarth shows up warn Jessica away from the case, because that always goes so well. Has Jeri met Jessica?

Foggy and Matt meet up at their favorite bar, Rosie’s. Their friendship has clearly recovered from their low point, and it’s something I really was happy to see. They talk about their lives, and Foggy has an idea to help Matt resist putting the mask back on. It was a nice scene with two friends who clearly care about each other.

Cage’s search for answers takes him to Trouble In Paradise, the shady bar Claire steered him towards. This, in turn, has him run into Turk, the low-life informant we’ve seen before both in Cage’s and Daredevil’s shows. Turk, after some persuasion, gives Cage a lead on a man in a white hat that is possibly behind what’s happening to the young men Misty was worried about. I have to admit I’m curious as to how Misty knew about this and Claire, who seems so plugged in to everything, didn’t.

Colleen finally gets Danny to the high-end weapons workshop, where they find a sword like the one wielded by the man back in Cambodia, and a lot of dead bodies. Danny instantly assumes the Hand is behind the deaths, based on what I’m not entirely sure. They find that the bodies are fresh and the wall has a painting of K’un-Lun, Danny’s home away from home.

Luke finds White Hat as he’s directing a van full of people into a warehouse. Luke starts to call Misty, but when he sees Cole among the workers, he hangs up, to Misty’s annoyance. While this goes on, Jeri tells Foggy to keep an eye on Jessica because it’s only a matter of time until she gets herself in more trouble. Fair enough, really.

Speaking of Jessica, she walks home while talking to Trish on her cell. Trish’s report of the weird coverup of the quake gets cut off when Jessica sees her door, again with cardboard over the window, is ajar. Inside she finds Malcolm, which annoys her, and Mr. Raymond, which upsets her as Raymond has a gun to Malcolm’s head.

While Colleen and Danny watch men in grey jumpsuits spray down the bodies they found, Jessica tries to talk Raymond down. He sounds utterly terrified and maybe even paranoid, talking how he was trying to stop “them.” We never find out who “they” are, although I think we all are pretty sure, because this is when Elektra pops up. Elektra kicks Jessica’s ass, spooks Raymond to the point where he kills himself and then flees. Jessica chases her, loses her, and then gets arrested by Misty.

One of the moments a lot of us have been waiting for finally happens in the next sequence. Danny and Colleen fight the jumpsuit guys, who are really not all that good. Danny chases one into the alley, and, of course, he turns out to be Cole. This sets up for a confrontation between Cage and Danny, which goes about as well as you’d think at the start. Danny’s an amazing fighter, Cage is invulnerable. Cage’s overconfidence gets dealt a blow when Danny finally uses his Iron Fist and knocks Cage flying down the alley, clearly shocking him. This is when the cops show up. Cole gets arrested, Colleen and Danny run off in one direction, and an unhappy Cage hides behind a door in another.

While Alexandra reveals a connection to another cast member we’ve seen before, Jessica is in interrogation with Misty. Neither are happy. Misty has a rack of minor charges to level at Jessica, who in turn warns Misty she’s about to step into a seriously weird case she’s not ready for. Both women are surprised when the door opens and Matt Murdock advises Jessica to stop talking, and that he’s her attorney. With two pairs of the heroes finally having met, we end episode 2.

What I liked: The Hand having a clean up squad makes perfect sense, and of course they’d recruit from poor black men. Those men are desperate a lot of the time, and, sadly, the police are least likely to follow up on their deaths or disappearances. It’s a good way to tie in Luke and Danny, so that was clever. I’m betting Foggy is behind Matt suddenly representing Jessica, and that makes sense, too. The action was good, the fight scenes well staged. Alexandra is an intriguing villain.

What I didn’t: I made at least one bad guess, but that was my own fault. I was so sure the workshop Colleen was talking about would turn out to be Melvin’s, the man who made Daredevil’s gear. I expected Matt to have suited up by now, unless his whole “I must leave that life behind” bit is going to go on this whole series. I hope not. For only eight episodes, they really need to get the heroes together soon, preferably without fighting each other more. Where was Colleen during Danny and Luke’s fight? Did it take her that long to finish the slow, clumsy guys in jumpsuits?

I thought “Mean Right Hook” (likely a reference to Danny’s chi-punch in Luke’s face) was even better than “The H Word” and I’ll give it a 4 out of 5.

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