She-Hulk: The Retreat

This is in serious contention for strangest group therapy ever.

Things are finally looking up for Jen. She seems to have a handle on her job, she met a guy at the wedding who seems to like Jen, not She-Hulk, and the dispute about her name appears to be cleared up. So you have to figure trouble is coming. We revisit a previous storyline and meet a host of new characters at “The Retreat.”

Things start off well enough, with Jen getting ready for a date with Josh. The two of them are adorably awkward together, and have a few dates. Things are looking pretty good, until the relationship moves on to the next level. From the morning after forward, Jen is having trouble getting hold of Josh, and it clearly bothers her, understandably so. Nikki even comments that Jen has to stop constantly checking her phone for messages, which she does throughout the majority of the episode. Finally, Sunday morning rolls around, and she gets a call, but not the one she wanted.

It seems Emil’s probation offer has noted a glitch in the monitoring device the seemingly reformed supervillain has to wear, and the man very reasonably would like some backup before potentially confronting someone that went toe-to-toe with the Hulk. Not having anything else to do, and still believing in her job, Jen agrees to go.

Emil’s retreat is way up in the hills, not near anything at all. Despite the parole officer being so nervous, there’s a decent, if odd, explanation as to the monitoring glitch. Not wasting any time, the man takes off. Emil really does seem to have changed and adopted a new outlook on life. He also has clients, and a tussle between two of them damages Jen’s car to the point where she can’t leave. Naturally, a tow truck is going to take a long time to get up there, so she’s stuck at the retreat. The clients are a group of obscure Marvel characters, interestingly mostly villains and one outlaw/hero. The group includes Man-Bull, Porcupine, the Saracen, and El Aguila. So who are all these people?

Man-Bull is a very low-level villain who first clashed with Daredevil (interesting choice, given that hero’s eventual appearance on this show), and his origin seems to roughly follow his comic book one. The Saracen claims to be a vampire, which no one seems to believe, and he is walking around in daylight throughout the episode. The original Saracen was a Punisher foe, and the more vampiric version clashed with Blade. Porcupine (believe it or not, there have been two of them, too) has the distinction of being one of the first modern-age Marvel villains, being defeated by the original Ant-Man early in his career. Later, he dies a foolish death and then has a really odd appearance in She-Hulk’s comic. The second one had a lot more depth and eventually reformed and even began a relationship with Jessica Drew, the original Spider-Woman. And lastly, El Aguila was an outlaw hero born in Spain who moved to New York and began a Zorro-inspired career, clashing with local law enforcement but aiding Power Man and Iron Fist, among others. Interestingly, Aguila is also a mutant, and clearly has his powers here. Perhaps this is another hint of the eventual arrival of the X-Men.

El Aguila, the comic book version

Jen wanders around, and the graphics department has fun showing us her fruitless search for cell service. Eventually she ends up where the group therapy sessions happen, which is also the only place where she has any service at all. After an initial encounter with a familiar face who she parted from on bad terms, and one of the funnier breaking the fourth wall moments so far, Jen eventually allows herself to be persuaded to join the group. The bonding and them taking her side is predictable, but still amusing to watch and listen to.

Eventually, she leaves, and is obviously in a better mood and head-space than when she got there. That might change if she saw what the audience gets to regarding recent events. There’s no live-action tag at the end, but they do put in some amusing illustrations in the comic book-style credits. And yes, another episode without Matt Murdock, Daredevil. Since there are only two episodes left, he’s going to have to turn up soon.

What I Liked: It was nice seeing Jen happy for a bit. The group therapy was a bit cheesy, but still nicely done. I’m impressed at the deep cuts they chose to be at Emil’s place (and very amused he actually did open up a meditation retreat), and El Aguila happens to be a character I’ve always liked, so that was fun to see. Though she only got one little scene, it was nice to see Nikki still doing her best to be a great friend to Jen, in spite of Jen herself.

What I Didn’t: They are really drawing out the Daredevil appearance, or lack of same. I’m not at all happy about the flashback we saw near the end of the episode.

It was a fun episode. Not a whole lot happened, but it was entertaining, and really, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? I’ll give this a 3.5 out of 5. Maybe we’ll see Matt next time.

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