So, as we head into episode three of Marvel’s super-powered comedy lawyer show (never going to get tired of typing that), it’s now apparent that the series has pretty much settled into what it’s going to be from here on in and that’s a scrappy, witty, case of the week format that alternates wildly between irreverent barbs at what women have to tolerate, goofy farce and typical MCU world building with the deliberate awkwardness that Jennifer Walters herself currently finds whole shifting between her different forms. To be honest, I’m here for the chaos and I’m currently finding it rather refreshing after some of the other Disney+ shows settle on a more, A to B plot format.
However, there’s a flip side to essentially trying to be everything everywhere all at once, especially if you only have around 25 minutes to do it with, so with two colliding plots lines, a couple of cameos and a last minute twist, does the third episode of She-Hulk: Attorney At Law suffer from too much chaos?
After finding out the her client Emil Blonsky (also known as the supposedly reformed Abomination) was illegally broken out of jail by Wong, the Sorcerer Supreme, for mysterious circumstances, superhuman attorney at law Jennifer Walter’s sees her first case for prestigious law firm GLK/H possibly circling the drain before it’s even begun. Parole seems almost impossible for Blonsky unless Jen can manage to get the elusive Wong to testify, but even if she can, does someone who calls themselves a Sorcerer Supreme even recognise the basic laws of the tangible world?
While Walters desperately juggles this make or break case with the growing public perception of her hulking alter-ego, her friends urge her to control the narrative before things get out of hand thanks to an overworked rumour mill that’s already suggesting that she’s not only bern turned down by the Avengers, but she may also be pregnant with Blonsky’s child.
Elsewhere, former colleague and generally odious incell-type Dennis Bukowski, hopes to secure her firm’s services to sue his shape changing, Light Elf girlfriend who made him believe he was dating rap artist Megan Thee Stallion and while Jen’s co-worker, Augustus “Pug” Pugliese struggles to remain professional, Jen has a few ideas that might just help.
After a long, exhausting day defending reformed monsters and convincing a being from New Asgard to stick to our laws, Jennifer simply wants to crash out, but an altercation with a gang armed with Asgardian work tools who want to steal a vial of her blood hints at a diabolical plan lurking in the wings.
So, here’s my conundrum. The People Vs. Emil Blonsky is something of a hot mess with it’s main plot being exactly the sort of zany mix of surreal law shenanigans and down to earth superhero-ing I was hoping the show would be from when it was first announced – however, the B-plot, which contains Elves, chauvinists and an actual cameo by Megan Thee Stallion, seems to serve next to no purpose whatsoever except to turn the volume up on the crazy and introduce Josh Segarra’s Pug properly into the mix. However, while some instances of the episode kind of went over my head (even though I know who Megan Thee Stallion is, that doesn’t mean I care that she’s on the show), there’s an early spot of fourth wall breaking that makes everything make sense if you take it to heart.
Turning to us (while she alarmingly drives her car) the ever observant Jen states “I know you can’t wait to see Wong, I get it, I just want make sure you don’t think this is one of those cameo every week type of shows. It’s not. Except Bruce. And Blonsky. And Wong. Just remember whose show this is.” Simply put, Walters is essentially at the eye of the hurricane of the insanity that is her life and weird, random shit can literally walking in at any moment – and it does – so it’s best to just go with it.
Anyway, the A-story is a cracker, with Benedict Wong’s fan favorite spell caster making yet another welcome appearance within Marvel’s fourth phase and explaining what all that brouhaha during Shang-Chi was all about while giving us a brief look at his personal life (Wong’s on LinkedIn?).
Elsewhere, Tim Roth gets to do more of his new age schtick as we seemingly get ever closer to him possibly joining the Thunderbolts (fingers crossed) and this casual merging of disparate corners of the MCU – alongside Tatiana Maslany’s continuing knockout of a comic performance – is still the show’s most endearing draw.
However, it’s as we go into the B-story, we find the show starting to strain against how weird it wants to go, as featuring such a strange plot that doesn’t feature She-Hulk seems like a missed opportunity. Still, I guess it still fulfills the brief when it comes to portraying exactly trying to practice superhuman-law would no doubt be and it’s fun in a throwaway, if directionless, sort of way.
However, it’s the closing moments that hint that She-Hulk: Attorney At Law may involve some over arching villainous arc after all as a failed attack by what looks to be a shockingly nerffed Wrecking Crew (sorry guys, I’m a fan) brings in mentions of a “boss” and a plan to harvest Jen’s blood. Now, while it’s way too early to start flinging around hopes for an appearance from Tim Blake Nelson’s long forgotten Samuel Sterns from The Incredible Hulk – especially after the annoying amount of Mephisto based theories during the airing of WandaVision – it would be awesome if it could happen and it would only leave Liv Tyler’s Betty Ross left to complete the set.
Mindless speculation aside, while episode three is as chaotic as a gamma powered temper tantrum, it’s the sheer amount of charm that manages to steer it through the shakier moments of the story (some will no doubt be irritated by Shulkie twerking with Stallion in the post credits scene) that still manages to supply a near endless amount of blink and you’ll miss them references (her mob hit origin story from the comics is name dropped), gags (“Thor’s inspirational speeches are not admissible in court.”) and social commentary (the unnecesary diet questions for a female interviewee will definitely sound familiar to Scarlett Johansson).