Sometimes, doing the right thing costs more than it should. The second episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law follows through on this concept, with Jennifer Walters having to pay a steep price for her courtroom heroics from the first episode. The fallout from her decision to save the jury leads to her being offered a position in a new division for the law firm that opposed her in the first episode, GLK&H. And her first case involves someone close to her family’s history.
Spoilers ahead, so don’t read if you haven’t watched “Superhuman Law”, the second episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.
The immediate fallout from the ending of the first episode occurs before the title card is shown, with Jennifer being praised as a hero for saving the jury from Titania but also getting fired. The reasoning given was that her heroics caused the defense attorney to move for a mistrial, since the jury would be prejudiced to rule in favor of Jennifer after she saved their lives. Her co-worker Dennis from the District Attorney’s office tries to butter her up to find out how she became a Hulk, only to immediately insult Jennifer when she refuses to play ball. Any woman who has had to deal with the unwanted advances of a man can relate to that sudden about face, which is made all the more apparent by Dennis referring to an attractive woman at the bar as “it”.
While not an unreasonable notion that losing a high-profile case would be the cause for dismissal, the root of the issue is that Jennifer is seen as a liability due to her new role as a superpowered individual. Every law firm she applies to turns her down for much the same reason, despite her credentials. Even when Jennifer goes to her family dinner, she’s treated less like a person and more as a talking point, with everyone at the table either discussing superheroes (that Jennifer has no interest in becoming) or trying to discuss her love life (which she also has no desire to discuss). Jennifer’s dad is the one decent person out of the group, taking his daughter aside to discuss how she’s feeling from the recent setbacks. It’s good to see a strong family dynamic between the two, even if he uses his daughter’s new superpowers for help around the house in the stinger to the episode. To be fair, I know for a fact that my mother would do the same thing to me if I suddenly developed those powers.
When it seems like Jennifer’s luck won’t turn around, she’s visited at her local bar by Sterling Holloway, the lawyer who opposed her during the case she lost after hulking out. He offers her a job, which Jennifer accepts so long as she can bring Nikki on from the District Attorney’s office as a paralegal. Unfortunately, it’s a bait-and-switch moment once she shows up in the office. Holloway isn’t so much interested in Jennifer for her legal abilities but because his firm is opening a superhuman law division and he wants Jennifer as the She-Hulk to be the face of the division (both in court and in the office). The one thing Jennifer was afraid would happen once her secret as a Hulk was revealed is exactly what she is now dependent on to make a living. To top things off, her first case involves Emil Blonsky, aka the Abomination.
It was nice to see Tim Roth return to his role as Blonsky fourteen years after making his first appearance. The Incredible Hulk is one of those films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that doesn’t get discussed or referenced, aside from the reappearance of the late William Hurt as Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross reappearing in the latter films leading up to Avengers: Endgame. Emil is potentially up for release and wants Jennifer specifically to represent him, even signing a conflict-of-interest waiver due to Jennifer’s familial connection to Bruce. Emil makes a strong case for himself to be released but he’s clearly lying through his teeth that he doesn’t transform into the Abomination any longer (as viewers who’ve seen Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings know). Despite not initially wanting to take the case, Jennifer decides to do so after speaking with Bruce on the matter. For his part, Bruce encourages Jennifer to take Emil’s case, stating he doesn’t have any hard feelings for the person. Apparently, it was an ad-lib on Mark Ruffalo’s part to mention that he was a completely different person, a nod to the fact that Ruffalo was cast in the role of Bruce Banner after Edward Norton was let go following the release of The Incredible Hulk.The last we see of Bruce is him flying off in the Saakarian ship from the first episode, most likely returning to Sakaar to find out what is going on. I can only imagine the rumor mill that’s gonna develop from here, since fans of the MCU have been clamoring for a full adaptation of the classic storyline World War Hulk for years. Just as Jen calls her new boss to accept the case, she’s smacked in the face (so to speak) with video of Wong the Sorcerer Supreme duking it out with the Abomination in Macau’s underground fight club, leaving to some serious doubt how she’s going to square Emil being released with footage of him escaping from prison.
I enjoyed the second episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law quite a bit. This felt like more of a set-up episode for the rest of the season rather than anything monumental occurring. The reintroduction of Emil Blonsky was telegraphed in the trailers for the show, so that is no big surprise. I’m intrigued to see where the writers go with the show moving forward. My guess would be the trials of Jennifer having to balance her work life and new notoriety as She-Hulk, as well as the off the wall cases she’s going to be assigned. Some have rightly pointed out that the series will have a Harvey Birdman feel to it and that’s beginning to shape up during this episode. Overall, a good second effort on the part of the show and it’s enough to keep me hooked moving forward.
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