The Devil You Know – Review of “She-Hulk” Episode Eight

The penultimate episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law spent a good amount of time setting up something wonderful for Jennifer Walters, only to take it all away in the last few minutes. I have to give the writers of the show credit. For what has largely been a situational comedy up to this point, the ending of the eighth episode changed the game completely. For those who have argued the show didn’t have a villain, they were missing the clues dropped over the course of the season.

Spoilers ahead, so don’t read if you haven’t watched the latest episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.

The Idiot for a Client

The latest case for Jennifer Walters involves the rich boy son of one of her firms biggest clients. Leap-frog (aka Eugene Patilio) tries to sue Luke Jacobson for a defective superhero suit. Eugene is the stereotypical rich kid who has never had to work for anything in his life and is basically clueless. Unfortunately for Jen, this puts her at odds with Luke right before he completes a dress she needs for a gala event where she’ll be receiving an award for Female Lawyer of the Year. Just when it looks like Luke is going to represent himself in court, Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) appears to represent Luke. Matt quickly dismantles Jennifer’s arguments in court, revealing that the Sokovia Accords have been repealed. But this is Matt Murdock and he quickly proves that Eugene used jet fuel in his super-suit, which went directly against the instructions Luke gave him for the suit. Given Eugene’s completely boneheaded move, his case is summarily dismissed.

The Devil and She-Hulk

The scenes between Charlie Cox and Tatiana Maslany are the best part of this episode. We get a different version of Daredevil compared to the Netflix series. Instead of the brooding, grim character that existed in that show, we have a slightly-broody but more charismatic Matt Murdock. When Matt goes after Eugene (who has kidnapped Luke), Jennifer intercedes before she knows the full story, leading to a brief confrontation between the two. Daredevil may be a ninja but Jennifer is a Hulk and she quickly proves the better of him. Once Jen learns who Daredevil really is, the two team up to go after Eugene and free Luke.

What follows is some of the best action sequences of the series up to this point. Charlie Cox still looks convincing as Daredevil during his fight scenes, even managing to throw in some legal advice while beating down henchmen (or henchgoons as Jennifer calls them). When Leap-Frog decides to leap out a window to escape, it is both satisfying and funny to hear him land and break his legs.

After the flirting between the two of them throughout the episode, it was quite satisfying to see Matt and Jennifer hook up in the episode. Plus, it gave us the added bonus of seeing Matt perform the walk of shame in the morning while in his costume, which Nikki sees as she goes over to Jen’s apartment.

Women Are Not Directly Attacked

Way back in the first episode, Bruce Banner warned his cousin Jennifer of what could happen if she lost control of her emotions. As Bruce put it, “when people start seeing you as a monster, that never goes away”, something he knew from personal experience. The ending of the episode holds true to his warning but not in the way I anticipated. Rather than Titania being the big bad of the series, it was Intelligencia (the online forum of mostly incels and manbabies) who targeted Jennifer for public humiliation at a gala event for her award. In one trauma-inducing scene after another, Jennifer is publicly humiliated as the contents of her cellphone are shown on the big screen behind her. On top of that, we find out that Josh filmed himself and Jennifer having sex and begins to show that as well.

The complete violation of this moment is one that many women have experienced and it shows the courage of the showrunner and writers to end the episode with this event. Rather than face a direct physical threat, Jennifer has to suffer the same fate as many women in the real world: the destruction of her reputation and private life. There is a subset of society that simply loves to see a woman be torn down for reasons that any man would be celebrated for, such as sexual freedom. When Jennifer loses her temper (and I can’t blame her in the slightest), the gala attendees flee in terror. Members of Intelligencia were also in the audience, filming and streaming Jennifer’s humiliation live. Jennifer goes after them, tearing through a wall on to the street, where Damage Control is waiting for her with weapons drawn. The look Jennifer gives the audience at the end shows that she realizes just how bad things have gotten.

Closing

While I wasn’t a big fan of the wedding episode, “Ribbit and Rip-It” was probably the best episode of the series. The clues were there from the second episode on that Intellgencia or some version of it was going to be the big bad of the series. I give the writers an immense amount of credit for going through with this story. Instead of having to fight a titanic battle, Jennifer has to deal with a group of largely nameless, faceless trolls who think a woman with power is somehow emasculating them. The fact that this has real-world parallels will not be lost on the audience (save for the segment of the “fanbase” that think Intelligencia is on to something). I’m excited to see how the series finale plays out and what repercussions occur for everyone involved.

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