It’s been a week since the finale for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law dropped and after rewatching the episode, I still enjoy the finale as much as I did the first time. Instead of sticking to the formula developed by the other Marvel TV shows, She-Hulk tore down the fourth wall and made some changes. What could have been a jumbled mess of a finale ended up working out as one of the better season finales I’ve seen recently.
Spoilers ahead, so don’t read if you haven’t watched the finale of She-Hulk.
Seeing Jennifer Walters go through a humiliation conga line after her “rampage” was the first hint to me that something was different about the finale. As Jen points out in her first fourth wall break of the episode, it just seems like her life sucks now. Between having to wear an inhibitor, to losing her job, to having to move back in with her parents, everything felt like the universe stacking more misery on her shoulders. Had this been any other series from Marvel, this would have led up to the ridiculous fight scene that follows and that would have been the ending of the series.
Instead, we get a fantastic moment where Jennifer literally calls out the utter buffoonery of the climatic fight. Everyone makes an appearance, including Hulk, Titania, Abomination, and the people from Intelligencia. It’s the sort of half-baked, throw everything into the pan type finale that people complain the Marvel Studios model relies on for their stories. Jen basically hits the pause button and addresses the audience directly, asking if this is what we wanted.
There’s some serious truth to that question. It’s been 14 years since Iron Man first dropped, kickstarting the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There have been some amazing stories told in that time frame. There’s also been some serious duds that have come out as well. Seeing Jen call out the fandom for their obsession with big, climatic fights whey they aren’t necessary was welcoming. But the episode took things a step further.
When I first saw the Marvel menu screen from Disney+, I thought something had glitched. The moment I saw She-Hulk kick out the picture for her show in the menu, I started laughing. Given the meta-nature of She-Hulk, it was absolutely fitting that she would escape her own show, kick open the Assembled entry (which is the behind-the-scenes series) and jump into the “real world” to confront the Marvel brass. The writers room scene was priceless, particularly because the writers all looked terrified of their creation calling them out for their poor planning. Each of them pointed out the Kevin was responsible for the direction the season finale took, which prompted She-Hulk to go and find Kevin.
The introduction of K.E.V.I.N. (Knowledge Enhanced Visual Interconnectivity Nexus) as a stand-in for Kevin Feige was brilliant. An Artificial Intelligence was responsible for the mess of a finale we just witnessed, which is a fun little jab at Feige. The request for She-Hulk to transform back into Jen (off-camera, no less) because the effects team had already moved on to another project made me chuckle as well. Jen’s monologue about the “Marvel Formula” and how that doesn’t fit her show was some of the best writing of She-Hulk up to this point.
The point of She-Hulk wasn’t some grand, world-ending plot or even about She-Hulk’s blood leading to some catastrophe. At its core, She-Hulk was about Jennifer Walters coming to grips with the new identity she had received. Todd (aka HulkKing) was the root of the problem, not because he needed to become a Hulk through Jen’s stolen blood, but because he was an incel. A consistent theme over the course of the series is that Jennifer’s change to a Hulk wasn’t “earned” was a cop-out from “fans” who didn’t like a female-focused show. The fact that the Intellgencia bros basically say the same things many critics of the show have been saying is meant as a condemnation of that narrative.
In the end, the finale was set back on the right track. Jennifer was able to get her career back, Intelligencia was held accountable for their actions, Emil Blonsky went back to prison for his part in the whole fracas, and Jen got to spend some quality with her family (and Matt Murdock). The reveal of Hulk and Skaar at the end was the little bow from K.E.V.I.N, which I thought was a nice touch. And seeing Wong break Emil out of prison at the end was an added bonus, especially the joke about the Wi-Fi situation (which fans of Doctor Strange know all about).
While there were some less than stellar episodes in the show (looking at you, Wedding Episode), She-Hulk was an attempt to tell a different superhero story. For the most part, it did so in fine fashion. Tatiana Maslany was the right casting choice for Jennifer Walters. She carried both the comedic moments and dramatic moments with ease. The rest of the regular cast were also outstanding, particularly Nikky and Pug (these two should get more screen time in the second season). If Marvel Studios does decide to move forward with a second season of She-Hulk, I’ll definitely be on board to watch it.
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