She-Hulk: Attorney at Law shows us the sort of show it’s really trying to be in its second episode.
by Jeremy Fogelman
At this point it is somewhat widely known that the first episode “flashback” was actually intended to air later in the season, but creative decisions moved it to the beginning to lessen confusion. Now we’re back for She-Hulk Episode 2 where things continue from the hints it started with and the beginning of the sort of potential “superhuman case of the week” conceit the series has the potential for.
Things start off with Titania being called a “Superpowered Influencer” (which honestly is a great idea that should be unpacked further) but that’s all we see of the character for this episode and entirely off-screen. The “She-Hulk” moniker comes from a random sort of person calling Jen that, as per usual -- the Marvel movies do this sort of joke a lot, Bruce mentioned this the last episode the same way about being called “Smart Hulk”.
The new setup is that Jen is fired for being too famous and a distraction -- a liability for the DA’s office who are trying to prosecute criminals. Instead Jen struggles with finding something where people don't care about a superpowered lawyer, but it’s slow going. We get a cute and slightly sweet scene where Jen visits her family and gets some classic family jokey lines from them, like her mom Elaine (Tess Walis Kincaid) wanting Jen to talk to a family friend about being a superhero or her dad Morris (Mark Linn-Baker) asking an Internet nitpick question about what happens to Hawkeye’s arrows.
But this new world is perfect for Jen to get approached by what I suppose is one of the big evil law firms in the MCU, and gets an offer from the former opposing lawyer Holliway (Steve Coulter) to be the face of their new “Superhuman Law Division”. Potentially decent guy and potential love interest “Pug” (Josh Segarra) shows up to be the mild comparison to our old friend Dennis the Sexist from Episode 1, but not much otherwise from the new characters.
Instead we get reintroduced to Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), last seen as the CGI Abomination in Shang-Chi and as himself way back in the second MCU movie The Incredible Hulk. Our new mission is for Jen to get Emil paroled despite having destroyed much of Harlem and likely hurt or killed people. Tim Roth is clearly having a fun time in this ridiculous role, talking about his seven soulmates through the prison pen pal program (seven times fast), and seeming to convince Jen that she might actually be able to defend the guy.
As for the other characters from the episode, Mr. Cliché Dennis continues to be the overly awful dude while Nikki also remains Jen’s “spunky best friend” in those diminutive ways. I liked the family people for the most part, despite the cliched writing, because there was a realness to those performances. It was sweet to see Jen helping out around the house in the end credits too, a decent callback.
We do get a little cameo again from Bruce, who offers some nice words before getting flown away on a spaceship (a setup for a new movie, perhaps?). But the episode does feel pretty thin in general with a sort of “setting things up” vibe after the first episode which did the same thing in a different way. For now it’s breezy enough and Tatiana Masliany is an appealing enough performer to keep my attention, but it’s not really as substantial as a lot of the other MCU shows so far.
I’m more interested in the potential parole case to come than the little setup here, but I suppose that’s a good way to keep some interest for the next episode, assuming they don’t keep slowing things down too much.