‘She-Hulk: Attorney at Law’ sneaks in a plotline while jettisoning another one.
by Jeremy Fogelman
The latest episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is called “Just Jen” and splits its storylines into one that’s indeed about Jen’s identity issues and one that only eventually connects to her. She (in the sadly one fourth wall break this episode) tells us it’s a “wedding episode” and that it’s intentionally inconvenient (debatable).
She’s brought in as a bridesmaid to someone she barely knows in a way that’s loosely explained even in the episode to Lulu (Patti Harrison). Jen keeps getting the worst of things, being first unable to look cool as She-Hulk because it draws attention away from the bride, getting annoying menial tasks while the other bridesmaids do nothing, and be assigned to walk down the aisle with a dog.
I was wondering if this would actually go anywhere, but it doesn’t really -- Jen gets drunk, flirts with seemingly decent dude Josh, and ends up in a stupid fight with Titania. At the start of their interaction, I was more intrigued when Titania gives Jen a fun hateful look, but the whole “I’m going to destroy you in public” by just fighting her... It makes no real sense for someone who seems like a plotter.
So Titania as a villain is thrown aside, crying over her veneers to hide her British teeth (even though she’s never used her real accent) and I have to say: What a waste of a character and an actor! I mean perhaps we’ll get more from her later in the season, but I have been very displeased with the arc of the Titania/She-Hulk rivalry -- really ended with a whimper, and not a very funny one, that little fight between them was meh and it was very slapstick (she trips on ice to break her teeth!).
In the other more interesting storyline, we get Nikki and Mallory working together in a pairing that really works well. Their legal case, the multiple divorces of Craig Hollis (or “Mr. Immortal”, a bit of a Marvel comics deep cut) where there actually are some interesting ideas about what could go wrong with someone who can’t die but uses “legal death” for legal loopholes.
That’s not really investigated much as the real point is to have a bunch of broad jokes about the couples and how “nice guy” Hollis isn’t so great after all, which isn’t such an interesting subject to focus on. More interesting is how Nikki is able to resolve the multiple divorcees and their various issues with Hollis, leading Mallory to compliment her on how she managed it.
It’s one of the only times Nikki has gotten more to do other than the “sidekick” so I was glad to see that part at least. Then the two go into a sketchy alt-right anti-woman sort of site where they uncover a lot of what appears to be legitimate death threats against She-Hulk (or as Nikki says, Shulky which I found amusing).
It definitely serves as a pretty good prediction of many of the overreactions from that crowd that ended up complaining about before the season came out, but of course, my complaints about this show aren’t that it stars women or anything so crude, but that it feels like the show is way too light and inconsistent.
The episode was entertaining enough, I suppose, but I really disliked how they ended up utilizing Titania and the underlying theme about Jen’s identity crisis disappeared like they forgot about it. Disappointing from that perspective. I wanted more fourth wall breaking and more from the Mallory/Nikki pair -- that’s a show I’m suddenly interested in (just like the Wong/Madisynn spinoff).
The preview for next week presents things a bit more weird and interesting than this week, so I’m hoping things improve -- I know this show has the potential, even if I haven't seen it meeting that potential so far.
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