The Defenders Season 1 Analysis and a Bit of Speculation

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Disclaimers: We can’t speculate much about the next Defenders season, since the continuation of this season’s storylines will be picked up in the individual series’ seasons that will be released long before we get season 2 of The Defenders. So my speculation is about where the story might go for individual characters or organizations, regardless of which show in the Netflix Marvel Universe they might be appearing on at the time. Also, there are a few previously published spoilers sprinkled throughout this post, such as casting news for the various shows. Spoilers are marked [Spoilers].


Characters & Relationships

I enjoyed The Defenders and its focus on the characters. The interplay between the various Defenders was fun, interesting and deepened each character. The interactions between the Defenders and the members of the Hand and other side characters also gave us some entertaining moments, and challenged the characters. Gao and Hogarth, in particular, are played by incredible, talented women, are well-written, and generally provide a challenge to whoever is on screen with them. The addition of Sigourney Weaver as Alexandra was genius, and it’s sad, in a way, that she seems to be definitively dead, so we can’t see more of her. It was also entertaining to watch the supporting casts from each show come together and play with each other.

But the Defenders themselves are the main attraction, and they deserve the attention. Watching Danny and Luke develop from two alpha males who didn’t like each other and stood in their corners snarling, to a big and little brother camaraderie and respect was tons of fun. Seeing the two damaged, suspicious orphans, Jessica and Matt, slowly let down their guard enough to trust each other and discover their matching sarcastic senses of humor was also good fun.

[Spoiler: Danny will be visiting Luke, Claire, and Misty on Luke Cage, season 2, so the bromance will continue. Maybe we’ll get a chance to see Danny supervise Misty’s fitting and rehab with her new cybernetic arm.)

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The Defenders Season 1 Episode 8: The Defenders Recap

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And They All Fall Down

The Defenders come together as a united team in this episode, for an epic fight to save NYC from destruction by the Hand. Previous to that, Luke, Matt, and Jessica seem to sincerely want to save Danny because they care about him for himself, not just because the Hand having the Fist is a very bad idea.

But, most importantly, this is a Winter Soldier parallel, and those helicarriers have to come down. that building has to come down. We can’t let HYDRA the Hand succeed with its ultimate evil plan to take over the world live forever and take over the world.

First, we need to convince Luke that the architect was right, and we should use his C4 and plans to collapse the building. Sweet Sister, Luke’s not okay with violence unless he’s instigating it! His trusted women, Claire and Jessica, make good points in the argument; enough so that he reluctantly gives in. Jessica, in particular, wants the Hand to be stopped permanently. She still has the architect’s brains all over her apartment and once is enough with a rude enemy like that.

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The Defenders Season 1 Episode 2: Mean Right Hook Recap

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Sorry for another long hiatus between episodes. I did use some of my time wisely, and watched both seasons of Daredevil and rewatched Iron Fist. So, as of this episode, I’ve only seen the pilot of Luke Cage, but have seen all of the other 3 Defenders’ shows.

Let’s see what those crazy kids are up to now.

Hell’s Kitchen is reeling from the earthquake at the end of episode 1. Matt is perched on top of a building, listening for trouble. He hears a robbery go wrong when the store owner pulls out a gun. Matt leaps into action to stop anyone from being gravely injured. He punches out the store owner to save the young looters, saying, “They’re just kids!” “Who are you?” the owner asks when Matt’s finished with him. Matt looks like he’s not sure himself, and doesn’t answer.

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Iron Fist Season 1 Speculation and Analysis

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The first time I watched through the entire season of Iron Fist, I thought the second half of the season was not as good as the first half. The second time around I realized that the show became better and better as the season went on, as they warmed up to poking fun at themselves, the genre, and the stereotypes of our culture, sometimes to the point of parody. It seems some people agree with me, since the show ended up being popular on Netflix. Good to know that there’s room for lighter MCU fare on TV in addition to Agents of SHIELD.

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Iron Fist Season 1 Episode 13: Dragon Plays with Fire Recap

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The episode’s cold open finds Harold all dressed up and straightening his tie in the glass that separates him from his plants/Eden, as he stands in front of his glass coffin. He’s about to get out of purgatory. But we see a painting of Eve grasping the apple in the background, so this probably isn’t going to go the way he hopes it will.

As Harold moves to the next room, the news tells us that Danny is still on the run and is at the top of the most wanted list. Harold whistles a happy tune as he packs his briefcase and drives himself to the Rand building.

Ward is consulting with Jeri Hogarth about Danny when Harold arrives. Jeri is only thrown for a moment then jumps to recounting the legal ramifications of faking one’s death. Harold dismisses her with a comment about her looks. As if we didn’t have enough reasons to hate him. Trinity has aged quite well, Faramir. Take a look in the mirror.

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Iron Fist Season 1 Episode 12: Bar the Big Boss Recap

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We finally check back in with Ward this episode, who’s going through detox and being tormented by his father during his stay in the mental hospital. The visions of Harold with a knife in his side appear to be hallucinations. But, we’ve seen Harold pull the fake hallucination stunt with Danny, and seen him chop off his own finger. Putting the knife Ward killed him with back in his side would be nothing after that.

Ward is comforted by sweet Nurse Stacy, then visited by his next nightmare, Bakuto. The guy just can’t get any peace and quiet. Bakuto puts an antidote to Gao’s synthetic heroin into Ward’s IV to speed up the especially nasty detox process that the synthetic heroin causes.

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Iron Fist Season 1 Episode 11: Lead Horse Back to Stable Recap

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Once upon a time in K’un Lun, which is a remarkably green place, by the way…

Davos finds Danny lying in a stream outside of the dragon’s cave. He’s passed the test and become the Iron Fist. Davos helps Danny up and leads him home, promising to stand by his side as he fulfills his duty as the protector of K’un Lun. Danny is already having doubts, as he looks back to the cave and tells Davos that the test wasn’t what he thought it would be.

Back in the future, Danny and Davos have found an empty building to regroup in for a few moments. Danny asks about his mentor/Davos’ father, Lei Kung. Davos tells Danny that Lei Kung is understandably pissed off and confused that Danny wandered off as soon as the way to the rest of the world opened up. Danny asks how Davos found him. Davos holds up his cell phone with Danny’s name and photo on the front page of a newspaper. You can see the wheels turning in Danny’s head as he remembers that he’s famous. The kid needs a full time handler.

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Iron Fist Season 1 Episode 10: Black Tiger Steals Heart Recap

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When we left Danny last episode, he had passed out and was being whisked away to an unknown destination by Bakuto and Colleen. This episode begins with Danny waking up naked, in bed with Colleen, also naked, in an all-white room. He doesn’t remember how or why he’s there, so Colleen explains that it’s her home, and the safest place she knows. It all seems innocent, but there’s something off in the way she doesn’t quite answer his question.

Joy and Harold are having a long talk about their history. She understands why Ward is the way he is, now that she knows the enormous secret he’s been burdened with for years. Harold is already being wheedling and manipulative with her. The room is more brightly lit than usual, but all of the stark light is coming from the windows, leaving everything half in shadow. There is no true honesty here.

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Iron Fist Season 1 Episode 9: The Mistress of All Agonies Recap

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For our episode 9 cold open, we’re back at Harold’s favorite body-dumping ground, which he passed down to Ward, like any good father would. It’s been approximately three days since Ward used the swamp to get rid of Harold’s body, after Ward’s murderous but character-defining moment of both insanity and defiance. Sure enough, Harold pops up out of the muck like the God he thinks he is, with the knife that killed him still in his side. He drags himself out of the primordial ooze and turns his face up to the heavens to revel in the next stage of his evolution.

David Wenham is having a fantastic time hamming it up as Harold.

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Iron Fist Season 1 Episode 8: The Blessing of Many Fractures Recap

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Ward sinks further into his drug and alcohol fueled delusions and depression this episode, despite being rid of Harold, while Joy starts to come into her own, even though she didn’t know that Harold has been pulling the strings all along. Danny becomes more obsessed with Madame Gao and revenge, though he pretends his investigation is about the current synthetic heroin trade.

Danny starts the episode by warning his friends about the Hand. He stops by Harold’s apartment, but, of course Harold is gone. All that’s left is a giant smear of blood across the floor, left from Ward dragging the body out. Before Danny can react much, Ward comes in with a bag of cleaning supplies. Because he’s Danny, and he’s the Iron Fist, not the Iron Brain, he doesn’t put the cleaning supplies and the giant freakin’ blood stain together as clues. Instead, he blames himself for getting Harold killed by the Hand and tells that to Ward. Thanks to Harold, Ward is becoming a pro at looking sick and shocked. He pulls that look up again on cue. With a straight face, he blames Danny for making him grieve his father’s death twice. (Pretty sure Harold’s second death was the second best day of Ward’s life.) Since Danny is the most trusting and naive person on the earth, of course he believes Ward, even when Ward drives him out of the apartment with insults. Ward then gets down to his cleaning. I can almost hear him whistling while he works.

Danny’s at least smart enough to take Gao’s laptop with him.

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