The Defenders finally landed on Netflix, bringing together Matt Murdock’s Daredevil, Drunk P. I. Jessica Jones, Impenetrable Luke Cage and Danny Rand the Immortal Iron Fist. If you haven’t watched all of the episodes on those series, you really should before attempting the Defenders. Much of what happens in this show has back story in the other series. Except Luke Cage, his previous series didn’t seem pertinent to the goings on of what brought these four heroes together.
The first episode catches us up with where each character is currently. Danny and Coleen are traveling the world hunting the Hand when a victim of the Hand tells him he must return to New York. So the billionaire jets them back to see whats going on at home. Jessica is drunk at a bar. She is still struggling after everything with Kilgrave and we learn through her walk with Trish that she isn’t taking any cases. For a woman who lives in a cheap gross apartment, she must have money in the bank to afford all that alcohol on no income. Luke Cage is being released from jail and going home to Harlem. Foggy seems to have pulled some lawyerly magic to reduce his sentence and he’s off. Claire is waiting for him to finally get that coffee, which seems to be piping table flipping hot. Matt and Foggy still appear to be on the outs. Matt is doing pro-bono law work and no longer wearing the horns. Losing Elektra left a serious mark on him.
After we catch up with our heroes, we get to meet our villain. The mastermind behind the badguys in this series is Sigourney Weaver’s Alexandra. She is perfectly polished and classy evil. I loved her from the first scene. As the leader of the Hand, she has resurrected the black sky, Elektra. She is the warrior sent to capture the Iron Fist who is the key to their plan which will destroy New York.
Our Heroes are brought together with a little bit of fate and a little bit of Nurse Claire. Danny and Luke are pursuing leads that take them to the same place. When a young man Luke is trying to protect is in Danny’s sights, they have an interesting battle before running from the police. When Luke describes it to Claire she facilitates their meeting. The relationship between Luke and Danny is one of my favorite parts of the series. Danny is cocky and full of himself, this is one of the things many people disliked about the Iron Fist. I enjoyed the series even if he could get obnoxious at times. Luke seems to put him in his place and i very much enjoyed when he basically told him to stop whining about his hard life when he had more privilege than anyone. To many viewers Danny Rand is the epitome of the privileged white savior that is too much of a common occurrence in pop culture. Having the Hero of Harlem call him on it was great.
Jessica is approached by a woman who wants to hire here to find her husband. She isn’t interested until the husband calls and tells her to leave it alone. So she starts digging. When the man shows up at her office to encourage her to back off, she gets more invested. Especially when Elektra busts in and tries to capture him. He kills himself rather than be taken and that cements Jessica’s resolve. When Misty arrests Jessica, Matt Murdock shows up to be her Lawyer. Her P.I. senses tell her theirs more to him and she ends up figuring out that he is the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen.
All our heroes converge on the Hands building at the same time by coincidence. Danny goes trying to use his privilege as a billionaire business man to threaten the organization. Luke is tracking the man getting Harlem youth killed. Jessica was digging on her dead architect and found he built their building. Matt showed up to keep Jessica out of trouble. When Danny has to fight his way out, they all converge on the top floor and battle the Hand together. Matt ends up fighting the black sky alone and realizes it is Elektra.
Once they have escaped the building, they father at a Chinese restaurant and discuss what they know. Danny is all for teaming up. Jessica is not and leaves. When Stick shows up and is able to fill in some blanks. The three male figures start to see how they need to work together. Especially once Alexandra shows up with the Hand and Elektra.
After leaving the group Jessica goes to talk to the dead architects family. When she finds members of the hand outside their house, she changes her mind and returns to the restaurant right at the perfect moment of battle. The Heroes are able to take the upper hand. Matt is fighting Elektra outside and is able to get thourgh to her. He is able to trigger some of her memories of their love. She protects him from being killed and then flees.
As the team is now committed to discovering what the Hand is up to and why they want Danny, they move their loved ones to the police station to protect them. Though Trish and Marshal are both there, we get very little from these two strong characters. Same with Foggy and Karen. Misty, Claire and Colleen do have a more formidable role though. This aspect of the series was a but disappointing to me. Our heroes are very much driven by the people in their lives that they care about and those people have proven to be formidable forces on their own. It felt like a slight to not include them more. As the series only had 8 episodes, I feel like it would have been easy to add them in and extend the series a little bit.
AS the group decides that since Danny is what the Hand needs to win, they end up restraining him so he can’t go off half cocked. This doesn’t turn out well as Stick makes a stupid Stick decision and tries to kill Danny. Luckily Elektra shows up at that moment and stops him. Now she has the Iron Fist and delivers him to the Hand. She killed Stick in the process which mean our heroes end up arrested. They break out and head out to rescue Danny and deal with the Hand.
We get to the final major conflict. Elektra has taken over the Hand. She takes Danny below the building to a strange wall. Only his power can open it. HE refuses, so she bates him into a fight. Because Danny is a cocky idiot, it doesn’t take long before he swings his glowing hand right at the magic wall just like they wanted. Behind it is the bones of the great dragon, which seems to be the substance that gives the Hand immortality. As they begin excavating it, the effects begin to radiate through New York. But our Heroes arrive in time. A mega fight happens, when they have almost won, Matt convinces them to leave and blow up the building while he stays behind to try and reach Elektra’s heart. He watched her die once and can’t let it happen again. He never makes it out of the building.
The Hand if finally apparently defeated and the three heroes return to their loved ones, except Matt. Karen and Foggy are of course heart broken.
The series ends with various scenes of guilt and remorse. Misty is in the hospital with a missing arm and Colleen blames herself. Foggy is upset with himself because he gave Matt his suit and told him to finish it. Jessica is drinking it away at a bar when Luke comes in and they have a moment. She suggests getting coffee sometime and we all know what that means. Jessica seems to have gotten some healing out of the whole debacle though and returns home to reopen Alias Investigations.
We close with Matt’s badly bruised and bandaged body in a convent hospital. He awakens.
There were many things i really enjoyed about The Defenders. They have a level of human relatability that is not often seen in super heroes. Jessica Jones is a strong independent women, but she is also very damaged. I love that she just kicks ass and takes no bullshit. Though much of the season felt rushed and the side characters were not utilized, over all I liked it and hope there is a second season in the works.
4 out of 5 stars.