Starting A New Job Is Hard Even For Superheroes In She-Hulk’s ‘Superhuman Law’

Halfway through this week’s episode of She-Hulkyou’re going to have to ask yourself a perhaps surprising question: Me, how much I care about the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk?

It’s no surprise that Emil Blonsky/Abomination is showing up, as he also did in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings— but I guess I just didn’t expect to have to remember the plot of a mediocre 14-year-old movie that stars a whole different Hulk. What we get here is Blonsky’s version of events, which should be taken with a grain of salt. Or maybe with a haiku.

Screenshot: Disney+

“Superhuman Law” begins with reports from Jen’s courtroom – reports that also involve “super influencer” Titania, who blames the whole incident on “an extreme case of low blood sugar.” Titania is still a mystery, but she served a purpose: she forced Jen to come out, and the repercussions are far-reaching.

A member of the jury, interviewed by the news, inspires the name She-Hulk (this scene is very awkward, but then, the name She-Hulk is too). People want Hulk Jen, and the look on Tatiana Maslany’s face – tired, resigned, but not entirely opposed – as she stands up and walks into a bar of people chanting her superhero name? It’s perfect. That’s the tone this show wants to master in a facial expression: being a superhero is a lot, actually, and it’s a very strange change in one’s life.

She-Hulk is at its best when it comes to exactly that: being a normal person who’s thrust into the world of superpowers. Hawk Eye gave us the superfan version of it, with Kate Bishop’s adoration of Hawkeye. Many Marvel tales have shown characters gaining their powers, but they’ve rarely had time to consider the mundane details, like having to buy a whole new wardrobe for your differently shaped self, or being looked at in a whole new way. by people who’ve seen your regular old self every day at work.

Screenshot: Disney+

Or be fired. Jen’s sacking is coming after she asked Nikki some pointed questions about the real life of superheroes: “Do the Avengers provide health care? Maternity leave? A pension? Are they even paid? She does not want to to be a superhero. She wants to be a lawyer (and pay off six figures of student debt). She’s practical in a way that’s at odds with the mythical, oversized world of heroes and vigilantes, which she sees as the realm of “billionaires, narcissists, and adult orphans, for some reason.”

This superhero is definitely not an orphan, and her family is definitely…normal. For a somewhat clichéd version of normal. Yes, a lot of people have parents who exist by stereotypical, old-fashioned ideas about gender norms, but for every woman in the family dinner scene, caring only about Jen’s hair and height felt like something from the past decades. The poor mother of Jen (Tess Malis Kincaid) is a cardboard cutout of a character. Her dad (Mark Linn-Baker) is a little more shady: he’s the one who acknowledges her stress and pulls her out of the awkward family dinner to give her a moment to breathe, and he also makes her do power tasks in the middle – credits scene.

When opposing counsel, Mr. Holliway (Steve Coulter) of the law firm GLK/H, shows up at what is clearly Jen’s usual bar and offers her a job, she doesn’t bother to ask for details. (except to make sure she can bring Nikki with her, which is a nice touch). It is therefore a rude surprise when she arrives for her first day of work and finds that the boss expects her to work. as She-Hulk – and handling Emil Blonsky’s parole case, no less. His attempts to claim a conflict of interest are brushed aside; Blonsky signed a conflict waiver, and Holliway really doesn’t care about the small case of Blonsky trying to kill Bruce. So off Jen goes to the super-secure and very intense prison, where the guards don’t appreciate her Thesilenceofthelambs to joke.

The Blonsky scene is a lot of “previously, on The Incredible Hulk”, but from the point of view of the poor Abomination. He was just doing his job, you see. The rampage was due to super soldier serum. He thought he was going to be the hero! But now he’s in prison, making seven kindred spirits through the prison pen pal program and writing haiku to his victims. (Let’s listen to the Abomination haiku, cowards!)

Screenshot: Disney+

To be fair, that’s what happened. Type of. However, that leaves out Blonsky’s participation in his own Abomination-ification, and it’s not entirely believable, as Tim Roth is a master at sounding sincere but not at all trustworthy. Here, he’s toning down his usual nervous vibes, all the more to convince his potential new lawyer that he’s changed. But she is not completely convinced. The show doesn’t take the time to really show us its skepticism but puts it all in one line, when Jen suggests that he actually speaks from the heart rather than trying to say what he thinks a jury wants to hear.

“Superhuman Law” is barely 20 minutes of actual episode length and feels like it ends the moment it begins. Jen calls Bruce, ostensibly to ask if she should take the Blonsky case, but Bruce knows his cousin: she really calls to tell him she’s decided to take it on. (As a nod to wacky MCU continuity, Bruce says of Edward Norton’s Abomination Hulk fight: “That fight was so many years ago, I’m a completely different person. Literally.”) Their relationship is warm and feels lived in a way that the rest of the series can’t quite follow, which is a testament to Ruffalo and Maslany’s skills. The rest of the cast is fine, but they’re on a different level; they’re doing scruffy indie work in a Marvel show, and it’s a joy to see them banter.

However, we may not be much more pleasant, as Bruce leaves town. Way outside the city. (Nerdist has a nice overview on what Bruce’s Sakaaran journey could mean for the future of the MCU.) And Jen’s new client is also very busy: as soon as Jen takes on Blonsky’s case, she learns that he has escaped from prison and participates in an underground battle ring that will, of course, look familiar to anyone wondering what the Abomination was doing in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

Screenshot: Disney+

Marvel obviously has plans for Roth’s character, and he seems pretty up for it. But there is a certain irony in She-Hulk spending quite a bit of time maneuvering his male superheroes into position to the detriment of Jen’s story, even though he’s aware of the “it’s different for a woman” aspect of the superhero experience from Jen. You can feel the gears creaking a bit, and the tension between what the show seems to want to explore with its character and what it has to do with the plot surrounding it isn’t always the right kind of narrative tension. .

Still, as always, Maslany is a delight and has an incredible knack for making heavier dialogue seem airy and true. Sometimes, like with her aside about how uncomfortable she is working as She-Hulk, her asides would work better as regular dialogue; as an aside, they may wonder “Do you see the point here, viewers?” We do! Trust us! Trust us a little more!

That said, there’s a lot of extremely relatable anxiety in Jen who says “I’m going to spend the rest of the year worrying about what I just said.” I went there, I felt that.

HULK SNACKS

  • I love how the title changes to She-Hulk: Lawyer for Hire after she got fired. But the streak of rejections in interviews – I understand why they did it like that, because a series of emails doesn’t have the same punch, but no one calls a candidate they won’t hire just to say that to her face! It’s just cruel!
  • There are sometimes more nuanced moments in how the show continues to explain how being a Hulk is different for Jen. When she talks to her father about how she feels she is being punished for doing the right thing, he points out to her, “You didn’t destroy a city. Small mistakes feel and are treated like bigger ones when you’re not the typical (read: male) hero. We’ve seen this more than once in the MCU (which made Wanda extremely dirty!) but it’s rarely so clearly acknowledged.
  • Mr. Holliway’s delivery of “I Really Don’t Care Who Your Paralegal Is” is a character precision strike. This man doesn’t have time for anything less than a high profile case.

Screenshot: Disney+

  • The best moment of this episode is the new colleague Pug (Arrow‘s Josh Segarra) delivering a gift basket that includes “a card of the best bathroom for pooping.” The second best moment is the sincerity with which Jen says thank you. This is valuable information and she has reason to be grateful.

Molly Templeton lives and writes in Oregon and spends as much time as possible in the woods. Sometimes she talks about books on Twitter.

About Jessica J. Bass

Check Also

Breed for the Job: Ellie Fredericks wins four-year-old NEXGEN final over 5* winner’s granddaughter | Eventing Nation

Ellie Fredericks and Upsi Britannia. Photo courtesy of NEXGEN/1st Class Images. Teenage superstar – and …