By Samuel M Acosta
While “She-Hulk” has had its share of issues, what I didn’t expect to be a problem was a simple lack of content. Normally, the show throws a couple of plots at you and some succeed while others fail to land properly. Yet, episode five has almost the opposite issue: there is barely any plot to speak of. Filler episodes are a common practice in long-running television shows, but when it comes to limited series, they can be killer. Here, it only continues to lower my interest and hope for the show.
Episode five follows two primary “plots”, a term I will use loosely in regards to this episode. The first is that Titania has sued Jen for use of the name “She-Hulk”, which Titania has trademarked and used to promote a new line of cosmetics. While Jen wants to deal with the lawsuit herself, her firm forces her to hire fellow lawyer Mallory Book. Together they fight Titania in court. While the judge initially is against Jen, after bringing back her dating profile and all the guys she dated as She-Hulk in the previous episode, she gets the judge to side with her.
Simultaneously, Jen is trying to get a new wardrobe. Nikki and Pug go to find someone who is known for making superhero clothing. While a meeting with this tailor is incredibly hard to come by, with a few colorful lies, they are able to get Jen an appointment. The tailor agrees to make Jen a new suit plus something extra, which he delivers on. The episode ends with a glimpse of another one of the tailor’s projects: a yellow Daredevil mask.
I think what disappoints me most about this episode is how much wasted potential there was. They laid a foundation for some very interesting drama between the characters, but instead, they just rushed through it all, refusing to take the time to use their resources well. They focused on the least important areas of the story instead of bolstering the assets that the story does have; because as hard as it is to see sometimes, there are some very strong assets in this show. They just aren’t utilized.
Mallory Book is a prime example of this. In the comics, Book has a very complex relationship with Jen. She doesn’t respect Jen’s legal skills and resents how she is given such a high position solely because of her powers. This could’ve made this episode infinitely more interesting if we saw even a glimpse of this kind of dynamic. We do see Book acting coldly toward Jen, but it comes off much more as her being a snob rather than having legitimate grievances. By the end of the episode, they are friends or at least share a drink and some advice.
If the episode had focused on the possible dramatic tension between Mallory and Jen, this could’ve been the best episode of the series. Instead, their interactions are short, uninspired, and sometimes boring. This not only is a disservice to the audience but a disservice to the source material they are using.
The humor in this episode continues in the direction of the last one, where it all feels just lazy. Pug feels as if he is a completely different character, going from a semi-competent albeit perky lawyer to a frat boy who geeks out over cheap souvenirs and name-brand shoes. There has been nothing to indicate this change. The only reason that I can see to justify this is that there simply wasn’t enough joke material and they needed a village idiot.
The other thing that this episode does is possibly reveal the big villain for the entire series…and it is so disappointing. One of the guys, Todd, who Jen went on a date with, referred to her as a “fine specimen”, asking questions about the limits of her powers. He also appears with the rest of the dates in the courtroom, but oddly, he also has a solo appearance a couple of scenes before this. At first, I thought it was just lazy, but then I started to put the dots together. In light of his seeming obsession with Jen and his scientific questioning of her, could he be the one who sent The Wrecking Crew in episode three?
Well, it seems like this has been confirmed. In the screener version of the episode that was sent to critics, the character is cited as being “Todd/ Hulk-Todd.” So it seems as if Disney has spoiled their own story and revealed that Todd is going to be the villain later in the series. Honestly, I feel so disappointed by this development. As of now, I feel like no real investment has been made in that character and I have no reason to want him to be in any more of the show at all, let alone as the villain.
The only hope I have left is that it seems like Daredevil will be in the next episode. That may be this shows last hope if it doesn’t change up its formula and return to pay homage to its source material.
I give episode five a 4.5/10
Sam Acosta is a Senior Theatre Comprehensive Major and the Arts and Entertainment Editor for Cedars. He likes spending his time watching movies, drinking Dr. Pepper and writing plays.
Images courtesy of Marvel Studios