It’s always tricky to have super heroes crossover, whether in the movies or on TV. Netflix has done a great job combining its Marvel heroes’ stories into an epic battle for New York. True, Iron Fist still has a long way to go to match up with Jessica Jones, Daredevil and Luke Cage. Danny Rand was more the target than the hero, with his fighting a bit better than in Iron First.
However, as we get to the end, he’s the guy in distress as he has given the Hand a new shot at immortality, while his fellow heroes have to do something very drastic.
That choice is to bomb the Midland Circle Financial building to stop the Hand from destroying New York. How Jess, Luke and Matt/Daredevil discuss this result shows who they are. Matt says it must be done to save the city, Jess says she just wants this insane week to be over (not exactly heroic, that is her), and Luke is afraid some innocents will die. Since the building is empty, it’s only them and the Hand, that isn’t likely. While Luke may not like it he admits it’s time “to do something crazy”.
So what’s a dragon skeleton doing under the Midland Circle Financial building? Gao (Wai Ching Ho) says dragons were all over the place in her youth a very long time ago, and this is the last fossil left. Their bones are the substance needed for immortality. Taking the bones means parts of New York will collapse, but it doesn’t bother her, since cities eventually fall.
Danny tries to fight back against Gao and her Hand allies while she taunts him about missing his family and letting the people of K’un Lun die. What’s more, she just knocks him down with her chi as if she was Daisy on Agents of SHIELD, while Elektra (Elodie Yung) uses him as bait to get the other heroes to the wall.
That scene is what’s wrong with the series. All Defenders should be as equal in strength as possible. At least when Tony Stark and Loki squared off over a drink in The Avengers, both sides held their own. Danny’s been made to look like the weak link and that’s not right. Sure, Finn Jones isn’t as good an actor as the others, as many fans have pointed it out. His fighting skills are better, but making him look like an object rather than a hero is bad. Hopefully his second series will improve his character and develop other powers aside from the fist.
As they head to the wall, the other Defenders have an idea that may be terrible. Jessica appears to come alone, not caring about the Hand. She tells them she’s had enough of this “kung fu party”, and hasn’t come to fight them…. alone. Luke and Daredevil surprise them and the battle is on.
The heroes hold their own against the Hand while Gao sneaks away. Even Danny shows some great moves, his best so far in the series, until his fist power fades out. They find out about the bomb, Matt decides to stay behind to get Elektra to reject the Hand. Before they do, Matt tells Danny something in his ear
Colleen (Jessica Henwick) has one more shot at Bakuto (Ramon Rodriguez), who still tries to convince Colleen she owes him for everything she has, and should join him in immortality. This time her fighting is more accurate and more determined. She’s had enough of him.
Claire (Rosario Dawson) meanwhile tries to set up the bombs to destroy the building, soon interrupted by Misty Knight (Simone Missick) who somehow gets in. She may not believe any explanation about the Hand, but seeing it is another matter. When she tells Bakuto to stand down, he refuses and she shoots him. The bullets don’t stop him, and in a shocking move he cuts Misty’s right arm off. Colleen then beheads him, and it looks even more shocking. It’s a tough scene to see, but Misty will survive this.
This is actually a variation of her comics history, where she lost her arm in a bomb attack. She will get a new arm, thanks to Danny Rand’s connections. Hopefully, she and Colleen will think of a new business to open.
Matt and Elektra battle under the dragon skeleton, and she seems to flirt at him. She says she’s never felt more alive after being dead, and insists she and Matt just run away. It’s so familiar from their past. However, she also cuts the cable of the elevator, where Jess, Luke and Danny are. It would have been curtains for them except for Jess holding on the cable and telling them to climb out. Sometimes, she can be the hero. They also rebuff the Hand goons, including Murakami (Yukata Takeuchi), who drops to his near-death. The heroes get out, but wonder where’s Matt.
Finally, the bomb explodes, and the building goes down. Gao takes a look at Murakami, and tells him it is the end. Even though we’ll miss Gao as much as Stick and Alexandra, it wouldn’t be hard to expect a new Hand to emerge.
As the building is slowly crashing down on them. Elektra actually chooses that time to apologize to Matt, at least they will be together. In the end, it was love that brought Matt Murdock/Daredevil down. It was his love for Elektra that clouded his judgement, and kept him from killing her. However, it was also his love for New York that made him realize he had to do what he could to protect his city. Remember, this started with Matt trying to leave Daredevil behind, then realizing he has to be Daredevil again to save New York from the Hand. He thought being Daredevil would save Elektra from being the Black Sky. Maybe it did, for a moment, then the bomb claimed them both… or so it seems. Elodie Yung did say to io9 even she’s not sure Electra survived that bomb. If she did, it wouldn’t be far-fetched she’d be in future Iron Fist and Daredevil episodes, claiming she’s on “her side” whether it’s bad or good.
Danny revealed afterwards that Matt told him to “protect the city.” That is what he will do now. In the comics, he would have his own costume. It looks like Danny will pick up where Matt left off. Thing is, the series makes the mistake of having Danny in darkness except for his fist. It makes him look like a night light. When his second season starts with a new showrunner and Misty appearing, let’s hope Danny will be even more formidable against enemies just as menacing as the Hand. Remember, the other guy who wanted to be the Iron Fist is out there.
As for Jessica, her P.I. business is slowly resuming thanks to Malcolm (Eka Darville). The new door is progress. As for her and Luke (who’s in the clear thanks to Foggy), they share a moment while she’s at a bar. They don’t talk much, admitting this insane week was able to bring them together again. That is a good sign, and maybe they’ll visit each other’s shows next year. It’s been revealed Jessica still hasn’t recovered from Kilgrave and their final battle, at some level, may not be over. We’ll see why next year.
Luke’s future isn’t so clear. If he has something similar to the classic Heroes of Hire business in Harlem, fans wouldn’t be surprised. Claire will likely be back, as Colleen points out she’s just as much as a hero as Luke, Jess, Danny and Matt combined. It’s why one Twitter user thinks Claire is the fourth Defender.
Finally, though, it looks like Matt’s story isn’t over either. We see him unconscious, being tended by a nun. She asks someone to “get Maggie”. It’s expected to lead to a new version of the classic “Born Again” arc where Matt is literally at the end of his rope thanks to the return of the Kingpin. Maggie, by the way, is Matt’s mother.
The Defenders was a fine effort of mixing some classic heroes. All four had different ways of dealing with their abilities. Two wanted to avoid them, while the others wanted to use them. All four learned to embrace them to save their city. Not only that, we get a hint of what may happen next year and beyond.
Until then, we wait for the Punisher to return.