She-Hulk isn’t one of those shows that relies on guest star cameos every week – except it totally does. This week’s MCU mainstay is Benedict Wong, who appears to join Tatiana Maslany’s Jen Walters and Tim Roth’s Emil Blonsky in episode 3 of the series, which is now streaming on Disney Plus. And that’s not the only famous face who gets a laugh in the episode where Jen shows off her legal skills and her twerking when Megan Thee Stallion shows up.
Episodes 1 and 2 are now streaming on Disney Plus. Here are oursand , and this is our dive into the third installment called “The People versus Emil Blonsky.” It’s a big week for cameos, Easter eggs and post-credits. Lots of spoilers to follow!
Part 4 follows on September 8th, with more coming every Thursday (here’s the whole thing).
Breaking the fourth wall
Maslany facing the camera and chatting directly to the camera is a signature for the show, echoing the moments in the comics where Jen Walters breaks the fourth wall and talks to the reader. Does he actually say something funny? At the bar, Jen looks into the camera and mentions that the scene connects story A and B – sitcom-speak for the episode’s main story and secondary subplot, which should come together in a satisfying way. It’s very confident, but it’s not very funny.
And as for that initial fourth wall break where Jen tries to insist that it’s not a cameo-based show? Say it with me: Self-referentially pointing out a story’s flaws doesn’t magically excuse those flaws!
The so-called She-Hulk explodes, with Jen plastered all over the news. We see news channels like The Tattle News, Citizen News Tonight and The Conversation with Jefferson Coop, although they are mostly full of bland newsreader identikits rather than introducing interesting journalistic characters.
Nikki pushes Jen to do the interview, correctly pointing out that the genie is out of the bottle. Even Blonsky understands that the media will tell the story, whether he’s part of it or not. But we’re supposed to believe that GLK&H is an LA law firm that doesn’t understand PR. In the last episode, Jen’s boss, Holden Holliway, even says that they took the Blonsky case for publicity. There are protesters calling Jen a “monster defending a monster,” so what kind of publicity does he think the company will get?
The point of all this media scrutiny is to add another dimension to the show’s themes about how women are treated. From her unwanted name to the onslaught of ridiculous and offensive “rumors” about her, Jen finds herself objectified and vilified in the public eye. And the morons in the comments section condemning women taking on superhero roles reflects the actual sexist, misogynistic discourse surrounding this show and any story that highlights female characters.
Rights and Wong
The superhuman legal team takes the stand this week, with Jen showing off her legal skills by recruiting Wong to exonerate Blonsky. Even after the Hulk comes out and transforms into the Abomination, Jen responds to Blonsky’s curve with quick thinking and impressive speech.
Meanwhile, her co-star Augustus “Pug” Pugliese represents dirty ex-co-star Dennis Bukowski who thought he was dating multiple Grammy Award winner Megan Thee Stallion. He even paid off her Passat, which should have been the first hint that he had actually bonded with a shape-shifting Light elf from New Asgard.
Malicious Runa is the daughter of the elven ambassador to New Asgard, the Norse enclave for Asgard survivors seen in. The hearing is a fun example of the strange new legal dilemmas created by this strange world of superheroes and aliens and cosmic madness.
While we’re happy to see a cheerful Wong, he’s actually a really good example of how incredibly annoying superpowers can be. It’s played for laughs because he’s our cuddly good guy, but ethically, Wong actually does a lot of terrible things. Erasing memories, forcing the imprisoned man to fight him (for practice) and sending people to mirror/shadow dimensions. Not only does Wong show utter contempt for the laws of the land, but he’s also kind of a dick.
Speaking of Wong, Nikki tempts the former librarian by sending a photo of a thirst trap containing a pile of books. Actress Ginger Gonzaga playfully posed for this photo on her social media (but also reminded us not to read too much into the books she chose for the picture, which include a book about Donald Trump, some Margaret Atwood novels, and a book about ADHD):
The Wrecking Crew
Episode 1’s cliffhanger introducing Titania proved to be a bit of a false start, as there hasn’t been much in the way of super-powered fists since then. But in this episode, Jen is confronted by a motley gang of robbers. We don’t know exactly who it is yet, but we do know that they’re after Jen’s gamma-irradiated blood. Apparently Bruce was right to burn his samples of her blood in episode 1.
The gang carries magical weapons that turn out to be Asgardian construction tools. More of the weirdness of superhero fantasy bumping into real life — and which goes back to one of the themeswhen Michael Keaton’s blue-collar paramedic used stolen super equipment.
These guys are clearly less supervillains and more on the work-hard end of the spectrum. “The boss is going crazy!” shouts one of them. Who is their mysterious boss?
One of them is referred to as Thunderball, suggesting that it is the Wrecking Crew from the Marvel comics. But while these guys don’t look like the sharpest tools in the Asgardian toolbox, comic book character Thunderball is a gamma ray genius, described as a “black Bruce Banner.”
What is the composition of the end credits?
The end credits play over the song Seize the Power by Yonak, a band from Brighton, UK, featuring Theresa Jarvis on vocals. Originally set for release in early 2021, Seize the Power features catchy lyrics like “I looked in the mirror, I’m different”; “They’re not brave like you, they’re too scared to do anything different, anything new”; and perhaps most aptly, “You can take this power.”
Scene after episode 3
This is really Megan Thee Stallion and she’s joining Jen at the office dance party. If you’ve ever wanted to see the Hulk twerking, now’s your chance.
The green She-Hulk is a CGI character, which means a visual effects company probably had to design and render the bouncing CG booty. Well done if you can do it…
Random She-Hulk thoughts and Marvel Easter Eggs
- Wong’s work history ranges from Sorcerer Supreme in New York to librarian at Kamar-Taj in Nepal (11 years) to Target sales associate (also Kamar-Taj, 9 years).
- One of the reporters asks if Jen got her powers from a mob hit gone wrong. In the Marvel universe, the mafia equivalent is the Maggia crime ring, which appeared in the MCU TV show Agent Carter. This little joke is a reference to Jen’s origin story in the comics, where she was shot by a crime boss and had to receive a blood transfusion of Bruce Banner’s gamma-irradiated blood – which is much more interesting than .
- In the end credits, there is a picture of Jen squeezing some colleagues in an elevator. It’s a reference to a comic book cover showing Jen in an elevator with Matt Murdock (aka Daredevil) and Howard the Duck. It also brings to mind the iconic shot from Silence of the Lambs, which subverts the moment in which Jodie Foster is dwarfed by male FBI cadets in an elevator as a metaphor for the sexism she faces in that film.
- Jen’s colleague from the Superhuman Law Department, Mallory Book, literally walks in the door and right out again. In the comics, she is Jen’s frenemy, a former beauty queen and a formidable lawyer, earning her the nickname “The Face That Never Lost a Case.”
- The news footage introduces Gideon Wilson, the original prosecutor who put Blonsky away. In the comics, Gideon Wilson is the brother of Sam Wilson (aka Falcon aka Captain America). At one point he had Hulk-like powers, but was usually seen as a minister whose son died of AIDS.
- “The Big Green Woman”https://www.cnet.com/”La Gran Mujer Verde” is apparently a hashtag.
- “Toilet kombucha.”
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