Now It is how do you end a tv show In the final episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, streaming now Disney PlusShe-Hulk tears up Kevin Feige’s Marvel Cinematic Universe and shreds the rule book of how Marvel stories should end.
This is definitely not an ending you will see coming.
If you need a refresher, here’s our recap of last week episode 8 (or start with She-Hulk episode 1). Now let’s delve into the latest installment, titled Whose Show Is It?, full of cameos and easter eggs galore – and lots of spoilers!
The season finale is all about endings, but let’s not forget the beginning: a retro-style prologue that imagines what this show would have been like if it had been made in the 1970s, in the style of the legendary series The Incredible Hulk (which aired on 1978 to 1982, plus several TV movies). It’s more than just a sweet homage to the classic show: She-Hulk was actually created for the sake of the show, as Marvel Comics staff hastily created a female version of the angry green giant so they could grab the rights to the character before the TV show creators could. think about it.
The series starred Bill Bixby as Dr. David Banner (the TV guys changed his name because they didn’t like Stan Lee’s penchant for alliterating names). A muscular Lou Ferrigno donned green paint when Banner transformed into the Hulk. Episode 9’s 70s Savage She-Hulk admirably mimics this old-school approach. The fashion, the hair, the split screen – a great way to start the episode.
After crashing the Lawyer of the Year gala last week, Jen Walters (Tatiana Maslany) finds herself superpowered supermax. Fortunately, her legal friends, led by Mallory Book, secure her a plea deal. Wearing an inhibitor that stops her transformations (same deal as Emil Blonsky), Jen loses her Hulk powers, her job, and her home.
This is savagery.
Does this work for you?
Jen’s mom shows Nikki a video of Jen twerking in law school (probably a reference to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dances in college in video which surfaced when she was elected to Congress). Nikki uses the video as bait for Pug to infiltrate an IRL meeting of the manosphere where everyone calls women “women” (which, by the way, is a way of using language to dehumanize women). They are angry about a female Thor, as seen in the comics and then played by Natalie Portman in Thor: Love and Thunder.
The Abomination arrives, but don’t worry: Emil isn’t a complete monster, even if he’s happy to turn green and spew self-help platitudes about nasty asses. Titania also shows up to add to the chaos. And Bruce too, finally.
Tech bro Todd Phelps turns out to be the mysterious big bad HulkKing who created the Intelligencia website. He is also the person who sent Josh to steal Jen’s blood. In his mind, stealing superheroes is actually earning them. He injects himself with Jen’s blood and becomes the Hulk. In other words, the villain becomes a mirror image of the hero, a trope that has driven the climaxes of MCU films since the beginning. 2008’s Iron Man culminated with an armored Tony Stark battling Obadiah Stane, aka the Iron Monger, in similar suits, while Tim Roth’s Emil Blonsky stole the Hulk’s powers to become the Abomination in The Incredibles Hulk. This happened in Ant-Man, Black Panther, Captain America: The First Avenger, WandaVision, and more.
And Jen is gone.
Breaking the fourth wall
One of my biggest complaints about the series is that Jen’s fourth wall-breaking conversations with the audience are supposed to be funny when Jen criticizes the show’s obvious problems, but that doesn’t stop those problems from still being problems. In the end though, the meta commentary pays off big in the finale.
Jen breaks the fourth wall completely and crashes right through the Disney Plus home screen. Discovering behind-the-scenes documentary series creation thumbnail Marvel AssembledJen exits her show and heads into the “real” world, crossing the Marvel/Disney studio lot and straight into the She-Hulk: Attorney at Law writers’ room.
Jen confronts the show’s writers about the messy finale and familiar final confrontation. While fans may want to see the long-awaited Hulk/Abomination rematch, Jen wants to deal with the real human emotional stakes she’s struggling with. This, the writers respond, is not the show Kevin wants. They must be talking about Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, the supreme man in the baseball cap who steered the MCU to box office dominance. Except, as the subtitles reveal, they’re actually talking about someone – or something – named KEVIN
Jen breaks into the heart of Marvel Studios (after signing an NDA, naturally) and finds herself facing some kind of deal with a robot supercomputer. It turns out that the MCU is the brainchild of an AI calling itself the Knowledge Enhanced Visual Interconnectivity Nexus, using the world’s most advanced entertainment algorithm to make “near-perfect products” – although some are better than others.
Jen presents her closing arguments in which she somehow knows about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. KEVIN allows her to rewrite her own ending, which effectively means that Jen changes time. This turn of events is familiar and fun, but boy does it throw up some existential questions for the MCU. What does this mean for the free will of the characters living in this world? Can the backstage be accessible through the Multiverse? What the hell is going on?!
At least KEVIN acknowledges that Marvel has historically been light in the women’s needs department, even if AI won’t be brought in when the X-Men return (hey, thanks for the try, Jen). KEVIN can’t resist Jen’s taunts about a possible movie appearance, and with a budget stage transition, she’s back in the real world. Or the “real” world. You know what I mean.
There’s only time for one final transformation — on screen, but decidedly abbreviated — plus Daredevil literally falling from the sky. Jen resumes her legal work, and to the sounds of I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight by Richard and Linda Thompson, Jen and Matt attend a happy family barbecue. Speaking of family…
Son of the Hulk
Bruce’s appearance at the barbecue probably means that Matt Murdock’s identity will now be known to the Avengers. But more importantly, Bruce explains the message that brought him back to the planet Sakaar (where he lived in Thor: Ragnarok). Say hello to Skaar, the half-Sakaar son of the Hulk from the 2007 World War Hulk comic book series.
It’s a pretty undramatic way to introduce such a significant character, but that’s what happens when you make KEVIN rewrite on the fly.
Episode 9 post credits scene
After the credits, Emil returns to the DODC supermax where we first met him at the beginning of the series. But he doesn’t spend too long paying a karmic price: Wizard Wong interrupts his television viewing long enough to open a portal in Emil’s cell and shoot his old sparring partner. Emil settles into a new life at the Qamar-Taj, but at least he has Wi-Fi (going back to a joke from the first Doctor Strange film).
On the plus side, Wong is generally a decent guy, and at least Emil hangs out with him instead of being pushed into villainous ways. But that means Wong is still pretty cavalier about things like, you know, the law. Oh and why not Maddisyn?!!
She-Hulk random thoughts and Marvel easter eggs
- KEVIN (or Knowledge Enhanced Visual Interconnectivity Nexus) is a reference to the comic book villain cyborg/computer MODOK (mental/mobile/mechanized organism designed only to kill).
- Judging by the posters on her bedroom wall since childhood, Jen was inspired to go into law by Erin Brockovich and Legally Blonde.
- The writers’ room is covered with a wall of colorful sticky notes, each containing a “beat”: something that happens in the episode. Some writers tape index cards to their walls. Either way, the goal is to “break the story” by mapping out the structure of these three-act rhythms before writing a draft of the script.
- The walls of the room also feature what I can only assume are jokes like “There’s something attractive about a man’s knees” and “Gamma go / Stuff it.”
- I hope Disney has good health plans for their security staff after Jen broke that guy’s arm.
- The closing song is We Run This by Missy Elliott, because of course.
- What happened to Josh?
- If there’s a season 2, we’ll always suspect it’s a dream sequence.
- What’s up with Skaar’s hair?!
Movies coming in 2022 from Marvel, Netflix, DC and more
See all photos
The best 2022 TV shows you can’t miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and more
See all photos