Written by Lauren Schmidt Hissrich and Marco Ramirez
Directed by Farren Blackburn
Luke is still reluctant to kill the leaders of the Hand. He’s very surprised when Jessica votes to kill them. More surprised, interestingly, than when Claire votes the same. He allows the plan to blow up the building with the Hand in it as long as there are zero civilian casualties. Down in the cavern, Gao would like to begin removing the dragon bones immediately. Somehow, removing them will destabilize the ground under NYC and make a good chunk of it collapse. *major side-eye at the writers*
The team discuss how to collapse the building. Claire and Colleen will do that part while the people with superpowers go after Danny. Police are surrounding the building, and Misty knows the C-4 is gone.
Karen is taking notes on the crime scene photos from all of the Hand-related incidents. Trish joins her. The power comes back on. They discuss Trish’s bosses squashing her story about what caused the earthquake. Karen doesn’t really want to talk about Matt. Trish talks about how Jessica isn’t reliable for normal stuff, but she is for the big stuff. Foggy and Malcolm join them. They’ve figured out something’s happening at Midland Circle.
Matt, Jessica, and Luke find the elevator that goes down into the hole, and down they go. Claire and Colleen find the support beams. In comes Bakuto. Colleen steps out to confront him. Misty calls Claire, so he knows someone else is there too. Misty wants everyone out of the building before whoever it is sets off the bombs. Yeah, nope. Nobody’s leaving yet. Misty is pretty desperate to get inside now.
People are hauling off dragon bones. Danny gets up and starts fighting. Gao is pretty scornful of him. He tries to fight her, but Murakami grabs him. Elektra stops him from slitting his throat. They hear the elevator coming. At least thirty ninjas, including the Hand’s leaders, are waiting at the bottom for Jessica, Matt, and Luke. Luke has an idea.
When the elevator gets to the bottom, Jessica is the only one in it, and Murakami is still holding Danny, ready to kill him. She talks a bit, and then Matt and Luke swing in to attack. That...wasn’t a very good surprise attack, but luckily Danny can free himself.
Claire keeps setting the C-4 while Colleen fights Bakuto, but more goons come to attack her. Colleen kills one of them and then gets slashed, and Misty shoots the other one, then aims for Bakuto. Down in the cavern, they keep fighting. Misty shoots Bakuto a lot. Doesn’t seem to do much. He knocks her down. More sword fighting with Colleen. He’s about to cut Claire’s head off when Misty gets back up. He cuts her right arm off instead. Then Colleen beheads him. Well this Hand certainly doesn’t have many Fingers left now, does it?
Matt tells the others to head back up, because he wants to try to get through to Elektra. Dude, one elevator! Bombs above! He pulls Danny aside before they leave, and we do not get to hear what he tells him. HEY. NO FAIR. All the Hand goons start climbing to keep up with the elevator. This fight isn’t over yet. Elektra still believes Matt let her die. He disabuses her of that notion. She throws a thing to stop the elevator’s gears. The other three keep fighting Murakami on it and he goes over the side. And then there was one! The cable supporting the elevator snaps, but Jessica jumps and catches it, holding the whole thing up.
Matt dares Elektra to kill him. Seems foolish, but she claims nonsentimental reasons for not killing him, so it doesn’t have the kind of impact that dare usually has. He is maskless and keeps insisting she’s good. Also, Matt heard the detinator get set from down in the cavern, so he knows he signed up to die with Elektra.
Claire and Colleen are helping Misty out. She’s still hemorrhaging from her stump. Jessica, Danny, and Luke join them in the lobby and are confronted by a bunch of cops. Who, it seems, Luke manages to make stand down so everyone can evacuate.
Gao approaches the broken and impaled Murakami. She knows the end is coming. The building blows. Matt and Elektra are holding each other. She apologizes for the pain she’s caused him. The building collapses right into the hole. Matt and Elektra have an end of the world kiss before rubble engulfs them. Danny reveals that Matt wasn’t planning to make it out alive. He told him “protect my city.”
Jessica, Luke, Claire, Danny, and Colleen go back to the precinct. Jessica hugs Trish. Karen and Foggy watch the door with heartbreaking expressions, then hug each other and cry.
Trish Talk! She explains that Midland Circle caused the first earthquake, but the collapse stabilized things. Jessica is there to see her. She wants her own involvement in the whole thing kept quiet. Jessica is super sad about losing Matt, even if they saved the city. Foggy tells Luke that he’s not being charged with anything because no reports were filed. He’s in the clear, as is Claire. Foggy blames himself for letting Matt take the suit and go to that building. Claire assures him there would’ve been no talking Matt down.
Colleen is at Misty’s bedside in the hospital. She tells Misty that Danny has connections at a state-of-the-art hospital (actually, he owns it), and they can help her.
Jessica is at a bar. Luke sits next to her. He came to check on her. They both want to handle things between them better than they’ve been doing up until now. She tries to apologize for what she did to him, but he tells her they have to move forward. He’s glad she made it out Midland Circle. She asks if he wants to get coffee sometime. *snort*
Danny is meditating at the dojo. Colleen comes in. She doesn’t want Danny to beat himself up about what happened to Matt. He’s not. He’s trying to learn the lesson from the tragedy. His lesson is that he feels like New York is home (calling back to what she said about it, so she kisses him). Jessica gets back to her place. The door has been repaired. Malcolm’s spackling over the bullet holes in her walls. He’s excited for them to get back in business.
Karen and Foggy are at the cathedral. She’s very deliberately not writing a story about what happened at Midland Circle, because she doesn’t want anyone figuring out the connection between Matt and Daredevil. She still thinks it isn’t real, and that maybe he made it out. They sit and hold onto each other.
Danny is sitting on top of a building with his hand glowing, watching the city by night. Cut to some kind of convent infirmary, where Matt is waking up, and a nun tells someone to “get Maggie.”
Okay, so if you’re watching The Defenders for the plot, you are wasting your time. The plot is very silly and the villains aren’t very satisfying (which isn’t fair at all, given how mysterious and scary Gao was from the start). You have to watch this show for the characters. Every single second of the main characters interacting with each other and most of the seconds of side characters interacting with each other are pure gold. It more than compensates for the unsatisfactory elements. I really hope this show paves the way for many more crossovers between the four main series. I guess we’ll find out with whatever precedent Jessica Jones S2 sets in March.
Crossover predictions: I’m keeping my expectations very reasonable. All I want is for Jessica to set down a newspaper with an article about Daredevil (written by Karen), take a long drink, and say “Keep it up, Karate Kid.” Because Danny should be posing as Daredevil, at least for long enough that nobody sees a connection between Daredevil and Matthew Murdock, who is presumed dead. It’s what makes the most sense for the characters to do, to ensure the people Matt cares about aren’t compromised by the suspicious simultaneous disappearance of Matt and Daredevil. Possibly by the end of the season, she notices something weird, like Danny being at a very public event at the same time that Daredevil was beating people up. This would mean that Matt is back, but only as Daredevil, which would be a very interesting way to start S3.
Things I Liked
Things I Didn’t
Matt knew the bombs were already set to detonate, and he insisted on staying behind to hold Elektra off and maybe try to get through to her. I don’t think he was being suicidal. I mean, technically, he deliberately stayed behind to die, but it wasn’t because he wanted to die. It was because he wanted everyone else to make it out alive. John 15:13, anyone? Anyway, if he mysteriously survived, then I'm not ruling out Elektra and/or Gao surviving too. (Much scarier if Gao survives because she knows Daredevil's name is Matthew. THANKS, ELEKTRA.)
Jessica definitely made a friend. I cannot wait for the next time she and Matt interact. And it looks like she’s ready to ease off her bender for S2 of her show.
Luke and Claire are unfortunately still stable-seeming, but his conversation with Jessica was weirdly heavy for a guy in a committed relationship with someone else. The matter of how he’s going to support himself financially has still not been addressed, so I guess that’ll be coming up early in S2 of Luke Cage.
Danny most definitely had more of an arc in The Defenders than he did on his own show. He started the season running all over the world to fight the hand, and he ends it with newfound love and loyalty for New York City, which he will now protect. He found a family with Colleen and the Defenders. (I anticipate future interactions between him and Jessica being very sibling-esque, possibly with a lot of angst on her side because he reminds her of her late brother.) If the character development holds, things look promising for Iron Fist S2.
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.