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’She-Hulk’ Episode 9 Review — 'Whose Show Is This?’ Flips the Script

She-Hulk - Jen Walters

In what might be the best finale of a Disney Plus Marvel show, She-Hulk decided to toss the script out the window and just go for it.

 

I’ve been hit with writer’s block for a while now, trying to figure out what to say after this episode. While She-Hulk is a show I’ve personally found mediocre at best, and overall I would simply say that it wasn’t for me, I must admit they got me with this one. I could easily sit here and dissect the first ten minutes, where we find Jen struggling with her new life, which was just turned upside down, and we discover that (plot twist!) the guy that looked and sounded like a jerk… was indeed the biggest jerk of them all. But I figured we should just jump directly into it. The entire plot suddenly convolutes itself on purpose, with every major character showing up in the same room for no apparent reason, and then we get to the (unexpected) main event.

 

 

In a legendary meta move, writer Jessica Gao was convinced by Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige that they didn’t need to deliver a big fight for the finale. As she explained to Marvel.com:

 

“I think I probably wrote like, 20 versions of a finale that went all over the place and I started feeling like, ‘Well, this is a Marvel show, I better give them the classic Marvel ending. Big villain fight, big finale. But it never felt right because I was trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

[Kevin Feige] really opened my mind to the idea that it’s OK to not do that because I was trying to do what I thought was the Marvel expectation of what the show had to be. He was like, ‘Why? No one’s telling you to do that, you don’t have to do that, you can do something completely different, we should be doing something completely different because this show is so different from anything that Marvel has done.’ It was getting that permission from him that really made me think, ‘Oh.’ It just changed everything.”

 

I thought this was fantastic, and probably (and hopefully) what the show will be remembered for. Marvel allowing their writers to directly poke fun at the studio and their policies (the NDA joke had me rolling on the floor) is just perfect and sets up the stage for what Reese and Wernick may bring us in two years with Deadpool 3. I was very hopeful that, for a second, we would get a cameo by Kevin Feige, but having him be an AI was even better. They even managed to add a hat on top. We could be here all day talking about the many jokes that Gao managed to deliver through K.E.V.I.N. (including a very poignant nod to the VFX teams), but I find it more useful to try to appreciate everything else they were doing. I was a bit disappointed, though, that the writers themselves didn’t make a cameo — according to the credits, they hired actors to play them.

 

 

It could be argued that the show left a lot of subplots unfinished or didn’t pay them off, and with that, I disagree. It’s clear that Gao wanted to make She-Hulk a different show, and while many have attempted that before, most Marvel projects have had similar third acts. WandaVision, Hawkeye, Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel… They all had a big battle sequence in the finale where all storylines merged and the writers tried to give a satisfying conclusion to all subplots simultaneously. Meanwhile, She-Hulk said, “I’m doing my own thing here”. We’ve seen the alternative version enough times already, and we all knew how that was going to go. Jen’s arc at this point was basically realized, so there wasn’t really a need for an action sequence that would be nothing but a visual spectacle. And because we’ve got plenty of those somewhere else, Gao decided to skip it and give us the result — Blonsky goes back to prison, Jen reunites with Matt (who I absolutely did not expect to see in this episode), and the jerk will go to court.

 

In a meta way, it was the realization of Jen’s character arc as it showed us that she was now in control. The other subplots are actually not important at this point, and they know it. Gao knows that Marvel fans need a setup for what’s to come next (and so does K.E.V.I.N.), but she doesn’t need to steal time from She-Hulk to address another potential storyline. That’s why Hulk shows up like “Hey everyone, this is Skaar, goodbye everyone!” Similarly, in the post-credits scene, Wong lets us know we probably haven’t seen the end of Blonsky either. (Though shame on them for spoiling Wong’s return during the actual credits.)

 

She-Hulk - Hulk and Skaar

 

I should also mention that the K.E.V.I.N. dialogue was very thought out — Gao managed to poke fun at She-Hulk (the character and the show as well) for not having a well-defined future while also allowing Marvel to tease when we’ll see her again. There are mentions of a season 2, but Marvel didn’t promise it, so they can easily get away with that. K.E.V.I.N. also teases that we’ll next see Jen on the big screen, though that is quickly dismissed. Again, that could be used as a wink or just another joke — there are rumors about She-Hulk showing up in Captain America: New World Order, though there were also rumors of Tim Blake Nelson’s Leader appearing in the finale as the big bad. We’ll have to wait, though I imagine that Marvel will be sharing the character between the big and small screen moving forward. At some point, we’ll get a second season, but the character will definitely be in at least one of the two upcoming Avengers movies, and possibly somewhere else too. Given those final moments, Jen showing up in Daredevil: Born Again is basically guaranteed. And I would love that — we need more romantic relationships between MCU heroes, not just with supporting characters.

 

She-Hulk - Jen and Matt

 

All in all, She-Hulk was a bit of a disappointment for me, though I acknowledge I am not the target audience for this show, and that’s alright. However, I thought these last two episodes were fantastic, and not just because Charlie Cox was in both. That being said, I am glad that they went the Disney Plus route with this one, and also gave it nine episodes. It needed a televised comedy structure, which is not something any of the other Disney Plus shows had. I just wish it’d have been executed better overall.

 

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