She-Hulk recap Episode 1 | A promising start for Marvel’s newest green superhero

Don't get angry. The series premiere of She-Hulk is now streaming.

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When Captain America himself tweets about your show, you know you have a hit.

This week, Marvel fans were finally introduced to Jennifer Walters aka She-Hulk, and thanks to Tatiana Maslany‘s performance, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is a funny, self-aware, sitcom-light show that keeps the laughs coming.

Episode one titled, “A Normal Amount of Rage” starts off with Jen, who is an assistant DA, reciting her closing argument for a very high-profile case. She’s practicing in front of her two co-workers: her best friend and paralegal Nikki Ramos (Ginger Gonzaga) and her male coworker who tells her to “smile” in the middle of her speech. (Just what every woman wants to hear, right?!). After kicking him out, Nikki asks Jen if she is going to “Hulk out.”

At that moment, Jen turns to the camera and talks to the viewers at home. You might be thinking to yourself, aren’t they just copying Fleabag?  Actually no. She-Hulk has been breaking the fourth wall in Marvel comics since 1989. But I digress. Jen then says, “It’s true, I am a Hulk. And I’m guessing you’re not gonna be able to focus on this fun lawyer show until you know all about that.” The first of many fourth-wall breaks.

The next scene is Jen’s origin story. It’s a flashback of a road trip Jen took with her slightly famous cousin, Bruce Banner. If you’re wondering why Bruce is in a sling it’s because when we last saw the Hulk, he critically messed up his arm while trying to use the Infinity Gauntlet in Avengers: Endgame. The rapport between Malsany and Mark Ruffalo makes it seem like they truly are family. The conversation steers from Bruce questioning why Jen eats Flamin Hot Cheetos with chopsticks (perhaps a nod to the Oscar Issac meme?) to whether America’s Ass, whoops sorry, Captain America died a virgin.

Alas, the lively conversation quickly comes to an end when a purple and gold spaceship flies directly into their path. Trying to avoid hitting it, Jen swerves the car out of its path, sending the car rolling into a ravine. Thankfully, Jen emerges from the wreck unscathed, despite a deep gash on her arm. As Jen pulls Bruce out from the wreckage, a drop of his gamma-irradiated blood falls into the gash, and boom, that is how She-Hulk comes to be. After hulking out, Jen takes off into the woods as Brcuse starts to turn too.

Jen wakes up in human form, deeply confused, barefoot, and covered in dirt and blood. As she stumbles into the bathroom of a bar cheekily called Ideal Sports Bar, four women come into the bathroom and instantly help Jen. They offer her makeup, hairspray, sandals, and a pink fuzzy jacket. Wherever those women are, I hope they are doing well.

After Jen uses one of their phones to call her cousin, she waits outside for Bruce to pick her up. And right on cue, three sketchy men start up a conversation. Getting rightfully annoyed by their insulting comments, Jen transforms. But before she can do any real damage, Bruce knocks her out.

Human once again, Jen wakes up in a luxurious beach house. She makes her way through the house to find a beautiful bamboo patio with Iron Man’s cracked helmet from Thanos. (we miss you, Tony). She then finds Bruce in his very expensive basement lab. Bruce is back to “Smart Hulk” form. He explains that this is his Mexican hideaway, a place that Tony helped build during the Blip. Bruce then explains what happened to Jen: when her blood was mixed with his, she got a lethal dose of gamma radiation; but because she has the same type of strange DNA as Bruce, instead of it killing her, it gave her superpowers. What’s even more impressive is that Jen’s blood was able to fix Bruce’s arm.

 

But instead of being excited, Jen doesn’t want to be a Hulk. Asking to be changed back, Bruce admits that he was no idea how to change her back.  Looking like she might have a panic attack, like any good cousin, Bruce makes her pancakes. He whips out a huge binder that lays out his 15-year journey of trying to tame his dangerous side. Safe to say, Jen is not a fan of the binder.

Cut to Jen being trapped in a glass case of emotion. Bruce wants to experiment on what triggers her anger and fears. As a wall of buzzing saw-blades get closer to Jen, she transforms and nonchalantly stops the saws and tears the glass door off. Bruce braces for her outrage but it never comes. Jen is completely and utterly in control of her Hulk self.

“I think I’m jealous. Is that what I’m feeling…” Bruce says. Yes, yes he is. Having bypassed the 15-year journey, Jen is irritated when he claims she still needs to learn to control when she transforms and how to get a grasp of her powers.

Bruce starts with dialectical behavior therapy and meditation but Jen immediately dismisses it and becomes terribly bored with it. So, in lieu of meditation, a classic training montage begins. Bruce teaches Jen boulder-throwing, that “spandex is your best friend,” and even Hulk yoga. This fun montage shows just how well Jen has adapted to her Hulk form. It then concludes with a drink-off at the outdoor bar. Another perk of being a Hulk: your tolerance to alcohol is extremely high. ( If you still aren’t over Tony’s death, there’s a heartbreaking reminder of the cost of being a superhero with “B.B.+T.S.” carved into the bar).

Disney+

But now that we are on the topic of superheroes, Jen does not want to be one. Instead, she wants to use her law degree to save people. But Bruce still doesn’t want her to leave until she can learn to control her anger. That’s when Jen gets real with Bruce, “I’m great at controlling my anger. I do it all the time. I do it pretty much every day because if I don’t, I will get called emotional or difficult— or I might just literally get murdered.”

And duh! No wonder it took Bruce years to get his rage under control. Before he was turned into the Hulk, he never had to control his anger on a daily basis. In a male-dominated society, men are encouraged to get angry but oftentimes women have to learn to manage their own anger. To prove her point even further, Jen transforms into Hulk and then back to human with ease.

Fed up with training, Jen tries to leave in Bruce’s Jeep. He won’t let her. She calls him out, saying that he wants her to live the same lonely, isolated life. It’s a pretty intense and brutal argument but Jen is absolutely right. But then again, Bruce isn’t wrong; Jen still doesn’t know how to control her powers.

What ensues is a Hulk vs. Hulk fight. It’s pretty epic as they rip the jungle apart but it’s soon over after they accidentally crash into Bruce’s outdoor bar. Jen helps rebuild the bar and their relationship. Bruce says he understands if she wants to return home. In a funny cut-to-camera moment, Jen says, “No he’s not.” But as Jen is ready to drive away, Bruce reminds her that he is always there for her.

Disney+

We are now back to the beginning of the episode with present-day Jen telling the camera that she’s been able to keep her powers on the down low except by telling her family and Nikki. We are then transported to the courtroom (after all, it is a lawyer show!).

While Jen is getting ready to destroy the defense’s closing argument, something else is destroyed: the courtroom’s wall. It’s none other than, Jameela Jamil, who bursts through the wall. While we never get her name in the show, Jamil is Titania, one of She-Hulk’s classic enemies from the comics.

As she destroys the courtroom, Nikki tells Jen that she probably should use her Hulk powers. Hesitantly, Jen agrees and transforms into the Hulk, shocking the entire room. When Titania asks who she is, Jen says, “Jennifer Walters, Attorney at Law.” A pretty great catch-line if you ask me. After swiftly knocking her enemy out, Jen transforms back to human form, disheveled, and declares to the judge, “I’m ready to give my closing argument now.”

After the credits role, be sure to stick around to find out why Chris Evans tweeted about the show because I promise it will be worth it. While the show is naturally hilarious and knows that it is, it isn’t afraid to tackle the more serious issues. Maslany crushes this role and the supporting cast is just as great. It’s a reminder of why street-level superheroes are so fun to watch.

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