We’re one episode away from the finale, and for being mostly set in one place a lot of gigantic things happen with our characters. For example, we get a look at what they all stand for. Continue on for my spoiler riddled take on “Fish in the Jailhouse.”
I think the biggest thing in this episode is we finally have all the characters become invested in this fight one way or another. Our core group decides they’re going to take a stand. And even a large portion of the secondary characters make a decision. Whether they’re going to support our heroes, kick ass beside them or get the hell out of the way, everyone chooses a side.
After the utter devastation that Elektra leaves in her wake, Jess comes to in a familiar position. I’m sure that she’s getting really sick of being chained up in that interview room. She starts the episode worried out of her mind for these people she’s obviously come to care about in a short period of time. She and Luke talk about this later, to remind themselves, and us as the audience, that it’s only been a few days since this whole thing started. It’s been a long few days of her fighting the team up, because she works better alone. Or so she says. Jessica lets people in more than she likes to admit. By this point Krysten Ritter is a master at bringing that vulnerability to Jess’ facial expressions, girl deserves all the awards.
Matt literally wakes up fighting, even if it just a phone and a lamp. I feel so bad for this dude, I tell you. Charlie Cox has this way of making Matt breakdown and then build walls up so fast it breaks my heart. The fact that Foggy is there to pick up the pieces, so to speak, just warms me up, though. Especially when he brings Matt his suit and tells him he’s family, it even catches Matt off guard. I’m not sure what Karen was hoping to accomplish, but Matt’s reaction just goes to show that he resolute in his decision, he needs to be the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, regardless of who he loses along the way.
Luke starts the episode still feeling the effects of whatever drug Stick used to knock him out. We get this moment where we get to realize that he’s not so unbreakable, he’s soft on the inside, just like his personality suggests. But in typical Luke fashion, as soon as he wakes up he’s worried about everyone else. Especially Danny, who he had mostly wrote off the last episode. We’ve started to get these glimpses of this strong moral code Luke lives by, it’s why he was a good cop and why he served his time. He’s loyal to people he has been burnt by before, including Jess and Danny. Luke, to me, is the heart of the team, the one who keeps them from straying too far into the darker side of the grey they live with.
By the middle of this episode all three; Luke, Matt & Jessica have decided that they need to get out there and take care of the Hand once and for all. They refuse to leave Danny to deal with this on his own. They will save New York regardless of the personal cost to themselves. It’s very clear by this point our heroes are a group of self-sacrificing assholes with heart. And the shot of all three of them on the Subway just reinforces how big of a character the city of New York is in all of these shows. It’s the fifth Defender.
Elektra spends the majority of the episode trying her best to manipulate others. It makes it just that much clearer how far she’s fallen from the girl she was in the flashback with Stick. Her loyalty and love for Matt somehow have been twisted in her head now. She’s sick with the power The Hand has dealt her. She uses this to wind Danny up, which is pretty easy to do if I’m being honest. Danny, is by far, the most naive and quick to action, he’s definitely a leap before you look kind of person. This culminates in him attacking her just when she wants. He’s always been the most resolute with what he stands for, but lacks clear vision to execute it.
When the gang gets to Midland Circle they’re ready to kick ass, and kick ass they do. I think they’ve been underestimated greatly at every turn by the arrogance of The Hand. The fact that they thoroughly kick their asses and The Hand having to cheat to get away proves it. But our heroes have finally come together and work well that way. Normally, I’m not big on the fight scenes that flick back and forth between each other like this one did. I have to say I loved this one though. It’s another example of how great the team behind this show is; the lighting and fighting styles really helped me keep track of which fight was which.
As for all of our smaller characters – they spend some time deciding where they stand in this fight chalk full of grey areas. Colleen starts off questioning herself again, which has been an issue all season. Frankly, it bothers me because it seems like without Danny she has no confidence. But this episode she proves she’s a tough person to knock down and will do what she feels needs to be done. Claire is resigned to be by Luke’s side, even though she’s not sure how she ended up in this fight. But Colleen reminds her just how strong she is, which, let’s face it she’s one of the strongest background characters in this series. Karen is trying to stay out of the way, but as we know she’ll make a heavy appearance in The Punisher (I think that was Frank calling to check on her BTW) this obviously doesn’t last. Misty seems to be the wildcard. She spends the episode waffling right up until she helps everyone get into Middland Circle and away from the NYPD.
The ending shot of this episode always gets me, no matter how many times I watch it. The image of Danny’s tattoo showing and then zooming out to see the dragon bones in the same position helps you realize where the heck we are. Another amazing choice by the behind the scenes team. It’s a good way to keep you on the edge of your seat for sure.
This episode was all about our heroes taking a stand. It definitely touches on the right and wrong of vigilantism, something running through all the series. How much into the grey they can live. And how much of themselves are they willing to lose. It sets up our final episode perfectly. I’m in it ’til the end.
What did you think of this episode? Was there enough action for you? Or were you happy with the slower pace building up to finale?
Marvels The Defenders is currently streaming worldwide on Netflix.