Article by Kieran Burt.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law ends its first season with episode 9, and it was extremely confusing and anti-climatic. For a series supposed to be about an empowering woman lawyer, known for her litigating prowess, the finale decides the best way to fulfil that premise is to have an AI fix all of She-Hulk’s problems for her. And that’s only the start.
The finale starts off competently enough, with the opening being an 80s style video, with a quick explainer on the Savage She-Hulk, an homage to Stan Lee’s run on the character. The video itself is poor quality, and it looks like it was a radicalisation video posted on Intelligentsia by a guy in his basement, but this isn’t confirmed.
Jen wakes up in a Department of Damage Control cell, and to prevent her from going to prison she enters into a plea deal, preventing her turning into She-Hulk. She has to legally takedown the perpetrators, which is an excellent setup for a finale. She just has to find them first, which is the hard part.
Fortunately, she has a brilliant plan. Mope. Yup, the character, who the audience has seen to go extreme lengths to get justice for her clients, gives up. This is a complete gear shift from the stubborn character audiences saw earlier, what happened to the person who was willing to embarrass herself in front of court to get a win. The show also tries to introduce some narration, but Jen argues the show isn’t that off the rails to warrant that. Well, hang on for a few minutes, because the show is about to fly so hard off the rails it ends up in space.
Luckily for her, Nikki has an actual plan, which involves posting a highly embarrassing video of Jen without her consent in front of sexist trolls. If the audience thinks the show is about female empowerment, they’re mightily wrong.This act of betrayal gets Nikki an invite to the secret Intelligencia meeting, before realising she’s the wrong gender to enter. So she has to get Pug, a male, to do the work. He’s extremely reluctant, but is eventually coaxed into infiltrating the Intelligencia meeting and finds out the identity of Hulk King.
Jen on the other hand goes to Emil Blonsky’s retreat, to try and relax away from her issues, and stumbles on this meeting herself. Emil Blonsky is also a speaker at this event, though the show doesn’t make it clear if he’s also a sexist pig or oblivious to what’s happening. And the big reveal of who Hulk King is? Todd. Not the Leader, not M.O.D.O.K. Just Todd.
Todd for a brief second turns into a Hulk, and for some reason Titania also appears. The Hulk makes his grand return, promising for a hugely messy fight. This is where the show leaves the rails. There’s no reason that everyone would show up at this time. But Jen realises that there’s a huge mess about to go down in her show, so she literally steps out of it.
Using the Disney+ page to navigate out of the show (causing confusion that my computer had booted me back there), She-Hulk navigates to the writers of the show, and demands to speak to the writers, for them to give her a better ending. By this point, any logic has left the show, it’s not really clear why anything is happening or how She-Hulk knew how to leave the show.
When the writers say she needs to see K.E.V.I.N and negotiate with him, She-Hulk blasts her way up there, and finds a robot with a Kevin Feige hat, an obvious stand-in for the guy himself. K.E.V.I.N peppers a couple of VFX jokes into the dialogue, and wow. Marvel is known for its harsh exploitation of its VFX artists, but to joke about that as well must be a new low, with the joke being incredibly inflammatory. It’s the worst joke in the MCU so far, and it’s being played on VFX artists. The rest of the scene is Jen criticising the MCU for being formulaic in several ways, which would be funny if it didn’t have some truth to it.
To get her to leave, K.E.V.I.N promises to fix all of her problems, no problem at all. A hero is defined by what they give up to achieve their goals or the journey they go on, and there is none of that here. Jen gets her life back for free. This type of make a wish resolution also exposes the fact that the writers really did have no idea to resolve the set ups that they were drip feeding the audience all this time, which begs the question of why they did it.
She-Hulk is the kind of show that doesn’t need a central antagonist, but the formula of Marvel demands teases, even if it can’t pay them off. Jen asks why all of this is happening in her law show, and that’s the exact question audiences are left after the finale. What happened to her empowering law show?