The current MCU product gracing our screens is ticking along rather quietly in the background of many people’s lives right now, with very little water-cooler talk surrounding the She-Hulk Marvel series relative to its predecessors. We are now six episodes deep in this self-proclaimed comedy series, and the lack of a prominent narrative thread really is making it hard to feel invested in the journey of this MCU character.
The episodic approach naturally works for a sitcom or a classic Saturday morning animated series from your childhood, but given the nature of the bigger picture the Marvel movie universe sets out to achieve, this becomes a somewhat redundant method when it comes to its sideshow TV series.
I’m not talking Easter eggs, cameos, and not-so-subtle links to the wider cinematic universe here, but simply, what She-Hulk appears to be missing is an end goal – a purpose. While She-Hulk episode 6 is adequately entertaining, the show is fast becoming little more than streaming service filler.
Jen Walters (Tatiana Maslany) puts aside her legal duties this week and heads off to a wedding, a classic rom-com setting which is sure to lead to some crazy capers, right? Well, sort of. Her rival, Titania, is also in attendance, and the Marvel villain is desperate to go to blows with She-Hulk again.
The problem is, Jen has promised her friend Lulu that she won’t steal the limelight on her big day by going green. We get to spend a decent amount of time with “just Jen,” and frankly, it’s quite nice to just get to know the human behind the Hulk a little better.
Throughout the sci-fi series, the stronger moments have consistently come when Maslany isn’t transformed into a CGI circus act and is allowed to do some actual acting instead. She’s a very talented actor with a strong screen presence and her endearing sensibilities lend themselves well to her comedic moments.
Those comedic moments are few and far between though. Comedy is highly subjective of course, but it feels as though less and less of the jokes are landing in She-Hulk as the weeks go by. You can really feel, sometimes painfully so, when the writers and directors are trying to elicit a laugh, and the attempts are sadly missing the mark.
The most intriguing element of this week’s episode actually didn’t feature Jen at all, as Mallory (Renée Elise Goldsberry) and Nikki (Ginger Gonzaga) team up to handle Mr Immortal’s sticky divorce settlement. Seeing the philandering superhuman taken down a peg or two by his lawyers and his array of former lovers is very satisfying.
This collaboration between the two supporting characters does actually offer up a piece of the She-Hulk jigsaw puzzle in the form of Intelligencia. Mallory and Nikki stumble across the online hate group, and it appears the secret organisation of trolls will play a big part in the final three episodes of She-Hulk as they more than likely reveal themselves to be the true villains of the show.
Speaking of new elements being introduced, sadly there is no Daredevil this week. In the promotional clips for this episode it was heavily suggested that we would see the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, but Matt Murdock is nowhere to be seen.
A Daredevil cameo isn’t the be all and end all, of course, but it is worrying that, at this rate, his cameo is at risk of becoming nothing more than a whistle stop parade of a face we recognise. Charlie Cox has already had one sweet and short appearance in the MCU Phase 4, and it would be a shame if that is all his She-Hulk role becomes when he and Jen could have such a good dynamic together.
And therein lies the main issue with She-Hulk thus far. It seems the showrunners have spent six episodes simply having fun with their new toy, and pretty much forgot to actually tell a story. Now, with just three instalments to go, there’s a hell of a lot of storytelling to do in order to salvage this and establish She-Hulk as a character we should care about as we move into Marvel’s Phase 5.
At the moment, She-Hulk is little more than background noise. A light, easy watch requiring no real brain activity and a show that will hardly even trouble your facial muscles with its lacklustre attempts at humour. There’s good stuff in there, deep down, but Maslany needs more time to shine, and the story really needs to go somewhere, and fast.
If you’re a Marvel fan, you may be interested in our guide to the next big screen adventure with our guide to the Black Panther 2 release date.
She-Hulk is running out of time to be a TV series that actually means something instead of hiding behind gimmicks and inconsistent comedy.