Craig Huntley reviews the seventh episode of The Defenders, which might just be his favourite yet.
With our heroes battered and bruised after losing the fight with Elektra, and Iron Fist currently in the clenched fist of The Hand, episode seven Fish In The Jailhouse presents a different problem in the form of the NYPD. With a roving camera moving over the incapacitated bodies of Jessica, Luke and Matt and two unidentified murder victims, the opening scene sets the tone for the episode ahead.
After the episode’s opening flashback scene with Stick and Elektra from what we presume is Daredevil season two, seeing our heroes face down on the concrete shows them for ultimately what they really are; vulnerable regardless of their superpowers. This gives The Defenders a reality check and a grounding sense of foreboding. The classic track The Man Who Sold The World slowed down to a ballad rather than the blues classic, gives the scene an extra disorientated feel that nails the tone of the whole episode.
With the group currently fighting a supernatural threat in the form of The Hand, the NYPD are another beast entirely, one which the team must deal with in a different fashion . The NYPD are fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters just like the population of New York who The Defenders are trying to protect. The episode captures the personal ramifications of the task at hand perfectly. A feeling of every single character having something on the line is palpable throughout the episode.
The writers of this particular episode, Lauren Schmidt Hissrich and Marco Ramirez, understand how to write The Hand as a formidable organisation, showing throughout the episode how they go about disrupting the daily lives of The Defenders. Getting them all locked up by the authorities just makes things even worse.
Without the necessary means to each get back home to their respective boroughs after their police interrogations, the episode takes a moment as Matt, Jessica and Luke escape and ride the subway to the final showdown. Director Felix Enrigues Alcatra uses simple staging and camera movement to convey our three heroes absurdly sitting next to each other in the most soul crushing of spaces, the underground carriage. It’s a comical scene played out with little to no dialogue with just body language conveying the comedic value of the scene.
A much better , well rounded episode and probably my favourite of the series so far. From the well choreographed action (Iron Fist and Elektra fight is a standout) to the subway scene, it all feels well thought out and with a sense of forward momentum. With one episode left, let’s hope The Defenders go out with a bang.
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