The Defenders—Season 1

the defenders season 1 poster episode guide review
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 6/10

Enjoyable cast, better than Iron Fist

Not much of a story, generic villains

defenders season 1 title card episode guide

It’s a Mighty Marvel Team-Up!

Iron Fist (Finn Jones) has vowed to take down the Hand…but it is a task that not even he can accomplish.  Fortunately, Danny isn’t alone and the paths of Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter), and Matthew Murdock (Charlie Cox) are about to cross with Danny.  With New York City in danger and a plan by the Hand’s leader Alexandra Reid (Sigourney Weaver) about to be enacted, the four heroes and their allies find that the Hand reach could be bigger than they ever expected.

The Defenders—Season 1 (also referred to as Marvel’s The Defenders) premiered on Netflix on August 18, 2017.  The eight episode series follows the events of Iron Fist—Season 1, Jessica Jones—Season 1, Luke Cage—Season 1, and Daredevil—Season 2.

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She’s back!

Marvel created a format with their cinematic universe.  The MCU created individual stories that fed into a giant story (aka The Avengers).  The Netflix series version of this movie followed a similar format…with similar results.

I liked the second/third team of Defenders which included Nighthawk, Gargoyle, Valkyrie, Moondragon and other second and third tier Marvel characters.  In the ’00s, the teams were reworked and this team composition is kind of a result.  The Hand while a decent Daredevil villain feels really tired and dull here.  The series needs a real solid villain and not another businessman-style villain with a generic plot of destruction…it feels like every movie and superhero show.  It is better than some of the movies and Iron Fist (and half of Luke Cage), but it still needs work.

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This is the TV series I want!!!

Iron Fist could still be part of the problem.  I love Iron Fist…the comic book character.  Iron Fist here just continues to screw stuff up.  The brief team-up of Iron Fist and Power Man (which evolved from the comics) was still more inspiring than most of Iron Fist’s actions in this series and his own series.  It just needed better writing all around.

The cast still remains solid in general.  The core actors of Mike Colter, Charlie Cox, and Krysten Ritter keep the series going and they are joined by a smart supporting cast with the main supporting characters from their series continuing to be strong in this series (particularly Jessica Henwick, Rosario Dawson, and Elodie Yung).  Sigourney Weaver is fine as Alexandra but her character isn’t good enough (she is kind of like a lamer version of Bane or Ra’s al Ghul…along with their plans from the Dark Knight series).

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Oh good…generic business men villains in classic Marvel TV behavior

The series still seems smaller than a movie, but bigger than a lot of series.  Unfortunately Marvel continues to act like the MCU is part of the Netflix universe, but there are no references to other Marvel movies (nor Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.).  The problem is if they do exist in the same world, why do the TV special effects not look as good as the movie special effects.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Avengers film despite generally being well liked.  I preferred the individual films to the “big event” film.  The same could be said about the Netflix series.  While The Defenders was still better than Iron Fist’s first season, as a whole it needed more direction, a better villain, and a bigger payoff.  Fortunately, it was only eight episodes and less of a commitment than other series…we’ll see how the follow-up series and season 2 pans out.

The Defenders—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:

defenders season 1 episode 1 the h word cassandra reid madame gao wai ching ho sigourney weaver

“The H Word”

1.1       The H Word Release Date:  08/18/17

Iron Fist (Finn Jones) and Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) hunt the Hand, and Iron Fist is haunted by failing his people.  Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) continues to drink her problems away, and Trish Walker (Rachel Taylor) tries to convince Jessica to tell her story.  Luke Cage (Michael Colter) meets with Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) and learns that he’s been released from prison.  Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) tries to put his life as Daredevil behind him and has a reunion with Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll).  Alexandra Reid (Sigourney Weaver) gets the news that she’s dying and the tests prove to be even worse.  Jessica takes the case of a missing architect and gets help from Malcolm (Eka Darville) to try to locate him.  Cage spends time with Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) but learns from Misty Knight (Simone Missick) that Harlem still needs help.  Alexandra meets with Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho) and warns her that their plans for New York City will have to move faster…unleashing something that will affect everyone.

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“Mean Right Hook”

1.2       Mean Right Hook Release Date:  08/18/17

New York City deals with the aftermath of the earthquake.  Jessica turns in the explosives she found putting her in contact with Misty Knight…but Jessica’s research into the company tied to the missing architect has a warning from Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss).  Colleen and Danny search for their next lead in tracking down the Hand.  Matt tries to deal with the fight to keep out of crimefighting, and Foggy tries to talk to him.  Luke tracks down Turk (Rob Morgan) and tries to find out who is recruiting kids in Harlem.  Jeri goes to Foggy for help with Jessica, but Jessica finds she’s attracted the attention of the Hand…and Elektra (Elodie Yung).  Luke’s attempt to save a kid from the street puts him in a fight with Danny Rand.

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“Worst Behavior”

1.3       Worst Behavior Release Date:  08/18/17

Alexandra recalls Elektra’s rebirth and training her as the Black Sky.  With Stick (Scott Glenn) as her prisoner, Alexandra is searching for Danny Rand, but Stick might not be as helpless as he seems.  Jeri has assigned Matt Murdock to Jessica’s case but Matt learns that giving Jessica help isn’t easy.  Claire decides it is time that Luke and Danny meet after their encounter, and Danny and Luke question if they are fighting the same fight.  Danny realizes he must try a different approach to stopping the Hand which could lead to a meeting of the Defenders!

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“Royal Dragon”

1.4       Royal Dragon Release Date:  08/18/17

Danny, Matt, Jessica, and Luke try to hide from the Hand, and Matt finds he can’t trust his new teammates.  As Jessica rejects the teammates, she learns that avoiding the Hand might not be possible.  With Stick offering Matt, Danny, and Luke a background on the Hand, Daredevil wonders how Elektra can be alive.

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“Take Shelter”

1.5       Take Shelter Release Date:  08/18/17

The Hand has put Matt, Jessica, Luke, and Danny on the run and endangered everyone they know.  With the return of Bakuto (Ramon Rodriguez), Colleen finds her past involvement with the Hand drawing her back.  Page learns Matt is not only active as Daredevil again, but also put her life in danger.  Stick finds he might have to take drastic action to keep the Iron Fist into falling into grasp of the Hand…and that the Iron Fist is the key.

defenders ashes ashes iron fist elektra alexandra sigourney weaver finn jones elodie yung

“Ashes, Ashes”

1.6       Ashes, Ashes Release Date:  08/18/17

With Iron Fist as the Hand’s goal, Jessica, Luke, and Matt decide that Iron Fist needs to remain contained and hidden away…but Danny isn’t accepting that.  Alexandra learns that her use of the Black Sky is creating a division in the Hand, and Madame Gao tries to convince her that the path needs to change.  Jessica and Matt try to track down the plans for Midland Circle while Luke is charged with watching Danny with Stick…but someone has other plans.

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“Fish in the Jailhouse”

1.7       Fish in the Jailhouse Release Date:  08/18/17

Matt, Jessica, and Luke finds themselves under arrest by Misty Knight who is demanding answers on what is happening in Hell’s Kitchen.  Elektra has overtaken the Hand by killing Alexandra, and Danny is the key that she needs to prove she can guide the Hand.  Forced to escape the police, Luke, Jessica, and Matt are running out of time to save the city and stop the Hand.

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“The Defenders”

1.8       The Defenders Release Date:  08/18/17

Jessica, Luke, Matt, Colleen, and Claire raid Midland Circle and debate trying to bring the whole building down to stop the Hand.  Misty must choose her side in the fight but finds that it could cost her.  Daredevil prepares for a face off against Elektra and a final attempt to free her from the Hand’s control.  Freeing Danny might be the easy part but everyone getting out alive could be difficult!

Related Links:

Daredevil—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Daredevil—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Jessica Jones—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Luke Cage—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Iron Fist—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Iron Fist—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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