The Defenders recap: 'Worst Behavior'
Resurrections! Lessons about privilege! A hallway fight scene! “Worst Behavior”is definitely the most exciting episode of the season so far, and it builds to Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist accidentally assembling for the first time. (Let’s be real: These four people would never join forces on purpose.)
The episode opens with an extensive flashback to Alexandra learning of Elektra’s death (which we saw in Daredevil season 2) and mobilizing the Hand to resurrect her, which uses up most of their resources (read: blood?). But this is the Black Sky, damn it! It’s worth it! The newly resurrected Elektra is a blank slate; she has none of OG Elektra’s memories, which is perfect for Alexandra because she wants to turn Elektra into a killing machine. Through a pretty awesome training montage, we see Elektra graduate from training batons to real weapons. For her final trial, she has to defeat and kill a large group of Hand minions, which she has no problem doing because she’s the Black Sky, damn it!
Satisfied with Elektra’s performance, Alexandra finally answers Elektra’s “Who am I?” question. “This is the answer. This is who you are,” says Alexandra, as she opens a box that contains a red outfit for Elektra.
This moment is actually kind of weird when you consider it in the context of the Netflix/Marvel world and this story. Elektra has no memories whatsoever, so receiving some clothes shouldn’t really mean anything to her, right? However, it does mean something for comic fans, because it tells us we’ll finally see Elektra in her classic red outfit. This treatment of a costume reminds me of how the final season of Smallville handled Clark’s Superman outfit: Jor-El withheld it from him until he was worthy of it, i.e. until the finale. What’s even weirder here is that the Marvel/Netflix shows are very anti-costume. Have you noticed how none of the subway posters for The Defenders show Matt Murdock in his Daredevil outfit, even though it would be a stronger visual? But I digress. This beat feels contrived, but I’m not mad at it — just intrigued.
From there we move to the present day and find Alexandra, with Elektra by her side, interrogating Stick about the Iron Fist’s whereabouts. These two have clearly been playing this interrogation game for quite some time, but now it has come to an end because Alexandra is on tight schedule. Rather than give up Danny’s whereabouts, Stick disarms Elektra and cuts off his hand in order to escape.
And now it’s time to start moving the Defenders into place for the big Hallway Fight Scene™. First up, we have Jessica and Matt. Matt tries to get Jessica to open up to him about whatever she’s gotten herself involved in, but Jessica, as she is wont, refuses his help. Once Jessica is released, Matt follows her, which leads to a very fun (especially visually) cat-and-mouse game that ends in Jessica managing to lose Matt and snapping some pictures of him doing his blind parkour thing, which raises a lot of questions for her. (Recap continues on page 2)
Now it’s time for canon besties Luke Cage and Danny Rand to exchange some words for the first time after exchanging blows at the end of episode 2. Let’s just say these two are pretty far away from headlining their own monthly buddy comic book together. Luke Cage has no patience for Danny Rand. He’s skeptical about all of this chi business, and, more importantly, he hates the way Danny refuses to acknowledge his privilege.
“I know privilege when I see it,” says Luke, who is particularly pissed about the fact that Danny attacked Cole, who was just trying to make money for his family. “You may think you earned your strength, but you had power the day you were born. Before the dragons, before the chi, you had the ability to change the world without getting anybody hurt,” Luke says. It’s like when the black bachelor contestants explained systemic racism to Lee (and America?) during The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All, or when Batman told Superman that the last time he mattered was when he died. Honestly, what a wonderful scene: winning all around, especially since Danny is left speechless, which, really, is all we can ever ask for in this world.
This chat actually ends up being quite fruitful, because it convinces Danny that he needs to use his wealth and power to attack the Hand. So, he visits his company and learns of the Hand’s connection to Midland Circle, then decides to throw on a suit and visit the Midland Circle building like a true businessman. It just happens that Jessica Jones stumbled onto a Midland Circle lead, too, after she charmed her dead client’s colleague into telling her about the last project he worked on before his death. And Matt follows her to the building and tells her she needs to leave because Midland Circle is dangerous.
Danny barges into a conference room, declaring he’s going to take down the Hand. Amused by Danny’s relative restraint, Alexandra orders her goons to take Danny alive because she needs him for something. (Is he the key?? Of course he is the key she needs.) Fighting ensues — and it’s Finn Jones’ best fight scene to date. Matt hears the brawl down in the lobby and springs into action. He steals Jessica’s scarf to cover his face and head upstairs. Jessica follows but takes the elevator because she’s efficient. Thankfully, Luke, who found out about Midland Circle after visiting Cole’s mother, bursts into the conference room (cue a Run the Jewels song, because naturally) and saves Danny, who can’t get his fist to flame on.
Eventually, the fight makes its way to a hallway, where the Defenders gather to kick some butt. Jessica and Luke are surprised to see each other. Danny rushes to the elevator, but Matt (who looks like an ass, to quote Jessica Jones) warns that someone is coming. That someone is Elektra, and Jessica knows she’s trouble. Matt doesn’t realize it’s Elektra until she almost kills him. Luckily, she hesitates, allowing Danny to save him, and from there, they all make their escape.
That hallway fight scene was definitely the best part of the episode, which was already pretty enjoyable and fun up until that point. I loved watching the Defenders bounce off of each other in their initial encounters. As always, Jessica and Luke came out on top in their interactions with Matt and Danny, respectively, because they’re the ones with the strongest points of view.
That said, this episode did remind me that the Hand still remains pretty vague as a bad guy. Yes, Colleen had some expository dialogue about how the Hand’s power comes from their ability to raise the dead, which is nice, I guess, but it still doesn’t explain the Black Sky. During that entire opening sequence, which was too long, I kept coming back to one question: What does it mean to be the Black Sky? Is she a weapon? Does that mean she can’t be defeated? It’s not entirely clear why they’re playing this explanation so close to the vest.
Most Valuable Defender: Tie between Luke Cage and Jessica Jones
Runner-Up: Claire Temple, for FINALLY bringing two of her superfriends together, like she should have done in Iron Fist (specifically in episode 5)
- EW’s Shirley Li was on set the day they filmed this big hallway fight scene. Check out her cover story here.
- While The Defenders were wildin’ out at Midland Circle, Stick stumbled into Colleen’s studio looking for the Iron Fist.
- “You look like an a—hole,” says Jessica to Matt, who replies, “Your scarf.” GIVE ME MORE OF THIS BANTER.
- While I loved the use of Run the Jewels in the fight scene, I was not a huge fan of the cliché and generic Far East music cues used in the opening flashback.