Well, they faked us out, didn’t they? After a tantalizing glimpse at Daredevil’s new helmet in the last episode, this episode has not even a hint of Matt Murdock. That’s a risky game to play with Marvel fans, but the show is, at least, self-aware that it’s thwarting our expectations. “Yes, it’s a self contained wedding episode. And if you think this is happening at an inconvenient time in the season, you’re right,” Jen addresses us. “‘Cause that’s how weddings always are.”
So no, there is once again no major MCU cameo in this episode, but Lulu the bride is played by Patti Harrison, which is just as good if not better! And I’m happy to report that “Just Jen” is a steady improvement over last week’s offering She-Hulk settles into its rhythm. Like the previous episode’s exploration of beauty industry exploitation, this week’s plague of traditional femininity is the plight of the bridesmaid. Anyone who has been through it will recognize the hallmarks of the genre: the cheeky “will you be my bridesmaid” invitation sent out of obligation, being pressed into service to clean up around the venue, walking down the aisle with a dog. That last one is probably less frequent in real life, but it rang true, didn’t it?
Jen is still dealing with the insecurities that were stoked by putting She-Hulk’s dates on the stand last week. At this point, she’d rather show up to the wedding as the glamorous and beloved “Shulky” (as Nikki calls her) than as herself. But say what you will about nightmare bride Lulu, it is kind of rude for a superhero to pull focus from the event. Understanding this, she quickly agrees to spend the rest of the weekend (sorry, Wednesday and Thursday) as “Just Jen.” Cue title card!
This is difficult for Jen when Titania shows up in an obvious bid to provoke her, and when Lulu doesn’t care about any of her actually impressive accomplishments and instead probes into her lack of love life, a clear area of sensitivity for her right now . But there’s a cute guy at the wedding who is actually interested in Just Jen–he thinks she’s beautiful! Their awkward banter is adorable, and perfectly played by Tatiana Maslany and Trevor Salter.
Unfortunately, the romance is interrupted by Titania, making good on her promise that their enmity isn’t over. Side note: guess Jen retains some of She-Hulk’s hardiness in her human form, because she takes Titania’s punch like a champ. Unfortunately, human Jen is not as adept as fighting (despite what she may think), so she’s forced to break her promise and shift into Hulk form. (Though it takes every minute: “Oh no, I forgot how to do it,” complains a hilariously drunk Jen.)
Titiana’s also finally expresses her motives for antagonizing Jen. She’s bothered by all the attention She-Hulk’s getting (no surprise there), and indignant that our hero is pulling her limelight “for something you don’t even want!” She wants to prove that She-Hulk doesn’t deserve her hype. Instead, she takes one hard hit and then trips face first on the dance floor, shattering her veneers. Titania flees the wedding in disgrace; one gets the feeling that the rivalry probably still isn’t over.
I haven’t forgotten our B story: a few episodes too late, but Renée Elise Goldsberry is finally stepping up as a series regular. This week, Mallory delightfully teams up with Nikki to handle the divorce case of Mr. Immortal (the wonderful David Pasquesi), who, if I’m not mistaken, is the first comic book character She-Hulk has introduced (on the guest star side) who doesn’t already exist in the MCU.
Even though they’re representing him, Mallory and Nikki have no respect for Mr. Immortal, who would rather temporarily kill himself than deal with confrontation. (“I’m a nice guy,” he argues. “I think this is the most considerate way to end a marriage.”) His jumping out of the window of Mallory’s office rather than face her judgment was very dark and very funny, and perhaps the most absurd image of the series to date.
This side plot allows both women time to shine, particularly Nikki, whose unconventional approach to arbitration with Mr. Immortal’s eight exes prove she can be fabulous and useful outside of Jen’s sphere. The storyline also leads us to Intelligencia, the website “for hateful man babies.” Looking into it after wrapping up the case, Mallory and Nikki discover a whole sub-thread on the site dedicated to hating She-Hulk, even to the point of death threats. Mallory thinks they shouldn’t tell Jen about her trolls, but Nikki immediately disregards that advice and gives her a heads-up on her voicemail.
And just in time, too, because some creepy stalkers in a science lab who may or may not be connected to Intelligencia are watching Jen at the wedding, and it seems like they’re preparing yet another attack to steal Jen’s blood. It seems next week we’ll finally get some answers about the mysterious mugging a few episodes ago. Or maybe not, if the Daredevil fake out is anything to go by. They like to keep us on our toes She-Hulk!
- Lots of great Nikki moments in this episode, including: “It’s twice as much of a sin to kill a fun person.”
- Super designer Luke made Jen a dress for the rehearsal dinner as well as, it seems, every bridesmaid dress. It’s a pretty sharp turnaround from being reluctant to work with her at all to offering her non-work outfits. Also, these dresses still look baggy and wrong on Just Jen. Guess Luke is not quite as adept as Edna Mode at making clothing that perfectly suits an expanding body.
- Poor Jen gets put on ironing duty because the groomsmen wrinkled their shirts while playing Mario Kart. (“Video games are sports now. They’re on ESPN and everything.”)
- “Walking On Broken Glass” may be an unconventional choice for a wedding dance floor montage, but Maslany’s drunk dancing made my whole week.
- Speaking of great needle drops, “The Electric Slide” is a great soundtrack for a wedding fight. Thank you, DJ Inchedible Hulk.
- Uh-oh, Jen hasn’t been able to get in touch with Bruce for weeks, or months, or maybe days. (“Call me back, ya ding dong!”)
- Jen: “Oh, come on, I won that fair and square, get over it.” Titania: “I don’t get over anything!”
- Drop Patti Harrison in any cinematic universe, and she will surely shine. She was a perfect Lulu, but especially loved her quick turnaround to flatter that She-Hulk attended the wedding. “I’m a fan! whoah huge boobs.”
- The user inquiring about the “next phase of the plan” to go after She-Hulk goes by HulkKing, not Hulkling, as I originally thought. Sorry to any Young Avengers fans who, like me, were briefly excited about a Teddy Kaplan appearance.