Though Netflix seems to excel at everything it does these days, the streaming giant’s Marvel series have stood out among the rest. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist have all led to team-up miniseries, The Defenders — all eight episodes of which landed online on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017.
The solid offering wasn’t a major crowd pleaser, but most who loved the solo series were on board for this short journey. Here’s what happened in The Defenders and how it affects the future of the Marvel-Netflix universe.
It was a slow, but solid build
The first few episodes featured our central characters learning on their own about the Hand and the incoming threat that the global criminal organization (which we first learned about in Daredevil Season 2) poses. While some critics were disappointed by this, it was a logical buildup for these four independent heroes.
Quite a few Easter eggs along the way made this more fun for those in the know. The Jessica Jones storyline was lifted almost directly from Alias. And the signature colors for each Defender (as well as white for Alexandra Reid) were made obvious, allowing for early recognition of who each scene belonged to and making for more fluid transitions.
Midland Circle was the center of it all
This building, which was eventually the site of the final battle, became increasingly more important throughout the eight episodes. It belonged to the Hand and housed the five remaining leaders — the “fingers,” so to speak.
The plot of the series revolves around Alexandra, the leader of the Hand, who brings back to life the Black Sky (known as Elektra before her death) in order to capture the Iron Fist. According to the Hand, the Iron Fist is the key to “the substance” that ensures immortality for her and her partners.
But things don’t go smoothly, as Madame Gao and the other fingers became increasingly frustrated with Alexandra’s motherly love for the Black Sky.
If you’ve seen the other solo series, you know that Luke Cage and Jessica Jones are (ahem) acquainted. But our heroes all came to work together in different pairs. Matt Murdock was hired as Jessica’s lawyer (before he revealed himself to be Daredevil), while Luke and Danny Rand met up in a street fight before Claire Temple helped to smooth things over.
Even after the four (somewhat reluctantly) agreed to work together, these pairings stuck. As Jessica and Matt took to the streets to learn more about the architect who designed Midland Circle, Luke and Danny stayed holed up in the latter’s dojo (more on that next).
How Danny brought everyone together
Even from early teasers, it became obvious that Danny would be the brunt of the joke on occasion. Though this may seem like fan service due to the lack of positive reception to the character, it fits: He’s the youngest, the least experienced, and despite his strange upbringing, still the most privileged.
But in the end, it’s Danny who is responsible for their success as a team. When it turns out that Alexandra is after the Iron Fist, they all work to keep him safe. And after he’s captured, the other three are determined to rescue their friend (and, you know, save the city).
Two major characters were killed in one episode
The season’s big bad, Alexandra, was portrayed by Sigourney Weaver. As the leader of the Hand, Alexandra is obsessed with immortality. But in a very Frankenstein-like move, she is killed by her own creation: the Black Sky.
This death was shocking, but what made it even more alarming was that it came just after another major character’s demise. Stick, Daredevil’s sometimes-mentor, tries to kill Iron Fist in order to protect the group from having to face the Hand. But Elektra swoops in and stops him before she takes down Alexandra.
Not every hero had super powers
No superhero is complete without their “ordinary” pals. But The Defenders proved what viewers have known all along — the friends of Jessica, Matt, Luke, and Danny are pretty amazing themselves.
Claire and Colleen had worked together in Iron Fist, and their friendship continued to blossom this time around. Misty Knight was also along for the ride, and a shocking twist of events has brought her to the forefront of storylines going forward. Add in Trish Walker, who we’re desperate to see take on her Hellcat persona, and you’ve got quite a group of badass ladies.
As for Karen and Foggy? Eh, we could take them or leave them. But with Karen busy in the upcoming The Punisher show and Foggy tied up with Hogarth’s firm, we’re keen to focus on another four person team-up — Daughters of the Dragon series, anyone?
Despite its issues, there could potentially be another meeting of The Defenders in the future. But for now, we have a lot of confirmed content headed our way, all of which will likely be impacted by what happened in this series.
Most notable is Daredevil Season 3, which is scheduled to begin filming later this year. As fans of the source material likely noticed, that final scene sets things up perfectly to follow the arc seen in Marvel’s “Born Again” comic series. It looks like Matt may (literally) be meeting his maker after all …