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Heartwarming / The Defenders (2017)

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    Episode 1 - The H Word 
  • Matt Murdock is coming off the heartwrenching season 2, which ended with Elektra getting killed and Nelson & Murdock breaking up. It is refreshing to see him back in the game as the witty lawyer we know and love, showing that he is rebuilding his world. We see that he can be very good even when he doesn't have Foggy to tag-team with, as he successfully wins an $11 million lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company whose negligence put a young boy in a wheelchair. Afterwards, Matt talks to Aaron, who is clearly having a hard time adjusting to his new circumstances, and gives him a very touching pep talk about handling adversity and, very specifically, coming to terms with a life-changing injury. He's clearly channeling Stick's sage advice.
    Matt Murdock: It's only going to get harder from here on out. You realize you're only at mile one of a marathon, right? Everybody is going to tell you how to feel. Doctors are going to tell you to stay positive. Your family's gonna tell you not to feel sorry for yourself. Your therapist is gonna tell you not to be angry—…your ability to get through it...as this gets harder...that is a hundred times more powerful than slapping a smile on your face and pretending like everything is just fine. No one can give your life back, Aaron. You have....you gotta take it back.
  • After Matt gives his little pep talk to Aaron, Matt finds himself face to face with Karen Page, who is at the courthouse covering the case for the Bulletin. The two go to a diner to catch up (and so Karen can get a comment from Matt). They are still incredibly friendly even after everything that happened in season 2, and Karen believes that now that she knows Matt is Daredevil, they are in better places than they were before.
    • Most notable is to pay attention to the cinematography. Karen doesn't say "Hey Matt," to get his attention, she just stands behind him and waits for him to pick up on her pounding heartbeat.
  • Jessica Jones is still dealing with the aftermath of Kilgrave's death, and her alcoholism is still as bad as ever. Despite this, Malcolm and Trish are still there for her, and she still cares greatly for them. Jessica comes to Trish's rescue when her car is getting towed. And when Malcolm offers her a potential suggestion for her case, she actually listens to him.
  • Luke Cage is being released from prison, thanks to Foggy Nelson's defense strategy. He immediately seeks out Claire Temple and they go back to her apartment for some really strong "coffee". When Misty Knight shows up to ask Luke to help out Cole, she's happy to see Luke and has no animosity towards him.
  • Luke's fellow prisoners are clapping and cheering for him as he is being led out.
  • The fact that moving on from Nelson & Murdock to high-priced Hogarth Chao & Benowitz has not changed Foggy a bit from when he worked with Matt in Nelson & Murdock. As Luke is being released, Foggy gives Luke his business card and lets him know he can always reach out if he ever needs help starting over. Luke assures him he doesn’t need to start over, just need to move forward. Foggy helpfully lets him know that most people call him Foggy, to which Luke quips, “And you let them?”
  • Danny Rand's romance with Colleen Wing is as strong as it was when we last saw them in Iron Fist.

    Episode 2 - Mean Right Hook 
  • Foggy and Matt have somewhat mended their relationship after their falling out. Foggy offers Matt a bunch of cases he's too busy to work so that Matt is too busy to "step out at night."
  • Despite Jessica's rude attitude toward Malcolm, when he gets held hostage by John Raymond, she makes it very clear that she will harm John if he shoots Malcolm. She even goes so far as to refer to him as her friend, which is not a word Jessica throws around lightly.
  • Matt coming to defend Jessica. It's nice to see that even at her lowest point, there are still those who look out for her like she looks out for others.
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    Episode 3 - Worst Behavior 
  • Matt is protective of his clients. He's concerned enough about Jessica that he follows her to Midland Circle and tries to get her to turn away. When that fails, he resorts to the next best option and goes upstairs with her.
  • Matt's sensitivity towards touchy subjects makes itself quite clear when he's trying to get Jessica to open up.
  • Even though they're all strangers, we see the four Defenders quickly slip into helping each other as they fight their way out of Midland Circle.
    • While Luke and Danny are fighting Alexandra's men in the boardroom, two guys with automatic rifles com in and begin shooting at Danny. Luke steps in front of Danny to soak up all the bullets, and then Danny breaks cover to disarm the man once he stops to reload.
    • When Elektra overpowers Matt and is about to impale him with one of her katanas, Danny shows up, summons the Iron Fist, and shatters the katana she's swinging at Matt and propel her backwards. He then offers the downed Matt his hand and helps him up.

    Episode 4 - Royal Dragon 
  • Danny's excitement at them becoming a team can become this through Fridge Brilliance. Living for years with supernatural people, then coming back to the normal world and his every interaction with superpowered individuals turning up sour, Danny is finally feeling home with others.
  • Seeing how Luke and Jessica parted on less than amicable terms, it's nice that he's enjoying himself while in her company. And even if he doesn't outright say the words, he truly has forgiven her for Reva's death (the last time he forgave her, he was actually saying things that Kilgrave had ordered him to tell Jessica), now that he knows everything about his marriage to Reva was a sham.
  • Luke can be seen smiling at Jessica's "Classy" response. And it's not a mocking one but a warm and friendly one.
  • Even when Jessica decides to abandon them because she's had it with Stick's BS, Luke tries to convince her to stay and use her abilities for good. When he's unsuccessful, he still gives a friendly "It was good seeing you."
  • Even though it gets his phone smashed, it's sweet to think Danny took the time to call Colleen at some point and let her know what was going on and that he's OK.
  • Luke and Danny have a bit of a Friendship Moment where Luke backhandedly compliments Danny's fighting and agrees he likes fighting alongside him, and Danny offers him the last dumpling. Danny's wide smile when Luke takes it really sells it.
  • Even thought it doubles as a Tear Jerker, Matt's desperation for their to be something in Elektra he can save, even with Stick pointing out that she's not at all the same person.
  • Stick's crass remark to Danny about Matt: "I trained him to fight a war. He decided to put on an outfit. Stop muggers in back alleys." Deep down Stick still respects that Matt is using his training for the purposes of good.

    Episode 5 - Take Shelter 
  • During their confrontation, Matt tries to get through to the revived Elektra as he isolates her in the restraurant's loading dock. The moment he says her name, she hesitates, just like she did at Midland Circle, and Matt manages to get close enough to touch her face, asking what the Hand has done to her. When Murakami exits out the back door and makes for Matt, Elektra lashes out and sends Murakami flying, knocking him unconscious. When Murakami later is recounting to Alexandra what happened, he says that he thinks Elektra wasn't being possessive of her kill, but protecting Matt.
  • Even after their recent fallout from Frank Castle's case and Nelson & Murdock closing, Foggy is still clearly one of Matt's loved ones who Matt needs to keep safe from the Hand. Foggy even trusts Matt enough to drop everything he's doing to go into hiding at the precinct, despite Matt not revealing any details to him.
    Karen Page: What, Matt didn't tell you?
    Foggy Nelson: Matt doesn't tell me anything.
  • Matt learned his lesson about how wrong it was to keep Karen out of the loop during season 2. So once he's split off from the others and escaped the Chinese restaurant fight, he immediately goes to visit Karen in her office at the Bulletin and informs her in detail about what's going on.
    • Despite the awkward atmosphere between them, their concern for each other is still existent. Matt doesn't want to live with the fear of losing Karen to the Hand again. Likewise, Karen expresses worry about Matt getting exposed when he suggests that the Hand might know his real name.
    • The scene itself plays out very much like the "I'm not yours to protect" conversation from season 2, episode 11, when Matt tried to go with Karen into protective custody after the Blacksmith's men shot at her in her apartment. During that scene, Matt was telling her he was coming with her (implying that it’s his decision to make), while this time around, Matt’s asking Karen (implying it’s her decision to make). It might not make much difference to the result. When Karen says no in the "I'm not yours to protect" scene, Matt doesn’t insist, while if she’d said no here when he visits her at her office, he would have kept trying to convince her. But still, it’s an important difference in Matt's whole approach, and shows that he recognizes that he has no right to tell Karen what to do.
  • When Matt returns to the theater after getting Karen to go to the police station, Stick senses Karen's scent on Matt and says, “if she’s as sweet as she smells I can see why you’re broken up about this one”, and Matt snaps “don’t bring her into this” at him. In a few interviews after Daredevil season 2 was released, Charlie Cox said that Matt loves Karen too much to want to see her get mixed up in his complicated life, and that attitude is very evident here. Matt has just basically been forced to admit to Karen that he had been lying about wanting to give Daredevil up, and feels horrible both about that and the fact that she is getting dragged into this mess again. Matt could barely function when the Hand kidnapped her, to the point that Elektra had to calm him so he could concentrate. The last thing he wants is for that to happen again.
  • While grilling Sowande, Matt boasts to Sowande that Elektra is fighting their control and that their Black Sky is defective. When Sowande counters that The Hand will just kill her if that's the case, Matt loses it and nearly strangles him. Even with Elektra still under the enemies' control and trying to kill them, Matt still cares about her safety as a friend.

    Episode 6 - Ashes, Ashes 
  • Luke gives Danny shit about the "mystic stuff". When he realizes he's offended him, he humors him and starts asking questions, which leads to the two of them bonding over the weird stuff they've survived. Danny ends the conversation by pointing out Luke is Not So Different. Luke playfully slaps his leg.
    • In the same scene, Luke fondly recalls the brief relationship he had with Jessica.
      • Danny responds to Luke's mention of Jessica with "Our Jessica?" He's already thinking of the four of them as a team.
  • During the fight, despite agreeing to holding Danny away, Jessica still comes to his defense by trying to keep Matt from hurting him anymore. Doesn't work, but props for trying.
  • Jessica and Matt go question John Raymond's family again to find out more about the Hand's plans. Lexi, however, believes her dad was a man who didn't care about his family. Jessica then tells the story of Matt's dad and how he defied being a criminal and was indeed a good man.
    • Later, Matt asks Jessica how she knew. She responds that she looked into his case, similar to how he looked into hers, and that they will get along better if they trust each other. Matt points out that's probably the kindest thing she's ever said to him.
    Jessica Jones: Don't get used to it.
  • On their way to the said questioning, Jessica, trying to make small talk, comments on how the houses all look the same after a while, forgetting that Matt is blind and thus can't actually see them. It's simple, but speaks volumes about the rapport they've established.
  • While fighting Elektra, Stick has the chance to kill her with a sword blow to the neck, and hesitates. It ultimately gets him killed. But it's a testament to his character. He's a cynical, stone cold bastard who'll chop heads off or kill a kid with a bow and arrow, but he still cares that deeply about Elektra.
  • There is something oddly heartwarming with Elektra saying Matt's name as she kills Alexandra. Just as Alexandra gives a Badass Boast to the remaining Fingers, she orders Elektra to find and kill the rest of the Defenders: Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and the Devil of Hell's Kitchen, whoever he may be. So just as Elektra kills Alexandra, she calmly tells Alexandra "His name is Matthew." While this scene counts as Nightmare Fuel, it does show Elektra still loves Matt indeed.

    Episode 7 - Fish in the Jailhouse 
  • When Jessica wakes up to find herself in the precinct and getting interrogated by Misty, she immediately asks for her teammate's whereabouts. Considering how closed off she usually is, it is nice to see that Jessica already cares about the safety of her teammates.
    • Look at how much Jessica's trust in Matt has improved. Her reaction to Matt forcibly grabbing her on their first visit to Midland Circle was an exasperated "You grab me like that again, I'll punch you so hard you'll see!" Here, as Matt, Jessica and Luke are being escorted through the precinct, Jessica shows no discomfort with Matt holding on to her elbow to keep up appearances.
  • Matt tears up when it fully hits home that Stick is dead. As reinforced by Charlie Cox in interviews, Matt may not have detested Stick, and for good reason, but he was still important enough in his life that he can't help mourning the death of his mentor.
  • After all the rifts between them caused by Matt's Daredevil identity, Foggy lends his trust and support to Matt one last time, bringing him the Daredevil suit from Matt's apartment and allowing him to escape the precinct with Jessica and Luke.
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    Episode 8 - The Defenders 
  • Karen and Trish's conversation at the precinct. Karen opens up a little about getting kidnapped by the Hand, sensing a kindred spirit in Trish as someone else who's caught up in a super-powered friend's life. We also get Trish showing how much she truly cares about and trusts Jessica despite all the crap Jess deals with, fondly comparing Jessica to a fire without any malice or resentment.
    Trish Walker: Jessica's a good friend, too. I mean, not in the traditional sense. You can't rely on her to move a couch or plan a party... But when it comes to the real stuff, the stuff that'll last forever...
  • Matt tells Luke and Jessica before they get on the elevator into the hole, that he's glad that they met each other.
  • Matt and Elektra's final moments.
    • Even after EVERYTHING Elektra has done to him, Stick, and his team, Matt still truly cares for Elektra
      Matt:I lost you once, I won't do it again.
    • While it is hard to distinguish where the fighting, or her psyche, goes fromwanting to kill Matt to wanting to love Matt, you can tell somewhere along the way, the fight went from life-or-death, to flirting.
  • After getting back to the top the others plan to go back for Matt after realizing that Matt intends to be caught in the explosion despite the fact that probably don't have enough time.
  • All the Defenders' loved ones waiting anxiously at the police precinct for news. When the surviving heroes finally return, the first thing Jessica does is rush forward to wrap Trish in a hug. Then, she hugs Malcolm. This, coming from the woman who pushed everyone as far away as possible for most of her solo series.
  • Luke checking in on Jessica at the bar, knowing she's taking Matt's presumed death hard. She alludes to the guilt she still feels about what transpired between them in Jessica Jones (2015) but he tells her he's moved forward from it, and lets her know he's just a few neighbourhoods away if she needs him.
    • Jessica asks Luke out to get coffee sometime, implied as friends. As heartwarming as that is, keep in mind that her first scene in the series is waking up in a bar after blacking out, then she puts whiskey in her coffee with Trish a few minutes later, and she steals the beer from the homeless guy. She's always linked to Alcohol. Asking Luke out for plain coffee may be a step closer to breaking her alcoholic streak.
    • Earlier we also have Trish telling Jessica she should be proud about what she did, saving so many lives despite being allergic to the word "hero." Jessica may be more troubled than ever, grieving over the loss of Matt on top of everything that happened with Kilgrave, but with Trish, Malcolm, and now Luke, she's also less alone than she's ever been and all of her wrap-up scenes highlight that.
  • The first thing Jessica sees when entering her apartment? Malcolm got in again, this time fixing the office, starting with filling in Simpson's bullet holes.
    • Jessica officially opens for work again by uncovering her Alias Investigations sign, while Malcolm smiles.
  • Danny is inspired by Matt's actions after his supposed death and decides to become a full-on superhero to protect New York City. These were the last words he said to Danny:
    Matt: Protect my city.
  • After a few episodes of giving Danny crap, Matt, Jessica and Luke stand back and let Danny use his Iron Fist as the opening attack as they finally have confidence in his abilities, resulting in Danny not only overpowering Madame Gao's chi-force but knocking down all the dozen or so henchmen in the area.
    Luke: Danny... light it up.
  • We see Karen lighting a candle for Matt when she and Foggy are at the church. Considering the way Karen spoke of religious faith after Fisk had Elena Cardenas killed ("My parents were. That's probably why I'm not"), it means a lot that she was actually in Matt's church, crying and lighting a candle and asking Foggy to stay with her to pray. She understands how much faith/the church meant to him, and is so broken that she's grasping at any little bit of hope.
    • Even moreso, following Matt coming clean about his secret, Karen had been the one who wanted to put their relationship on hold, probably because she's in love with Matt to the point that she couldn't bear to come clean with him about what she did to James Wesley. Here, it feels like she's trying to find a way to be close to him in the church. There's a lot of loss, love, and regrets in one scene.

Meta

  • The Comic Con trailer, with Stan Lee musing about the importance of superhero stories and how they can inspire people to make a difference in their own way.
    Stan Lee: They're the greatest story ever told. Heroes shows us that we don't need to be perfect to do what's right. It's not about living without fear but facing injustice. It's not about being powerful but finding your calling when you less expect it. They show us its okay to be vulnerable no matter how tough you are. Because even though they're heroes, they're still human.
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