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Recap / The Defenders 2017 S 1 E 2 Mean Right Hook

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The second episode of The Defenders (2017).

The streets of Manhattan are deserted in the aftermath of the earthquake. Emergency vehicles race past Matt's apartment as he stands on the roof listening for potential criminal activity. It isn't long before he hears the sound of some teenagers robbing an electronics store a few blocks over. As if on instinct, Matt immediately jumps into action and sprints across the rooftops before jumping down into a back alleyway, where the thieves are being chased by a store owner trying to kill them with a shotgun. He quickly disarms the thieves, and then disarms and beats the store owner to a pulp. One of the thieves asks Matt, "Who are you?" as he catches his breath and then saunters off into the night.

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The next morning, Trish is on her phone trying to check in with Jessica as she heads to work...only to find police officers putting up barricades around her car, which has been partially swallowed by a sinkhole. Once Trish gets to the radio station, she starts her broadcast of Trish Talk. She talks about the earthquake with concerned callers who liken this to the Incident and terrorism. However, in the midst of taking a call from a geologist, Trish is suddenly cut off by her bosses upstairs, who apparently want her to run another story. Trish is baffled, and suspects that someone wants the earthquake story buried.

The reason why Jessica isn't returning Trish's calls is because she's being questioned by the police about the explosives she found in the seedy apartment. Misty arrives at the apartment and is greeted by her boss Captain Strieber. There's not much to go on, according to Strieber, but the FBI and DHS are taking interest in this case due to the high quantity of explosives that were found. The police are under orders to keep this out of the press to avoid alarming the public. Misty is most baffled by the fact that Jessica called the police, since rumor is there's not much that she is scared of. Jessica is impatient and wants nothing more than to be cut loose so she can be on her way. The FBI agent questioning her lets her go, and Jessica leaves, but not before Misty catches her swiping some shipping records concerning the explosives.

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Danny and Colleen return to the dojo, and are relieved that there's no damage. They talk about what happened in Cambodia, with the guy in the sewers. Colleen sees this as a good sign because the fact the man recognized Danny as the Iron Fist means they may have allies against the Hand. She suggests that perhaps they could check out a lead based on the sword the man was carrying when he died. It wasn't an ordinary kitana, but a Tsukamoto, which is an incredibly rare weapon. There is a top-of-the-line workshop in New York City that their man may likely have made a visit to.

Matt returns to his apartment, still shaken after the fight he put up with the looters. He washes the blood off his knuckles, but his hands are trembling so badly that he can't open a bandage and sweeps his medical supplies off his dining room table in frustration. Calming himself, Matt opens the trunk containing his Daredevil armor, and looks at it with disgust. He gets a much needed reprieve when Foggy calls, inviting him out for drinks at Josie's.

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Up in Harlem, Luke is using his superstrength to help clean up debris, while Claire stitches up minor cuts and injuries on the streets. There aren't many people with insurance in this part of the neighborhood, but thankfully there are no fatalities. As Luke and Claire walk, he talks about what Misty has tasked him to do regarding Cole and the mysterious string of murders. After some discussion, Claire suggests to Luke that he go to a shady bar named Trouble in a Pair of Dice to get some answers, as that's the current hotspot for Harlem's criminals.

Alexandra is seen in the atrium at Time Warner Center listening to a private performance of the first movement of Brahms' String Quartet Op. 51 No.1 in C Minor. A representative from the New York Philharmonic Orchestra thanks Alexandra for her donation and makes some small talk about the piece. Alexandra talks about how Brahms technically was ripping off Beethoven, and implies knowing them on a personal level. Madame Gao shows up, and she and Alexandra have a discussion about their plans. Gao wants to rethink the plan, but Alexandra wants to stick to their current plan, involving a door that needs to be opened.

Using the evidence she stole from the crime scene, Jessica goes to the city's archives and starts searching through old records to find the company that John Raymond might have been involved with. It's a very tedious hours-long process, and every single time she thinks she's found the source of materials on the bombs, it ends up being a transfer of assets to another shell company. This cycle stretches all the way back to 1820, far enough that one of the clerks tells Jessica that she should try the historical branch of the city's archives uptown. Before Jessica can leave to do that, she's stopped by Jeri Hogarth, who asks to have a word with her.

Matt and Foggy meet up at Josie's for drinks. It's apparently the first time Foggy has been back to Josie's since Nelson & Murdock closed. They make some small talk about Matt's latest victory in the Aaron James settlement. Foggy admits that while Hogarth Chao & Benowitz is a far cry from what he and Matt were doing at Nelson & Murdock, he can tolerate it since he's rekindled his romance with Marci Stahl. Foggy asks Matt how he and Karen are doing relationship-wise, to which Matt admits they're still "figuring things out". Foggy's still pleased that Karen didn't freak out when Matt told her that he was Daredevil. The conversation shifts to the earthquake. Foggy can tell Matt went out as he didn't cover up the bruises on his knuckles. Matt is offended, thinking Foggy is judging him for going out to crimefight again, but Foggy insists that's not the case. In fact, Foggy wants to pass some of his casework off to Matt, figuring that Matt will be less tempted to go out to beat up people if he's drowned in legal work.

Jessica is not pleased about Hogarth approaching her, and it's clear that her actions during the Kilgrave saga are still fresh in Jessica's mind. Hogarth pushes through, saying that she's here to ask Jessica to be careful with her case. Raymond is now on a federal watchlist, because the amount of explosives found in the apartment is large enough to level a city block. With the Feds now involved, there's more cowboy cops out there who are itching to shoot Raymond on sight, and Hogarth doesn't want to see Jessica get caught in the crossfire.

As night falls, Luke walks into Trouble in a Pair of Dice. He quickly finds Turk Barrett at the bar, talking to an undercover cop and trying to pawn off a stolen watch. Luke takes Turk out back and interrogates him about the recent murders, asking if Shades and Mariah are involved. Turk reveals that they're not involved, but the dead men are getting involved with some new gangster who's shown up in the midst of the power vacuum Diamondback created prior to his capture. No one knows the new guy's name, but on the streets, he's known to be an African immigrant named "White Hat" because of the white suit and Panama hat he wears. Luke leaves, but not without warning Turk that there will be consequences if his information is bad.

Danny and Colleen arrive at the sword shop, but find that it is deserted. The fact that the door is unlocked is a troubling red flag to them. Then they notice a door into the backroom is ajar and there's a blood trail on the floor. They make their way into the back and find a wide open room, and the floor is littered with dead bodies. They're still warm, meaning they must have only recently been killed. The blood trail suggests that someone was kidnapped and dragged out of the place. Most puzzling to Danny is the existence of a picture of K'un-L'un on the wall.

Luke, following Turk's information, sees an old work van park outside a body shop, and notices that the mysterious White Hat is riding shotgun. As White Hat gets out and goes inside, Luke calls Misty to tip her off. However, he is interrupted when he sees White Hat return with a group of young men, one of whom he recognizes as Cole, and quickly hangs up to give chase.

Despite the warnings, Hogarth believes Jessica won't listen to her advice. She doesn't want the heat from Jessica's investigation to blow back on the firm, so she takes Foggy aside and asks him to keep an eye on Jessica to make sure she stays out of trouble. Foggy hears Hogarth out, and as soon as she gets in her car and leaves, he gets on the phone and calls Matt. Jessica, meanwhile, is returning to her apartment, and takes a call from Trish. Trish fills Jessica in on what happened at the studio that morning, and is convinced someone wants to sweep the earthquake story under the rug, but Jessica is distracted because she sees that her apartment door is ajar. She is exasperated, thinking Malcolm has once again let himself in uninvited. Indeed he is there...and he's being held at gunpoint by John Raymond.

At the workshop with the dead bodies, Danny and Colleen are interrupted when they hear a noise and realize someone's coming in. The two of them hide as several men clad in gas masks enter the room carrying cleaning supplies. The men begin spraying the bodies with acid, intent on breaking them down.

Jessica tries to talk John down, insisting that his family are worried about him. But John is terrified out of his wits. He found out that his employers were involved in very sinister criminal activity, and now they will come after him and his family. She tries to persuade him that he could tell the NYPD and his family why he started stockpiling explosives, but he shakes his head and insists that his employers will find him and kill him if he talks to the cops. John pulls back the hammer on his gun, and getting more desperate, insists he was only trying to stop his employers, who are going to take down the city, but he still stubbornly won't tell Jessica who his employers are.

Before John can say anything else, Elektra arrives at Jessica's front door and breaks open the lock with her katana. John levels his gun and fires at Elektra as she enters, swinging her katana, but she dodges every one of his bullets, grabs him by the neck with one hand, and prepares to stab him. John tells her, "You can't have this," and abruptly shoots himself in the head to deny Elektra the satisfaction of killing him. Jessica tries to grab at Elektra as she leaves, but Elektra manages to throw her aside without breaking her stride. Jessica regains her footing and chases after Elektra, but by the time she gets to the street, Elektra has vanished. She barely has time to regain her bearings when Misty suddenly arrives and draws her gun on Jessica.

After several minutes of waiting, Danny and Colleen break cover and overpower the gas mask wielding henchmen. They manage to subdue all of them except for one cleaner, who quickly flees into a nearby alleyway. Danny chases the cleaner down, pins him against a wall, and begins grilling him for information. The cleaner insists that he doesn't know who the Hand are and he is just doing clean-up. Frustrated, Danny rips off the cleaner's gas mask, revealing it to be Cole. Seconds later, Danny is interrupted by the sudden arrival of Luke, who shoves him aside and takes his turn. Luke isn't impressed that Cole lied to him about being "in between gigs", but before he can get answers out of Cole, Danny attacks him. A very one-sided fight unfolds with Luke having the upper-hand. That is, until Danny manages to muster up enough chi to summon the Iron Fist, and punches Luke in the side of the face. The impact of the Iron Fist is enough to send Luke flying into a nearby garage door. As Luke regains his footing, Cole tries to flee, only to run straight into a police car responding to the disturbance. Luke can only watch as Danny and Colleen flee, and slips away himself while the cops arrest Cole.

In an empty warehouse, Alexandra is seen speaking to a kidnapped man who has been handcuffed to a column and has a bag over his head. After a brief exchange, Alexandra takes the bag off the man's head, revealing that it's Stick.

Misty arrests Jessica and takes her to the 29th Precinct to have her interrogated. She has quite the dossier on Jessica, as in two bulging file folders of information, compared to the rather small file folders for Malcolm and for John. Misty is not too pleased with Jessica's sassy attitude and her interference with the police investigation, with her stealing evidence from the crime scene, and getting John killed. Jessica insists that she was trying to help John, and he shot himself, and persistently asks if she's being charged as a murder suspect. Misty changes the subject and asks Jessica for information on who she was chasing. After a brief pause, Jessica relents and tells Misty what she knows: this case is unusual and Misty is walking into something she's never seen before. Before Jessica can say what that is, Matt suddenly walks in and tells her to stop talking. Jessica, baffled, asks him who he is, to which Matt smiles and replies "My name is Matthew Murdock. I'm your attorney."

Tropes

  • Anti-Villain: After threatening Jessica to not look for him, John Raymond holds Malcolm at gunpoint, but only because he knows he is followed by the Hand and wants his family to stay out of harms way.
  • Badass in Distress: Stick is a prisoner of the Hand.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: Luke pays a visit to a shady bar known as Trouble in a Pair of Dice, which is the criminal hotspot for Harlem these days, and roughs up Turk Barrett to get some information.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: Foggy asks Matt about what happened during the quake. Matt responds that things went well, only for Foggy to clarify that he's actually asking about Matt going out to Daredeviling, as Matt still has cuts on his knuckles from the robbery he ran out to break up.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: John Raymond blows his own brains out to rob Elektra of the satisfaction of killing him in a final act of defiance.
  • Butt-Monkey: Turk Barrett once again is subject to a rough interrogation by Luke.
  • Call-Back:
    • One of the callers on Trish Talk says about the earthquake "we can't help but think it's the Incident or terrorism," ostensibly referring to both the aliens and also to Wilson Fisk's firebombing of Hell's Kitchen when he was eliminating the Russians.
    • Jessica still remembers what Hogarth did with Kilgrave and treats her openly hostile.
    • Matt snapping and shoving his medical supplies off his dining room table when his hands are too shaky to unwrap the bandage is staged (right down to the camera angles) identically to him sweeping his computer off the same table while he was listening to Wilson Fisk's speech.
    • When Luke approaches Turk at Trouble in a Pair of Dice, Turk is in the midst of talking to an undercover cop, specifically, the very same cop that let Luke go when he escaped the armored prison transport following the standoff at Harlem's Paradise.
    • The shot of Danny giving Luke a mean right hook with the Iron Fist is done in slow-motion and staged identically to when Amos did it in Genghis Connie's. Except whereas Amos broke every bone in his right hand and lower arm on Luke's skin, here, Luke is sent flying.
  • The Cameo:
    • Marci Stahl is briefly seen while Jeri Hogarth is asking Foggy to keep an eye on Jessica.
    • Matt and Foggy meet at Josie's for drinks. It's apparently the first time Foggy has been back to Josie's since Nelson & Murdock closed.
    Foggy Nelson: Been a long time, Josie. Can't tell you how much I miss this place.
  • Clean Up Crew: Turns out this is the well-paid 'job' that Harlem youths are being recruited for. Danny and Colleen interrupt them cleaning up the massacre they stumbled across.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: Luke feels this way when it comes to helping Cole.
  • Don't Answer That: Matt interrupts Misty's interrogation of Jessica with "Jessica Jones, stop talking. Hi, this is over."
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Matt's struggle with crime fighting and his "relapses" is played off like a struggling addict, complete with Foggy seeing the telltale signs and expressing concern while they're having drinks at Josie's.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Matt is trying to ignore the sounds of crime until he hears this, ironically from the people being robbed, one of whom has a pump-action shotgun.
  • Dramatic Irony: Matt rushes to stop a crime, only to end up fighting the person being robbed when he tries to shoot a robber who is Just a Kid.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Before, the Hand has only had Asian members (Japanese and Chinese) with Bakuto (Latin American) being the only non-Asian leader. Now they have the ethnically white Alexandra and the African guy known as White Hat.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: On seeing Jessica Jones in the bomb stashhouse, Misty comments that she was expecting Jessica to be a lot bigger, given her reputation with the NYPD.
  • Good vs. Good:
    • When Matt breaks up the robbery, he disarms the store owners to stop them from shooting the looters.
    • Luke and Danny, when Luke interrupts Danny's attempt to get answers out of Cole.
  • He Knows Too Much: It's the reason the Hand have sent Elektra to finish off John Raymond.
  • Invulnerable Knuckles: Matt's knuckles are visibly bloody after fighting vigilante store owners in the alleyway. He tries to bandage them up, but his hands are too shaky to do so, and Foggy can see the bruising despite Matt's efforts to hide it.
    Foggy Nelson: You don't have to say it. Your knuckles speak volumes.
  • I Was Never Here: Jeri Hogarth tells Foggy to take care of Jessica if she gets into trouble, but to keep it off the books. So Foggy passes on the case to Matt, to whom he's outsourced other work to give him extra income and keep him busy.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jeri Hogarth warns Jessica to back off from the Raymond case, and seems legitimate in saying it's for Jessica's own wellbeing since the discovery of the bombing supplies have caused Raymond to become a target for the FBI and DHS.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Danny and Luke get into a brawl when Danny confronts Candace's brother over cleaning up a crime scene of the Hand.
  • Made of Iron: Even when Luke holds back, he can knock people out with a light tap on the head, but Danny takes a punch and several throws from Luke despite not having superhuman strength or durability.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Matt has such a moment when he becomes quickly frustrated trying to bandage his hands up.
  • Mythology Gag: When Matt and Foggy's bar talk turns to Karen, Foggy says "After you told her your little secret, lucky she didn't freak out and have us both disbarred." In Daredevil: Born Again, Karen sold Matt's identity out to a drug dealer for a heroin fix, information that passed its way up to Wilson Fisk, who among other things then got Matt disbarred by paying a corrupt cop to deliver perjured testimony "accusing" Matt of paying off a witness.
  • No-Sell:
    • Rapid-fire in Danny's showdown with Luke. Despite his extensive martial arts training, he is unable to get to Luke to budge an inch, much to the latter's exasperation. Then Danny hits him with the Iron Fist.
  • Not Me This Time: Luke suspects Shades and Mariah are behind the series of crimes targeting the young men in Harlem. Turk tells him they aren't.
  • Oh, Crap!: Danny when Luke tanks every punch and kick he throws without so much as flinching.
  • Save the Villain: Matt goes to stop some looters, only to end up having to save the looters from the pawnshop owner they just robbed from, who is trying to kill them with a shotgun.
  • Shipper on Deck: Foggy asks Matt if he and Karen are back to dating.
    Foggy Nelson: I talked to Karen. She said you guys grabbed coffee. I don't mean to pry, but...where are you guys at? Relationship status?
    Matt Murdock: We are [makes air quotes] "figuring ourselves out".
  • Small Role, Big Impact: This is the only episode of The Defenders with Jeri Hogarth appearing on-screen, yet her two appearances (trying to tell Jessica to exercise caution, then tasking Foggy to keep an eye on Jessica) are what lead to Matt meeting Jessica.
  • Spanner in the Works: Foggy is first seen having drinks with Matt in Josie's, during which he outsources some of his work to Matt hoping that it might keep Matt from being tempted into going out crimefighting. Later, Hogarth tasks him with keeping an eye on Jessica, which in turn is what causes Matt to meet Jessica.
  • Title Drop: Happens visually when Danny gives a mean right hook to Luke with the Iron Fist.
  • Villain in a White Suit: "White Hat", the mysterious gangster recruiting Harlem's youth for grunt work, is so-called because of his unique fashion sense: a white suit, Panama hat, and alligator shoes.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Ultimately subverted with the fight between Danny and Luke. Luke is completely unfazed by all of Danny's fancy attacks. It's only when Danny summons the Iron Fist that he can do anything to Luke.
  • Wham Shot: A pair of really old hands in handcuffs, under Alexandra's custody, leading to The Reveal that the normally unbeatable Stick has already been captured, before delivering a line right out of Rogue One:
    Alexandra: Not for your benefit but mine, I'm taking the blinds off.
  • Who Are You?:
    • One of the thieves says this after Matt disarms him and beats the storeowner to a pulp.
    • Luke and Danny to each other as Luke interrupts Danny's attempt to grill Cole
    • Jessica to Matt when he shows up at the precinct to provide her impromptu legal counsel
  • Wicked Cultured: Alexandra has a taste for good music, as shown when she enjoys a private performance of Johannes Brahms' String Quartet Op. 51 No.1 in C Minor by a string quartet and gives lectures about Beethoven and his time period.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Jessica's response on finding out that the series of shell companies that owned the building where the explosives were found go back to the nineteenth century.
 
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Luke Cage vs. Iron Fist

Luke and Danny fight when Luke interrupts Danny's attempt to get answers out of Cole.

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