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Series / The Defenders (2017)

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"You four - the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, the smartass detective, the righteous ex-con, and the kid with the glowing fist - the war for New York is here... So get your shit together."

The Defenders is a superhero miniseries, based (very loosely) on the Marvel Comics team of the same name. The series originally premiered on Netflix in 2017.

Like many other shows produced by Marvel Television, The Defenders is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and is a crossover between their previous four Netflix dramas: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, representing the closure of "Phase One" for the Netflix series much like how The Avengers was for the films. Its showrunners are Douglas Petrie, Marco Ramirez, and Drew Goddard, all of whom previously worked on Daredevil.

The show follows four disparate vigilantes —Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter), and Danny Rand (Finn Jones)— as they come together to take down The Hand, a mystical organization threatening to bring great harm to New York City, led by the enigmatic (and dangerous) Alexandra (Sigourney Weaver). Scott Glenn and Élodie Yung also star, reprising their roles from Daredevil as Stick and Elektra Natchios, respectively.

If you couldn't already tell, this show features a large cast. There's the four heroes, practically every supporting cast member from each of the four shows, plus new characters.

The Defenders premiered on August 18th, 2017, and features a total of eight episodes. A second season hasn't been confirmed, but with the cancellation of all the Marvel Netflix shows by February 2019, it seems highly unlikely. In February 2022, the series, alongside the surrounding sub-franchise, exited Netflix's platform, moving to Disney+ the next month.

Previews: Teaser 1, Teaser 2, Trailer 1, Trailer 2. Trailer 3. Trailer 4.

The Defenders contains examples of:

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  • 10-Minute Retirement:
    • Jessica Refuses The Call when she gets overwhelmed by the massive amount of information being hurled at her in the restaurant. A few hours later she finds out the Hand are watching Raymond's family, so she returns to the restaurant just in time for the fight.
    • Matt at the start of the show hasn't done anything Daredevil-related since telling Karen his secret, out of guilt over Elektra's death and also over losing Nelson & Murdock. While getting ready for a court appearance, he briefly pauses mid-rehearsal when he hears a fight breaking out, but relaxes when he hears the police arriving to defuse the situation and resumes his rehearsing. After the earthquake, the amount of cries for help overwhelms him and he can't resist running to stop some looters and a store owner trying to shoot them with a shotgun.
  • Action Girl: Jessica Jones, Colleen Wing, Misty Knight, mostly. Madame Gao gets more fight scenes. Claire takes up a wrench and fights briefly as backup once. Brought up by Colleen when she chafes at hiding out in the precinct and discusses it with Claire.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Essentially, the comic book Defenders team. The "classic" Defenders lineup is Sub-Mariner, Doctor Strange, Silver Surfer and The Incredible Hulk (i.e., a team of bad team players). Later Defenders titles were Heroes Unlimited series with a Running Gag of pretty much every superhero joining, and the comic version of the Defenders has also included Beast, Ice Man, and Angel from X-Men and well-liked C-Listers like Nighthawk and Gargoyle. Marvel does not own the TV or movie rights to some of those characters and others are movie-exclusive, so don't expect them to show up any time soon, either. Spider-Man was also a member for a few missions, but Marvel's deal with Sony is such that it is unlikely he will show up, even though he is now a part of the MCU; the original version of Valkyrie was also a longtime member (indeed, the group's co-leader), but the character was instead given her MCU introduction in Thor: Ragnarok, which was released after the TV series. This Defenders team is essentially "Heroes for Hire + Daredevil," or Brian Michael Bendis's New Avengers, depending on your preferences.
    • The Hand's worship of a demonic entity known as the Beast is left out of their workings in the MCU; the Beast is never even mentioned once. Instead, their goals are obtaining complete immortality through the usage of dragon bones.
  • Advertised Extra: Of the supporting cast members from the standalone shows, the only ones to have prominent roles in the narrative are Colleen Wing, Misty Knight, and Claire Temple. Matt's and Jessica's peeps are basically stuck in the police station for protection.
  • African Terrorists: Stick describes Sowande as a warlord.
  • Afro Asskicker: Misty Knight continues to fulfill this role. She's also now with more jurisdiction than just Harlem, having been appointed lead detective for an NYPD task force investigating criminal activity that is tied to the Hand.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl:
    • Jessica, by nature, is very introverted and a very dry snarker most of the time.
    • Elektra is both from a wealthy background and also a bit of a sociopath, showing little interest in anything other than what she desires most.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Alexandra bears a number of similarities to Ra's al Ghul. The technically immortal leader of an ancient organization of assassins with untold influence, depends on a mystical substance to preserve their immortality, and exerts some kind of control over a hero's love interest (Elektra for Alexandra, and Talia for Ra's).
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Hand has members at every level of society all around the world. They and their enemies — The Chaste, defenders of K'un-Lun — have been at war for centuries.
  • And Starring: With Rosario Dawson, And Scott Glenn, And Sigourney Weaver
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The Hand's means of resurrecting their agents is a mysterious substance. It's implied to be a supply of dragon bones the founders acquired when they were kicked out of K'un-L'un, but bringing Elektra back used up the absolute last of it, save the stuff lying underneath Midland Circle.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism:
    • Despite living through the Incident, to say nothing of their own super powers and dealings with the Hand, Kilgrave and Diamondback respectively, Matt, Jessica and Luke have a hard time believing in Danny's super powers.
      Jessica Jones: What are you on, lithium?
    • In spite of having been witness to Kilgrave (and been under his control a few times), Trish initially thinks Jessica's exaggerating when talking about how her missing persons case has spiraled into a conspiracy with white collar corruption and undead ninjas until Murakami tries to kill her. As she and Karen are looking at the board of crime scene photos in the precinct, Karen points out to Trish a photograph from the Hand kidnapping she was a hostage in.
      Trish Walker: I thought Jessica was exaggerating. I didn't know it was this bad.
      Karen Page: Yeah, well, it is.
  • Arc Words: "It's complicated" is usually the answer given if a person asks a personal question. Especially if it's a character from one series asking a question about things that occurred in another series.
  • Arch-Enemy: Alexandra to Stick. Being the leaders of the two opposing organizations at war. They know each other well enough to refer to each other by name and have been at it for a very long time.
  • Arms Dealer: Stick describes Sowande as a gun runner.
  • Artificial Limbs: When Colleen visits Misty in the hospital after Midland Circle, she mentions that Danny is pulling strings to get Misty a new robotic right arm to replace the arm that Bakuto chopped off. We won't see the finished product, though, until Luke Cage season 2.
  • Artistic License – Geography:
    • Midland Circle Financial is supposed to be located at 560 West 44th Street, but the address in real life is a two floor garage between Tenth and 11th Avenues in Hell’s Kitchen. The building representing Midland Circle is actually at 635 West 42nd Street, between 11th and 12th Avenues. Justified, seeing as Midland Circle was built on the former site of Elena Cardenas' tenement building, not to mention Hell's Kitchen had been established in Daredevil season 1 to have taken heavy damage during the Incident.
    • When Luke is watching Cole and the rest of White Hat's crew getting into their work van, he's supposedly standing somewhere in Harlem. However, he's visibly standing underneath the BMT Jamaica Line in Brooklyn, as the only elevated rail lines in upper Manhattan are portions of the 1 train above 120th Street, and the Metro-North Railroad tracks above the Park Avenue Tunnel portal.
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • Stick cuts off his right hand to free himself from Alexandra and Elektra.
    • At least two of the Hand ninjas Alexandra uses to test out Elektra's fighting skills lose limbs.
    • Misty Knight loses her right arm above the elbow to Bakuto's swords.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Karen is mildly annoyed when Matt visits her at her office to tell her that he's back to Daredeviling, but she gets more vocal and shows concern when Matt says that the Hand might know who he is, being aware that if the Hand could figure out Matt is Daredevil, Wilson Fisk could easily do the same.
    Karen Page: Look I don't need your protection, Matt. Whatever it is you're doing—or Daredevil is doing—I'm not a part of it anymore, so...
    Matt Murdock: [shifts] That may be the case. Unfortunately, it doesn't matter if you're part of Daredevil's world or not, because they may be coming after Matt Murdock's too.
    Karen Page: [wide-eyed] I'm sorry—does that mean they know who you are?!
    Matt Murdock: [shakes his head] I just can't take any chances-
    Karen Page: Matt, that isn't your call!
    Matt Murdock: Can you please just come with me? Just lay low a couple of days. That's all I'm asking. I'm sorry...
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: Midland Circle Financial has an entirely white aesthetic. The walls, windows, and even furniture are completely white, which shows the people who own it are not saints.
  • The Atoner: Misty wants Luke to try and set Cole down a straight path, because she blames herself in part for the death of his sister (Shades tracked down and killed Candace because he got hold of Misty's unlocked phone).
  • The Baby of the Bunch: Danny's the youngest of the Defenders. Since he's also the most naive (though he's grown a bit since his own series) and impetuous, Stick frequently calls him "The Kid".
  • Back from the Dead: Elektra and Bakuto are each alive again.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses:
    • Stick, Matt, Jessica, Luke and Danny go back-to-back while surrounded by Elektra and a bunch of Alexandra's henchmen in the Chinese restaurant.
    • At one point in Midland Circle, Luke and Danny stand back-to-back in the boardroom as Luke shields Danny from a guy shooting at them with an automatic rifle. Once the guy is close enough, Danny breaks cover and they both disarm him.
  • Badass Boast: Sowande really likes giving these out. Although he couldn't back the first one up and got captured for it.
    (To Luke Cage) They say you can't be broken. We'll see about that.
    (To Stick after informing him of his Paranoia Gambit below while tied to a chair) It will not be long before this chair becomes a throne.
  • Badass Crew: The Defenders themselves are comprised of the deadliest fighters in New York.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Matt and Danny have a few fights where they have to fight in civilian clothing, hence, suits and ties.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Two instances, both justified by the powers that the people performing them have.
    • At one point in the Midland Circle hallway fight, Matt and Danny find themselves tag-teaming Elektra, who is brandishing twin katanas. With Matt knocked down, Danny uses the Iron Fist, which shatters one of Elektra's katanas on contact with the blade, the force also throwing her backwards through a wall.
    • Later on, when Luke is fighting Elektra when she kills Stick and kidnaps Danny, he uses his bare hand to catch her katana by the blade.
  • Bash Brothers: Luke and Jessica occasionally make jokes relating to their history together while fighting together. They team up when fighting Madame Gao, passing heavy objects to each other to use as melee weapons. Crossing into. . .
  • Battle Couple: Luke and Jessica both acknowledge they have unresolved feelings for each other.
  • Be as Unhelpful as Possible: When Matt, Jessica and Luke are arrested following Stick's death and Danny's capture, they try to be as evasive as possible when being questioned by Misty, and refuse to share important information provided by Stick because the Hand have eyes and ears everywhere and they fear putting anyone who knows too much at risk. Misty becomes certainly vexed by their noncooperation, even though she is trying to help them without knowing what exactly they are fighting against.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: John Raymond chooses to turn his gun on himself when Elektra catches up to him and prepares to impale him with her sword.
  • Big Bad: After a lot of foreshadowing from Season 2 of Daredevil and Season 1 of Iron Fist, The Hand are the main threat of the series, with Alexandra leading them. Until she's killed and usurped by Elektra at the end of Episode 6.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: Murakami exclusively speaks in Japanese, despite clearly understanding English.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Hand are stopped, and their leadership, except perhaps Madame Gao, are taken out. Luke, Jessica, and Claire get absolved thanks to some help from Foggy, but Stick is dead and the Chaste destroyed, Misty's lost her right arm, Elektra is absent and—if she's still alive—very willingly evil (unless Matt got through to her before he passed out), and Matt is (incorrectly) presumed dead by his loved ones.
  • Blatant Lies: Matt, Luke and Jessica make it look like the latter two abducted Matt in episode 7. Foggy and Karen both realize that this is bullshit, because they know how stubborn Matt is about Daredevil, not to mention Foggy had just brought Matt the Daredevil suit to the precinct and warned him about how important it was that the cops only see him as a lawyer and not lump him with "Mr. Bulletproof and Super Joan Jett".
  • Blind Alley: When Luke, Jessica, and Matt are being searched for by the cops, as they're walking down the street they hear police sirens. They rush into a conveniently nearby alley just as a squad car passes by.
  • Blood from the Mouth:
    • Danny spits out a glob of blood after taking several hard blows from Matt.
    • Matt has a moment during the climactic fight with Elektra that echoes a similar moment from his fight with the assassin that Wilson Fisk sent to kill Karen in her apartment.
    • A small trickle of blood leaks out of Alexandra's mouth immediately after she's unexpectedly stabbed from behind by Elektra.
    • Madame Gao walks up on Murakami in this condition with a gaping abdomen wound after the battle.
  • Boom, Headshot!:
    • When Elektra breaks into Jessica's apartment to kill John Raymond, Raymond turns his gun on himself rather than let Elektra kill him.
    • At the Royal Dragon, one of Sowande's men begins shooting at the heroes with an automatic rifle, putting in the crossfire Danny, whom they are trying to capture. Madame Gao pulls out a gun and shoots the guy in the back of the head.
    Madame Gao: We want him alive.
  • Bottle Episode: Episode 4 takes place almost entirely in a single location and is mostly exposition.
  • Break the Haughty: Misty while interrogating Jessica, before Matt arrives to provide Jessica with unexpected legal counsel.
    Misty Knight: But you might have interrupted a citywide investigation. You stole evidence from my crime scene. And you got my one lead killed.
    Jessica Jones: I was trying to help him.
    Misty Knight: But you didn't.
    Jessica Jones: His family was worried.
    Misty Knight: Yeah? Well all they'll have to worry about now are funeral arrangements.
  • Break Them by Talking:
    • Sowande knows each of the heroes' sore spots and how to verbally poke at them. He does a good job of distressing them all before Jessica shuts him up.
    • If Sowande's story is true, he did this to an entire fortress of Chaste soldiers the last time he was captured.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Luke often will use his body to shield his allies from gunfire. He does this to shield Danny at Midland Circle, and he later stands up and soaks bullets at the Royal Dragon when Sowande's men begin shooting up the place with automatics.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Danny gets no respect. His name (and the fact that he insists on telling it to everyone) "The Immortal Iron Fist", powers, and origin are all frequently mocked, the Hand frequently manipulate and degrade him, with Sowande dismissing him as "the dumbest Iron Fist yet", and Stick outright says that he's "still a thundering dumbass".
    • Turk Barrett continues his streak of bad luck, getting roughed up by Luke behind a seedy bar for information.
  • Call-Back:
    • Bakuto's body went missing right after he was killed in Iron Fist. He's alive again and back for more.
    • Elektra's corpse was stolen from her grave and she was resurrected by the Hand. We find out what they did with her, and that resurrecting her used up the last of the Hand's supply of a mysterious substance required to resurrect anyone, a point of contention among the leaders of the Hand.
    • The slow process of Elektra regaining her memories very much echoes the stages of Harold Meachum regaining his memories after his resurrection from Ward stabbing him.
    • We find out what was at the bottom of the hole Matt and Elektra found in Season 2 of Daredevil, and why the Hand needed Wilson Fisk's help to secure them Elena Cardenas' tenement: dragon bones.
    • Colleen is still dealing with the emotional trauma of rejecting the people who raised her and formed the foundation of her identity in Iron Fist.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Jessica initially wants nothing to do with this mess fighting the Hand, until she finds out the Hand are watching John Raymond's wife and daughter.
  • Came Back Wrong: Elektra has been resurrected by the Hand, and is now much more aggressive and fighting against Matt instead of fighting with him. The Hand decided not to bring back her memories, leaving only the Black Sky's killer instincts. And then the memories do come back... and she just becomes more dangerous.
  • Canon Foreigner: The only Hand leader who is from the comics is Bakuto. Alexandra, Sowande, Murakami, and Madame Gao are all brand-new characters.
  • Ceiling Smash: Jessica throws one of Elektra's henchmen into the ceiling during the final brawl.
  • Celebrity Paradox:
    • The final group battle is scored with "Protect Ya Neck" by Wu-Tang Clan, which features a (still clearly audible) reference to Spider-Man despite being released before the MCU Peter was even born.note 
    • Sigourney Weaver plays Alexandra, leader of the Hand. But in Luke Cage, Misty had made a Ghostbusters (1984) joke (a movie that stars Weaver as Dana).
  • Challenge Seeker: Murakami regularly hunts dangerous animals in the Japanese forests, including a bear that he stalked for ten days before fighting it to death. Alexandra later notes that testing his strength has always been his "singular focus". When he fights the Defenders, he typically only attacks on his own, without summoning any help from his faction. This is exemplified in the opening montage of "Take Shelter," which shows Sowande and Gao rounding up their respective mooks to attack the Defenders, while Murakami approaches completely solo.
  • Charge-into-Combat Cut: Downplayed in that they don't charge before the cut and because it's on Netflix there's almost no wait. The fourth episode ends with the heroes lined up and bracing to fight Elektra, who's standing across from them.
  • Cheap Costume: Infiltrating Midland Circle, Matt steals Jessica's scarf and ties it around his head.
    Jessica: You look like an asshole.
    Matt: It's your scarf.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Matt starts having serious problems, as while he's put aside his Daredevil costume, he still finds himself driven to go out and fight to protect people in Hell's Kitchen. Foggy even brings him some casework for similar pro bono cases he's been doing, hoping that it will help keep Matt busy when he gets the urge to go out and beat up criminals on the streets.
  • Civvie Spandex: Matt is the only member that wears a superhero outfit, the rest wear ordinary clothes.
  • Cleanup Crew: Sowande hired young men in Harlem to dispose of the bodies of Chaste warriors the Hand killed. Said method involved spraying the corpses with acid. Once they had finished a few jobs, Sowande would have them killed.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Each principal character and their supporting cast wear matching colors, and scenes featuring them tend to focus on those colors, with multi-character scenes featuring those of the characters present. Additionally, scene cuts will show shots of the city, highlighted with colors from the characters in each scene. The intro features silhouettes of each Defender in his or her theme color.
    • Matt is associated with the color red. His necktie, glasses, cane, and Daredevil armor are all red. While we don't see it here, we know that he sees the world in red flames, and his motif evokes a lot of imagery of rage and punishment. His scenes, such as the church, are shot with red colors. Karen wears a red skirt and a black coat with red sash and inner liner, highlighting she's still very much attached to Matt at some level. Foggy's red only extends to patterns on his necktie, perhaps alluding to his recent break with Matt.
    • Jessica is connected with tones of blue - but no longer purple (except for a flash in her intro), due to her triumph over Kilgrave. Scenes focusing on her tend to look cold and unwelcoming, but her scenes which don't focus on her tend to show blue, hopeful colors, like the sky. She mostly wears entirely black clothing, except for her blue jeans, and scenes featuring her tend to feature blue furnishings and blue-filtered light or water. Additionally, Trish wears a blue top during the climax.
    • Luke has a lot of warm, welcoming yellow colors in his scenes - he wears a yellow shirt, his hoodie has yellow accents, and he's introduced wearing an orange jumpsuit. His scenes show a lot of natural sunlight or lights through yellow shades, and most furnishings in his scenes are yellow or a light wood. Misty also follows the pattern by wearing an orange turtleneck, similar but not identical to his own shirt (and reflecting her comic-book counterpart's color).
    • Danny primarily is shown with green, a very rich color, and he is the Defender with the most money. He wears green sweaters or jackets, his scenes such as Colleen’s dojo tend to have a lot of green hues, and his employees are also aware enough to complement his company's green office space with green shirts.
    • Fittingly, the Royal Dragon where the four of them regroup, rest, and eventually decide to work together has all of the above colors in its decor and lighting. Even the neon dragon sign is lit only with red, blue, yellow, and green bulbs.
    • The Hand’s henchmen mostly wear black, and scenes featuring them look darker, even muting the heroes' colored atmosphere. Colleen and Malcolm also wear dark colors, which would be a metaphor for how Colleen betrayed Danny to Bakuto, and Malcolm spied on Jessica for Kilgrave.
    • The Hand’s leadership dress primarily in white, with their bases almost completely painted white and Alexandra's initial sets emphasizing white backgrounds like clouds or a stark white cathedral. Murakami, Sowande, Madame Gao and Bakuto accent their white with black, but Alexandria pairs the white with gold, signifying her dominance over them. In her very first scene, she's asked to remove her white clothes and gold jewelry in a sterile white room.
    • Elektra’s colors are literally split between the Hand’s black colors with her coat and Matt’s red with her main armor, signifying her indecision. While she is trying to understand herself, scenes with her are a mismatched whirl of clashing colors, reflecting her own inner conflict. Several times, she contemplates a pair of sais with white and black guards; this ultimately foreshadows that she will take a place among the leaders of The Hand.
    • Claire Temple wears mostly white, grey, or shades of brown, which represents her familiarity with all of the Defenders team. Scenes with her frantically switch between the four Defenders' colors while each remain dominant and don't clash, further displaying her deep connection with all of them.
  • Color Motif: All defenders have their own colors frequently used as Color Wash or in uniforms. Matt uses red, Luke yellow, and Danny green. Jessica starts her series with Kilgrave's purple, but ditches it for blue (with an occasional flash of purple).
  • Combat Pragmatist: Stick. He cuts off his own hand to escape from Alexandra and Elektra, and is willing to kill Danny to prevent The Hand from using him.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames:
    • Averted with Luke Cage, who was born Carl Lucas, but changed his name after his escape from Seagate. Lampshaded by Foggy when he greets Luke upon his discharge.
    Foggy Nelson: Mr. Lucas? Or Mr. Cage? Which do you prefer? I forget.
    Luke Cage: Cage.
    • Matt Murdock's secret identity of Daredevil gets both names referenced. In particular, hero characters like Karen, Foggy, and Danny tend to use the Daredevil name, but the Fingers almost exclusively still use the more dramatic "Devil of Hell's Kitchen" name that the papers used during Wilson Fisk's smear campaign.
    • "The Defenders" is never actually brought up In-Universe, despite not only being the name of the series but also its final episode (much like in Daredevil, where in its own respective titular episode the codename was first brought up).
  • Composite Character:
    • More like Composite Concept; as noted, the show is essentially a mix between Heroes for Hire (Luke, Danny, and Misty being present) and The Knights (loose-knit team of street heroes featuring Daredevil), with some elements of Brian Michael Bendis' New Avengers (all four main characters have been featured on the team), but with the name from The Defenders. At least until 2017 where a few months before the show's release, Marvel released a new Defenders comicbook series with the show's line up.
    • Because of Ben Urich getting killed by Wilson Fisk towards the end of season 1 of Daredevil and Karen subsequently being shifted into Ben's job after the closure of Nelson & Murdock in season 2, Karen takes Ben's comics role as Matt's newspaper confidant and informant on top of her comics role as Matt's love interest and the original secretary of Nelson & Murdock.
  • Compromising Call: Downplayed. Claire's phone ringing alerts Bakuto that someone besides Colleen is hiding nearby, but Bakuto is too focused on Colleen to do anything about it.
  • The Confidant:
    • Foggy and Karen are Matt's secret keepers, his former co-workers from Nelson & Murdock, and the two he turns two for advice.
    • Colleen is Danny's lover and also functions in the role of a confidant.
    • Misty and Claire function as ones for Luke.
    • Trish and Malcolm are this for Jessica.
  • Confessional: The first episode sees Matt having confessional with Father Lantom, opening up about his efforts to reconcile with Karen and also how Elektra's death has affected him.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The whole team-up revolves around this. Danny, Luke and Jessica all individually discover around the same time that Midland Circle is where they should go, and Matt is just following Jessica.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The IP address in the second teaser links to a Tumblr page with New York Bulletin front pages calling back to the four shows:
    • Much like in his original series, Danny's title is met with more confusion than awe. Luke is incredulous.
    • Elektra has a sword with a red hilt. It's the very sword that Nobu offered to her when it was revealed to Matt that Elektra was a Black Sky. She refused it then, since she was allied with Stick and Matt, but has reclaimed it after her resurrection, symbolizing her acceptance of her role in the Hand.
    • The first episode opens with each of the Defenders in their daily lives as they were when we last met them in their shows:
      • Matt is shown diving into pro bono work. While practicing arguments for a case, he is shown resisting the urge to slip on the Daredevil suit to stop a mugging, only relaxing once he's aware that the cops have it under control. After winning an $11 million lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company, he runs into Karen Page, who is at the courthouse covering the case for the Bulletin and wants a quote from him. Matt and Karen go to a diner and make small talk about how things have been going since Matt told her his secret. After the meal, we see Matt has been having confessional with Father Lantom more regularly since Elektra's death.
      • Luke is getting out of jail, thanks to Foggy Nelson providing him a stellar legal defense that only Hogarth, Chao, & Benowitz can provide. Upon his return to New York City, he and Claire get that "coffee". Luke then meets with Misty Knight, and gets roped into the Hand mess when Misty talks about how a string of young men from Harlem are being hired by a mysterious job that pays well only to turn up dead shortly thereafter, and one of the latest victims is a brother of Candace Miller, the witness to Cottonmouth's murder who was killed by Shades on Mariah Dillard's orders. Candace had another brother, who is not on the right side of the law, and Misty wants Luke to find this brother before the Miller siblings' mother loses her last child.
      • Jessica's PTSD is still rampant even with Kilgrave dead. She's a raging alcoholic, passing out in bars, drinking whiskey in her coffee. Her apartment is still wrecked from her fight with Will Simpson. Malcolm had the lock on her door fixed and that's about it. The door window is cardboard and duct taped shut. Trish comments that only Jessica could turn a triumph like killing Kilgrave into a tragedy.
      • Danny and Colleen are still trying to investigate the Hand.
    • As Luke returns to Harlem, his bus passes by Pop's Barbershop, which is finally back in mint condition after getting shot up by Tone and blown up by Diamondback. The bus itself also has a New Harlem Renaissance advertisement, indicating Mariah Dillard is still present.
    • Karen Page's office still has all of Ben Urich's framed Bulletin front pages about the Battle of NY and the Harlem Terror.
    • Alexandra holds a meeting with Madame Gao at the Rockefeller Center rooftop garden that we previously saw Madame Gao have a meeting with Wilson Fisk at in "Nelson v. Murdock".
    • After beating up some looters following the earthquake, Matt tries to bandage his bruised knuckles but his hands are too shaky to rip open the packaging and he shoves his medical kit off the table in frustration. The scene is shot identically to when he shoved his laptop off this same table while listening to Wilson Fisk's first TV speech.
    • When Karen and Trish are in the precinct, Karen points to a crime scene photo from the time the Hand kidnapped her.
    • Likewise, when the group get to the Chinese restaurant, Matt reveals his past run-ins with the Hand to Danny, Jessica, and Luke.
    • When Luke interrupts Danny roughing up Cole, we get the exact same slow motion close-up shot of Luke being punched in the face that one of Cottonmouth's men tried to do. This time, it's Danny Rand using the Iron Fist.
    • Matt mentions to Luke and Jessica his previous work at investigating the Hand and the hole under Midland Circle.
    • Matt's first meeting with Jessica is practically identical to his first meeting with Karen Page, in terms of setting (an interrogation room) and the woman asking him "Who the hell are you?" prompting Matt to introduce himself and the woman to give a bewildered look. It also is a continuity nod to Misty's attempted interrogation of Candace Miller - being interrupted by a lawyer not sent by the person being interrogated whose first words upon entering are to tell the interrogated individual to stop talking. Just with Matt instead of Big Ben Donovan.
    • The Defenders get their own version of the shawarma scene, just with Chinese food instead. Also, this meal at the Royal Dragon appears at the beginning of their team-up as opposed to the end.
    • Towards the end of the series, Claire once more refers to Matt as her and Foggy's "mutual friend."
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: The Defenders are presented - first in their own individual shows and in this show - as gritty and urban crimefighters as opposed to the planet-level Avengers and the space-level Guardians.
  • The Cowl: In contrast to the Avengers who get to show off their heroics in public, saving lives and getting wide recognition. The Defenders hunt down criminals and typically sneak about in an effort to keep a low profile. Even with Luke and Danny who lean towards The Cape with the hope they inspire, they still primarily operate by barging in on the villain's turf and bringing them down.
  • Crisis Crossover: The self-contained type. It is an eight episode miniseries that sees Matt Murdock, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Danny Rand team up to fight the Hand, a villainous organization built up in Daredevil season 2 and Iron Fist season 1. The crossover has lasting repercussions for the next phase of the Netflix shows, as it sets up Misty to get her signature robotic arm in Luke Cage season 2 and then a Daughters of the Dragon team-up with Colleen in Iron Fist season 2, while Matt is presumed "dead" and this has major repercussions for Daredevil season 3.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
  • Cut-and-Paste Note: Featured in the teaser; papers and files relevant to the Defenders are torn, showing pieces of each series' logos. The letters shown are compiled together to form the word "defend", showing off the trope due to each show's unique font. (The actual show's title card uses the font from the title card for Jessica Jones)
  • Dark Lord on Life Support: Alexandra's very first scene is being told she only has months or even weeks to live. She is in fact centuries old, but The Substance that keeps her alive has largely run out, and she is hoping to cheat death again by finding more of it under New York.
  • Darker and Edgier: All of the Netflix shows are designed to show darker, violent corners of the MCU, effectively making The Defenders a grittier street-level counterpoint to the grand-scaling Avengers.
  • Decomposite Character: In the comics, Nobu is the one behind the Hand's creation. In the Netflix shows, Nobu is a lieutenant of Murakami's while Alexandra is portrayed as the group's ancient founder and leader.
  • Delaying Action:
    • Madame Gao, Bakuto, and Murakami delay Matt, Luke and Jessica while Elektra gets what they want from Danny.
    • Misty asks how long the heroes want her to stall the cops when they need to get into Midland Circle, but when she learns about the explosives, she ends up breaking into the building herself.
  • Demoted to Dragon: Madame Gao and Bakuto, previously part of the Big Bad Ensemble in season 1 of Iron Fist, are now Co-Dragons to Alexandra. Nobu, who led the Hand faction Matt and Elektra fought in Season 2 of Daredevil, is revealed to be the Dragon of Murakami, another one of Alexandra's Dragons .
  • Designated Girl Fight: Subverted in the climax, where Elektra's female henchmen solely fight Jessica, but Jessica's also fighting male opponents.
  • Destructo-Nookie: On Luke's return to Harlem, he and Claire get that coffee, and they really rock that cup, knocking over Claire's dining room table.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Frank Castle, who could take out the Hand by himself, is lying low at a construction site by himself during the events of the series. Of the four main heroes, Danny is the only one willing to take the fight to the Hand. If Frank were there, he would have seconded the suggestion.
  • Diagonal Cut: When Stick beheads Sowande, he stands there like nothing happened for a moment until he falls forward and his head falls off his neck and rolls away.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: By the end a small bunch of ordinary, street-level quasi-superpowered vigilantes have managed to completely destroy an Ancient Conspiracy that has been around for so long it was responsible for the destruction of Pompeii in 79 AD, a feat that entire organizations completely set out to fight this same cult all miserably failed to do.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Matt plays the show's theme on the Raymonds' piano, in order to locate architectural plans for Midland Circle that John had stashed inside.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Alexandra is killed by Elektra in episode six, leaving the heroes to battle her and the three surviving Fingers in the final act.
  • Disney Villain Death: Subverted twice.
    • When Matt and Jessica thwart Murakami's attempt to kill Trish, the fight is finished when Jessica punches Murakami over a railing. When she looks down over it, there's no splattered remains, but just a man below standing near where the body should have landed, and is looking around in confusion.
    • Happens again in the final episode, with Murakami being thrown off the elevator. We later see him impaled on a spike at the bottom, so the fall didn't kill him.
  • Distressed Dude: Danny turns out to be the target of the Hand, and is therefore tied to a chair by the other heroes to prevent him from leaving and getting caught by the Hand. He's kidnapped anyway when Elektra comes for him.
  • Don't Answer That: Jessica has just been arrested for questioning by Misty Knight into John Raymond's suicide. At least, until Matt suddenly walks in and says:
    Matt Murdock: Jessica Jones, stop talking. Hi. This is over.
    Jessica Jones: And who the hell are you?
    Matt Murdock: My name is Matthew Murdock. I'm your attorney. [smirks]
  • The Dreaded:
    • Alexandra. Kinda. Madame Gao is seemingly fearful of her, but it's just an act and all of the other members of the Hand make it clear that they're willing to challenge her rule.
    • The way Stick describes Murakami while running down the Five Fingers paints him as this, a hermit who prefers to let his underlings run the show, but when he comes out of hiding, bad things happen. He fails to live up to this reputation.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: The writers spend six episodes building up Alexandra as a powerful, dangerous force to be reckoned with, and with a coy aversion to stating her full name to insinuate she's a Canon Character All Along. Then, in the middle of an impassioned speech about how she holds the Hand together and is not to be fucked with, Elektra abruptly impales her with a pair of sai and kills her instantly. Just like with Cottonmouth, this was clearly intentional, to mess with an audience who didn't expect them to dispatch an award-caliber actress so anticlimactically.
  • Drunk Rolling: Jessica steals a can of beer from a passed-out homeless man on the subway.
  • Dynamic Entry: Jessica reenters the scene at the Royal Dragon by shoving a car through the front of the restaurant, hitting Elektra with it.
    Jessica Jones: Who missed me?
  • Dysfunction Junction: Each of the four team members has a Dark and Troubled Past:
    • Matt was blinded in a car accident when he was nine years old. His boxer father was killed shortly thereafter for refusing to take a dive.
    • Jessica lost her family, had to live with Trish's abusive mom, and has PTSD because she spent almost a year being mind-controlled by a sociopath.
    • Luke is an ex-Marine who later became a sheriff's deputy, then got framed for murder by his own half-brother. While in prison, he got subjected to beatdowns, was forced to fight in an underground boxing ring, and got his powers in a special experimental operation meant to save his life. He then broke out and spent the next few years on the run.
    • Danny is a billionaire heir whose parents were murdered by his dad's business partner. He has PTSD from surviving the same plane crash where he watched them die. The monks who raised him didn't help, as they beat him with sticks and taught him to suppress his childhood trauma instead of facing it.
    • As Stick puts it:
      Stick: You think the four of you can save New York? You can't even save yourselves.
  • Elephant in the Living Room: Wilson Fisk isn't even so much as mentioned once in this show, since he's in prison, but his presence can be greatly felt. It was Fisk's allegiance with Madame Gao and Nobu back in Daredevil season 1 that allowed the Hand to acquire Elena Cardenas' tenement for the purpose of constructing Midland Circle. And here, Karen and Foggy express concern on multiple occasions about Matt's two lives colliding, with their concern partially being because of them worrying about Fisk finding out.
  • Enemy Civil War: The Hand's Fingers have all orchestrated assassination attempts and coups against each other countless times. In one episode, Madame Gao advises Alexandra to be careful of a possible coup, saying that she has seen it before, only for Alexandra to counter that Gao led it. The only thing that makes this time different is that they're flat out of the "substance" which is required for their resurrection ritual to work.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: The Hand is led by the white Alexandra. The other Fingers of the Hand are the Chinese Madame Gao, the Japanese Murakami, the Brazilian Bakuto, and the African Sowande. When Stick reveals the Hand's origin, he explicitly says they were founded by five people from all around the world, and when they left K'un-Lun they returned to their countries of origin to build criminal empires.
  • Especially Zoidberg: From Matt's confessional scene with Father Lantom:
    Father Lantom: Ignoring doesn't change anything, Matthew. God knows your heart. Let him in so he can help.
    Matthew Murdock: Even if that heart is damaged?
    Father Lantom: Especially if it's damaged.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Madame Gao is an untouchable crime boss, very high up in the Hand, who has been unflappable throughout the previous series, being able to intimidate Wilson Fisk, James Wesley and Harold Meachum. In two scenes in the first episode, Alexandra's established as an incredibly powerful person when Gao acts like a nervous subordinate toward her and she is demeaning and later dismissive toward Gao. In the first of those scenes she's also established as very old when she alludes to having been around when Dutch colonists bought the land of New York from Native Americans.
    • Murakami is established as a ruthless killer who's willing to "get his hand dirty" when his first scene is him clearing out the organs of a bear he killed after "sparring" with it while he converses with a visiting Alexandra, and as an incredibly powerful man when he treats Alexandra as an equal whereas Madame Gao was uncharacteristically timid.
  • Establishing Shot: The show uses a unique effect of switching from one subplot to another that involves a series of quick cuts to various landmarks and speeding vehicles or trains before landing in the new scene.
  • Ethereal White Dress: Alexandra is usually wearing all-white outfits. Which is fitting for her as the leader of the Hand, because in many Asian cultures, white is a color associated with death.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Alexandra claimed that she once had a daughter who passed away long ago with K'un-Lun being unable to save her. She clearly views Elektra as some sort of daughter substitute, though she insists that if Elektra proved to be a failure or disloyal, she wouldn't hesitate to kill her.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Sowande is only known as "White Hat" on the streets of Harlem.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Elektra now sports her iconic comics costume. She also has switched to bladed weapons, although she returns to her sais once she regains her memories.
  • Evil Counterpart: Alexandra to Danny Rand. Both are Americans who gained a considerable amount of influence over an ancient, mystical organization (The Hand; K'un-L'un) and live as a powerful resident of New York City in the present.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Alexandra tries to keep Elektra under her thumb by raising her as a surrogate daughter and even implying that she'll kill her if she's ineffective in her role. Elektra kills her and ousts her as leader of the Hand instead.
  • Evil Mentor: Bakuto has been resurrected, as Danny had predicted. And he wants a rematch with Colleen.
  • Evil Old Folks: Alexandra appears to be in her sixties but is much older and is the leader of the Hand. Madame Gao is several hundred years old with the appearance of a 73 year old Chinese woman.
  • Executive Suite Fight: The signature hallway fight kicks off when Danny, following the Hand's money trail, bursts in on a boardroom meeting that Alexandra is having with her Hand executives. As expected, he isn’t greeted politely. As he’s overpowered and about to be carried away, Matt, Luke and Jessica suddenly come to Danny's rescue, showing Luke's continued disrespect for walls and doors.
  • Exploding Fish Tanks: A large fish tank explodes when two of Sowande's men begin shooting up the Royal Dragon with automatics.
  • Exposition of Immortality: Alexandra often speaks about many past events she was present to witness such as Manhattan before being urbanized and visiting Constantinople (er, Istanbul) before it was conquered by the Ottomans.
  • Fake Guest Star:
    • Many fans feel that Wai Ching Ho (Madame Gao) deserved star billing, given that she appeared in more episodes than most of the main cast, and had more screentime than many.
    • While billed as a supporting character due to being Danny's love interest and not starring her own show, Colleen Wing may as well serve as the unofficial fifth member of the Defenders, since she is just as capable in fighting despite having no superpowers of her own, participates just as much as they do and she is the one to come up with the plan to destroy the Hand completely by blowing up the Midland Circle. And as a former member of the Hand, she has far more personal stake in the main plot than Luke or Jessica.
  • Fatal Flaw: Alexandra's absolute fear of death is her motivation for hastening carefully laid out plans into a wild west shooting gallery.
  • Fighting Your Friend:
    • Matt has to come to blows with Elektra, resurrected by the Hand at the end of Daredevil's second season.
    • Colleen has to come to blows with Bakuto, resurrected by the Hand after she saw him seemingly get impaled by Davos in Iron Fist.
    • During Episode 6, Danny fights Matt, Jessica and Luke when they all agree he needs to stay hidden so the Hand can't use him for their purposes, but he insists on confronting them.
  • Finger in the Mail: Stick leaves Sowande's head in a box in one of the Hand's warehouses for Alexandra to find.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Jessica and Luke are true friends, Matt admits that he's glad to have met them all, Matt and Jessica manage to earn respect for one another and seeing how they aren't so different, Danny and Luke get a budding bromance, and Danny is inspired by Matt to carry on his mission to protect the people of Hell's Kitchen and New York after Matt's Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Flashback:
    • The third episode flashes back a few months to when Alexandra first acquired and revived Elektra.
    • The seventh episode flashes back to a conversation "some time ago" between Elektra and Stick about Matt not being a killer and Elektra having fallen in love with him. It's implied that this happened after Elektra's failed attempt to get Matt to kill Roscoe Sweeney.
  • Foil:
    • Elektra Natchios and Colleen Wing. Both began as a love interest of a main character (Matt; Danny) and both are very influential on that character. Where they differ is that Elektra was a negative influence on Matt and caused him to neglect his actual friendships with Karen and Foggy, whereas Colleen provided moral support that made Danny a better person. Likewise, Colleen started Iron Fist as a recruiter for the Hand, but broke ways with them after getting a crash course on how terrible they truly are; Elektra started her arc in Daredevil as a member of the Chaste, but then died at the hands of Nobu and was resurrected by the Hand as an assassin.
    • Karen Page and Trish Walker. Both are blonde reporters (through the New York Bulletin and Trish Talk). Both are also the biggest advocates of their superhero friend (boyfriend in Karen's case). When it comes to the morality of killing compared to their superhero friend, the roles are reversed. With Jessica and Trish, whereas Trish hasn't killed anyone, Jessica has killed Kilgrave and earlier killed Reva. The reverse is seen with Matt and Karen: whereas Matt hasn't killed anyone, Karen has killed James Wesley and has implied that in her past she may have killed someone else. Finally, whereas Karen desperately warns Matt to be cautious so he doesn't get killed or exposed, Trish has always wanted Jessica to do more with her powers and once even crafted a superhero persona for Jess.
    • Jessica Jones and Karen Page. Both have working relationships with Matt that begin with him coming to represent them after they get arrested (John Raymond's suicide and evidence tampering for Jessica; getting framed by Wilson Fisk for Karen). Both of them are alcoholics with dark and troubled pasts that include the death of family members in a car accident (Jessica's whole family; Karen's brother). Both of their dark pasts include a Kevin in their life (Kilgrave aka Kevin Thompson; Karen's brother Kevin Page). Both Jessica and Karen have each killed two people (Jessica killed Reva and Kilgrave; Karen has killed James Wesley and is implied to have killed someone else in her past). And they both are skilled investigators. Where they differ is that Karen is bright and perky, while Jessica is sour and crass.
    • Danny Rand and Elektra Natchios. Both are skilled warriors trained since childhood and command considerable wealth. Elektra was raised as an orphan before Stick arranged for her to be adopted by Hugo Natchios and his wife. Danny was born rich and became an orphan. Both were seen by their masters as nothing more than weapons, called "The Iron Fist" and "The Black Sky" instead of their names. But, where Elektra is amoral and self-serving, Danny is altruistic and social. Fittingly, while Matt, Jessica and Luke are fighting the remaining Fingers of the Hand upstairs, Danny and Elektra are facing off in the pit, and Elektra even tries to manipulate Danny over to her side by using their commonalities.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Jessica using her super-strength to pull Trish's car off a tow truck not only shows her increase in powernote , but foreshadows her pushing a car through the wall of the Chinese restaurant and hitting Elektra with it.
    • When Jessica is in the sketchy apartment that John Raymond is using to stockpile explosives, there's a pre-9/11 painting of Lower Manhattan depicting the World Trade Center towers, which conspiracy theorists claim was a controlled demolition. A controlled demolition by charges planted within the building is how Midland Circle is destroyed and the Hand is defeated (for now).
    • Matt's apparent "death" in the climax trying to get through to Elektra had been foreshadowed throughout the first two seasons of Daredevil:
      • When Matt and Foggy are debating over whether or not to take a plea deal on Karen's case in "Into the Ring," this exchange:
      Foggy Nelson: All right, I'm just gonna say this once and we can move on. You don't necessarily show the best judgement when beautiful women are involved, Matt.
      Matt Murdock: How would I even know if she's a beautiful woman?
      Foggy Nelson: I don't know. It's kinda spooky, actually! All I know is that if there's a stunning woman of questionable morality in the room, Matt Murdock is going to find her, and Foggy Nelson is going to suffer.
      • In "Nelson v. Murdock," while taking care of Matt after finding him bleeding out from a fight with Fisk and Nobu, Foggy says, "You're going to get yourself killed if you keep this up. You know that, right?"
    • Karen and Foggy both warn Matt that he is dangerously close to getting his identity as Daredevil exposed. Karen has an alarmed reaction when Matt suggests that the Hand know his real identity ("I'm sorry, does that mean they know who you are?!"). After Matt, Jessica and Luke are hauled in following Stick's death and Danny's kidnapping, Karen takes Matt aside for a moment to point out that it won't take much for the NYPD to put two and two together, a sentiment that Foggy repeats minutes later when bringing the suit to Matt. Then remember that when we last saw Wilson Fisk in Daredevil season 2, he was beginning to look into Matt.
    • Jessica's attitude towards Malcolm when he lets himself into her apartment without knocking foreshadows some of the future breakdowns that will happen between them in Jessica Jones season 2.
    • Trish expresses some frustration at being stuck in the precinct with Malcolm and the others while Jessica is off saving the day, which is going to eventually be a contributing factor towards her quest to gain superpowers from Dr. Karl Malus in Jessica Jones season 2.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
  • Friend on the Force: Misty Knight provides the Defenders with access to the resources of the NYPD. She also stashes Karen, Foggy, Trish, Malcolm, Claire and Colleen when the Hand begin threatening them.
  • Friendship Moment:
    • Luke facetiously asks Danny to tell the story of how he fought a dragon and got his "magic hand." Danny takes him seriously and starts a poetic description, but Luke shuts him down. After a few seconds, Luke tries to cheer him up by genuinely asking about what happened. They joke around a bit, comparing Jessica to a dragon.
    • Invoked by Matt. Before they go down the elevator to face the final battle, Matt takes a moment to tell Luke and Jessica he's glad he's met them and that they're fighting together.
      Luke Cage: I'm not hugging you, man. [Matt laughs]
  • "Friends" Rent Control: Jessica wonders how Matt can afford his spacious corner apartment even though he's now a pro bono lawyer and thus earning less money than he was earning at Nelson & Murdock. Like with Karen, Matt points out to Jessica the billboard across the street. It's also been implied that Matt may have inherited Elektra's money after her death.
  • Funny Answering Machine: Jessica's is her gruffly saying "Wrong number."

  • The Gadfly: Jessica calls Danny "Ironclad" when she, Luke and Matt rescue him from the pit.
    Danny Rand: It's Iron Fist.
    Jessica Jones: I know.
  • The Generic Guy: Jessica Jones. She doesn't really bring anything unique to the table compared to the other Defenders. Luke has roughly equal Super-Strength, as well as being Nigh-Invulnerable and having actual fighting skills to back them up. Matt and Danny are both far superior fighters, able to take out several more henchmen in the same space of time than Jessica is, despite being Weak, but Skilled. Even Jessica's streetsmart investigating technique is overshadowed by Matt's similar ability and superior people skills. Even her "guided falling" is only used once; most egregiously, when Matt and Jessica are racing to stop Elektra from killing Stick and kidnapping Danny, Matt is the one who jumps on some boxes to get up to the second floor balcony quickly, while Jessica runs up the stairs.
  • Geodesic Cast: The Defenders form a team that contrasts with the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • The Ghost:
    • Mariah and Shades are mentioned a few times by Misty and Luke as Luke is looking for information on the murders White Hat is committing, and there's an advertisement for Mariah's New Harlem Renaissance on the side of the bus when Luke arrives back in Harlem, but neither Mariah nor Shades shows up in person. They're still around, given both of them are returning for Luke Cage season 2. Their absence is explained by Turk as being because they've ghosted and are keeping a low profile.
    • Ward is mentioned as being out of town when Danny and Colleen drop by Rand to get some information from a property clerk about the Hand's money trail. Joy isn't mentioned at all, although her name is seen in Danny's contacts list.
    • Mitchell Ellison doesn't appear on-camera, and won't come back until The Punisher (2017), yet Karen mentions him when talking to Matt in the diner, and he calls the precinct to check in on Karen after Danny punching the impenetrable wall with the Iron Fist causes a power outage.
  • Gilligan Cut: Jessica decides she's done with all the mystical nonsense Stick is talking about and starts to leave. He promptly barks, "Sit down and shut up!" Cue Jessica looking at him like "The fuck did you just say?" and...cut to Jessica marching out the back door, blatantly ignoring the angry, cantankerous old man.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Jessica is probably the strongest in terms of raw physical power and strength, but she lacks the superhuman durability of Luke, the protective armor of Matt, or the defensive chi applications of Danny's powers, meaning she's still vulnerable to blades and gunfire and a car impact can badly weaken her until she recovers.
    • Danny's not nearly as durable as Luke or Jessica, and doesn't have protective armor like Matt, but at full power, his punches can far exceed the former two's Super-Strength, as seen when he punches the floor of the Rand boardroom hard enough to upheave everyone standing on it and blow out all the windows with the shockwave.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Danny initially tries martial arts moves against Luke, only to be knocked down by a simple punch. Luke has superhuman strength and durability, allowing him to take Danny's strikes and do a lot of damage with simple punches. Danny only gets the upper hand when he delivers a right hook with the Iron Fist.
  • Grand Finale: Of The Hand's Story Arc, first being teased in Daredevil (2015) season one and taking center stage in Daredevil season two and Iron Fist (2017) season one, as well as this show. However, the Uncertain Doom of parts of their leadership still allow the possibility of them potentially coming back at some point down the road.
  • Greasy Spoon: Matt and Karen go to the real life Metro Diner on 100th Street in the first episode to catch up after Matt wins his latest case, and also so Karen can get a comment from him for her story in the Bulletin.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Hand in general have been built up heavily since season 1 of Daredevil: there, Nobu and Madame Gao were the only members to appear, yet their presence was definitely felt, as both were able to intimidate Wilson Fisk, and James Wesley was very uneasy being around Nobu. The first season of Iron Fist added more depth to Madame Gao's role in the Hand and also introduced Bakuto, and both indicate that there is someone else pulling their strings who wants to meet Danny, but don't mention Alexandra by name. And The Defenders now establishes that the Hand were using Fisk to acquire Elena Cardenas' tenement so they could have property to construct Midland Circle.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: The destruction of Midland Circle is officially reported by the NYPD as the result of unpermitted construction, and no one except those who were there will know what really happened. This trope is more firmly established in Luke Cage season 2 when Claire describes it like this while helping Misty with her therapy.
  • Hallway Fight: The team meets up while fighting off Elektra and other Hand ninjas armed with guns and stun guns in a corridor of Midland Circle.
  • The Heart: Danny Rand is the one who tries to convince the team to come together and stay together. In the words of Finn Jones, "Danny Rand, he's the one that kind of drives the group to get shit done."
  • The Heavy: Although The Hand is present, Alexandra, Madame Gao and Bakuto are the most visible threats.
  • Heartbroken Badass:
    • The trauma of Kilgrave is still hovering over Jessica, and her alcoholism has gotten worse. Her apartment is still damaged from the fight with Will Simpson.
    • Matt is still mourning over Elektra's death, to the point that he's given up on being Daredevil completely. In the meantime, he's doing pro bono law work for disadvantaged people in Hell's Kitchen. He and Karen Page are back on speaking terms, but are not quite sure about resuming their romantic relationship. In the first episode, he is seen going to confessional and opening up to Father Lantom about how difficult Elektra's death has been on him:
      Father Lantom: This other life you led. Is your heart still with it [Daredevil], or is your heart with the one who walked through it by your side?
      Matt Murdock: Elektra?
      Father Lantom: Yeah.
      Matt Murdock: I do miss her. But how do I know that the things she brought out of me were wrong?
      Father Lantom: From what you've told me about her, I think she'd be happy about how well you're doing.
      Matt Murdock: Maybe. Or maybe she'd tell me I'm abandoning that life and with it, her memory.
      Father Lantom: You're not abandoning Elektra, you don't have it in you. What you're doing, we call that 'moving on'. Purgatory is a place for the dead, Matthew, not the living. There's nothing wrong with letting people go. She'll find her peace. I pray you find yours as well.
  • Here We Go Again!: Matt expresses outright annoyance when Stick shows up at the Royal Dragon and starts talking about the Hand and the war with the Chaste.
    Matt Murdock: [sensing Stick approaching] Oh you've gotta be kidding me...
    [moments later, Stick walks in, waving his sword]
    Stick: one shitty excuse for a hideout.
    Matt Murdock: [displeased] Stick.
    Stick: Matty.
    Jessica Jones: Who the hell are you?
    Stick: The guy who's gonna help you save New York.
    • Matt laughs bitterly when Stick says he needs their help.
    Matt Murdock: [laughs bitterly] Yeah, here it comes.
    Luke Cage: Here what comes?
    Matt Murdock: This is what he does.
    Danny Rand: H-How do you know him again?
    Matt Murdock: You saw me fight. I learned it from him.
    Danny Rand: [still confused] You're a blind lawyer, you're Daredevil, and you're a member of the Chaste?
    Matt Murdock: No. Uh-uh. I never joined his war. Hey Stick, you and I need to talk.
    Luke Cage: Hey! Anything you've gotta say, you say in front of us.
    Matt Murdock: This is between me and him.
    Luke Cage: And we are all in danger-
    Matt Murdock: I don't know you very well, Mr. Cage. You seem like a good guy, so trust me when I tell you that with this old man, nothing is sacred.
  • The Hermit: Murakami prefers to keep to himself, leaving the operation of his branch to Nobu.
  • Historical In-Joke: Stick claims that disasters like Pompeii and Chernobyl were cover-ups of the Hand's operations.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Played With. In Midland Circle, when Danny disarms the secretary who pulls a gun on him, the gun goes off, and Matt hears the suppressed gunshot from the lobby. The actual noise is still the soft, Hollywood "pew" instead of the actual sound of a suppressed firearm. However, the pistols are shown to fire tranquilizer darts instead of bullets.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Not that Jessica is short (5'9), but the guys mostly tower over her (5'10 Matt, 6'0 Danny, 6'3 Luke). That being said, Jessica has Super-Strength powers that put her on-par with the others in terms of power.
  • Hypocrite: Despite rightly calling Danny out on not using his resources better in his war against the Hand, Luke does come off as a hypocrite in several other respects. He claims that Danny started their fight during the altercation in the alleyway with Cole, when it was Luke that initiated the violence. Luke claims Danny looked like he was going to murder Cole, despite Danny having done nothing excessively violent to a guy who was just caught destroying bodies with acid, which makes Cole an accessory to Mass Murder (You would think an ex-deputy like Cage would know that, so What the Hell, Hero?). He calls out Danny for attacking the "lower rung" members of the Hand, using violence and intimidation against them, despite the fact that Luke frequently employed similar tactics to Cottonmouth and Diamondback's criminal groups. In essence, Luke criticizes Danny for behaving exactly like Luke does, solely because Luke personally knew the criminal Danny caught in the act of committing a crime. Moreover, while his complaint about Danny not properly using his resources is valid, Luke also has the nerve to call Danny out on his "privilige""- bear in mind Danny spent all but the last two years of his teenage and adult life living in a monastery and enduring torturous Training from Hell, while Luke got bailed out by his well-connected father when he was arrested for criminal bahaviour.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: A series of quick shots of speeding Metro-North and NYCS trains, speeding traffic, and city landmarks are used to transition between most scenes.
  • Ignored Vital News Reports: Played for Laughs when Luke and Jessica are catching up at the Royal Dragon, and Jessica has a surprised reaction when Luke reveals he just got out of prison. This seems kinda weird, since Luke was heavily covered on TV, especially when he was framed for murdering a police officer, and Trish even did a segment about Luke on Trish Talk. Jessica being very closed off probably just wasn't following the news too closely, due to wanting to distance herself from Luke as a result of the whole matter with Reva (even though Luke has forgiven her for this, having learned that his marriage to Reva was a sham).
  • I Have Many Names: According to Stick, Alexandra is simply the identity she's taken up in the current era. Based on the documents Jessica manages to find at the New York City archive of public records, she's been through many names since 1820, and has resided in Manhattan since around the time the Dutch colonized the island. Though she's always stuck to first names that start with the letter 'A'.
  • I Have Your Wife: Defied by the titular heroes. Matt and Danny are very familiar with the Hand kidnapping their enemies' loved ones (having kidnapped Karen, Ward, and Joy) and holding them hostage for leverage. So when Sowande threatens them with going after the people they care about, they take their non-combatant friends to the police station for their own protection. Matt manages to get Karen and Foggy to the precinct without incident, but Murakami attempts to kill Trish, while Bakuto and his men accost Danny, Luke and Colleen as they're moving Claire to the precinct.
  • "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight: Matt believes the Hand-resurrected Elektra still has some goodness in her and that he can get through to her, so he makes reckless choices and spends any fight she's in with him trying to get through to her.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Sowande spends his interrogation taunting Luke, Jessica and Danny over their previous failures to protect people and threatening the lives of their loved ones. He knows exactly where to hurt even bringing up sore spots like Kilgrave to Jessica.
  • Idiot Hero: Danny is the nicest, most approachable person out of the four Defenders, who not only succeeds at uniting the team but is also a great fighter in his own right. Stick, however, calls Danny a "thundering dumbass", with good reason:
    • Deliberately and needlessly confronting the Hand at their stronghold alone, in broad daylight, without bothering with research or basic preparation. Unsurprisingly, Danny gets overrun pretty fast and is saved only by coincidental intervention of Luke Cage.
    • When Matt, Jessica and Luke suddenly lose some IQ points themselves and decide that grounding Danny is the best course of action he does not try to make a solid argument for his case or put effort in debating them. Instead he just punches Matt in the face and ends up outnumbered again, this time by superhumans.
    • Once Danny's kidnapped and taken beneath Midland Circle, Elektra outright tells him that the Iron Fist is needed to open the barrier. Then she tries to manipulate him into joining her and when that fails makes obvious attempts to make him angry enough to activate the power. This transparent plan actually works.
    • And of course, the thing that made Stick call him a thundering dumbass: Bringing a smart phone, with a traceable GPS, to the Royal Dragon. You can guess how well that works out.
  • Immortals Fear Death: This is exactly what kicks off the events of the series in the first place: having spent all their precious substance to resurrect Elektra, the Hand leaders can't come back from death if they are killed. While they aren't necessarily too torn up about it (they have access to more and can get it in time, as they just want to live long enough to finish their goals), their leader is currently dying and has merely a few months to live at best and doesn't have enough time to wait, and therefore, she rushes the search for the substance that can replenish her immortality, and ultimately causes Matt, Jessica, Danny and Luke to catch wind of what's going on.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • Stick is impaled through the leg by Elektra's sword and is killed by a sword through the chest in the same fight.
    • Elektra then finishes off Alexandra by impaling her from behind with her sais, then decapitating her with her remaining sword.
    • Murakami is impaled on some rebar when he's thrown off the elevator at Midland Circle. The severity of his injury makes it unlikely he survived the collapse of the building.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: As Matt, Jessica and Luke are taking the PATH train back to Midland Circle after escaping the precinct, Jessica steals a beer can from a sleeping hobo and chugs it down while Matt and Luke stare at her.
    Jessica Jones: ...It's been a long week.
  • In Name Only: Tropes Are Tools, though. An ensemble consisting of Luke, Jessica, Danny, Misty, Colleen, Claire Temple and Matt is essentially the cast of the Power Man & Iron Fist/Heroes for Hire series. The Defenders, however, was probably chosen because it sounds, to the layman, more similar to The Avengers.
  • Inciting Incident: The Hand normally act slowly, deliberately, as much in the shadows as possible. They're driven to move quickly and without subtlety is because their leader, Alexandra, has months, maybe only weeks to live due to a wicked awful cancer diagnosis we see in flashback in the first episode. Thus, all four defenders, those in the know and those not, are rapidly drawn into the conflict.
  • Informed Ability:
    • Alexandra is described as being extremely dangerous to fight, but ultimately the only thing she does in direct combat is disabling Elektra after she is resurrected. Most of her threat comes instead from her connections, knowledge, manipulation skills, and her willingness to go to extreme lengths to get what she wants. This could be justified in that, as noted above, she's terrified of dying for good and her body was already on the verge of giving out with the doctor that examined her saying many of her vital organs were close to failing. Given her situation and the fact that without her they may not be able to get the substance needed to resurrect her should she die or that the other fingers might leave her dead to take her postion and consolidate their power, she would most likely try to avoid any physical confrontation at all cost.
    • Stick claims that Sowande is able to stop someone's heart in two blows, slowing their pulse until their heart fails. We briefly see Sowande overwhelm Luke with nerve strikes, and later subdues Danny with one hit, but it's otherwise a reputation he never quite lives up to. Downplayed, as those nerve strikes were enough to harm Luke, so it's safe to say any one of them would kill a normal person.
  • Insecure Love Interest:
    • Matt and Karen. At this point in time, they're technically estranged, yet both express a clear interest in a full-on reconciliation in the future. But there are a lot of things getting in the way. On Matt's end, it's the fact he secretly misses being Daredevil. Karen is not only working through processing Matt's secret, but she's still keeping secret about James Wesley's death and the mysterious events concerning her brother that will be revealed in Daredevil season 3.
    • Danny and Colleen. Colleen is working through abandonment and major trust issues in light of Harold's and Bakuto's betrayals, so she's wary of Danny's teaming up with Matt, Jessica and Luke.
  • In the Back: Elektra stabs Alexandra from behind.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Luke is roughly ten years older than Danny, but they still form a friendship.
  • I Work Alone:
    • Matt repeatedly insists he can't be part of a team because it endangers Karen and Foggy.
    • Jessica attempts to temporarily break away from the group at the Royal Dragon, not having any interest in this Hand war. She reconsiders when she finds the Hand are watching John Raymond's family.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Mostly averted. Every time there's a captive on either side, the captors know he won't break under torture. The notable exception is when Matt tries choking information about Elektra out of Sowande. It doesn't work.
  • Just Got Out of Jail: Luke is introduced getting out of Seagate thanks to Foggy providing a stellar legal defense.
  • Just in Time:
    • When Danny is ambushed at Midland Circle Financial, Luke, Matt, and Jessica all arrive for their own reasons just in time to help him get out.
    • Luke Cage stops Bakuto from fatally stabbing Colleen in the alleyway.
    • Colleen arrives at the three-on-three fight just in time to block Bakuto's blade from possibly killing Matt. Matt was holding his own just fine.
      Colleen Wing: Not today!
    • Misty arrives and shoots a henchman just in time to save Claire's life.
  • Just Train Wrong: After escaping the precinct, Matt, Luke, and Jessica take a Port Authority Trans Hudson train standing in for a New York City Subway train, which is kinda odd considering that we see proper New York City Subway trains in other episodes (such as when Luke is following Cole in episode 2, and during transition effects in the first couple of episodes).
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Elektra's blades are straight, but otherwise all of the swords main characters use are katanas. Danny and Colleen follow a lead based on the fact that the sword their recently deceased target in Cambodia was wielding is a particularly rare make of katana.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Elektra impales and decapitates Alexandra in the midst of speaking to the other three Fingers.
  • Killed Off for Real: Stick, Alexandra, Bakuto and Sowande are definitely dead.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Danny's thoroughly impressed by Jessica's Super-Strength when he sees her barricading a door at the Royal Dragon. He also pretty much gushes over Matt's billyclub.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Claire lampshades Danny constantly expositing about being the immortal Iron Fist, the protector of K'un Lun.
  • The Leader: Discussed. Stick thinks Matt should be the team leader, but Matt doesn't think he's leader material. He becomes something of an unofficial leader in the final episode, as the others ultimately follow his decisions.
  • Leitmotif:
    • Brahms' music is a recurring presence around the show, commonly accompanying Alexandra.
    • Hip-hop and rap music tends to be a recurring presence surrounding Luke.
  • Le Parkour: Matt has some experience in this, using parkour tactics to run across rooftops and jump off roofs safely.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Several of these.
    • Luke and Danny fight each other the first time they meet, with Luke mistaking Danny interrogating a Hand member as a mugging. Danny ends up using the Iron Fist technique on Luke, which actually works.
    • When Danny tries to leave the complex, Matt tries to keep him there for safety. Danny doesn't cooperate and attacks, leading Matt and Danny to fight it out, with Matt mostly kicking Danny's ass. The other Defenders intervene, to which Danny eventually knocks everyone back with the Iron Fist. However Jessica ends the fight by knocking Danny out with a punch to the face.
  • Light Is Not Good: Alexandra and Sowande are two Hand leaders that wear white. The latter is known throughout Harlem as the "White Hat" due to his attire, and the former wears mostly white dresses. Considering in Eastern cultures, white is associated with death, this is very fitting.
  • Limited Wardrobe:
    • Elektra is never seen in anything but her new comics costume, sometimes with a long knee length coat for modesty.
    • Jessica is never seen without her trademark scarf, jeans, or the leather jacket she's worn since the beginning of her past relationship with Stirling. Lampshaded at one point in the climax, when she complains she hasn't changed her clothes since she took the case that led her to the Hand.
    • When not wearing the Daredevil costume, the only time Matt is not seen in a business suit is a dream Elektra has while she is taking a nap in his bed.
  • Living MacGuffin: The Hand want Danny captured alive to use the Iron Fist to unlock a magical door that's guarding dragon bones, allowing them to make more of the serum that can resurrect people.
  • The Lopsided Arm of the Law: Misty Knight is Luke's ally, but she's out of the loop regarding the Hand and faced with pressure from an anti-vigilante superior, so after Stick is killed and Danny is kidnapped, she's forced to detain Luke, Jessica, and Matt because they won't explain what the hell's going on.
  • Love Interest: Karen Page, Colleen Wing, and Claire Temple are the respective love interests for Matt, Danny, and Luke.
  • MacGuffin Girl: A gender-flipped example with the Iron Fist, whom the Hand wants alive for some unknown purpose. It's revealed that he is the only one who can open the lock around the substance that the organization requires to facilitate their immortality.
  • Male Gaze: Many shots showcase Jessica's well-sculpted behind in very tight jeans.
  • Minored in Ass-Kicking: Although Alexandra's medical condition has taken its toll on her abilities as a fighter, she was at one point at least capable enough to disable a wary Elektra.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: The disappearance of an architect (for Jessica) + a string of mysterious murders of young men in Harlem (for Luke) = an ancient mystical organization that poses a major threat to New York City.
  • Mooks: Each of the Hand's Fingers has their own army of henchmen.
  • Mundane Solution: Jessica takes photos of Matt doing his parkour thing. The minute she tells him this... Matt just grabs the camera and smashes it.note 
    • When Matt hears the discharge of Danny disarming the "secretary", and identifies the floor it came from, he uses his excellent parkour to run his way past various obstacles and up the stairs. Jessica takes the elevator. And just beats him.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: The Hand wants the Iron Fist alive. Stick tries to kill Danny to potentially end the whole war.
  • Mythology Gag: Has its own page.
  • Neck Lift: Luke grabs one of the Hand goons restraining Danny and punches him into the wall.
    Danny Rand: So punching's okay now?
    Luke Cage: [tosses another goon aside] It's complicated.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: Sowande actually manages to stagger Luke with his blows and gives a Badass Boast about breaking him. One off-screen fight later, he is trashed and taken prisoner by Luke.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: After it's shown in Iron Fist that he can be injured by mundane means, Bakuto suddenly becomes bulletproof when he needs to, and calmly walks forward while taking three gunshots to the stomach in order to get close enough to disarm Misty.
  • New York Is Only Manhattan: Justified as both the Hand and the Defenders specifically are based in the borough itself.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • Jessica's involvement in the entire crossover is due to this. When John Raymond's wife and daughter come to her office begging for her help finding him, she assumes he simply ran off to have an affair and turns them away. It's only when she receives a threatening phone call from a menacingly distorted voice telling her not to take the case that she realizes something is amiss and decides to take the case after all. The threatening call is from John himself, wanting her to stay away from him so she doesn't get hurt.
    • The Hand might have kept Elektra under their thumb a little better if they hadn't told her she'd be killed the minute she stopped being useful to them.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Alexandra never gets physical with the heroes. This is her Fatal Flaw that her subordinates repeatedly point out. Murakami mocks her for not liking to get her fingers dirty and Gao praises only her skill as a manipulator and deal-maker. This leads to much discontent within the Hand ranks, and she is quickly killed by Elektra when she regains her memories and her violent impulses as the Black Sky. Her disabling a wary and recently resurrected Elektra shows that, at one point, she was a skilled or at least capable hand-to-hand fighter, but her medical condition has eroded even that away.
  • No-Sell: During the first confrontation between Danny and Luke, Luke just stands still and lets Danny try punching him rapidly to no success. Nothing but an all out attack by Danny with the Iron Fist has any effect whatsoever.
  • Not Me This Time: Luke initially assumes the sinister goings-on in Harlem are Mariah and Shades' handiwork. Not only is that not the case, they don't appear even once, with Misty mentioning they've been keeping a low profile since Luke was sent back to Seagate. They're still active, given that they're returning in Luke Cage season 2, and an ad for Mariah's Harlem Renaissance can be seen on the bus Luke gets off when he arrives back in Harlem.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • While holed up in the precinct, Trish can't help but notice the similarities in her relationship with Jessica to Karen's Ship Tease-heavy relationship with Matt.
  • Not Wearing Tights: Matt is the only one of the four who actually wears a costume. His showing up in costume earns mockery from Jessica twice. Melvin built the costume to be functional, not just decorative. It gives him physical protection, and conceals his identity. The rest of the team don't need to worry about either of those things, as their powers give them all some extra resilience. On the Secret Identity front, Luke's abilities and actions are publicly known, Jessica doesn't care, and Danny happily tells anyone who listens that he's "The Immortal Iron Fist, sworn enemy of The Hand".
  • Off with His Head!: The only way to permanently kill a Hand member, as even despite their current Out of Continues status (see below), dead bodies could be revived at a later date should they reclaim more of "the substance." Naturally, this gets used several times:
    • Stick decapitates Sowande.
    • Elektra cuts off Alexandra's head after killing her.
    • Colleen decapitates Bakuto.
  • Official Couple: All three of the male Defenders have an official love interest going into the show:
    • Matt Murdock and Karen Page. They're still on awkward speaking terms after the identity reveal at the end of Daredevil season 2. Matt says they're still "figuring things out" when Foggy asks him about it over drinks at Josie's. Despite the estrangement, the two still show sexual tension in their scenes together, like when Matt helps Karen put her coat on when he's grabbing her from her office.
    • Danny Rand and Colleen Wing. Interestingly, in the comics, Danny's longtime love interest is Misty Knight, but aside from when Danny brings a wounded Colleen to the precinct, the two don't share any scenes. Misty and Colleen do become friends, however, given their Daughters of the Dragon partnership in the comics, and in between this show and the start of Luke Cage season 2, Danny uses his connections to get Misty her new robotic right arm .
    • Luke Cage and Claire Temple finally get to rock that coffee.
    • Jessica doesn't have a partner because Luke was her love interest until he learned about her killing Reva on Kilgrave's orders. In the comics, Luke was Jessica's love interest and they had a daughter, Danielle Cage, together. Though Luke and Jessica both admit here they have unresolved feelings for each other. In fact, Jessica is between love interests, as she'll hook up with Oscar in Jessica Jones season 2.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Luke defeating Sowande all by himself.
  • Offstage Villainy: Unlike the other Fingers, Murakami does nothing villainous until asked to attack the Defenders. However, Stick says he has a terrible reputation.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Played for Laughs in Luke's intro. The prison guards are alarmed when Luke casually breaks the handcuffs holding him after the guard fumbles with the key.
      Luke Cage: My bad. [hands the cuffs to the warden] I believe these belong to you.
    • Jessica gasps and walks away in shock when Stick beheads Sowande. Luke, though more stoic, is also visibly upset. Matt simply reacts, "Oh great, Stick is killing people, again."
  • Old Master: Matt is none too happy to be around Stick again and takes every opportunity to make this clear.
  • Once a Season: As with every season of the heroes' standalone shows, there's a Hallway Fight set piece in one episode where our heroes kick the crap out of a boatload of goons. In this case, it's the team-up moment.
  • One Degree of Separation: New York City is one of the largest and most anonymous cities in the world. Despite this, all the Defenders live in the same borough (itself home to 1.6 million people) and seem to have the same circle of acquaintances, although except for Luke and Jessica being a former item, they had never met each other during their individual shows.
    • Claire Temple has met all four Defenders over the course of their shows, and saved several of their lives. The more she's had these encounters, the more she raises the possibility that an outside force is making this happen.
    • Colleen Wing is Claire's trainer, and Danny's lover/crimefighting partner.
    • Jeri Hogarth is directly or indirectly connected to every Defender.
      • Her firm is defending Luke Cage.
      • She is a professional acquaintance and recurring client of Jessica's.
      • She used to work for Danny's father and is now Danny's lawyer.
      • Marci Stahl took a job with Jeri after helping Matt and Foggy expose Landman & Zack's connections to Wilson Fisk, and then Jeri hired Foggy on Marci's recommendation after Nelson & Murdock closed in the fallout from Frank Castle's trial.
    • Jessica killed Luke's wife Reva. She later randomly encounters him without knowing who Reva was (in a bar no less).
      • Kilgrave made Jessica kill Reva because Reva had knowledge of Kilgrave's past and powers. Given that Reva also worked on the Seagate experiments that gave Luke his powers, Luke, Kilgrave and Will Simpson might also be linked.
    • Matt and Danny have both battled the Hand and were trained by different ancient orders (the Chaste; K'un-L'un) specifically to fight the Hand. Both have also dealt with Madame Gao, who runs the Hand's drug smuggling operations, due to her alliances with Wilson Fisk and Harold Meachum.
    • Karen Page is Matt's girlfriend and former office assistant, Matt and Danny's media contact at the New York Bulletin, and she and Matt are friends with Foggy and Marci, who work with Jeri Hogarth and thus Jessica and Danny.
    • Foggy Nelson is Matt's best friend and former law partner, and is Luke's attorney within Hogarth's law firm.
    • Danny's childhood friend Joy Meachum once hired Jessica to dig up blackmail material on the board of directors. Jessica is very good at her job...when she is sober.
    • It was a Rand Oil & Chemicals truck that was responsible for Matt getting blinded and gaining his abilities.
    • Turk Barrett is a wandering hustler doing small-time illegal business all over New York City, has been beaten up by both Matt and Luke for information, and will be beaten up by Frank in The Punisher (2017).
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Finn Jones' natural British accent can be heard at the Royal Dragon when he's describing the team members. Jessica Henwick and Charlie Cox also slip a little in the police station
  • Out of Continues: The Hand have ran out of the substance that lets them bring people back to life, which means that their henchmen and leadership no longer have the ability to regenerate after death.
  • Parallel Conflict Sequence: Danny fights Elektra in the pit while Matt, Jessica and Luke are fighting Madame Gao, Bakuto, and Murakami in the Midland Circle parking garage.
  • Paranoia Gambit: Sowande once got captured by the Chaste, but his army sealed them in their fortress. Their fear got the better of them, and after ten days they bowed to him to make it all stop.
  • Parking Problems: Jessica is introduced rescuing Trish's car from being towed after she accidentally parked in a loading zone.
  • Passing the Torch:
    • Karen is easing herself into the role of newspaper confidant and informant to New York City vigilantes that Ben Urich played in the comics, now that she's got Ben's old job and even works out of his old office.
    • Matt passed on his role as guardian of New York to Danny, though it proved premature.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Though Matt, Luke, and Danny were Defenders in the comics (everybody is), they were not as well-established in the team as other members. This series' roster has much more in common with Heroes for Hire and The Knights, which featured these heroes more prominently. The Knights are a loose-knit team of street level heroes, which seems to fit the concept of this series, but the Defenders is a more famous franchise. Meanwhile, the heroes are likely not going to be cutting a paycheck, so "Heroes for Hire" would not be suitable.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Jessica as she arrives in the pit and addresses Elektra.
    Jessica Jones: I don't want to fight you... alone.
  • Punched Across the Room: Jessica's and Luke's main contribution to any fight is to hit people so hard they go flying, frequently into a wall or breakable object.
  • Purely Aesthetic Glasses: Matt's glasses, because he's blind.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Ward Meachum is out of town during the events of the series. He is one of the few major supporting characters from the individual shows not to appear.
    • Likewise, Mariah Dillard and Shades from Luke Cage (2016) are said to have gone under the radar by the time Luke returns from prison, which is notorious considering they were the only antagonists to have gotten completely away with it by their previous appearance, but hasn't showed up here either. Subverted since they will be returning for season 2 of Luke Cage.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits:
    • As Stick brilliantly puts it in the trailer:
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Jessica and Danny are the hot-headed and reckless Red to Luke and Matt's rational and controlled Blue.
  • Really 700 Years Old: The five fingers of the Hand are all centuries or perhaps millennia old. Before it's stated outright, it's implied of Alexandra several times in the references she makes. She implies she saw New York when it was still just forest. She tells a Turkish restauranteur his wife's ethnic dish is better than they made it in Constantinople, and he corrects her that it's known as Istanbul, now. A philharmonic director remarks that Beethoven's influence in a particular Brahms piece is quite pronounced; Alexandra brusquely asserts that it was not influence, but a direct response, as Brahms wanted to prove he could do the same things. He was petty like that.
    Director: Your insight on music history, it never ceases to amaze me.
    Alexandra: Oh, it's nothing. It's just stuff I picked up along the way.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: We see some ninjas sporting the Hand's signature red and black colors who get used as dummies by Alexandra for Elektra to practice on. Meanwhile, Elektra has dark hair and wears a blood-red armored suit.
    • Averted with Matt... who although being an anti-hero and using the same color scheme as the Hand mooks, is altruistic to a fault.
  • Refusal of the Call:
    • Matt repeatedly tries to leave once the foursome arrive at the Royal Dragon, until Jessica talks him into staying.
    • Jessica walks out when Stick starts telling the heroes the plot. She soon finds out the Hand are watching John Raymond's family and this causes her to have a change of heart.
  • Reluctant Hero:
    • Jessica wants no part of this. She takes the opportunity to snark pretty much any time she can.
    • Matt initially wants to not be a part of a team-up.
      Matt Murdock: I can't be a part of this.
      Luke Cage: If you ask me, you already are.
  • Repurposed Pop Song: A remix of Nirvana's "Come as You Are" is used on the trailers.
  • Ret-Canon: The 2017 comics exists because of this series, including featuring the same line-up.
  • The Reveal:
    • The Hand of the MCU get a full origin: Their founders come from K'un-L'un, and were kicked out for trying to make themselves immortal. Stick tells the heroes the story the night they first all meet up.
    • The substance that gives the Hand their resurrective immortality is dragon bones. What's in the hole in Midland Circle is a dragon skeleton that was sealed away by a previous Iron Fist.
  • Reveal Shot: The last shot of the seventh episode starts zoomed in on Danny and pans out to reveal a dragon skeleton.
  • Rousing Speech: The first episode sees Matt channel a bit of Stick and gives one to his nervous paraplegic client about working to move forward with his life instead of wallowing in self-pity. Karen is mildly impressed.

  • Scary Black Man: Being a member of The Hand makes Sowande pretty scary. He is implied to also be the ruthless militia commander Father Lantom described encountering in "Speak of the Devil".
  • Secret Identity:
    • Notable because of the heroes featured in this series, Matt is the only one who has one, as he wears an identity-concealing devil costume and adopts the moniker "Daredevil", which both gives him protection from injuries and allows him to maintain his day job as a lawyer. The others don't hide their faces and just use their real names during their adventures. This ends up biting them in the ass when Sowande warns that the Hand will go after their loved ones, forcing the heroes to hide their loved ones at Misty's precinct. Matt even hides Karen and Foggy there, just because he can't be sure that the Hand haven't learned Daredevil's true identity.
    • Later on, when Matt, Jessica and Luke do a jailbreak from the precinct, the cover story put out is that Jessica and Luke kidnapped Matt, due to Foggy having warned Matt how crucial it is that the cops only see Matt as a lawyer.
  • Seen It All: Having been through shit with Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, Claire Temple has had it up to here with superhero bullshit. When she learns the impervious Luke Cage met an unstoppable Iron Fist, she rolls her eyes and calls Colleen to set up a meet.
  • Sequel Hook: Alongside the individual hooks from the heroes' respective series, the ending provides a few additional ones:
    • Misty loses her arm in the final battle, but is now recovering at a hospital owned by Danny, setting up her subplot of Luke Cage season 2 as well as her crossing over to Season 2 of Iron Fist.
    • After his difficulty with adjusting to life in New York, Danny has finally begun regarding the city as his home. His final scene shows him suiting up as a vigilante to honor Matt's legacy.
    • Jessica Jones pulls the covering tape off her new door revealing a pristine Alias Investigations sign window.
    • Matt is believed dead, but it's revealed at the very end that he's recovering in a nuns' convent. The dialogue strongly implies the show will cover the narrative relating to Matt's mother.
    • With Matt's survival, Elektra and Madame Gao's fates are unclear.
  • Shipper on Deck: Foggy can't help but ask Matt how he and Karen are doing relationship-wise when they're having drinks at Josie's. Matt replies that they're working things out.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift:
    • Danny has cut his hair a bit shorter, shaved his beard, and cleaned up his appearance a bit now that he's had more time to adjust to life back home.
    • In moving from Nelson & Murdock to Hogarth, Chao, & Benowitz, Foggy has gotten a haircut, wears smarter clothing, and slicks his hair back.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Marco Ramirez describes Alexandra (or rather, Weaver) as "the kind of person you can buy as the smartest person in the room, who you can also buy as a person holding a flamethrower."
  • Similar Squad: The team holds a roster of similar roles to The Avengers.
    • Matt fills the role of Iron Man. Being the premiere hero and Breakout Character, first introduced in their respective franchises. Both excel at their day jobs which allow them to be both heroes in their secret identities and their alter egos. Both are one of the possible leaders for their respective Super Team, while both were also given their superhero codenames by the media.
    • Danny takes after Thor. Both are from a mystical culture that are trained to fight, with their powers derived from mystical means, and has trouble adapting to modern society. Both also have the most personal connection with the Big Bad that caused the team to form for the first time.
    • Luke is in the seat for Captain America. Both were experimented on to be Super Soldiers and have their physical attributes enhanced to superhuman levels. Both are idealistic heroes who want to see the goodness in people. Luke is even called "Harlem's Captain America" by Cottonmouth.
    • Jessica is in the seat of Black Widow. Both are (initially) the sole female members of their teams, but can kick ass just as fine as the other members. Additionally, both have a Dark and Troubled Past and have dealt with being Brainwashed and Crazy.
    • Colleen Wing and Misty Knight together make up a Hawkeye, merely Badass Normal among people with legit superpowers, yet able to hold their own.
    • Stick is the stand-in for Nick Fury. The de facto mentors of the team who inform them of their purpose and guide them through their mission. Both have eye-sight problems, both are leaders of an organisationnote  that rivals the villains organisationnote , and both have resorted to morally questionable means.
    • The only member of the core Avengers who's absent is a Bruce Banner/Hulk figure.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Danny -> Luke -> Matt -> Jessica.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Different supporting cast fall into this part.
    • Turk Barrett only has one scene, as Luke encounters him at a seedy bar in Harlem and through Turk, learns information about the mysterious "White Hat" recruiting men out of Harlem, which leads to Luke meeting Danny when he encounters Danny roughing up Cole.
    • Jeri Hogarth only gets two scenes, but she sets up Jessica meeting Matt after she tasks Foggy with keeping an eye on Jessica, which leads to Foggy passing Jessica off to Matt.
    • John Raymond only has a few minutes of screentime, but the heroes ultimately take up his plan to blow up Midland Circle to defeat the Hand.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Played for laughs. Matt grabs Jessica like this when they both first enter Midland Circle, and it really only works because Jessica is just shocked that this blind guy just walked up and grabbed her.
    Jessica Jones: You grab me like that again, I'll punch you so hard you'll see!
  • The Starscream:
    • Madame Gao and the other Fingers to Alexandra. Alexandra says that the other four Fingers have betrayed her in the past but they are still working together.
    • Murakami doesn't even try to hide his ambitions to betray Alexandra or Elektra.
    • Elektra serves as Alexandra's Dragon, right up until she puts a sai through her and takes over.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye:
    • Alexandra appears sitting at the used dining table of the restaurant while the heroes are looking out the front window. They turn around when Stick notices her.
    Stick: I'll be damned...
    • Bakuto and his lackeys disappear while Colleen, Claire, Luke, and Danny have their backs turned.
  • The Stinger: At the end of the final episode is a trailer for The Punisher (2017).
  • Strong as They Need to Be: Jessica's and Luke's Super-Strength as well as the latter's Nigh-Invulnerable skin are glossed over in some fights. Although one could make an argument that the Hand's members are somewhat superhuman themselves considering their resurrection and enhancements, the same people then also fight on par with Badass Normal's like Colleen or Matt. Justified in Luke's case: Stick says he could do a lot more damage if he didn't pull his punches, but Luke says he doesn't want to kill anybody. In fact, he very likely would've been able to subdue Elektra if Stick hadn't gassed him with that incense.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: In the finale, the Midland Circle Financial building is imploded with C4.
  • Super-Strength: Elektra has gained a bit of this in getting revived by the Hand, as she's able to send Matt flying backwards with a single kick and later is shown to give difficulty for Luke and Jessica when they try to fight her two-on-one.
    Luke Cage: She's annoying!
    Jessica Jones: Tell me about it.
  • Super Window Jump:
    • Murakami jumps into the Royal Dragon restaurant through the skylight.
    • Elektra crashes through a window to make her escape from the heroes' hideout.
  • Superhero Movie Villains Die: Played straight. Three of the five Hand leaders are killed onscreen (decapitated, so they couldn't be resurrected even if they had more "substance"), and the fourth is last seen in critical condition. Madame Gao's and Elektra's fates are unclear, but Gao appears to leave the scene well before the explosion and the fact Matt got out implies Elektra got him out with her.
  • Superhero Speciation: Played with.
    • Jessica and Luke have superhuman strength as their main powers. Matt and Danny have vastly different powers (super-senses, the Iron Fist) but use martial arts as their main mode of attack.
    • On the other hand, Jessica is not bulletproof like Luke (Audrey Eastman called her bluff), but can run more quickly and jump higher than he. Although Matt doesn't have Danny's mystic abilities, he makes up for it with his heightened senses.
    • In a way, the whole team forms a spectrum from Badass Normal to flat-out superpowered:
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham:
    • None of the New York-based film heroes appear in this series.note  In the meantime, Frank Castle doesn't appear either, and The Punisher (2017) establishes that that's because he's currently laying low on a construction site in Brooklyn.
    • Brett Mahoney doesn't appear, even though much of the events of the show take place within the confines of his precinct in Hell's Kitchen. Indeed, when the heroes are stashing their loved ones, Matt puts Karen and Foggy with Luke, Danny and Jessica's loved ones at the 29th Precinct in Harlem, rather than ask Brett to keep an eye on them.
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: Danny focuses his chi into the Iron Fist technique, which can break steel weapons and send out a shockwave in a wide forward arc. Similarly, Madame Gao can send out a focused shockwave to forcefully repel things with an open palm strike.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. Despite the series being billed as a superhero team-up, and all four heroes getting equal screentime, it mostly revolves around Matt, Danny, and the mystical war between the descendants of K'un-Lun. Once the initial incidents draw them into the investigation, Luke and Jessica are mostly muscle, and their Myth Arc about IGH and Reva's experiments go unmentioned and unrelated to the Hand's plan.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • We get to have several scenes where Matt fights while not in his costume. When this happens, he is careful to pocket his glasses so that they won't get damaged. When going to Midland Circle, he has his glasses on, then pockets them so that he can improvise a mask from Jessica's scarf. Once he does take the scarf off at the Chinese restaurant, he doesn't put his glasses back on because the four are anticipating trouble any minute. He doesn't put them back on until he's escaped the fight and is on his way to the Bulletin to grab Karen. The one time he does end up wearing glasses during a fight - when trying to stop Elektra after she kills Stick - a single heel kick from Elektra is enough to break one of his lenses.
    • Matt is still very conflicted about what he's doing as Daredevil. Even though he's told Karen his secret, the fact that he lost Elektra has taken a toll on him and he doesn't yet know how to balance out his day job and nighttime vigilantism.
    • Jessica's PTSD is arguably worse now that Kilgrave is dead.
    • The Hand are so ruthless and relentless with killing those in their way that Matt, Luke and Jessica ultimately decide that they have to kill the five fingers of the Hand by blowing up Midland Circle.
    • Someone like Danny would have a hard time fitting in with people like Matt, Luke and Jessica. This is mostly due to his somewhat sheltered life where he was raised to be a warrior and dedicate his life to fighting the Hand, whereas the others grew up and live in the real world with normal jobs and lives and aren't really interested in dealing with being superheroes. Also, the approach that Danny takes to situations does rub them the wrong way, as shown in Luke's speech to him about how he handled Cole, as well as their responses to Danny's insistence that they go after the Hand and stop them.
    • Similiarly, Jessica has superpowers, but still feels out of place next to Luke (bulletproof), Matt (ninja skills and enhanced senses), and Danny (martial arts and superpowered hands). She makes this pretty clear when she has to disarm the henchman parked outside John Raymond's brownstone:
    Jessica Jones: Jesus, am I the only one left here who doesn't know karate?!
    • Midland Circle kinda averts Hollywood Silencer: even with the suppressors on the henchmens' guns, Matt still picks up the sound of the shot from the lobby with his heightened senses due to the fact that a suppressor merely dampens the decibel level of a gunshot. We still get the standard "fwip" sound of a Hollywood Silencer.
    • Luke is let out thanks to Foggy as while he did break out of prison it was for a crime he didn't commit and enough scrutiny could show he was justified in escaping (Rackham had tried to straight up kill him).
    • Karen repeatedly takes issue with how Matt is being really reckless and risking his identity being exposed, knowing what will happen if Wilson Fisk finds out.
    Karen Page: Look, I don't need your protection, Matt. Whatever it is you're doing or—or Daredevil's doing, I'm not a part of it anymore, so...
    Matt Murdock: That may be the case. Unfortunately, it doesn't matter if you're a part of Daredevil's world or not, because they may be coming after Matt Murdock's too.
    Karen Page: I'm sorry, does that mean they know who you are?!
    Matt Murdock: [shakes his head] I just can't take any chances-
    Karen Page: Matt, that isn't your call!
    • While Matt is trying to discuss strategy with Luke and Jessica at the precinct, Foggy knocks at the door and pulls Matt out for a brief client consultation (and also to slip him the Daredevil suit):
    Foggy Nelson: I need you to hear me out.
    Matt Murdock: Could you please make this fast?
    Foggy Nelson: I don't think you understand the gravity of your current situation. Your real life, and your other life, are two trains dangerously close to colliding right now.
    Matt Murdock: [tightly] I am well aware.
    Foggy Nelson: Did you hear what that cop said? If you're ever investigated, you'll lose everything. They re-open every case; matter of fact, I come down with you! We both get disbarred.
    Matt Murdock: Yeah, well, I'm sorry. I can't do this right now, the entire city is in danger-
    Foggy Nelson: I know. And I'm not dumb enough to think that I can try and stop you. I'm here because I'm trying to help you keep your two lives separate. So that they don't lump you in with Mr. Bulletproof and Super Joan Jett in there! You understand?
    Matt Murdock: Yeah. I do.
    Foggy Nelson: Okay. Good. 'Cause the people in this building need to always and only see you as a lawyer.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Alexandra is killed mid-conversation by Elektra.
  • Suspicious Spending: Luke gets involved in the mess with the Hand when Misty tasks him with trying to use his celebrity status to mentor Cole and set him straight. When Luke finds Cole, he notices that for a kid between jobs, the guy seems to have some pretty nice things (a music/speaker system, a spacious apartment, and a really nice shoe collection).
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • The Hand is basically a lesser scale version of HYDRA - an ancient, cult-like criminal organisation with a massive network of agents hidden in positions of power, and leaders prone to competing and sabotaging each other. (Incidentally, HYDRA in the comics was spun off from the Hand.)
    • Elektra is a lesser scale variant of Bucky Barnes - a trained killer and close acquaintance of a titular superhero who seemingly gets killed by the cult-like organization that they're fighting, and is then brainwashed by said organization to become an assassin loyal to them. The difference is that in this case Elektra really did die. And that she likes being an assassin.
    • Murakami mostly takes the place of Nobu in the greater scheme of things. His demeanor and talents are similar to the one of his subordinate as well
  • Sword Fight: Colleen Wing, Bakuto, Elektra, and some Hand mooks use bladed weapons to fight.
  • Sword Sparks: Invoked and exploited in the parking garage fight, when Murakami breaks a pipe to release some kind of flammable gas and Bakuto swipes his sword across the ground to make sparks, which starts a fire to cover their escape.
  • Tagalong Kid: Played for Laughs but also kinda purposely invoked. Danny is the youngest of the group being only in his mid-twenties, while Matt, Jessica, and Luke are in their thirties. Due to that and his naiveté, Matt, Luke, and Jessica often view and treat Danny as an overly enthusiastic and often ridiculous child.
    • Stick even calls him "the kid with the glowing fist" while going through the members of the Defenders.
    • After the three of them rescue Danny from Midland Circle:
      Matt Murdock: I promise you, you cannot fight these people. Not even with whatever it is your hand can do.
      Danny Rand: It's chi.
      Jessica Jones: It's not.
    • When Matt flings out his his cord-attached billy club so the cord wraps around Sowande's throat from about 20 feet away:
      Danny Rand: [chuckles] So cool.
      Luke Cage: I mean, it's... it's kind of cool.
  • Take Up My Sword: At the end of the season, Danny has taken up Daredevil's place as the defender of New York at Matt's request, even standing in the same pose as Daredevil on a rooftop overlooking Hell's Kitchen.
  • Tap on the Head:
    • Danny gets knocked out by Jessica, falls unconscious, and wakes up a while later in a different place with no apparent consequences beyond that.
    • Averted with Matt. After getting knocked out trying to stop Elektra from killing Stick, he wakes up on a couch in the 29th Precinct and is disoriented for several seconds until Foggy can give him a quick crash course.
  • Team Dad: Luke Cage is the conciliator. According to Mike Colter, “I’m the guy, the wisdom. If you want to make sure something works, run it up the flagpole.”
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • Much like the Avengers, the Defenders don't all get along with each other immediately. Jessica was weirded out by Matt when he abruptly shows up in her life, while Luke and Danny get into a fight with each other. Jessica also keeps her cold snarky attitude towards the rest of the team.
    • Though they generally work together, the Fingers of the Hand don't always get along. Alexandra claims each of them has survived assassination attempts from each of the others. Despite how much Bakuto and Madame Gao were considered completely different factions of The Hand who were completely at war with each other back in Iron Fist (2017), the two trust each other far more than either of them trust Alexandra or Elektra. Even they can't believe this.
  • That Man Is Dead: Stick tells Matt and Alexandra tells Elektra that the being in the body that used to belong to Elektra Natchios isn't the same woman.
  • The Last Of These Is Not Like The Others: One could play endless variants of this game with regards to the heroes' lineup. For example, Jessica's the only woman and the sole substance abuser of the group, as well as the sole member of the group to have killed someone, Danny's the only one from an upper class background or has not worked in a field related to law enforcementnote , Matt is the only one with a physical disability (his blindness) and who chose to lead a double life, and so on.
  • Theme Naming: All of Alexandra's known aliases are names that begin with "A".
  • This Cannot Be!: Matt lets out a very alarmed "Elektra?!" as he recognizes Elektra in Midland Circle.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Luke is appalled at the act or suggestion of murdering anyone, even the Hand. It takes a lot of convincing and the fact no innocents at all are around for him to go along with the bomb plan.
  • Time Bomb: In the finale, the heroes set explosives to blow up the villains' headquarters. The bombs detonate on a timer; once it's set, there's no stopping it, so they have to get out of and away from the building before they go off.
  • Title Drop: Averted. Interestingly, at no point in the series does anyone refer to the four heroes as "The Defenders". This is the first of the Marvel Cinematic Universe TV shows to avert the trope, and it stands in stark contrast to the multiple references to "The Avengers", "The Avenger Initiative", and "they needed something to Avenge" over in the Film half of the MCU.
    • In the first episode "The H Word," Jessica (like in her home show) does the title drop when talking over Trish.
    • In the second episode "Mean Right Hook," the title's never said out loud, but it is done visually when Danny gives Luke a right hook to the face with the Iron Fist after Luke interrupts his attempt to rough up Cole.
      • Interestingly, the second episode is title dropped two episodes later when the gang get to the Royal Dragon, when Luke is telling Jessica that Danny packs a "mean right hook when it counts."
      Jessica Jones: So do you.
  • Token Minority: Luke is the sole non-white Defender. Matt could also be included, as he is the only one with a physical disability thanks to his blindness. Jessica is the also the sole female member.
  • Token Wizard: Danny, Matt being a Badass Normal and Luke and Jessica getting their Super-Strength from scientific experiments.
  • True Companions: As much as Luke and Jessica don't want to admit it, they do end up becoming this to Danny and Matt. Colleen says that she and the Defenders are starting to fill the hole that the death of Danny's parents left him with, which means that they're as important to Danny as Colleen is. Later, Matt admits that while he wished the circumstances of meeting them were different, he is ultimately glad that he managed to find people like him.
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: The heroes escape Midland Circle by making it to one of the elevators. Awkward silence unfolds as the men catch their breaths and Jessica quickly breaks the security camera to cover their getaway.
  • Undying Loyalty: All the Defenders could do was either hear Sowande talk or knock him out because torturing for information was not happening.
  • The Unfought: Alexandra never fights any of the Defenders, and with her death, we'll never know how skilled she was.
  • The Un-Reveal: We still haven't gotten a real explanation for what exactly a Black Sky is and what makes them special. Elektra is strong and tough enough to fight off all four of the Defenders at once, but the limits and nature of her powers remain entirely undefined.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension:
    • Luke and Jessica have some shade of this, as Jessica still shows some level of attraction to Luke, but he's currently hooked up with Claire.
    • Matt and Karen. There's a lot of sexual tension whenever Matt interacts with her. They can't help but flirt a little bit when they cross paths in the courthouse after the Aaron James win, and Matt acts very gentlemanly by helping Karen with her coat when he grabs her from her office to move her to the precinct. It's implied that the whole reason they aren't back to dating has nothing to do with Daredevil, the fallout of Frank Castle's trial, or Matt's abandonment of Nelson & Murdock, but because now that Karen knows Matt's secrets, she's afraid to come clean with him about killing James Wesley.
  • Villain Decay: The Hand. Originally seen as a powerful organization that have wormed their way into several corporate, governmental, and criminal positions within New York City, numerous coups and Enemy Civil War's, as well as their confrontations with Daredevil and Iron Fist has left them significantly crippled, until the events of this series, which results in Midland Circle getting destroyed, both their mooks and the leadership except perhaps Madame Gao getting Killed Off for Real, and the Hand seemingly defeated (for now).
  • We Are Everywhere: The Hand has agents everywhere in New York City, including hospitals, City Hall, the NYPD, and even Trish's studio.
  • We Can Rule Together: Bakuto repeatedly tries to convince Colleen to retake her place at his side.
  • Weak, but Skilled + Unskilled, but Strong: The four Defenders form a nice sliding scale on this.
    • Jessica is physically the strongest of the four (somewhat stronger than Luke, and with a healing factor he lacks to make up for the fact that she's not unbreakable like he is) and also the least skilled as a fighter.
    • Luke is number two in strength, and has more training generally, as he was a marine (Force Recon, no less), then a cop, before going to prison and spending time as a pit fighter.
    • Then comes Danny, whose Training from Hell made him an incredibly capable fighter, with the power of the Iron Fist to back him up when he needs it (though his emotions make it inconsistent).
    • Finally we have Matt, who got much the same training as Danny but apparently dedicated himself to it more as he kicks Danny's ass before the latter whips out the Fist, and his special abilities are heightened awareness rather than strength or speed.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 6, "Ashes, Ashes": Stick decides Murder Is the Best Solution so he tries to kill Danny so that the Hand can't use him. Elektra shows up, kills Stick, incapacitates Matt, Jessica and Luke in rapid succession, and captures Danny. Oh, and while Alexandra is lording over her victory, Elektra decides to kill Alexandra and takes over as the Hand's new leader.
    • Episode 8, "The Defenders". Matt, Elektra, Murakami, and Gao are all trapped under the remains of Midland Circle, but Elektra's body goes missing. Misty loses her right arm to Bakuto, Matt hands the responsibility of protecting Hell's Kitchen in his absence to Danny, and Matt himself is shown later in critical condition at a convent with someone asking for the assistance of Sister Maggie.
  • Wham Line: For anyone who has in-depth knowledge of Daredevil, the last line of the show has a nun asking someone to "get Maggie". Sister Maggie is the name of Matt's Missing Mom, who in the comics became a nun after leaving Jack and Matt.
  • Wham Shot: At the end of Episode 7, Danny, provoked in the midst of fighting Elektra, breaks through the barrier and sees what's beyond: dragon skeletons.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Luke tells off Danny for going after Cole and other bottom-feeder Hand thugs when he has the power, the wealth, and the social status to take the fight to the leadership. Danny takes it to heart.
    • Colleen tears into the rest of them after their later treatment of Danny leads to his capture.
    • Luke, Jessica, and Danny give Matt a dressing down for breaking away from them during the restaurant fight to deal with Elektra one-on-one.
  • Who Are You?:
    • After Matt subdues a bunch of thieves who just stole from an electronics store, and an overzealous store owner who was trying to shoot them, one of the thieves asks Matt "Who are you?" as he's regaining consciousness. Matt doesn't respond and saunters off.
    • Danny and Luke to each other when Luke interrupts Danny in the midst of interrogating Cole.
    • Jessica asks this to Matt when she first meets him to which he responds "My name is Matthew Murdock. I'm your attorney."
    • Danny gives a bewildered "Who are you people?" to Matt and Jessica as they're escaping Midland Circle in the elevator.
    • At the Royal Dragon, Alexandra implicitly asks Luke who he is when Luke notes a contradiction between her words and the Hand's methods. Luke is smart enough to see where she's going.
      Alexandra: I'm sorry, I don't believe we've been properly introduced.
      Luke Cage: Let's keep it that way.
  • White Male Lead: Matt is the most conventionally super-heroic of the four, while the Hand's scheme was started in Daredevil season 2 and Iron Fist season 1. Matt even symbolically passes the torch to Danny at the end, despite his competence having been called into question through most of the series. Jessica and Luke have some cool moments, but have to be brought in to help via cases that are tangential to the plot.
  • Wicked Cultured: Alexandra is shown to have a refined taste and knowledge in many areas, such as cuisine, art, and music.
  • Wistful Amnesia: The Hand wiped Elektra's memories when they resurrected her. Or so they thought. Elektra instinctively reacts to Matt addressing her by name in Midland Circle, and she freezes up like she's thinking "Why is that face familiar?" when Matt is fighting her one-on-one at the Royal Dragon. She quickly regains all her memories when she secretly sleeps in Matt's bed for a bit.
  • Wok Fu: The four Defenders, and Stick, end up having to fight their way out of the Royal Dragon as they are attacked by Madame Gao, Sowande, Murakami, Elektra, and their henchmen.
  • The Worf Effect: Despite taking down a bear, Murakami is constantly seen being hurt or beaten in combat. He does note that he nearly was killed and that this is common of his hunts, and that he prefers a close contest instead of an easy battle.
  • Working-Class Hero: All of the heroes save for Danny come from these roots. Matt comes from a working-class background and mostly handles pro bono legal work for disadvantaged people in Hell's Kitchen who can't afford the higher-priced firms. Luke deals with street crime in Harlem. Jessica is a private investigator who has clients of all backgrounds, both rich and poor.
    • Colleen runs a dojo that teaches underprivileged kids, Misty is a cop, and Claire is a nurse.
  • Working the Same Case: Each of the four are investigating the criminal activities of the Hand, and find themselves in Midland Circle at the same time.
    • Jessica is tracking down John Raymond, after receiving a threatening call from someone using a voice scrambler to not take the case. When John kills himself rather than let Elektra kill him, she gets brought in by Misty, who caught her stealing evidence from the crime scene. Matt gets dragged in through this case as Foggy sends him to be Jessica's attorney, and he follows her to Midland Circle.
    • Luke is working with Misty Knight to track down Cole, after Cole's brother becomes the most recent victim in a string of murders in Harlem of young men who are getting recruited into a mysterious well-paying job associated with the Hand and then get killed off very shortly thereafter. He and Danny end up encountering each other while coming upon a “clean-up” project sponsored by The Hand. After Luke and Danny get into a fight caused by Luke interrupting Danny's attempt to interrogate Cole, Claire and Colleen get them into the Chikara dojo and force them to realize they're on the same side.
    • Danny and Colleen are already investigating the Hand, and have had a setback when, while following up on a lead in Cambodia, Elektra attacks them, wounds Danny, and kills the man they were seeking to get information out of.
  • World of Snark: Add all the snarkers from the individual series, from Jessica to Stick, and it's clear the show is overflowing with zings. For instance, the page quote up there, and this instance of Snark-to-Snark Combat:
    Danny Rand: What are you talking about? [motions to Luke] Bulletproof. [to Matt] Blind Ninja. [to Jessica] Whatever it is you are.
    Jessica Jones: Classy.
  • Wrongful Accusation Insurance: Matt, Jessica and Luke are held in a police precinct after they are implicated in two murders (one is Sowande, killed by Stick; the other is Stick himself, murdered by Elektra). In order to rescue Danny, they break out from the police station, Colleen steals explosives from the evidence locker, and use it to detonate the Hand's headquarters, which as far as the authorities are concerned is considered domestic terrorism because the building was perfectly legal. After all is said and done, it's explained by Foggy that the NYPD are covering up what happened because it will look bad for them if they have to tell the press why explosives went missing from their evidence lockers, and it's also implied that the connections the Hand have in City Hall and the media also pulled strings.
  • You All Meet in a Cell: Matt and Jessica meet when Matt, out of the blue, shows up to provide impromptu legal counsel while Misty is interrogating her.
  • You All Meet in an Inn: Played With. Matt, Jessica, Luke and Danny don't actually meet up in the Royal Dragon, but immediately after all four do meet in Midland Circle, they run into the Royal Dragon to lay low. Danny convinces the owner to let them stay by paying his rent for the next six months, and ordering "four of everything." Stick finds them shortly thereafter, and thus begins an Info Dump that sets up our heroes teaming up to defeat the Hand.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!:
    • Matt, when Stick first shows up at the Royal Dragon.
    • The gist of Karen's reaction when Matt pops into her office to take her into police protection and mentions that he's going back to Daredeviling:
    Karen Page: This is how you tell me that you're doing it again? Because that's what you're saying. You're going out as him.
    Matt Murdock: Uh, no, actually. Uh, well... not yet.
    Karen Page: All right, but you told me you didn't miss it. What am I...
    Matt Murdock: I know what I said, Karen. We don't have to have this conversation-
    Karen Page: [simultaneously] Well of course we don't! Just talk, just talk to me, please, Matt! Just...[waves her arms in exasperation] just tell me!
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Alexandra expedites the Hand's plans because she's been told she only has several months left to live and they've run out of the substance, having used their remaining assets to revive Elektra.

Trish Walker: What can I say? Another day in New York. But at least the rent is cheap.


Video Example(s):


Defenders Assemble!

The first time Matt, Jessica, Luke and Danny meet, they are fighting in a hallway at Midland Circle against Alexandria's goons.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / HallwayFight

Media sources: