As I had expected, She-Hulk: Attorney-at-Law settles down quite nicely in its second episode. There is less unnecessary set-up and more actual story, and a strong focus on Jennifer’s career as a lawyer. Is it perfect? Of course not – how many episodes of television are – but it is a nicely entertaining half-hour comedy, and Tatiana Maslany continues to do brilliantly in the lead role.
Let us step into some spoiler territory. Jen’s new job is heading up a new super-human division of a prestigious law firm, and her first client is Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), aka the Abomination. It is the first MCU appearance for Roth since he co-starred in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, although the character was seen in monster form during last year’s Shang-Chi. It is always welcome to see Roth appear in anything, and it is a surprise to see Marvel Studios not only acknowledge their Hulk film but actually make jokes about it. There is a slightly jarring effect in how Blonsky behaves – it is a fair way distant from how he seemed 14 years ago – but on the other hand, it has been nearly a decade-and-a-half and he is trying to present himself as a changed man in order to receive parole. This series is also a comedy, and the shift in genre is bound to feel a little odd when using pre-existing characters.
Something odder is how the climax of episode 1 introduced a new Marvel villain named Titania (Jameela Jamil), and the entirety of episode 2 fails to address her at all – or even explain what happened, who she is, and what her motivation was. Perhaps it will be explained in future weeks, but it feels a little disjointed.
Tatiana Maslany remains the top reason to be watching She-Hulk. She is funny, likeable, engaging, and benefits from a script that is largely avoiding pushing too heavily into the comedy or the direct address. Jen does talk to the audience, but the technique is used sparingly to maintain its effect. The episode also introduces Jen’s immediate family, which is a nice touch that expands the series’ potential as a light situation comedy.
With any luck this series will continue improving episode-by-episode. The developments employed here are all improvements. The visual effects, which received a lot of criticism when previewed in trailers, are excellent and largely unobtrusive. Hopefully the future will bring some development for the supporting characters, and an overarching plot that doesn’t rely on pre-existing MCU characters too much. Seeing Blonsky again is a pleasant novelty, but She-Hulk deserves material of its own as well.