TV REVIEW: She-Hulk: Attorney-at-Law 1.05

Mean, Green, and Straight Poured into These Jeans”

It seems an obvious thing to write, but the further that She-Hulk moves away from other elements of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the more enjoyable it becomes. This fifth episode largely does away with the cameos and guest appearances, and instead allows the series to rest on the back of its lead actor Tatiana Maslany. She continues to be magnificent in the role – but then any Orphan Black fan who saw her award-worthy work in that series would have been able to tell you that. One really hopes that Marvel Studio keeps her around for a couple of seasons at least.

Finally the series follows up on its premiere episode by focusing on super-powered influencer Titania (Jameela Jamil), who trademarks the “She-Hulk” name and then sues Jennifer Walters (Maslany) for infringing it. It’s all a little bit silly, and certainly the lawyer end of the episode doesn’t strike me as very accurate, but it is nice to see the series actually use its own elements to generate drama rather than lean on pre-existing characters making guest appearances. There is also a consistent tone throughout, which helps a lot. This satisfies the potential of Marvel’s Disney+ serials wonderfully, since this really is not the kind of story that is appearing in Marvel’s feature films. A shared universe is not really working at its best if it doesn’t provide diversity in storytelling and genre. She-Hulk has been working to varying degrees of success since it started, but this episode genuinely feels like it has hit its best groove at last.

Jamil is great as Titania as well: childish, vain, in turns passive aggressive and violently aggressive, she provides an antagonist for Jennifer that feels appropriately challenging but also appropriately silly. Ginger Gonzaga also continues to prove herself as one of the series’ best comedic assets as paralegal Nikki Ramos. It is all well-paced as well, with great comic timing; thanks to new director Anu Valia, who replaces main director Kat Coiro for the next few weeks.

The episode ends on the promise of another Marvel guest appearance, but to be honest that’s okay. While there is a need for She-Hulk to carve out its own territory, there is also no point being in a shared universe if you don’t, you know, share it. Finding the balance will be key, but it really does feel that the series is this close to nailing that part.

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