She-Hulk’s Ending Breaks the Fourth Wall – And Her Character
The Following Editorial Contains Spoilers for ‘She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.’ To read the season finale review, please click here.
The finale for She-Hulk was one for the books, as it was incredibly polarizing. People loved it or hated it, and I lie in the camp of hated it. As someone who took a bit to get into the series, I had really started to love some of the choices made with some of the later episodes. Jennifer Walters was finally getting some good development, and I was able to ignore some of the CGI issues. Everything was at peace – until the finale.
She-Hulk‘s finale takes place directly after the previous episode. Jennifer has to face the consequences of what happened after she hulked out. It starts to feel like a typical MCU finale piece. We get a big action number. Abomination is hulked out. Todd is hulked out. Then everything pauses, and we dive from the MCU to the studios of the MCU. She-Hulk walks the grounds of the studios, first to the writer’s room and then to the office of K.E.V.I.N. What follows is not meaningful development for Jennifer, instead being a way for the heads of the MCU to let critics and trolls know that they’re listening. It’s a fun moment but completely detracts from Jennifer’s arc as the main character.
She-Hulk as a character has always had fourth-wall breaks, doing it long before Deadpool was. My issue lies not in the wall-breaking scene – it’s in the fact that the writers decided this was the best way to help Jennifer fully finish her acceptance of what happened in the penultimate episode and the finale before she jumped out declaring it “a terrible plot.” Time that could have been spent finishing off the season with an emotionally resonant conclusion was spent on something far less meaningful.
There’s also no reliable conclusion. By taking episode time of a sitcom and not extending it for any reason, after spending time in the modern world, we jump back to the Los Angeles of the MCU to everything wrapping up. You can be self-aware and joke, but that is not a reason to be lazy. Tatiana Maslany is an incredible actress and really does wonders in the role. But if their main goal for a plot is for her to be She-Hulk for 75% of the time, then you should pick an actress that can line up for that part of the role more.
Overall, this is not the finale I would have picked for She-Hulk: Attorney At Law. Jennifer Walters experiences a severe and absolutely severe violation of her person and privacy in the penultimate episode. And for a legal comedy, this finale is even worse. In fair Marvel fashion, we will probably never see Todd Phelps held out over the fire to cook in his own torment during Jennifer’s lawsuit against him because we’ll skip to the next bit. Sure, maybe this is fair to some because, ideally, courts would work out in the victims’ favor, but we’ve all seen that to be false as of late.
I have to ask the show the question the episode’s title asks. Whose show is this? Because clearly, it was an opportunity to have fun and be meta, instead of giving us a conclusion we can see. Instead of giving Jennifer attention, we’re left to imagine how she did in fact handle Todd and the rest of Intelligencia. You can have fun and still provide a good conclusion, especially when you’re putting things on your own streaming service. Speeding past things continues to be a problem when it comes to the female heroes of the MCU, and somebody needs to draw a line in the sand before things get worse. –Katie Rentschler
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