Thursday, September 1, 2022

REVIEW: 'She-Hulk: Attorney at Law' - Jen Represents Emil in His Hearing With the Parole Board in 'The People vs. Emil Blonsky'

Disney+'s She-Hulk: Attorney at Law - Episode 1.03 "The People vs. Emil Blonsky"

She-Hulk represents Emil Blonsky aka The Abomination, but his parole hearing doesn't go as planned.

"The People vs. Emil Blonsky" was written by Francesca Gailes & Jacqueline J. Gailes and directed by Kat Coiro

How much control does Jennifer Walters have? It can't be much if she has to continually remind the audience that this show is meant to be about her. And yet, she actually does have quite a bit despite that admission. She recognizes the norms and conventions of Marvel properties at this point in time. Every extension of this franchise has to have some connection to the legacy of what came before. This particular phase has been singularly focused on passing the torch to the next generation of heroes. That has amounted to several significant character deaths. Others have had to find new ways to remain relevant now that they aren't the only heroes meant to protect Earth. This planet has plenty of Avengers willing to step up and carry that mantle. The focus remains on people aspiring for those roles. That's not something Jen wants. She got these powers through an accident. That's pretty typical for many of the hero journeys in this world. The most heroic are often those aware of the dangers these powers can bring. It's a major responsibility. Jen wants to live a relatively normal life for as long as possible. Even though the world recognizes her as She-Hulk now, she still aspires for a quiet existence. That's not going to happen. Things have changed. She has to find balance within this new normal. That means representing Emil Blonsky in his parole hearing as well as having to fight back when she is attacked in the streets. She has the skills to handle all of these obstacles. She remains in control. That's powerful too. She has complete clarity and drive over what she wants to accomplish. That doesn't always line up with reality. It's still a blessing whenever unexpected developments present themselves. She notes the importance of the A and B storylines crossing. She can speak to Dennis' delusional arrogance in his lawsuit against an Asgardian shapeshifter. One comment from him is enough for her to find a way to ease all the concerns about Emil returning to society even though he could turn into the Abomination at any moment. Moreover, She-Hulk gains a new client in the process. This show is a nice departure from the overall tone of the MCU to date because it prides itself on celebrity culture. Jen proclaims that she would kill for Megan Thee Stallion. That declaration carries new weight now that she has the physical abilities to do so with ease. It's all harmless fun. It doesn't disrupt their celebration. People admire these individuals and want to know every detail about their personal lives. Jen hopes her work will speak for itself. Talking to the press is part of the job though. The questions are different because she is now She-Hulk. She doesn't get to have much agency over her story. It's important that she fights back in order to claim what's hers so that no one will ever be confused over what she stands for.

And yet, much of this story is centered around what can potentially be taken from Jen. That's what the entire final twist is about. She hulks out before the assailants can retrieve a sample of her blood. Bruce warned Jen just how dangerous this biology would be in the wrong hands. Emil has proven himself capable of remaining in control even when he transforms to the Abomination. He dictates the terms of how that goes. He may disregard Jen's legal advice with no real consideration for how it comes across. He's also grateful for the work she has done for him. He hopes to present a new side of himself to society. He's not all that different from Jen in that way. He has meaningful personal relationships as well. Those are defined by people falling in love with him. He attracts a certain personality due to his imprisonment. He plans on living off the money they have. That should be concerning to everyone. The parole board is distracted by the bigger issues though. It's much more concerning to know the Abomination broke out of prison and was recorded in a fight. That demands immediate answers. Wong arrives to provide that. He asserts that it was all in service to his mission to become Sorcerer Supreme. He had to prove himself worthy in a display of physical prowess. Emil was a convenient way to fulfill that narrative. Emil had the potential for freedom. He could find safe passage in Kamar-Taj. That could have possibly provided him with even more spiritual enlightenment. That's the path he has laid out for himself after all. And yet, he chose to return to prison. That speaks volumes. Jen uses that in her defense to prove how he has reformed. He deserves a second chance in society. He receives that blessing. He becomes the first person with superhuman abilities Jen has helped in her new job. She doesn't always fully understand this world. She expects Wong to be more punctual considering he can open a portal whenever he wants. He presents as someone who wants to be above the laws of this country. He confesses to several crimes. He avoids consequences. That paints him in an unflattering light despite the overall affection the audience has for him. This show is meant to portray this world in a different way. Jen has a different perspective than the heroes and villains frequently on display. And so, the concerns elsewhere also have to reflect that mentality. Jen has a nice support group willing and able to help her navigate this massive change. Nothing immediately presents itself as an obstacle for too long. A problem gained public attention in Emil's case. Jen gathered all the evidence. She presented her argument. A verdict was rendered. It's episodic storytelling at its best while having a blast along the way. That energy is so exciting and palpable. Plus, none of it seems to get in the way of the massive designs the franchise has elsewhere in its numerous stories.