Warning: the below contains full spoilers for Episode 7 of She-Hulk: Attorney At Law, which is now streaming on Disney+. To refresh your memory, check out our review of last week’s episode.
As She-Hulk: Attorney At Law hit its sitcom stride, my biggest complaint about its last couple episodes was that it was beginning to feel a bit too formulaic, as charming as its super-lawyer premise is. Well, it seems they heard me, because Episode 7, “The Retreat,” shirks formula with a break from the lawyer’s office, making for one of She-Hulk’s stronger episodes here in the latter half of the season and a needed refresh as we approach the finish line.
We start off with a classic rom-com montage: now that She-Hulk has shown us some of the less-desirable parts of dating, we get to the good parts, with Jen nervously taking a shot before a date, exchanging flirty texts, and eventually sleeping with Josh, the charming bachelor we met at last week’s wedding. Though if you’re like me and always had a feeling Josh was too good to be true, you watched these scenes with a pit in your stomach, only to be proven correct at the end of this episode.
But more on that later: Tatiana Maslany is a perfect rom-com lead here, selling the giddy high of finally meeting someone you click with, only to deflate in eventual disappointment when their interest seems to start trailing off. She-Hulk remains good at embodying Jen’s point of view, having us waiting for Josh’s text just as much as she is as Friday turns to Saturday and then Sunday.
Sunday is when Jen’s obsessive refreshing is interrupted briefly by her client Emil Blonsky, aka The Abomination, as his parole officer asks Jen to accompany him to check things out when there’s a malfunction alert on his inhibitor. Once they get there, all seems well… that is, until Man-Bull and El Aguila burst onto the scene in an argument and wreck Jen’s car in the scuffle. You’ve really gotta appreciate how deep some of these deep Marvel cuts are: She-Hulk continues to introduce more mainstream viewers to lesser-known characters of the comics, and it’s a real treat for those who might recognize these players. Despite how tonally unique and standalone She-Hulk is, it always manages to remind us that it is, without a shadow of a doubt, an MCU show.
As far as to how these two characters look, well, it takes some adjusting. Nate Hurd and Joseph Castillo-Midyett (Man-Bull and El Aguila, respectively) are doing great work under those costumes, but at first, they look distractingly goofy, and their super-appearances don’t feel quite up to par with the rest of the show. That’s a minor complaint, though, as they eventually fit into She-Hulk’s zany “live-action cartoon” vibe.
Blonsky tells Jen that her now-busted Prime Prius could actually be a vehicle for a teachable moment as she’s stranded at his admittedly lovely vista. As she lacks the cell service to continue checking for a text from Josh, she wanders into a group therapy session, which turns out to be the best part of the episode. It’s here we see Man-Bull and El Aguila with Porcupine and Saracen (two more deep-cut Marvel villains) in a discussion led by Blonsky, as they hash out their feelings and Man-Bull and El Aguila’s codependence issues.
That’s when we get an appearance from… wait, who is that? As one of Jen’s attackers from an earlier episode enters the session, She-Hulk: Attorney At Law gets one of its best uses of its fourth-wall-breaking yet, as Jen gives us a special “Previously On” segment for this guy, Wrecker – which is wonderfully self-aware, because at first, even I didn’t recognize him. The former villain seems to have been rehabilitated by Blonsky’s program, and he and Jen are able to talk it out a bit before Jen opens up about the situation with Josh. What follows is some lively, funny, relatable banter among the group as they break the harsh truth to Jen: she’s probably been ghosted.
It’s a fantastic scene, with each D-list villain riffing off each other wonderfully while slipping in some therapy buzzwords. But it leads to one of the most emotionally resonant moments for Jen yet, as she gets personal about her conflicting feelings about her Hulk form. It’s one of Maslany’s best showings so far, who’s heart-wrenching even under the She-Hulk digital effects. Of course, this is a sitcom, so the ice is broken when Porcupine feels comfortable enough to take off his mask and stinks up the place, which got an actual out-loud laugh from me.
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“The Retreat” ends in a satisfying place, with Jen saying goodbye to her therapy buddies with some self-discovered closure, having deleted Josh’s number. And we even get some answers as to what really happened with Josh: turns out, he actually is a real bad dude, being shown to have stolen some of Jen’s data (and possibly more?) after sleeping with her. She-Hulk is no doubt ramping up its larger story, but you have to wonder: how much can it really cover with only two presumably 30-minute entries left? As a standalone episode, this was a great one, but there’s still a lot of ground to cover with just around an hour of this season remaining.