She-Hulk: Attorney At Law – Season 1 Episode 3

Sep 1, 2022 | Posted by in TV

“The People Vs. Emil Blonsky”

She-Hulk: Attorney At Law divides its time between two cases that highlight how complicated the legal system in the MCU can be.

The previous episode positioned Jennifer as Emil Blonsky aka the Abomination’s lawyer and tasked her with the uphill struggle of arguing that Blonsky is a changed man who deserves his freedom. This task was made more complicated by a recent prison escape that hampers his credibility. On the surface, it’s a reasonably standard case as far as audience understanding goes. An inmate claims he has reformed and wants to regain his freedom but the MCU allows for outlandish add-ons such as the man vying for freedom also transforming into an engine of destruction that played a part in causing significant property damage and -presumably- loss of life.


Wong can clear this up

It could be argued that this is the true first episode of the show that She-Hulk: Attorney At Law sold itself to be; a fun lawyer show with an MCU twist or Ally McBeal with super powers. Now that the table setting is out of the way in the prior episodes it can throw itself into having the characters handle cases and explore the lunacy that adding superpowers to the mix can create. The episode confidently commits to its format and has a lot of fun with the potential associated with it.

The A-Plot -as labelled by Jennifer herself- details Jennifer’s defence of Blonsky. She has to make a case for him to be set free and faces complications due to his recent escape. To look into it further, Nikki tracks down Wong (Benedict Wong) who facilitated his escape. Jennifer’s conversation with Wong reveals that he needed a worthy opponent to facilitate his bid for Sorceror Supreme and apparently fighting in an underground fight club was the way to do that. The fight itself is depicted in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings with this episode supplying context to their involvement. Jennifer’s argument hangs on the escape being Wong’s fault and Blonsky having no choice in the matter which means that Wong has to testify. This falls apart when scrutinised as there’s no logical reason why Wong would specifically choose Blonsky as an opponent over the people he’s met or is aware of particularly when it means springing him from a maximum security prison. She-Hulk: Attorney At Law as a self-aware fourth wall breaking show is ideally placed to interrogate Wong’s decision and highlight how thinly justified it is while acknowledging it exists as a way to make the MCU a shared universe. Instead, Wong’s words are taken at face value and the situation isn’t explored in any way.

It’s a ludicrous situation and to the episode’s credit, it fully leans into the absurdity of it. Wong even has a LinkedIn -or legally distinct MCU equivalent- page which isn’t something you’d expect from him. He makes comments about erasing memories and using sorcery as a backup which supports the constant notion that sorcerors believe themselves to be above the law. They are governed by a code that applies to their magic and any other legalities are clearly not worth considering as far as they are concerned. It’s not something that will ever be intricately explored in a superhero legal comedy but the point is well made by Wong using a portal to leave as soon as it is pointed out that Blonsky is innocent but a crime was committed by him. The merging of the magical and legal world is unexpectedly fascinating and definitely bears more exploration in a more serious format somewhere down the line.


A very unusual problem

Wong’s brief appearance accomplishes what it needs to as does some well-placed testimony from those who have been positively affected by him. Everything is delivered with comedic flare which does go some way towards hiding the fact that Wong’s testimony is a total copout and doesn’t actually clear Blonsky’s name in any real way but it successfully sells the notion that Blonsky is a changed man who no longer represents a threat. A less than welcome transformation even clears up the question around whether he’s a threat when in the Abomination form.

The hearing as presented is really entertaining with Tatiana Maslany’s comic timing being deployed perfectly. Jennifer scrambling to keep control of an increasingly chaotic situation while trying to competently do her job in a serious way makes for engaging viewing. Using her skills and intelligence to dismiss things that aren’t relevant such as the unconventional detail of Blonsky having multiple soulmates is used well and highlights that Jennifer is good at her job as she focuses on the most pertinent details that will give her client the best chance of success.

Blonsky himself is a shallow character with more focus on him being sedate and ridiculous than any depth that might exist. He does have a profound moment where he advises Jennifer that she will be the subject of media scrutiny whether she wants to be or not so the best thing she can do is take control of the story. His observation is backed up elsewhere in the episode with excerpts of news reports and social media posts about her that focus on her being She-Hulk rather than a lawyer. This creates scope and allows a window into the world outside the contained exploits of the main characters of the show. The scope is somewhat limited as it’s geared in the direction of showing that the focus is in the opposite direction of what Jennifer would prefer but it’s in service of telling a very particular story and does so clearly. It also shines a light on the real-world misogyny surrounding superheroes by way of mocking those sorts of men spewing ignorant rhetoric online. It’s good to see this show directly confront it though it has yet to explore it beyond the broadly drawn showcase of its existence.


A difficult argument to make

Jennifer’s reaction is that she has no desire to be the story and would rather the work she does speaks for itself. She tells Nikki that she can’t wait for the Blonsky case to be over so she can get back to being an anonymous lawyer with no widespread scrutiny but Nikki points out that there’s no going back now that she’s a public figure with lots of eyes on her. The subtext to this is that Jennifer isn’t being recognised for her skill as a lawyer as people are only viewing her on the most superficial of levels. This is something that women routinely deal with in daily life and this show is drawing attention to that through the exaggerated imagery of Jennifer’s She-Hulk form being something that people pass comment on unprompted and only consider her in those terms. Even when she attempts to control the story surrounding her it’s manipulated by the outlet interviewing her to sidestep her professional qualities and focus on the superficial.

Added to that is the lingering knowledge that she only has her current job because she’s a Hulk and a superhuman being the face of a Superhuman Law division. Hence, she knows she hasn’t been hired on her merits as a lawyer and will feel even more compelled to prove herself as a result. That amounts to another gendered problem where women have to work twice as hard to be taken seriously. These issues are entrenched in the background with the viewer encouraged to interpret scenes to reach those conclusions. It doesn’t quite qualify as subtlety but it’s more subtle than the messaging in prior episodes.

Further gender commentary comes into play in the final pre-credit scene where she is attacked. At first, she reacts in terror before remembering that she’s more than equipped to defend herself and Hulks out. It’s another form of taking control that is equally as valid as her trying to own the story that surrounds her. Instead of being weak and becoming a victim, she is strong and easily able to defend herself. It’s a display of increased confidence and a clear sign that she feels powerful. Looking at her Hulk form reflected in a car window following the fight suggests that she is starting to see the benefits of her Hulk form and understanding that there are things she can do to make it work for her. A search for identity is baked into Jennifer’s arc up until this point so having fun with her new normal is a logical progression of that.


Trying to control the story

The B-Plot focuses on Pug representing Dennis when his relationship with Megan Thee Stallion (herself) actually turns out to be a shapeshifting Asgardian Light Elf named Runa (Peg O’Keef). As with the A-Plot it’s comedic in nature but the case is clearly laid out and it’s a great showcase for Pug who is wonderfully played by Josh Segarra. Dennis is once again comedically abhorrent which compliments this episode as the solution to the case is to lean into how arrogant and delusional he is. Jennifer gets involved as an expert witness who can testify to him being more than arrogant enough to believe that Megan Thee Stallion would be in a relationship with him. She clearly greatly enjoys delivering this testimony as it allows her to air her well-cultivated opinion on him in a formal setting while helping her colleague win a case.

Runa impersonating a celebrity and committing fraud in that way as well as identity theft is an interesting legal problem brought on by the existence of aliens with shapeshifting abilities. Identity isn’t as easy to hold onto as some might think when beings exist who can become a perfect physical replica. This is evidenced twice in the episode when Runa impersonates Dennis and the judge in order to get the case dropped. Fortunately, Pug is smart enough to figure out what is going on and it doesn’t work but there is a serious risk of those with similar abilities ruining the lives of those they take a dislike to. It isn’t the point of this plot but it certainly exists in the background and brings to mind the idea of the MCU being a very strange world with vast potential for people to face unusual problems. If She-Hulk: Attorney At Law commits to a more episodic structure with each episode bringing outlandish legal problems created by the existence of superpowers then it has the potential to stand out.


A perfectly normal day


A strong episode that leans into the potential for comedically charged legal drama with the added complications of superpowers while furthering Jennifer’s arc in an organic and thought-provoking way. The A and B-Plots make great use of superpowers complicating the legal system. Jennifer’s defence of Emil Blonsky is impressively chaotic and makes great use of Tatiana Maslany’s comic timing while also featuring a welcome cameo from Wong. The circumstances that require Wong’s testimony don’t hold up when placed under any scrutiny but his appearance accomplishes what it needs to. The B-Plot brings to mind the risk of identity theft when shapeshifters exist though doesn’t delve into the wider implications of it. It’s a good showcase for Pug and the catharsis Jennifer achieves when airing her well-cultivated opinion of Dennis is a nice touch. The background of the news and social media focusing on Jennifer being She-Hulk rather than her legal credentials feeds into Jennifer’s arc of working to be taken seriously. Scope is supplied through the coverage of how others react to her even if that scope is limited and it’s a good example of gender commentary that the episode covers in a variety of ways. If She-Hulk: Attorney At Law commits to a more episodic structure with each episode bringing outlandish legal problems created by the existence of superpowers then it has the potential to stand out.

  • 8.5/10
    The People Vs. Emil Blonsky - 8.5/10


Kneel Before…

  • excellent use of Tatiana Maslany’s comic timing
  • the added legal complications brought on by superpowers
  • two entertaining plots
  • furthering Jennifer’s arc through her starting to think about how to take control of her story
  • Wong
  • making great use of Dennis being abhorrent, arrogant and delusional
  • scope through the external reactions to Jennifer in the news and on social media
  • Jennifer realising she’s powerful after being attacked


Rise Against…

  • Wong’s testimony not making any sense when under any form of scrutiny
  • Blonsky being a somewhat shallow character
  • ideas that aren’t explored as well as they could be


What did you think? Select your rating in the “User Review” box below

User Review
7.08/10 (6 votes)

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