Well, I can confidently say that the She-Hulk finale was everything I expected ... right before it swerved so hard that it broke my brain. In fact, She-Hulk episode 9 practically broke the MCU with all of its fourth wall-breaking.
You could even say "She-Hulk broke Disney Plus," but then people are going to start asking about outages — which didn't happen — and nobody wants that. What people do want, at least judging by the early reactions, is what She-Hulk's finale delivered. So, below the spoiler warning, let's break it all down.
So, before you move onto thinking about the upcoming Marvel movies and shows we have on the agenda, let's look at how the She-Hulk SMASH'ed our expectations. And, yes, this story contains spoilers for She-Hulk episode 9, "Whose Show Is This?"
She-Hulk mocked MCU storytelling perfectly
So, the big trick about She-Hulk's finale is that it gives you a very basic Marvel TV show finale before throwing it all out. As we saw, the results of last week's brawl at the gala leave Jen down-sized from She-Hulk with an inhibitor on her ankle — which means she loses her job and is spending a lot of time with her family.
Jen, since Hulk is missing, then goes to Emil Blonsky's retreat, while Pug and Nikki investigate the Intelligencia. Those two storylines collide, however, when it turns out the dark web dweebs are running an event at Blonsky's hideout. Emil's also back to his abominable ways again. The Hulk shows up to help, as does Titania, and it's one giant brawl... that Jen finds way too-complicated and uninspired.
So, she breaks the biggest fourth wall: Disney Plus itself. And the internet loves it, as Twitter user @giselleb1234 (opens in new tab) explains with an American Psycho meme:
She-Hulk episode 9 spoilers -----Ladies and gentlemen: this fourth wall break👌🏽🔥 #SheHulkAttorneyAtLaw #SheHulk pic.twitter.com/tKFwOqlguIOctober 13, 2022
So, while Todd Phelps (Jon Bass) turns out to be season villain Hulk King we were waiting for, the meta-villain for She-Hulk is lazy storytelling that makes the show about other heroes. Which means she has to go to the source of it all: the She-Hulk writer's room. This sends her to Disney/Marvel HQ, where she tracks down Kevin.
No, not Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige, but K.E.V.I.N., a robot with three ocular sensors who argues with She-Hulk. And this is where we get so many great moments, including Jen's badgering of K.E.V.I.N. about when we're getting the X-Men, which user @ArkhamNumb (opens in new tab) loved:
#SheHulk Finale *small spoiler warning*--I FUCKING LOVE JEN😭 pic.twitter.com/WwHo6I2s9mOctober 13, 2022
This scene also won applause over its self-referential moments about She-Hulk's CGI. K.E.V.I.N. has to ask her to transform to Jen off-camera because the effects are too expensive.
And then, as user @wandaslizzie (opens in new tab) noted, they played music that sounded like it was from Black Panther to infer that Marvel's CGI team is still hard at work on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever — which comes out in less than a month. It was a bit surprising for She-Hulk to get even that close to referencing Marvel's current CGI issues (opens in new tab), but it was impressive nonetheless.
WHEN THE WAKANDA MUSIC STARTED PLAYING WHEN KEVIN SAID ANOTHER PROJECT 😭😭😭😭😭 #SheHulk pic.twitter.com/0cpQBPeiGIOctober 13, 2022
Outlook: More of this in She-Hulk season 2, please
“i smash fourth walls and bad endings. and sometimes matt murdock” jen be serious 😭 #SheHulk pic.twitter.com/Tuoz246cvkOctober 13, 2022
She-Hulk's finale may have been seen as a bait-and-switch twist, but honestly it wins us over because Jen is so damn likable. Especially when she's kicking back at Marvel from within.
Maybe we'll get a bigger battle for Jen in a future season of She-Hulk — which Marvel needs to announce already — but for now, I've got to give Tatiana Maslany credit for making this show so damn good. Especially with that above moment about how she "smashed" Matt Murdock.