If after six episodes it wasn’t abundantly clear, episode seven really hammered it home: She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is not a narratively driven show. It’s a character driven show. For two weeks now the lingering questions of Jen’s supersuit and a Daredevil cameo have been hanging so that Jen Walters (Tatiana Maslany) could continue to come to terms with this unfathomable dichotomy in her life. The issue just came to the forefront in a big way, thanks to none other than Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth).
Episode seven of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is called “The Retreat,” but before Jen got to that, the dangling thread from last week’s episode had to be resolved. Not the Intelligencia creeps, though that would also come back—we’re talking about Josh (Trevor Salter), the handsome man Jen met at the wedding. They’re ready to go out on their first date and we see it, as well as two subsequent dates, unfold in a very upbeat, slick, rom-com style montage that ends in Jen and Josh sleeping together. Jen’s over the moon, until she texts him the next day and doesn’t hear back. The non-response quickly takes over her life. Work, home, she just keeps refreshing and refreshing and refreshing.
So when her phone rings three days later and it’s not Josh but Emil Blonsky’s parole officer, Jen picks it up quickly. There’s been a malfunction with Blonsky’s ankle bracelet and the officer needs to go up and check on it. But, since he’s unsure if Blonsky has turned into Abomination, he asks Jen to come with him for a little Hulk back up.
Blonsky’s retreat is called “Summer Twilights” and, when Jen and the officer arrive, Blonsky explains the bracelet malfunctioned due to an electric fence and his favorite chicken, Princess Silk Feather. Clearly, this is not a man who has gone back to his evil ways, and so the parole officer leaves immediately. Jen tries to leave to only to stumble onto Blonsky’s secret.
Turns out his retreat is not just for him and his multiple partners (who we, oddly, don’t get a look at in this episode). No, he’s turned it into a retreat for superhumans who need to get in touch with their emotions. And Jen is delivered this information in the form of two superpowered men, the self-explanatory Man-Bull (Nathan Hurd) and swashbuckler, but not a matador, El Aguila (Joseph Castillo-Midyett), fighting and smashing her Prius. They’re rended it undriveable and, since Summer Twilights is so far away, it’s going to be hours until a tow truck can show up.
Jen and Blonsky walk around the grounds, which is mainly Jen’s way of trying to find a place where she has cell service and can see if Josh texted. Eventually, she stumbles into a group session, lead by Blonsky, and featuring not just Man-Bull and El Aguila, but two other woul- be heroes, the vampire Saracen (Terrence Clowe) and again, the self-explanatory Porcupine (Jordan Aaron Ford). In Jen, the men see one of their own. A superpowered human who needs help figuring it all out. Jen seems largely unphased by this until one more person joins the mix: Wrecker.
Who is Wrecker? Jen, for the first time in the episode (which felt a little surprising) decides to address the audience to remind us. She triggers a second “Previously on She-Hulk” sequence that shows he was the leader of the gang from several episodes ago who tried to steal Jen’s blood. With that info, the fact she throws him into a corner filled with folding chairs isn’t that surprising. But the group points out it’s proof that she has some issues to deal with, and so they all sit down to do just that.
Jen explains why she’s acting so weird—the whole Josh thing—and the group turns into a high school lunch table. They criticize Jen’s texts to Josh and, when she reveals she sent one extra desperate text to him earlier in the day, they reach the conclusion that he’s ghosted her. This triggers easily the most revealing scene in the show where Jen, as She-Hulk, breaks down how she feels about her new identity—how people treat She-Hulk so well but Jen, not so much. And how that makes her true self, Jen, feel awful. The group tell her they love Jen on her own and as she transitions back to Jen, she feels she’s had a breakthrough. She deletes Josh’s number from her phone and, after a quick sweat in another of Blonsky’s lodges, as well as a heartfelt goodbye to her new friends, Jen is off in the tow truck.
The camera pulls back over the mountains, revealing the ocean in an happy ending that too would suit a romantic comedy. Which is when the title card “Three days earlier” slams on screen. It turns out that after Jen and Josh slept together, Josh got up, copied Jen’s phone and took photos of her, before texting a friend “HulkKing” three emojis: a bloody needle, a green vile, and thumbs up. Josh is working for the group trying to kill She-Hulk.
With only two episodes left of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, things are about to kick into high gear. And it will work because in “The Retreat,” Jen finally came to terms with herself. That She-Hulk is a part of her, but she is still Jen Walters, a brilliant, successful lawyer, and that’s more than enough for anyone. So, with that newly found understanding, whatever forces she’s about to come up against are going to find themselves up against a fully-formed superhero.
- This episode was filled with really smart and fun little touches. Just things happening in the frame that added to the story in various aways. One example that I really loved was when Jen was driving up to the retreat, you can clearly see that she has her phone on the Josh text thread.
- The quotes around Blonsky’s barn are so pointless but so funny. “Today is today.” “Make your goal a reality.” They’re a great touch to give you a sense of his not quite professional level of assistance.
- “The Retreat” didn’t have a title card, which at first seemed odd because the title card has become a fun piece of the previous episodes. We think, though, its omission here must be the way for the filmmakers to tell us that Jen isn’t sure who she is in this episode. Is she “Just Jen” is she “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law?” At the start, in her mind, maybe she wasn’t either.
- No end credit scene again this week but you should still stick through at least the illustrated part of the credits. There we got a few very fun little nods back to the episode, such as El Aguila doing some matadoring in college or Porcupine bringing his suit to the cleaners.
Finally, let’s just pay a little respect to Man-Bull (Nathan Hurd), El Aguila (Joseph Castillo-Midyett), Saracen (Terrence Clowe), and Porcupine (Jordan Aaron Ford). Not only are these guy now official heroes/mutants/something in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, each one brought such unique, entertaining energy to the episode. Their relationships, dynamics, banter, all of it was just wonderful and we hope that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of them.
Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.