She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022) s01e07 – The Retreat

I’ll disclose I did not go into this episode without expectations. A friend said it was when “She-Hulk” hits its full potential, and he’s entirely correct. I just didn’t realize how much the show was going to include in that potential. This episode gets silly and soulful in a way reminiscent of the Dan Slott comic (he gets a towing company named after him in the MCU), but with Tatiana Malsany’s Year One character experiencing it. With the best use of MCU legacy goods to date.

I am speaking, of course, of Mister Timothy Simon Roth, who’s been having a rough time of it—actual good performance-wise—for some time now. When he was in Incredible Hulk, it was a hail-marry villain casting, back when good villains supposedly mattered in superhero movies.

This episode mostly takes place at Roth’s retreat, where he has group therapy for powered individuals, including Asgardian refugees, so alien species as well. And, presumably, daywalkers.

The episode starts with Maslany having a pop music romance montage with Trevor Salter, culminating in their first adult sleepover. Only then Maslany doesn’t hear from him for the whole weekend; Sunday morning rolls around, and instead of Salter lighting up her phone, it’s Roth’s probation officer, played by John Pirruccello.

Maslany and Pirrucello head to the retreat to investigate some discrepancies in Roth’s power inhibitor, where they discover more than meets the eye.

Sorry, wrong franchise. For now, right, Disney?

Anyway.

There are some surprise returning guest stars—who Maslany breaks the wall to contextualize—along with some breakout “problem” supers, like Joseph Castillo-Midyett. He wants to be a swashbuckler, but everyone assumes he’s a matador; he’s got some kind of laser sword. His best friend’s an Asgardian man-bull named Man-Bull (played by Nathan Hurd). But is it a front for something nefarious, or is it on the level?

The episode addresses pretty much all the outstanding concerns, like Maslany’s experience of living She-Hulk: Year One, but also what tone the show’s going for. There are big, terrible developments on the misogynist Star Wars fan bros front, with Ginger Gonzaga, really only showing up to remind Maslany (and the audience) about it, but “She-Hulk”’s got a lot more going on.

Series best direction from Anu Valia and a genuinely superb script, credited to Zeb Wells. Maslany’s got her best scenes, including as She-Hulk (they up the CGI for her close-up monologuing). It’s so good.

“She-Hulk”’s arrived even better than expected, promised, or hoped; where’s the season two announcement? Hell, where’s the season three announcement

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