Marvel’s The Defenders Season 1 Episode 4 Review: Royal Dragon

Although our four heroes spend most of the episode barricaded in a Chinese restaurant, it is without a doubt the most engaging episode of The Defenders so far.

Let me explain.

For the first time in the series we see Matt, Jess, Danny and Luke all in one location interacting with each other. This fact alone allows the characters to socialize, allowing them to find the team dynamic and react to the limits of each relationship. We also get to see their reactions of Stick when he shows up handless and elaborates on the history of The Hand. After spending the last three episodes in isolation, only interacting with the environments each hero is familiar with, it’s wonderful to see everyone so far out of their comfort zones. The writers certainly made up for lost time.


When the four first hole-up in the Chinese restaurant in an attempt to hide from The Hand, we finally get to see the first Hero Shot of the series. (The Hero Shot is a side-by-side line-up of a movie or tv shows heroes/heroines before they face a conflict or threat — think about iconic shot from The Avengers when the Chitauri attack New York.) The four Defenders have the line-up going for them, but their expressions let us know that they are extremely uncomfortable and pissed-off. However, even with the obvious tensions and problems mounting with the soon-to-be team, they have each other’s backs. They are together, but they are not united. It will be interesting to see how the Hero Shot progresses throughout the remaining episodes.

While this episode lacked a lot of action, it was certainly entertaining. Danny believes that the team’s meeting at Midland Circle is some form of destiny. Luke doesn’t trust Daredevil, who is still wearing Jessica’s scarf around his head like a ridiculous runway model reject. Jessica just plain doesn’t want to be there and she isn’t afraid to say so.

Even with the small location in which the episode takes place, the scenes never feel too claustrophobic. The writers gave each character time to have an aside with other members of the cast to create more intimate moments among the group shots. Jessica and Matt have a moment when she reveals that she knows Matt is Daredevil — not that she’s going to do anything about it, she just simply wants her scarf back. Later, when Jess decides to leave the crazies behind and finish solving her case, she and Luke have an intimate moment in the back alley. We also get a few hints at a blossoming bromance between Luke and Danny when they share potstickers. Can someone say, “Heroes for Hire!”


Eventually Stick shows up, busting up the team fun with more somber news. But hey, someone has to deliver some exposition in this episode. Stick finally tells us more about The Hand than we learn in all five previous seasons of Netflix Marvel shows combined.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • There are Five Fingers of The Hand, each controlling different regions of the world as they attempt to gain immortality.
  • The five fingers are:
      • Alexandra (Sigourney Weaver, duh) — the opposable thumb, because she is the most powerful among the five.
      • Madame Goa (she’s literally in every series) — the pinky, because she is so tiny and people forget how strong the smallest finger can be.
      • Sowande (aka White Hat) — the ring finger, because he is clearly the most stylish of the five.
      • Bakuto (Colleen’s former mentor) — the middle finger, because although he is believed to be dead I have a feeling he will be back with his middle finger raised at Colleen and Danny.
      • Murakami (the man behind Kobu) — the pointer finger, because he is the strongest fighter, the most versatile, and the most secretive.
  • The Chaste is an army created to fight The Hand, they are destined to be lead by the Iron Fist.
  • The elders of K’un-Lun banished the Five Fingers of the Hand because they wished to harness their chi for power instead of healing.
  • The leaders of The Hand have somehow become practically immortal, living for centuries; this is why they are so good at hiding in plain sight, they have the experience.

At the end of the episode, The Hand finally shows up in the form of Alexandra. She toys with the remaining Defenders, telling them that The Hand are fighting for life itself. Luke of course, has an excellent comeback; “For all your talk of life, you sure kill a lot of people.” Alexandra changes direction and tries to strike a deal with Danny, for him to join her cause. But he refuses. Realizing she will not get what she wants through talking, Alexandra orders the Black Sky to attack. The final scene ends with Jessica throwing a car at Elektra and joining the Defenders in another Hero Shot before the screen goes black.


I give Episode 4 a double thumbs up for its dislodge and character dynamics. I have high expectations for the next episode… Netflix, don’t let me down.

[media courtesy of Netflix]

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