‘She-Hulk’ Says to Hell With Plot and Stays True to Character

She-Hulk smashes through the fourth wall and saves her show from the diabolical Kevin Feige.
She Hulk Episode Skaar

Marvel Explained is our ongoing series, where we delve into the latest Marvel shows, movies, trailers, and news stories to divine the franchise’s future. This entry explores She-Hulk Episode 9 and examines the finale’s last-minute revelations. Yes, prepare for SPOILERS.

Week after week, SheHulk has shown that Marvel Studios knows what you’re (we’re) saying about them. They hear the complaints. Their formulas have us hunting for final-act villain reveals, CGI rumbles, and bright beams of blue light in the sky. When Episode 9 started rushing toward a familiar brawl, Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) hit the time-out. As her comic book counterpart is known to do, she fired a glare through the fourth wall. She refused to play by the standard superhero rules. This is her show; it’ll behave the way she wants it.

SheHulk Episode 9 kicked our speculation to the curb. Who is the HulkKing? He’s not the Leader or some other deep cut from the shadowy Marvel nether realms. He’s just some troll (Jon Bass) and not worth our time.

Jen literally busts through the Disney+ menu screen, hopping from her TV series to the Marvel Studios: Assembled docuseries. Within that show, she can trudge her way into the SheHulk production offices and confront her writer’s room. They play innocent, laying the blame on Kevin Feige. Naturally, Jen wants to talk to the boss, but when she finally scores some face-time, Kevin reveals himself to be K.E.V.I.N., the A.I. algorithm which controls the MCU’s destiny. And you thought Kang was the great Phase Four baddie? Nope.

Unable to defend himself from Jen, K.E.V.I.N. must hear her case. She knows what we’ve always known. The plots are fun and the theorizing even more so, but they’re not why we watch the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We’re here for the characters, and wasting SheHulk‘s final moments on another tiresome fistfight does zero favors for any involved party.

Smashing HulkKing is so Phase One. Smashing Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) is where Phase Four needs to go.

Jen tells K.E.V.I.N. straight up, those Intelligencia dweebs wrecking her life shouldn’t have their pathetic wants and desires centered by the series. Their attack allows Jen to recognize the growth she’s accomplished since the season premiere. She’s made She-Hulk work for her, and their invasion of her privacy deserves more than the typical MCU finale offers. A beating is too easy. The shame of a trial is proper justice.

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In a bid to eat its cake and have it, too, SheHulk Episode 9 teases plenty. Jen confronts K.E.V.I.N., asking when the X-Men will appear. Robo-Feige keeps mum, but the question itself is acknowledgment enough. When Jen kindly transforms offscreen protecting Marvel Studios’ VFX effects budget for use on their next project, we hear a little Wakanda Forever score. And Jen demanding a Daredevil appearance in the episode’s last act satisfies those shrill online voices who were begging for him all season long.

Staying true to her comic book roots, Jennifer Walters won’t allow the writers or the readers to tell the typical Marvel story. If our World War Hulk demands get in the way of her good time, she’ll rip the keyboards from our hands. She sees the code. She knows what we want, and we’ll get it, but she’ll be damned if she allows her story to fall victim to masturbatory speculation. That can be Doctor Strange or cousin Bruce’s problem.

And speaking of cousin Bruce, the original jolly green giant does indeed appear in SheHulk‘s radically happy ending. With the evil internet dopes devilishly dismissed, Jen enjoys a Fast and Furious family gathering complete with Matt Murdock. Her mom and dad are grilling the Hells Kitchen lawyer about the money he does or does not make when Bruce crashes the party.

Tagging along behind Bruce is his sheepish son, Skaar. We don’t get much info. In fact, we get no information beyond his name and green complexion. We’re left to do what we love to do…speculate. Gross.

We know SheHulk started when a Sakaaran spaceship ran Bruce and Jen off the road. In Episode 2, Bruce and Jen chatted on the phone while Bruce was aboard the same vessel. He said he wasn’t going to be around for a while. Now, he returns with a kid in tow.

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What? How? Why? Skaar is from the comics. He’s the result of a union between Bruce Banner and Caiera the Oldstrong. The two first met on Sakaar when she trained Hulk to be a gladiatorial combatant during the Planet Hulk storyline. Thor: Ragnarok borrows heavily from that book, but Caiera never appeared in the film. Where is her MCU double? Again, that’s not Jen Walters’ problem.

Many years have passed since Ragnarok, especially when you consider the Blip, but Skaar still looks too old in SheHulk. Don’t get hung up on it. The Skaar of the comics aged rapidly as well. Chalk it up to his mother’s alien DNA. Humans are slugs when it comes to maturation. No offense to slugs.

The comic book Skaar carries tremendous animosity toward his father for abandoning him and the Sakaaran people. Kid Hulk finds his way to Earth via a convenient wormhole and begins a long trek to find dear bad dad. During this period in Hulk comics, the Banner personality had fallen into the background, leaving the savage side in control. When father and son first met, Skaar took little satisfaction in the encounter.

Was Skaar piloting the Sakaaran craft in Episode 1? No idea. Those notes are for another MCU entry. We can infer from his expression in SheHulk Episode 9 that Skaar does not feel like he belongs around the Walters’ picnic table. He appears pretty timid. We’ll need another series or movie to solidify any parental bond. Is that movie World War Hulk? Maybe. Something catastrophic needs to occur to kill Smart Hulk and resurrect the big green rage monster. Skaar taming the beast would go a long way in bringing the two together.

So, yeah, we leave SheHulk with plenty to think about, but those thoughts are the last ones running through Jen’s mind. SheHulk kept its promise, remaining a SheHulk show through and through, refusing to cater to fanboy whims. The series prioritized her emotional arc, and Jennifer Walters smashed the fourth wall whenever the show started to veer into run-of-the-mill superhero storytelling. We could use her in every Marvel property going forward.

She-Hulk Episode 9 is now streaming on Disney+.

Brad Gullickson: Brad Gullickson is a Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects and Senior Curator for One Perfect Shot. When not rambling about movies here, he's rambling about comics as the co-host of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Hunt him down on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He/Him)