The Defenders Recap: “Take Shelter”


The Defenders finally had their four heroes stand united against in the Hand in the previous episode, and now “Take Shelter,” sees the nefarious organization take aim at their loved ones in retribution.

It’s a cliché tactic to up the stakes but nevertheless, allows the supporting cast to assemble in one place for more cohesive storytelling. It’s a step back from the fun dynamics built in “Royal Dragon,” but a necessary one in order to have each character be emotionally invested in this fight against The Hand.

Jumping right back into the action, four of the five fingers of The Hand have assembled in “Take Shelter,” in a more aggressive attempt to take Danny. The heroes barely make it out of the diner after Matt abandons them midway through the fight in an attempt to talk to Elektra and Luke is run over/kidnapped by White Hat or Sowande. While the fight scene looks impressive, it feels a bit weird to pick up directly in the action only for it to wrap up so quickly. Nevertheless, everyone gets to show off their unique fighting skill sets while Matt inadvertently lands Elektra in hot water when Murakami witnesses her refusal to kill him.

Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/Netflix

Escaping into the sewers without Luke, everyone regroups at Colleen’s dojo and once again try to plan their next move on how to rescue him. Thankfully, he ends up saving himself and brings the team a win when he reveals that he managed to capture an unconscious Sowande. The group is quick to move him to an abandoned warehouse where they threaten to torture the man until he gives up The Hand’s reason for wanting Danny but unfortunately, Sowande won’t budge. However, the warlord does manage to threaten all of the heroes’ loved ones and successfully anger Jessica after he uses Kilgrave’s torture as a way to taunt her.

Thus, the Defenders split into groups of two in, “Take Shelter,” to safely retrieve their friends before The Hand can get to them. Unsurprisingly Bakuto, Colleen’s former mentor, shows up at Claire’s apartment forcing pupil and master to fight. Like in Iron Fist, Bakuto is still an incredibly weak and boring villain on-screen but his motivations for joining this fight differ from the rest of the group. His sole purpose is to try to talk Colleen to once again fight by his side, setting up a moral dilemma far too late in the season for it to have any huge repercussions on the plot. Unluckily, Colleen suffers a gash through the chest before Danny, Luke, and Claire show up to save her which will effectively give a reason to keep the warrior sidelined during the next few episodes rather than part of the A Team.

Matt has a harder time trying to get Karen to come with him in, “Take Shelter,” because of her frustration that he’s returned to his life of crime fighting. Showing up at her office after midnight, he lets her know that The Hand has returned and he needs for her to come with him for safety reasons. She’s angered that this is how he would drop the news of his vigilante antics to her and that he told her the other day he hadn’t missed that lifestyle.

To give Matt credit, it’s not like he’s exactly had time to let anyone know about the recent events up until now, but it doesn’t matter in Karen’s eyes. He admits that he actually hasn’t gone out as Daredevil yet but that The Hand is coming after Matt Murdock’s life, not the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, which means her life is in genuine danger. She begrudgingly agrees to join him, but it seems like Matt may have officially lost one of his best friends this time around. It’s been easy to get swept up in the action and actually forget that up until this episode, Matt really has been fighting crime as himself which makes him more vulnerable than ever.

Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/Netflix

Jess has better luck at pulling Trish away from a business dinner in, “Take Shelter,” but runs into some trouble from Murakami. After dragging her sister up a flight of stairs, it seems like the private eye may meet her end once Murakami’s whips out his favorite knife but thankfully, Daredevil shows up just in the nick of time.

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A tense conversation between Matt and Stick inspires him to don his suit once again where he teams up with Jess to keep Murakami at bay. Their victory leads to a particularly funny interaction where Jessica makes fun of his costume and he takes it in good strides. Although, the fact the two even had to fight was a little odd other than to have a reason for Daredevil to reemerge. Since Jessica can sort of fly, why wouldn’t she have just grabbed Trish and just leaped right out of that restaurant to safety? It seems like The Defenders constantly forget that she has more power than just super strength.

While everyone is out trying to save their friends, Alexandra spends a lot of “Take Shelter,” getting some back story. It’s revealed that she once had a daughter in her first life who died before she stumbled upon the substance for immortality. This small tidbit shows why she’s so invested in Elektra becoming a surrogate companion now that she’s dying. If the two can succeed with their nefarious plan, then they will have forged an unbreakable bond. For now, she offers love and approval but makes it clear to Elektra that these will only last if she can fulfill her role as The Black Sky. While the assassin seems complacent for now, Matt could probably confirm that it’s never wise to tell Elektra what to do.

Next: The Defenders Recap: “Royal Dragon”

Now that the supporting cast is safe, the heroes reconvene at the warehouse for another good old-fashioned torture session. Unfortunately, Daredevil’s new whip isn’t enough to have Sowande cough up any new information. Instead, Stick forces Matt to admit that he’s been hiding Elektra’s identity from the group which naturally angers them. Their dissension allows the warlord his opportunity to grab ahold of Danny before Stick steps in and just slices the guy’s head off. It’s a pretty anti-climactic ending but at least Elektra has made her way back to Matt’s apartment hinting that she is definitely not the empty vessel The Hand was promised.