The Defenders Recap: “Ashes, Ashes”


The character of Danny Rand has made some vast improvement in The Defenders after the extremely uneven story-telling from his titular show.

Unfortunately, the opening to “Ashes, Ashes,” showcases exactly why so many people had problems with his character. Reverting Danny back to his unbearably whiny-self makes sense plot-wise because it gives a reason for the other Defenders to turn on him, but this seems like a convenient shortcut. Why would Danny immediately jump to the conclusion that Sowande was lying rather than stop and think for a minute? Nevertheless, his dumb antics pave the way for an otherwise excellent episode which gives the characters a chance to build a deeper and more trusting friendship.

“Ashes, Ashes,” has Stick once again come away as the logical one as his first thought is to keep Danny far away from The Hand now that they know he’s the key to something. While the rest of the group agrees, Danny refuses to even contemplate stepping aside from the fight he feels he’s been destined for. Daredevil springs into action, refusing to let the boy billionaire leave while Luke steps in trying to take him down quietly. Jessica, who’s tired of watching the boys squabble, attempts to mediate both sides but ends up only angering Danny more. He lights up his fist and goes to hit her, luckily Luke takes the hit instead which momentarily knocks down everyone.

Despite his powerful fist, he’s no match for the rest of the Defenders who manage to subdue him and tie him up while they try to plan out their next move.

Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/Netflix

Matt and Jessica decide to follow-up on her case in “Ashes, Ashes”, hoping that maybe the architect left something behind that could be useful. While the mother isn’t home, the two sit down to talk to the daughter, Lexi, who doesn’t have much to reveal beyond her dad’s mental decline. Jessica comforts her by telling Daredevil’s origin story, much to Matt’s surprise, and they manage to learn about her father’s obsession with the piano.

Matt sits down to play, much to the women’s shock, and they discover that inside are the blueprints they need to Midland Circle which reveals a dome underneath it. With the papers in hand, the two start to return back to the warehouse, but not before a bonding session where Jessica admits that she trusts him. Whether you see their chemistry as romantic or platonic, there’s no denying that Krysten Ritter and Charlie Cox are magnetic on-screen while their characters maneuver through their budding friendship.

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Luke spends most of “Ashes, Ashes,” watching over Danny, knowing that once he powers up he’ll be able to break free. Despite the predicament, he’s in, the two actually end up bonding over how ridiculous their situation is. The scene is fun and gives a glimmer of hope that the two will become best friends like they are canonically. Their bonding is cut short once Stick begins burning some incense which knocks Luke out. While everyone on the team immediately jumped to hiding Danny, it seems like Stick thought of the most practical one: killing him.

With no K’un Lun left to train a new Iron Fist, killing Danny would actually prevent The Hand from ever getting their hands on the substance because they would never have access to another key. Before he can strike the killing blow, Elektra comes flying in to stop him which leads to a battle between father and surrogate daughter. Matt comes into the room right in time to watch his former beloved murder his somewhat mentor before taking off with Danny and leaving The Defenders more lost than ever.

Back at Midland Circle, Alexandra is feeling very victorious in “Ashes, Ashes”. The beginning of the episode was mainly spent grieving the sudden disappearance of The Black Sky while the rest of The Hand questioned her leadership skills. So close to being assassinated by Murakami, Elektra arrives just in time to drag an unconscious Danny by as the perfect trophy for Alexandra.

Next: The Defenders Recap: “Take Shelter”

Unfortunately, the verbose leader of The Hand earns a sword through the back as she demands that Elektra kill “the Devil’s of Hell Kitchen,” as the latter calmly says, “his name is Matthew”. Covered in blood, she reclaims her rightful name as Elektra Natchios and lets the remaining three fingers of the hand that they now work for her. The mixture of reincarnated evil assassin alongside the already bloodthirsty Elektra is not going to be a combination that the Defenders are going to want to face.