The Defenders Finale Recap: “The Defenders”


Somehow The Defenders mini-series seems like it needs both more and fewer episodes. The anti-climatic finale, “The Defenders,” showcases the series drawn out storyline involving a villainous organization that turned out to be pretty generic in terms of bad guys.

However, the last-minute switcheroo between Elektra and Alexandra could have been an interesting thread to follow if the show had taken more time to flesh out its villains. Nonetheless, the series wraps up its storyline with the promised battle for New York City.

The first part of “The Defenders,” is the group still debating whether or not to set off the explosives to take down Midland Circle. Luke is firmly against the idea, still lamenting that people could get hurt while both Colleen and Matt think that potentially letting The Hand go is too dangerous of risk. Jessica’s argument seems to sum up the entire finale: she just wants to get it over with. Once the building is gone, she can move on with her life and sadly that’s seems to be the recurring theme throughout the episode. With everyone, including Claire, on board Luke ultimately concedes that they have to do it as long as no civilians are even close to vicinity.

Photo Credit: Sarah Shatz/Netflix

Meanwhile, underground Danny is still hiding out from Elektra and her goons. Their goal is a bit murky here, is the substance in the soil or the dragon bones found on the other side of the door? Either way, The Hand has been saying that once they excavate whatever it is they need, then they will officially live forever but it seems like these bones will leave the with a finite amount. Either way, Danny makes one last attempt to stop Madame Gao and Elektra only to be taunted by the former over the losses he’s endured. Fortunately, the three remaining Defenders are on their way down to save him.

In a finale, one would hope to get the best fight scenes, but sadly “The Defenders,” has one of the weakest to date. Shot with no extra lighting, the cave brawl is hard to follow while all of the heroes easily take out the surrounding thugs. At one point hip-hop music starts playing but unlike the utilization of the genre during the arrival of Luke Cage, this just seems like the editors added it in as an afterthought. After taking out all of the goons, the four are forced to face Elektra once again who easily handles the entire group until Jessica sends her flying through the dragon bones. Encouraging the rest of the group to leave, Matt stays behind in the cave hoping to save his former lover one last time.

Upstairs, Colleen and Claire run into a bit of trouble while planting the bombs when Bakuto shows up to try to lure the former to the dark side. Again, this is a thread with the potential to be interesting but it was introduced way too late in the series for it to have any emotional payoff. The two duel for a while until Misty comes strolling in trying to regain control of the situation. Unfortunately, bullets have no effect on Bakuto for now and he easily disarms the detective until she achieve any real damage. However, he manages to get Claire’s head between his two swords which springs Misty into action where she loses one of her arms. Why is this exciting? In the comics Misty Knight has a bionic arm and forms a “Heroes For Hire” agency with Colleen Wing where they’re known as the “Daughters of the Dragon”. The three take down Bakuto, who accidentally sets off the bomb, and they’re that much closer to their canonical storylines.

At the precinct, “The Defenders,” tries to shuffle in another emotional storyline by giving Trish and Karen a heartfelt moment. Despite spending the past few hours hanging out in a room at the police station together, the two haven’t spoken up until now? The series definitely could have used an episode to give the supporting cast more time together rather than let them hang out in the background once they become pertinent to the plot. Both women chat about their unique friendships, with these heroes and it feels like a reminder to Karen about how important the person she’s supposed to lose is.

Photo Credit: Sarah Shatz/Netflix

That’s right, in “The Defenders,” Matt Murdock makes the ultimate sacrifice. While Danny’s battle may have been against The Hand, Matt knew that he had an obligation to stop Elektra once and for all. The two have a long and complex relationship which plays well on-screen but was already explored in Daredevil Season 2. However, their battle is at least more emotionally charge and well-acted than Danny’s earlier in the episode so it makes for a better ending. Again, exploring this new unhinged Elektra could have made for more compelling episodes than the filler episode of “Fish In The Jailhouse”.

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The most disheartening part of “The Defenders,” is how the characters ultimately suffer no consequences for their actions. They actually blow up a building, but the NYPD ends up just sweeping the entire thing under the rug. Matt sacrifices himself but ends up being miraculously being saved by his mother as well as a group of nuns, and since he survived it’s probable that Elektra did as well.

The only person who has made any strides forward is Danny, who recognizes Matt’s death as a reason to be a better hero. Known to fill in for Daredevil in the comics, the scene with Iron Fist sitting atop the building like the former could be an interesting plot for Iron Fist season 2. Overall, the series was at its best when it focused on its core four and allowed them to clash over their differences than following the convoluted problem with The Hand.

The Defenders is all but a guarantee to be renewed, and hopefully next season they will learn from their pacing mistakes to set up an even better ensemble story.