The Defenders S01E05: Take Shelter – Recap and Review

WARNING: Contains SPOILERS for this episode as well as previous episodes of The Defenders.

Previously on The Defenders:

After Matt, Jessica, Luke and Danny fought together for the first time against Alexandra. They then retreated to a Chinese restaurant named Royal Dragon.

There they discussed their next move. Danny suggested they form a team but the others were not keen on the idea. Then Stick, the last member of The Chaste and Matt’s old allie showed up, explaining that The Hand was a centuries-oasked for their help. Matt, Luke and Danny decided to help out, each for their own reasons. Jessica left to continue solving her case.

But then, Alexandra and Elektra showed up and Alexandra asked for The Iron Fist, promising to spare New York in return. Stick and the others decided to fight Elektra, with Jessica arriving just in time to help them.


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In this episode:

  • We begin where we left off with our heroes Matt Murdock, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Danny Rand and Stick fighting Elektra, while Alexandra escapes. Soon after, the other leaders of The Hand (Sowande, Murakami and Madame Gao) arrive at the scene with other members of The Hand. While the others fight The Hand, Matt takes his fight with Elektra outside of the Royal Dragon. When Matt calls Elektra by her name she hesitates and even stops Murakami. He had suddenly appeared from attacking Matt before running away. Luke Cage was seemingly losing his battle with Sowande and was about to get kidnapped. Matt, Jessica, Danny and Stick retreat to Colleen Wing’s Doju.
  • Luke Cage later arrives at the Doju, revealing not only that he hadn’t been captured but that he also had captured Sowande. After an unsuccessful interrogation, the heroes decide to go find their loved ones. They feared that The Hand may come after them, as warned by Sowande. Luke Cage goes to get Claire. While guarding the Doju, Danny and Colleen get attacked by Bakuto, who is revealed to be alive. He later escapes. Matt goes to get Karen.
  • Jessica goes to get Trisha but they’re ambushed by The Hand. Matt comes to the rescue wearing his Daredevil suit for the first time in a while. Karen, Foggy, Trisha, Malcolm, Claire and Coleen stay with Misty in the NYPD precinct. The “fingers” of The Hand, with the exception of Sowande, discuss the danger of Daredevil’s appearence (who they don’t suspect to be Matt Murdock) since he had a relationship with Elektra and Murakami questions Alexandra’s control over Elektra.
  • In another unsuccessful attempt of interrogation, Daredevil questions Sowande about what The Hand did to Elektra. Afterwards, Stick tells him to reveal to the others that he used to date Elektra which causes an argument, since the rest of the heroes are angry because Matt didn’t reveal this before and is putting her above stopping The Hand. During the argument, Sowande frees himself and tries to sneak up on the heroes, but Stick decapitates him with his sword.
  • Alexandra discovers that Elektra has left The Hand’s headquarters. We see her outside, contemplating the view of New York and later in Matt’s house, lying on his bed.

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The first thing I like about this episode is the fight scene at the beginning. This is the second time we see the Defenders fighting together and this time alongside with Stick. And we see The Hand really bring their full might. Almost all the “fingers” are there with their goons and they really were a force to be reckoned with. They could have destroyed that whole Chinese restaurant where the Defenders were if they didn’t want Iron Fist alive. One of the leaders, Sowande, actually managed to stand on his own against Luke Cage.

The other thing I liked was the part where the Defenders each had to get their loved ones. We get to see the worlds of each defender collide and not just the Defenders themselves. The best part is getting our first scene with Misty Knight and Colleen Wing together which teases their potential relationship as the crime-fighting duo known as the Daughters of the Dragon, like in the comics. And speaking of Colleen, she gets an interesting character arc in this episode. In the beginning of the show she encourages Danny to have allies but the return of Bakudo and her defeat at his hands make her feel weak and lost, not only because she doesn’t have powers like the others but also because of Bakudo manipulating her into joining The Hand in the past.

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Matt Murdock aka Daredevil really shines in this episode. First of all it’s great to see him back in his costume (especially because Jessica Jones had a few funny things to say about it). What’s also interesting is the relationship between Matt and Elektra. They get sort of a Cap/Winter Soldier story arc which is done really well. I especially love the ending where Elektra goes back to Matt’s house. No words are needed to see that she feels at home from her expression to the way she lays on Matt’s bed. And what’s also great about this story arc is Daredevil’s choices, in which he puts his love for Elektra above all else, making his character imperfect and therefore more human and also putting him at odds with the rest of the team.

Which brings me to the thing I liked most: the conflict in both sides. Just because the Defenders are all super-powered people who want to do good doesn’t mean they always see eye to eye and just because the “fingers” of The Hand are both centuries-old psychopaths who want power and to live forever doesn’t mean they always agree. In the case of both sides, they’re humans, with different contexts and personalities. They may share the same goal but each one has different means.

The only problem is the “fingers” of The Hand. Alexandra is a great character and I don’t like seeing her overshadowed by so many villains, especially in a small series. the show would be better off focusing more on Alexandra and leaving the other leaders of The Hand to other seasons of The Defenders or other Marvel Netflix series, because they all have potential to be main villains. Instead characters like Sowande don’t get enough screen time and therefore not enough character development.

Nevertheless, the story is great and the actors portray their characters very efficiently. This is another great episode in another great Marvel Netflix series.

Written by: Miguel Coelho

If you liked this, don’t forget to read the recap and review of the next episode of  The Defenders: “Ashes, Ashes”.

And for more marvel-related articles, be sure to follow Geek Motivation (@GEEKMOTIVATION) and me (@Miguel420Coelho).



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