“Ribbit and Rip It” is She-Hulk’s busiest episode yet with Jen’s first superhero outing, a big twist, and the long-awaited appearance by a fan favorite.
We might as well get this out of the way now. Yes, this is the episode. It’s finally opened after weeks of teasing it. The character the internet has been clamoring for finally appears. Give it up for the one, the only…Leap-Frog (Brandon Stanley)!
Oh, Daredevil (Charlie Cox) also shows up. If you care about that sort of thing.
Of course, I do care about that sort of thing. As mentioned back when we first glimpsed his horned headgear in Luke Jacobson’s (Griffin Matthews) tailor shop, Daredevil is my favorite Marvel character. I won’t logroll myself again, but feel free to look around for my long essay on exactly why that is. For now, though, let’s focus on the matter at hand.
The episode gets springing with Leap-Frog’s attempt to take down two electronics enthusiasts from stealing merchandise from a big box store. Unfortunately, the encounter goes badly from jump as the only thing weaker than his quips is his quips. After stumbling about, he decides to run from the scene, employing his rocket boots. However, success is short-lived as they appear to short out, sending him crashing to Earth. Adding further insult to the whole scene, his costume catches fire, blanketing his legs in third-degree burns.
Frog, real name Eugene Patilio is hopping mad about the ordeal, so he goes to Jen’s law firm to seek legal compensation. Eugene’s father is one of the firm’s biggest clients, so Holden Holliway (Steve Coulter) makes it very clear Jen (Tatiana Maslany) needs to take the case. Even after she realizes the defendant will be Jacobson. Her attempts to defuse the situation, thus keeping her boss and her tailor happy, fail mightily. Jacobson shreds the work-in-progress gown intended for Jen’s upcoming awards banquet and declares her blacklisted. Now, as angry with Jacobson as the tailor is with her, she decides to take things to court where she anticipates cleaning him out.
[Daredevil’s] return is a delight.
Things go sideways for Jen when it turns out Jacobson has retained Matt Murdock, ‘ol Hornhead himself, as his counsel. In the span of about 10 minutes, Murdock literally sniffs out that Eugene misused the rocket boots by using jet fuel as his accelerant, against the specific instructions the tailor provided the wannabe costumed hero. The Judge understandably tosses the case.
Murdock catches up with Jen at Legal Ease, buys her an appletini, and does more to convince her to use her powers for superheroics in two sentences than her cousin (Mark Ruffalo) did for the days he kept her on that island. As things start to heat up, however, Matt receives a phone call and has to split. Of course, we all know what that means: urban vigilantism!
Shortly after, Jen joins the fray as it turns out the Man Without Fear’s target is Leap-Frog. Jen springs into action, raining down wanton destruction on a parking garage while DD largely dodges everything she’s got. She finally puts him down with her sonic hand slap while Eugene bounces from the scene. Yanking off Daredevil’s mask, she’s stunned to find Matt’s visage. He quickly explains himself, his abilities, and why he’s after Eugene. It turns out the green at the gills rich boy kidnapped Jacobson to force the tailor to construct him an even better super suit.
The duo continues to trade flirtatious quips as they chase Leap-Frog to the Lilypad, his secret headquarters, complete with a bright two-story tall neon sign. Frog’s poor goons don’t stand a chance against Daredevil, and we get a hallway scene to prove it. When She-Hulk joins in, their day only gets worse. In short order, the superhero duo saves Jacobson, takes out all the goons, and sends Leap-Frog to the hospital for more leg trauma-related treatment.
With Matt headed home the next day, he and Jen act as one would expect two of Marvel’s most canonically horny characters to. They head back to Jen’s place for a one-night stand. While uncommented on, their entire encounter unfolds while she is un-Hulked, a sign that Murdock may team up with She-Hulk in the streets, but he prefers Jen in the sheets.
Is that a terrible line? It feels like a terrible line.
The following day Matt heads out, half in costume, doing what my friend christened the “Stride of Pride” (as opposed to the “Walk of Shame) while Nikki (Ginger Gonzaga) heads in to prep Jen for her “Female Lawyer” gala. The event turns out to be a setup as Intelligencia uses the occasion to humiliate Jen in front of her colleagues and parents. As I feared last week, it all feels very revenge porn-y, right down to Josh (Trevor Salter) having actually recorded their sexual encounter. Jen finally truly loses her temper and smashes the collection of monitors showing the content of her phone and the recording of her night with Josh. She charges after masked Intelligencia members in the audience recording her humiliation and catches one just as either Los Angeles SWAT or Damage Control Officers draw down on her.
“Ribbit and Rip It” is more packed with incident than any She-Hulk episode to date, but it never feels overdone. The season set up each of the beats that came to fruition in this episode, some obvious (Josh’s villainy) and some subtle (Todd’s involvement). It also provides a climax without leaving nothing in the tank for the next episode. The matter of Jen’s stolen blood remains unresolved, as does how her loss of temper might affect her relationships or her criminal status. It is a well-executed penultimate that could’ve been the season finale and yet leaves plenty of storytelling opportunities for the actual conclusion.
[A] well-executed penultimate that…leaves plenty of storytelling opportunities for the actual conclusion.
I’ve already read and heard some unhappiness with Matt’s portrayal here, which is deeply predictable. Yes, DD does move a bit more superhero-y here than in the Netflix series. This is more of a bright costumes and big powers show than anything in those Netflix Defenders’ shows. It fits the tone. Similarly, some have expressed disappointment about the quipping. Again, yes, it is a lighter Matt than the one from Netflix. However, he was also prone to the sarcastic aside or flirtatious joke back then too. Set against the less tortured She-Hulk miles from Hell’s Kitchen, it makes a certain amount that it might be looser.
In comics, characters will often shift depending on what kind of book they’re in. For instance, the Daredevil in his own title will act a bit differently than the Daredevil that shows up in an Avengers book. Daredevil the superhero fighting Doc Ock alongside Spider-Man feels different than Daredevil the street-level vigilante who’s bloodying his fists in alleys. This “difference” between MCU Daredevil and Defenders’ Daredevil is not unusual in this way. People can prefer one over the other, but they shouldn’t act as though such things are unheard of or the result of some kind of criminal conspiracy. For me, huge Daredevil fan that I am, his return is a delight.
– I’m so embarrassed that it took the “Previously On…” credits for me to even consider that rich creep-o Todd (Jon Bass), the date that called Jen a specimen, might be part of Intelligencia. I still don’t think he’s the mastermind, though.
-Todd’s working dinner with Jen is skin-crawling both in terms of his unapologetic sexual harassment and refusal to view his purchase of an ill-gotten Wakandan spear as at all a negative. The vicarious discomfort for Jen when he crossed his arms and declared “Wakanda Forever” was intense.
– One thing I’ll cop to being fanboy annoyed about when it comes to Daredevil? Put the damn logo on his costume. You have him wearing freaking yellow and red. No need to be shy now.
– Intelligencia’s “attack” is a brutal scene. After a light, fun episode, it was a strong gut punch that still felt within the show’s tone.
-The writer of this week’s episode, Cody Ziglar, wrote a good Spider-Punk limited series. Next for him is a new Miles Morales’ ongoing. He’s definitely a writer worth following if you’re into comics.
The Court Records
– “My name is Leapfrog, I’m just acting like I’m the Guard Frog in this particular instance.”
– “Then you shouldn’t have betrayed me you greasy old buffalo.”
– “Goodbye, tragedy!”
– “No, because I hate you now.”
– “That’s a low blow insulting a blind man’s clothes.”
– “I’m sorry I assumed the guy dressed as the Devil was the bad one.”
– “Well it is very daring to use ketchup and mustard as your color scheme.”
– “Is next episode the finale?”
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