Editor’s Note: The following article contains spoilers for Episodes 1-5 of She-Hulk
A new week means a new episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, and if the episode title is any indication, Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) is feeling “Mean, Green, and Straight Poured into These Jeans” as she fights a legal battle over her own pseudonym. Meanwhile, Nikki (Ginger Gonzaga) and Augustus ‘Pug’ Pugliese (Josh Segarra) track down a discreet and exclusive costume designer with the hopes of getting Jen some new She-Hulk-sized clothing to expand her limited wardrobe. Jen continues to explore her identity as She-Hulk and how it defines her, stumbling across several key Easter eggs and references along the way.
Does Pug the Sneakerhead Hint at Non-MCU Marvel Characters?
Episode 5 features the return of Jen’s co-worker and friend, Pug, and gives us more of a look into his personality and hobbies. Mainly, he is a devout sneakerhead, as he asks Nikki to wait in line with him for the drop of the Iron Man Threes. If you recall, the Iron Man Threes were depicted briefly in Episode 2 as an ad on Jen’s phone. They’re a big deal, as customers are limited to only one pair. Of course, Pug, being the resourceful lawyer he is, plans to get two with Nikki’s help. Using Nikki as a stand-in customer, Pug intends to purchase “one to rock and one to stock”.
While we never see Pug’s sneaker exploit in action, he seems to be successful as the end credit illustrations feature him showing off his vast collection to Nikki, Iron Man Threes in hand. Looking past Pug and Nikki to the collection behind them, each shoe seems to feature a superhero-centric theme. There are heroes’ colors and emblems from all across the featured MCU, including Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man, and a comic-accurate Doctor Strange pair. But most interestingly is the non-MCU (yet to be introduced) shoes. If you keep your eyes peeled three specific shoes stand out: Deadpool, Cyclops of the X-Men, and The Thing of the Fantastic Four. And while fellow fourth-wall-breaker, Deadpool, would hate the fact that a shoe copycat beat him into the MCU, the sneakers’ likeness to their hero counterpart is unmistakable. It’s a great nod to some beloved characters that we’ll finally get to see join the Marvel Cinematic Universe in just a few years.
Fulfilling his favor to Nikki in advance, Pug contacts his ‘Drip Broker’ to find a designer who can make superhuman-sized clothing. Once he gets a lead, the pair head to Café Beau-Ba, an unassuming Boba cafe that is actually a front for a superhuman clothing service.
Once Pug and Nikki let the employee know that they know, he takes them to the back. But it isn’t what Nikki was hoping for, instead, the drip broker’s contact is just a bootlegger that sells knockoff Avengers merch. Opening up a large locker, the bootlegger reveals a collection of ‘Avongers’ shirts, hats, boxers, fanny packs, and more. And if you don’t like that, he has ‘Avingers’ garb instead. Featuring Marvel Studio’s emoji artist, 100% Soft‘s artwork, everything is just a bit off; Hulk is purple, Thor wields a shovel instead of his hammer, and just about all the heroes’ color schemes are reversed. In short, despite the oxymoronic paradox it presents, Marvel needs to make official bootleg merch now, because an ‘Avongers’ shirt is just too good to pass up.
Trademark Trial Opens Up Identity Issues
Following up on the cliffhanger from last week’s episode, Jen finds herself in a legal battle against Titania (Jameela Jamil) over the right to her own name, She-Hulk. Titania, the super-powered social media influencer, copyrighted the name and plastered it onto her new line of products, like She-Hulk foot scrubs. Essentially, if you can think of it, there is a non-FDA-approved Titania licensed She-Hulk product for it.
This line of products and its advertisement is enough to bring it to the attention of Jen’s boss, Holden Holliway (Steve Coulter), who questions her on the billboard he passed advertising a She-Hulk booty boost smoothie. While the copyright issue causes enough stress for Jen involving her own identity, it also creates conflicts in her law firm. As Holliway points out, GLK&H made She-Hulk (not Jen) the face of the superhuman law division. But with Titania’s copyright ownership and zany usage of the moniker, she is essentially discrediting the firm’s reputation.
She-Hulk vs. Jen continues to be a common theme throughout the episodes. Though they share the same consciousness and are essentially Jen in two different mediums, they are still different. The superhuman law division is staked on She-Hulk’s reputation, not Jen’s. She shows up to work as She-Hulk, not Jen. And as Jen’s prosecuting attorney, Mallory Book (Renee Elise Goldsberry) attests in court, the men that she previously dated were interested in her She-Hulk appearance, not Jen’s. The trademark trial, which Jen dejectedly won, is more than just a fight for her name, but her identity. The concept of She-Hulk’s difference from Jen has been seeded throughout the series since the beginning but finally comes to a head in this episode and will likely continue to be explored in the coming episodes.
Real vs Pseudonym Monikers
What’s the difference between Thor and Spider-Man? Captain America and Doctor Strange? Besides the costumes, color schemes, and abilities, the difference in question is in their monikers. Spider-Man and Captain America, like many other heroes, use monikers to differentiate themselves from their alter-egos. Naturally, you’d interact with them differently according to whether they are in costume or not, especially with a character that has a secret identity like Peter.
During Jen’s discussion with her attorney, she states she didn’t realize she needed to trademark her name and brings other superheroes in as examples, “Did Doctor Strange have to trademark his name? Did Thor?” She’s immediately reminded that those two heroes use their own names, while she uses a pseudonym as She-Hulk.
The moment feels reminiscent of a scene from Infinity War in which Spidey meets Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and introduces himself as Peter Parker (Tom Holland), using his real name. When Stephen reciprocates, presenting himself as Doctor Strange, Peter mistakes it for his pseudonym moniker and revises his introduction, now as Spider-Man. It’s a quick moment played for laughs that also makes a point: If you have a cool name and/or are a doctor, you may already have your superhero moniker ready to go.
This realization again relates to Jen’s struggle with identity. Is She-Hulk simply a pseudonym or is it more defined than that? Now that she has the rights back it should be easier to ask those questions, but stressful nonetheless.
The comparison is right there, and the internet has certainly made the connection, but Titania is the one to officially make the reference. As Jen and Mallory walk into court, Titania mocks She-Hulk, exclaiming, “Nice suit, Shrek.” It’s a caustic remark that isn’t followed up by any retaliation, but the reference has more than enough merit to stand on its own.
Everyone loves Shrek, but Titania should know not to compare She-Hulk to an ogre. At the very least, Titania could have opted for Fiona, but there isn’t as much snark in that option. When you think about it, the thought of Shrek in a suit is rather entertaining, and if it hasn’t already been mentioned enough, She-Hulk needs an updated wardrobe.
Luke the Supersuit Designer
This is the guy Nikki and Pug were looking for. The exclusive supersuit designer that allegedly makes super-human clothing. By claiming She-Hulk to be an Avenger, Nikki is able to score a consultation with Luke Jacobson (Griffin Matthews) to discuss She-Hulk’s clothing needs. Luke is eccentric and confident, very proud of his work, and rightfully so. First appearing in the five-issue Marvel run, North Dakota, in 1986, Luke exudes energy rivaling that of Edna Mode’s (perhaps his inspiration considering Pixar exists in the MCU) which begs the question, what’s Luke’s stance on capes?
Upon accepting Jen as his client, Luke inquires about what type of super-heroing she does and if her supersuit needs any special qualities like built-in weaponry. Jen clarifies that she just wants a basic business suit, much to Luke’s grief, as he does not settle for ordinary. As he is about to dismiss them, Nikki presents a challenge Luke can’t resist: A suit that will fit Jen in both human and She-Hulk form.
Jen demonstrates the transformation between both forms and by the shocked look on his face, Luke is back in. The challenge is something he can’t pass up as he has never outfitted a Hulk before. When Jen returns later on to get her suits, Luke informs her that he has made her “something extra” which is likely her purple and white supersuit. Considering Luke’s intriguing clientele (more on that below), it will be interesting to see if he pops back up again, and who else he might have made a suit for.
The Dates’ Reprise
When the judge informs Jen and Mallory that they are going to need more evidence of prior usage of ‘She-Hulk’ to win their case and regain their rights, Jen remembers her dating profile. Regretfully, she realizes the dating account she created for her She-Hulk self is the perfect example of prior usage, but she’ll need some witnesses to corroborate her claims.
So there they are. All four of them, back and assembled in a courtroom. Date 1 confirms that Jen used the name ‘She-Hulk’ but also calls her a try-hard. Date 2, while somehow managing a way to mention that he is a writer, agrees that Jen went by She-Hulk, primarily in the third person. Date 3, the one Jen describes as having a fetish, also validates the moniker claiming that she was embarrassed at first but ultimately embraced it. Finally, Date 4, the hot doctor that split when She-Hulk wasn’t She-Hulk anymore, further supported the usage and admitted that he would not have gone on the date if She-Hulk had presented as Jen instead.
While it is the testimony that Jen needed to win the case, it is humiliating and heartbreaking for her to have to hear such a statement and relive the embarrassment once more. Again, the theme of identity between Jen Walters and She-Hulk presents itself. Her clothing, work, and love life are all drastically affected by which form she chooses. But as Mallory tells Jen post-trial, she can do better and most certainly deserves better.
Client Privacy AKA Daredevil
The other client Luke is working with? None other than the Man Without Fear himself, Daredevil. At the end of the episode, while Jen is trying on her new suits, Luke picks up a box and scoffs, exclaiming that items shouldn’t be left out in the open as it risks client confidentiality. Right before the episode ends, the camera pushes in towards the box to reveal a horned mask. And if you look closely, Daredevil’s (charlie cox) suit is sticking out of its garment bag on the rack right beside it. Yellow and weathered, the mask is irrefutably Daredevil’s and matches the mold of the one from the Netflix series.
The subtle, unexpected reveal is the perfect way to tease Daredevil’s arrival in She-Hulk as he has long been anticipated. Judging by the mid-season trailer, which provides the most of Matt/Daredevil yet, they will work together both as lawyers and heroes which will give Matt a chance to know Jen aside from just her She-Hulk self. Caution: Sparks may fly.
While “Mean, Green, and Straight Poured into These Jeans” might not have had a post-credit scene (the first of the series without one) it supplied more than enough to hold fans over until next week. If anything, it is for the better as the inclusion of a post-credit scene would have only subtracted from the adrenaline rush of seeing that iconic horned helmet before the episode’s close. There is a lot to look forward to in the final four episodes of the series, but an overarching villain has yet to be revealed. Perhaps Daredevil will bring news of she hulk‘s main antagonist, but whatever the reasoning for his appearance is, there’s no doubt that the upcoming dynamic between him and She-Hulk will be a highlight of the series.