9 questions I have after watching The Defenders

Forget the Avengers - there's a new superhero squad in town, and it comes from the streaming giant Netflix. Out now, The Defenders sees the culmination of the Netflix-Marvel universe as Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron First team up to take down The Hand once and for all. For a full breakdown of the series, and to find out if it's worth a watch, make you read our review - but if you've already seen it and you've got questions, you've come to the right place (because I have them too). It goes without saying that there's major spoilers to follow, so make sure you're ready to talk about details before continuing. If you're sure, keep reading to find out what the Black Sky is really, where Matt is now, and what happened to Elektra...

1. What is the Black Sky really?

Alexandra referred to Elektra as the Black Sky A LOT throughout The Defenders, but I'm a bit confused about who, or what, the Black Sky really is. 

Introduced in Daredevil season 1, Stick referred to the Black Sky as a deadly weapon, the "bringer of shadows," and something which must be stopped at all costs. It turns out, though, that the Black Sky he was referring to came in the form of a young boy who arrived in New York gift-wrapped in a shipping container for Wilson Fisk (AKA Kingpin). Unwilling to murder an innocent, Daredevil stopped Stick from killing the child then and there, but his mentor eventually fulfilled his mission, telling Matt Murdock: "I put an arrow in that thing's heart." Nobu Yoshioka later tells Fisk: "It will be difficult to locate another Black Sky. They are extremely rare." So it's clear there isn't just one Black Sky entity who inhabits multiple bodies, but rather a number of certain individuals who are born Black Sky. 

Another is Elektra as we discovered in Daredevil season 2. Stick apparently always knew she was Black Sky, but took her in as a child to keep her away from The Hand and trained her to fight for the Chaste. Eventually, someone in his organisation discovered her true identity, so he sent her away to be adopted by a rich and powerful ambassador and his wife to keep her safe. When she return in Daredevil season 2, Nobu reveals to her that she's the Black Sky and tells her The Hand "live and die to serve" her, but rather than join them, she sacrifices herself to save Daredevil in the finale. As we now know, The Hand bring her back in the events leading up to The Defenders, and it appears that even though she died and was brought back as a "vessel," she's still the Black Sky. 

Annoyingly, it's still not super clear what this means. Is the Black Sky just a really good fighter who The Hand have always trained to fight their battles? Alexandra does tell Elektra at one point: "It's clear watching you fight that you know much more than anyone can learn in a single life," so she obviously has some supernatural skills. However, despite Nobu's claims in Daredevil season 2, The Hand don't appear to serve the Black Sky in The Defenders; instead, she’s doing their bidding. Was it all just a bit of spiel Nobu gave Elektra to try and get her to come over to their side, and now that her memories are gone, there's no need to try and persuade her? No idea. 

2. Why didn't Matt recognise Elektra straight away?

When Matt Murdock (AKA Daredevil) first comes into contact with the resurrected Elektra, (AKA Black Sky) in the Midland Circle building, he doesn't immediately recognise her. He tells the other Defenders, "there's someone else coming… something else," and as she rounds the corner, the shocked exclamation of "Elektra?!" I was expecting never came. Instead, Matt asks: "What is it?" Why does he not recognised his lost love?

I know what you're saying: "Lauren, Matt's blind, and that super insensitive of you," but he's not, is he? Not really. Daredevil's powers allow him to see perfectly well, and although it might not be in a way we'd recognise as sight, he's never struggled identifying people before. It isn't until he's been fighting her for a good long while and he suddenly focuses on her breathing that he thinks he recognises the person who's trying to kill him as Elektra. 

Ok, so he wasn't exactly expecting to see Elektra at the time - he still believes she's dead. And the fiery vision the Netflix show uses to illustrate what Matt sees doesn't really allow for minute details, especially during a heavy action sequence where there's a lot going on. On top of that, the Black Sky doesn't have a lot of things Matt uses to recognise people, such as a heartbeat (he mentions this to Stick later on), and so it isn't until her breathing kicks in hard that he recognises her. Still, it feels like a dramatic setup that doesn't really align with Daredevil's keen abilities.

3. Why do The Hand want to live forever?

As evil motivations go, it's a bit one-dimensional. I get that no one wants to die, but to live forever? That's no picnic - just ask any vampire - and all of the members of The Hand have lived long enough to know the pain of watching their loved ones die while they continue on. So my question is: why try and destroy an entire city just so you can be immortal?

Well, we do get a bit of clarification from certain members of The Hand. Madam Gao tells Alexandra: "You are afraid of dying. We want to live long enough to go home." This speaks to the conflicting motivations of the various members of The Hand - leader Alexandra is doing everything she can to make sure she doesn't die because she knows what's awaiting her. "What you saw on the other side - the darkness, the absence of everything - it's horrifying, isn't it?" She says to Elektra. "I've seen it, too. More than once. And all I want in this life is to never see it again." This explains why Alexandra is so keen to stay alive. 

But the other members of The Hand? They want to live long enough to go home again. Presumably, Gao is talking about K'un L'un, where The Hand (and the Iron Fist) trained and were banished from. They wish to return - it is supposed to be a paradise and is certainly a place of great power - and for some reason they can't achieve that yet. Does their banishment have an expiration date? Or do they simply require more time to work out a way to get back in, and they don't care if it takes a thousand lifetimes to do it?

4. Why did Elektra kill Alexandra, and what does she want with the Substance?

It felt like a bit of an impulsive move at the time, to be honest, and if Elektra had remembered who she was and killed Alexandra because she was threatening Matt, then why did she then immediately take over leadership of The Hand? And why does she want the Substance? Is she like Alexandra, and after seeing the "absence" on the other side of death, she wants to make sure she never goes back there? Or does she simply want power, and she knows the best way to control The Hand is to control what they want? 

Showrunner Marco Ramirez shed some light on why Elektra kills Alexandra in an interview with EW, saying: "To me, it's organic in the writing of Elektra, because Elektra has been told by many people in her life what she is, whether it was Stick or Matt, it had been them telling her who she is... So when she kills Alexandra, it's really her saying, 'People need to stop telling me who I am. This is who I am.'"

But that's not all. EW also spoke with Elodie Yung, who plays Elektra, and in this interview the actress shed some light on what her character wants:

We've previously established Elektra as a sociopath, and I think deeply it is in her nature to be a very independent person and a sociopath who would use people as resources for her to attain her goal. I think when her consciousness comes back and she remembers who she is and says 'I'm Elektra, and he is Matt Murdock,' in my understanding, I saw that as she's back and she's gonna use them. She's not trying to be the head of The Hand or to control it. What she wants is to be reunited with her love. In her head, she's like, 'You guys are going to work for me, you're going to help me get to Matthew.'

What she wants, in a very Shakespearean way, is to live forever with him. She wants to find him because she wants him to live forever the same way she lives forever. It has to be accomplished through death, but it's a bit like, 'See you on the other side.' That's what I understood from it, that they'll be together forever, and I don't think she wants to control New York and all that.

5. What will happen to Misty Knight after her injury?

Being friends with a superhero is tough, especially when you're a cop and they insist on taking the law into their own hands. With The Defenders crossing over four major heroes, there are plenty of friends, exes, and associates in harm's way throughout the series - but it was sadly Misty Knight who got the worse of it. The NYPD police officer bravely came to the rescue of Colleen Wing and Clare Temple during a fight with Bakuto in the finale, but lost an arm in the process. 

As devastating as this must be for the character, it could lead to some seriously exciting opportunities for fans. In the comics, Tony Stark/Iron Man gives Misty a new bionic arm, and she forms a crime-fighting duo with Colleen Wing called the Daughters of the Dragon. It seems unlikely that we'll see this Avengers/Defenders crossover in the movies/TV shows, as Marvel has always been pretty clear about the separation between the cinematic and Netflix universes. However, there is another billionaire superhero in Misty's life who could fill the gap. It wouldn't be too unbelievable for Danny Rand (AKA Iron Fist) to know a scientist working for his company who could provide Misty with a new arm, and you have to admit it would be very un-Marvel for such a strong supporting character to not have her injury healed or in some way compensated for. Most characters in the Marvel world don't die or get seriously injured, and if they do, they can just be brought back or given high-tech body parts.

Given the popularity of both Misty and Colleen, I can safely say there are plenty of fans who'd like to see a Daughters of the Dragon spin-off show on Netflix, and this might be the first step towards getting one. 

6. How did Matt survive, and where is he now?

Of course Matt didn't die - no one is surprised by that - but how the hell did he survive the explosion of the Midland Circle building when he was directly underneath it at the time? At the moment we've got nothing to go on except pure speculation, but there's a chance Matt and Elektra might have been kept safe from the explosion in a pocket of rock which conveniently fell around them, instead on on them. They'd still be trapped many feet underground, but someone could dig them out in time to save them if they were so inclined and knew where to start. The more pressing question for me now is: where is he?

As unbelievable as his survival is, he's not in a New York hospital surrounded by his loved ones. He's in what appears to be a nunnery. Interestingly, the nun watching over him calls for someone who might give a clue to his location (and even who might've saved him) - Maggie. Guess what's Matt's Mum's name is? That's right, Maggie Murdock. The scene was also a fairly obvious homage to a comic strip from Daredevil's 1986 Born Again comic, which includes a storyline arc featuring Matt's Mum, Sister Maggie. 

Showrunner Marco Ramirez refused to confirm the identity of Maggie when EW put the question to him, but he did says that that scene was inspired by the Born Again comic. "I can say that visually that shot at the end of Daredevil's story was definitely an homage, as were a couple of other scenes, to the comics," Ramirez explained. "That's one of my favorite Daredevil images, so regardless of who any of the characters are, I went to the production meeting saying this is the image we're going for, we're going to feel like this, and that came from that image that I purposely borrowed from the comics."  

7. Is Elektra alive too?

If Matt managed to survive the destruction of Midland Circle, it stands to reason that so did Elektra/the Black Sky. Although she didn't get a scene at the end of The Defenders confirming this, as with Matt, I think it's a pretty safe bet that she's alive - and actress Elodie Yung agrees. "From my understanding, I'm still alive," she tells EW. "You know, they gave me this potion to bring me back to life, so that's my understanding of it, but really I have no clue. I'm just as confused as you, I don't know what's going on [laughs]. I might still be in that building as I'm talking to you."

8. How has no one realised Matt Murdock is the Devil of Hell's Kitchen?

This is fast becoming one of the major issues for the Netflix-Marvel universe, because there's only so long characters can act dumb before it's just not fun anymore. It was hard enough to believe that the supporting characters in Daredevil season 1 and 2 couldn't work out that the blind lawyer who kept turning up was also the blind superhero who lived in the same area, but with The Defenders, it becomes even more unbelievable. 

I mean, Matt is literally in the police station, standing side-by-side with Jessica Jones and Luke Cage (who don't have secret identities) for a lot of the show, but when the latter two go into battle they're suddenly backed up by this mysterious masked hero, and oh, guess what? Matt is suddenly elsewhere. Jeezus, these cops are idiots! On top of that, when the three of them escape police custody to go save Danny, they make a point of saying that everyone believes Luke and Jessica kidnapped Matt, but there's really no evidence to back that up. Apart from the fact that Matt, although a well-respected lawyer, is clearly in cahoots with Luke and Jessica, it's also really out of character for the pair to kidnap innocent people who're trying to help them, and doesn't this police station have CCTV footage or WHAT?!

Finally, you have to ask, what's the point of having a secret identity anymore when every other member of your team isn't bothering? With literally no repercussions for Luke and Jessica thanks to Misty Knight and Foggy Nelson (via Hogarth Chao and Benowitz), why does Daredevil feel the need to hide his identity? Ok, it's to protect the people he loves - but in case you didn't notice, they were still all locked up in the police station for protection, along with everyone else's loved ones, for most of the series. Maybe he just likes the outfit...

9. Are there more dragons (or dragon remains) in the world?

That's now two confirmed (and very dead) dragons that we know of in the Netflix-Marvel universe:  the one Danny took out in K'un L'un to become the Iron Fist, and the one The Hand dug up under the city of New York. The question now becomes... how many dragons are/were out there? Are any of them still alive? Are there dragon remains buried all over the world? And is someone going to put some bones on a fire so that the first dragons in centuries can be reborn into the world… oh no, wait, wrong TV show.