Warning: Spoilers for She-Hulk episode 6 ahead – turn back now if you have not seen the latest episode of the MCU show.
She-Hulk side-steps last week’s Daredevil tease for a “self-contained wedding episode” – and if there's one thing the MCU knows, it’s how to stage a wedding. We’ve already been treated to two this year: Christine’s big day in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, which was bulldozed by Shuma-Gorath, and Aamir and Tyesha's ceremony in Ms. Marvel, intruded by The Clandestines. In ‘Just Jen’, our hero takes on bridesmaid duties for a childhood friend, and things once again don’t go to plan.
Like those other Marvel properties, She-Hulk uses a wedding to explore the challenges of living an inconspicuous life while also being a superhero. Doctor Strange had all eyes on him after saving the world in Avengers; Kamala Khan was forced to pull an alarm when her enemies arrived; and now Jen’s a distracting focus after arriving at the event in She-Hulk form. The bride soon relegates her to being "regular Jen" – complete with a humiliating walk up the aisle with a geriatric dog.
It’s a painful moment made worse when you consider last week’s court procession, during which her former dates said she was nothing speicial in her normal form, and it’s a point hammered home when all anyone can ask her is whether she has a boyfriend or not. We’ve seen most of the Avengers, including Bruce, deal with their newfound powers, but as a female lover of the MCU, it’s especially powerful to see Jen given the opportunity to delve into her identity crisis, especially with the added lens of misogynythat she must grapple with.
That theme also flows into the subplot in a refreshing way that’s not forced. Nikki teams up with Mallory (Renee Elise Goldsberry) in a divorce case with a twist. Their client, Mr. Immortal, has been killing himself in increasingly extravagant ways to get out of marriages. As a result, he’s got a collection of ex-spouses who want compensation. The case itself is silly, but a scene-stealing Ginger Gonzaga provides an intriguing counter what’s happening with Jen. We see Nikki extracting herself as a wallflower to step into the spotlight to provide a breakthrough in the case, just as Jen’s forced back to the sidelines. It’s an optimistic counter to Jen’s struggles that helps make the episode the show’s most cohesive so far, rather than feeling like a series of skits sewn together.
It's a real shame, then, that the fourth-wall breaks are starting to feel more and more like an afterthought. There are two asides in the first five minutes before the show seems to forget they’re a key part of her personality, and the ones we do get feel like shoe-horned attempts to make She-Hulk feel relevant and Fleabag-y, forgetting the whole point of fourth-wall breaks in Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s groundbreaking show were to bring the audience into her intrusive inner thoughts. And given the chaos brewing inside Jen, denying us a window into Jen’s thoughts feels like a missed opportunity.