The Defenders Episodes 1-4 Recap: It All Starts At Midland Circle

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The Defenders episode 1-4 recap. Marvel / Netflix

The Defenders episode 1 reintroduced us to Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Read our recap here. But The Defenders episode 2 is where the action really begins. The tremors Alexandra sends through New York City at the end of the premiere episode bring all these heroes together on a mission to figure out the cause. Spoilers ahead. If you’d rather listen to a recap of the first four episodes, check out Player.One’s video below.

Luke Cage meets Iron Fist, first because they each end up at a warehouse controlled by The Hand. Iron Fist punches Luke in the face and the Harlem hero is actually quite surprised by the power he’s packing. But instead of joining forces, they both leave in a huff. It’s eventually Claire Temple who urges Luke to make nice with Iron Fist. It doesn’t go well, again. Luke warns Iron Fist to change his ways, and use his privilege for the cause instead of against it. After some thinking, Iron Fist relents. He goes to Rand and demands answers about why the Hand is infiltrating the company. This leads him to Midland Circle.

Luke Cage ends up there, too. One of the kids working for The Hand ends up in jail, and when Luke visits him, he claims he can’t say anything or he’ll die. He tells Luke to buy his mother a lotto ticket. Luke obliges, but when he’s dropping it off at the mother’s house, she gets a phone call telling her that her son is dead. On a shelf in her home, Luke finds a wad of cash with an address: Midland Circle.

Jessica Jones and Daredevil become suspicious of one another, following each other around the city. Jessica’s investigation into the missing architect brings her to a firm where she poses as a rich investor. She pries into the firm’s properties, specifically a project this missing architect was working on. It turns out to be Midland Circle.

Of course, Daredevil is following her. He warns her not to investigate any further -- that it’s all trouble. (If you remember from Daredevil Season 2, Matt Murdock knows about Midland Circle. He went there with Elektra.) But when they are bickering outside, Daredevil senses gunfire upstairs. He takes Jessica Jones’ scarf to cover his face and runs inside the Midland Circle building.

Three episodes in, The Defenders are all in the same place. An epic battle ensues, with Sigourney Weaver, Elektra and The Hand present.

In a flashback to two months earlier, which appears to closely align with the Daredevil Season 2 finale, we learn how Elektra comes back to life as Black Sky. She rises in that same cauldron of blood we last saw her in. She comes out naked and feral, kind of like Sara Lance and Thea when they rose from the Lazarus Pit on Arrow. Alexandra trains her from afar, sending a stream of Hand members to fight against her. Needless to say, they all die, and Alexandra finally declares her fit enough to become her protector and weapon.  

We also learn more about Alexandra, who is definitely the leader of The Hand -- the top dog of The Hand’s five fingers. Madame Gao even answers to Alexandra. Bakuto (Colleen Wing’s sensei who was ‘killed’ by Iron Fist) was another finger. Sawande, an African drug lord who runs Harlem, is another finger. And last, but not least, we meet Murakami, who Stick reveals “pulled the strings” behind Nobu from Daredevil .

As The Defenders hide out from The Hand at a Chinese restaurant, Stick explains that Alexandra and these five leaders have been around for centuries, millennia even. Jessica Jones traces their existence back to the 1820s during her investigation of the Midland Circle properties, but Stick’s reaction suggests they’ve been around much longer, because Alexandra has taken “many names.” Banished from Ku’n-Lun after wanting to use the power of chi to harness life itself and become immortal, The Hand dispersed across the world to gain control and influence.

The dumpling dinner doesn't last long. Elektra appears and The Defenders, plus Stick (who cut off his own hand to escape Alexandra), line up for battle as we gear up for the second half of the series.

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