5 Point Discussions – The Defenders Episode 6: ‘Ashes, Ashes’

by Sage Ashford

This 5 Point Discussion features The Defenders, currently streaming on Netflix, and specifically Episode 6: “Ashes, Ashes”

1. In the aftermath of Stick having murdered Sowande, the team finally comes to realize that Iron Fist is what the Hand has been after all along. Everyone except Danny, who’s so self-centered he refuses to see the obvious because he wants to be the one to bring down the Hand so badly. Stick and the rest of the team agree to hide him to keep him safe, but when Danny disagrees, it leads to a massive throwdown between him and everyone else.

Six episodes in, I’ve finally realized it’s too late to try and repair this character–they’re determined to keep him a naïve, child-like idiot for the duration of the series.   That’s…irritating, and the irony isn’t lost on me that his most impressive fight scene thus far is here, where he’s literally beating on the people wanting to help him complete his life-long mission. The fight scene itself is solid, though, and easily the closest Danny’s ever gotten to looking like a bad-ass martial artist who became the best out of an entire city of bad-ass martial artists during the entire series. He easily takes on the entire group until he gets caught off-guard and knocked out by Jessica and tied up by Stick.

2. After her run-in with Murdock last episode, Elektra has started to re-gain her memories and winds up visiting her grave, where she runs into Alexandra. From the very beginning Alexandra has been trying to foster this disturbing sort of mother-daughter relationship with Elektra. It got especially gross in the episode where she recounted the tale of the daughter she had that died, and how she became okay with it because she was “too good” for her to raise. Likely she meant it to come off like she wasn’t a good enough mom for her daughter, but it really came off like she wanted to raise someone like the Black Sky, that she wanted to be a “mother of monsters”.

The most dishonest thing about the affection she tries to show for Elektra though, is that Alexandra picks and chooses what information to give to her. She’s doing her best to keep her easy to manipulate, something that becomes an issue later on.

3. Last episode, in the series’ continued efforts to make Danny Rand an utterly pointless character, Stick pointed out that Daredevil is essentially the best person to lead the group.  The suggestion makes sense: the “Devil of Hell’s Kitchen” is probably the most well-known hero not in the Avengers at this point, and has proven himself time and again through his battles with Kingpin, the Punisher, and the Hand.  He’s got both the fighting capabilities and the ability to inspire people that’s crucial for leading them into battle.

The only thing is, almost from the moment he got involved in this mission, he’s been compromised. He’s put his relationship with Elektra above the rest of the team’s safety, and multiple times has kept information hidden from the group that would have been pertinent for them to know.  Case in point: this episode, where he just happens to “remember” that the Midland Circle building is where he found a mysterious, massive underground hole and where he first fought the Hand last year. As noble a character as Matt is, whatever chance he had to really lead the team crumbled with this episode. Jessica barely wants to admit she’s on a team and Danny’s an idiot, so…I guess it falls to Luke Cage?

4. While Jessica and Matt rush around the city trying to figure out what their next move is in stopping the Hand, Luke Cage and Stick wind up staying back at whatever abandoned warehouse they found in order to keep watch over Danny. There are some pretty cute, funny moments both here and peppered all throughout the series so far that build a relationship between Luke and Danny, so hopefully we can eventually get Heroes for Hire. But in time Stick manages to whip up a strange concoction that can knock out Luke so he can kill Danny and stop the Hand from getting what they want.

It’s not really a surprise–from the moment Stick was introduced he’s been a “kill ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out” kind of guy. Plus if we’re being pragmatic he’s not exactly wrong–if Danny’s dead, the Hand can’t get what they want, and they eventually lose. What’s unexpected is that somehow Elektra managed to track them down, instead of Matt and Jessica getting there first. I’m still not sure how she found them, because there’s no way Sowande should be dead if they knew where the team was the whole time.  At any rate, her arrival leads to a throw-down between herself, Stick, and the returning Matt and Jessica. She manages to kill Stick before knocking out Matt and Jessica, and finally dragging Danny back to her masters in the Hand.

5. This episode ends with what might be my favorite moment of the series thus far. After Alexandra manages to have Danny captured with the help of Elektra, we get to see her gloating to the rest of the Hand about how her tactics have won the day. This lasts until she orders Elektra to kill the rest of the Defenders, when she’s killed mid-bragging by being impaled by Elektra’s sais…and having her throat slit by her wakizashi.

It was only a matter of time before Elektra properly woke up, and although it was a surprise to see her kill Alexandra first, it made sense when you realize that this is the woman who has been lying to her for months. She immediately takes control of the Hand, which I guess is the most logical thing to do after killing the former head of the organization?  I said in the last 5 Points that her road to redemption was not going to be that easy, and here we are.