Marvel’s latest show, She-Hulk, offers viewers another chance to catch up with Bruce Banner at long last. However, as much as we love to see the classic Hulk in this new series, it’s all about his cousin, Jennifer Walters–the incomparable She-Hulk!
So, how does Jen get her powers and become California’s most famous super-powered lawyer? Let’s get into it.
The She-Hulk premiere starts us off with a cold open, with Jen talking right into the camera about the price of power. What is the responsibility of those with power? This sounds like a typical superhero speech opining about the nature of superpowers, but it’s actually Jen’s closing statement for an upcoming case. Her best friend tells her to ignore her male colleague’s heckling and suggests that if the case goes sideways she could just “Hulk out” and wow the jury.
Before heading to the trial, Jen addresses the audience directly, breaking the fourth wall and offering to explain the whole “Hulk” thing. She notes that the audience won’t be able to focus on the “awesome lawyer show” until they get some answers about Jen’s powers and her relationship to the original Hulk.
Jen reveals that she’s Bruce Banner’s cousin, and we get a flashback to the pair riding in a car together. As Jen pries about Captain America’s love life, she doesn’t notice the Sakaraan courier craft that rockets down from space. She swerves to avoid it, crashing her car, and injuring herself and Bruce. Her cousin is wearing a power inhibitor that keeps him from Hulking out, so his blood falls into some of Jen’s wounds.
His gamma-irradiated blood gets into Jen’s bloodstream and immediately makes her transform into a big green rage machine. After a brief run-in with some ill-meaning men at a nearby bar, Bruce catches up to Jen and tackles her before she can attack the cat-calling weirdos. He takes her to his hidden lab in Mexico, where he can study her blood and figure out how to help her control her newfound powers.
The two quickly learn that Jen has much tighter control over her monster than Bruce did at first. In fact, unlike Bruce, she can enter and exit the Hulk form at will! Bruce, only slightly jealous, is perplexed by this turn of events. Jen explains that she learned to control her anger as a means of self-preservation: being a woman means living in a constant state of residual anger at mistreatment from ill-meaning men.
This makes Jen’s Hulk training a breeze. She keeps up with her cousin after only a handful of drills, and he’s genuinely impressed with her abilities. However, she’s insistent that she needs to return to her job as a lawyer, and Bruce is equally insistent that her powers are too dangerous for her to return to her day job. The two brawl and eventually come to an understanding after accidentally destroying the bar Bruce made on the beach with his late friend Tony Stark.
Back to Work
Jen doesn’t waste any time returning to work after leaving Mexico. While Bruce gave up his civilian life and lives in solitude on a Mexican beach, Jen wants to have her life, job, and friends back. We cut back to the present, where Jen is preparing to give her closing statements in a high-stakes trial. She’s an assistant district attorney, which makes her career as a prosecutor extremely stressful–but extremely rewarding.
As Jen gets ready to address the jury, a superpowered woman named Titania breaks into the courtroom and causes havoc. Jen is frustrated by this turn of events and notes that she really doesn’t want to mess up her suit. As she Hulks out, she kicks off her high heels and obliterates her outfit before briefly trading blows with Titania.
In a humorous post-credits sequence, we see Jen and Bruce drinking at his beachfront bar earlier in the episode. Jen drunkenly admits that she feels bad for Steve Rogers, noting that he never had a girlfriend before joining the military and that he must have died without ever finding love. Bruce, frustrated, defends his friend’s reputation and notes that Steve had a relationship with a woman during his USO tour in 1943. Jen immediately drops the drunk act and shouts “I knew it!” before the scene cuts to black.