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MAJOR SPOILERS for anyone who hasn't yet watched the entirety of Marvel's The Defenders on Netflix. Even just scrolling down too far wouldn't be advisable until you've watched it all.
Today has been one of the more exciting days of the year for fans of comic book television, as Netflix's The Defenders finally made its way to our eyeballs, and all that waiting paid off in big ways. Along with all the stellar fights and other badass moments between this fearsome foursome, The Defenders dropped a handful of massive shocks and crazy scenes on viewers, which was expected. Some were used to pull the rug out from under assumption-heavy viewers, while others were used to potentially set up major comic arcs.
One thing's for sure, though: they were all pretty awesome, and they made us holler out some version of 'WTF?" at our TVs. (Though, admittedly, the more explicit version was used.) While I would love to have added "Frank Castle's absence" here, considering I was beyond optimistic that he would show up to cause some chaos, here are the four biggest Punisher-free WTF moments from The Defenders' first (but hopefully not only) season.
Elektra Killing Stick In Front Of Matt
When The Defenders brought Elektra back from the death she suffered in Daredevil Season 2, she was something of a blank slate for Sigourney Weaver's Alexandra to paint on with broad and violent strokes in an attempt to create an unstoppable human-ish weapon. As the Black Sky, she initially had no recollection of her time under the tutelage of the morally ambiguous Stick, or her romance with the heartbroken Matt, and Matt's attempts to get her to remember her old life were eventually effective somewhat, just not in a way that he was hoping for.
Once she realized that her Black Sky persona was a fraud, having learned a bit about her past life, Elektra seemed to retain some feelings for Matt, but was also very clearly not into treating Stick with a mentor's respect anymore. It's possible she was only killing him because he was attempting to kill Danny, thus removing The Hand's conduit to immortality, but it isn't hard to assume that Stick's days were numbered as soon as the muck-covered Elektra returned to the land of the living. And sure, there's lots of reasons why killing off Stick made sense, but Scott Glenn is just so good. I mean, come on!
Alexandra Getting Killed Off So Early
After seeing Elektra plunge that sword into Stick's torso, viewers probably felt like every other character on the show was safe for at least the rest of the episode. But no, The Defenders uprooted our expectations in an interesting way, by having Elektra 2.0 continue her rebellious streak by giving Alexandra the same fate that Stick got, only with Alexandra and Stick's respective entry wounds being on opposite sides of the body.
In the moment, watching Sigourney Weaver die drew out some maddening confusion, as Alexandra's spearheading and grandstanding in front of other Hand members didn't feel so much like an arc befitting of a big bad. (Even Luke Cage's Cottonmouth had a more immediate impact from one scene to the next.) But it became a lot more understandable once viewers flipped around to the idea that Elektra was actually the season's big villain all along, with Alexandra perhaps serving as a motivational macguffin, or an altered iteration of L. Frank Baum's Wizard. It certainly makes a lot more sense, both contextually and non-contextually, why Weaver consistently made sure to not call Alexandra a villain ahead of The Defenders' release.
Misty Knight Getting Her Arm Chopped Off
The Defenders' finale was pure madness, thanks to that enormous underground cavern battle between our heroes and The Hand. (With half of it occurring to the tune of Wu-Tang Clan's "Protect Ya Neck.") But while that was exciting and fun to watch, a crazier and completely comic-sourced moment was happening many floors above, where Colleen was facing off against her former mentor Bakuto. Misty Knight entered the battle with blind bravery, and it didn't take very long for her to suffer a blink-and-you-missed-it injury when her arm was sliced off by Bakuto. (It also didn't take long for Colleen to cut his head off in the aftermath.)
It isn't often that TV characters up and lose extremely important limbs like that -- especially a major one outside of a show about zombies or some other horror threats -- and even for comic fans waiting for just such an incident, it was still pretty bewildering within such an intense moment of that final episode. No one need worry about Simone Missick exiting this universe, though, as Misty is almost definitely inching towards her comic counterpart's bionic arm and occupation change. And we're hoping for a spinoff (or two) to come out of that crazy ass moment.
Matt's Survival And New Location
The final scene of The Defenders, showcasing an extremely battered and bruised Matt bedridden inside a nunnery, will probably go on to cause the most post-viewing conversations of any Defenders scenes, and it managed to hit the WTF factor in more than one way. First, he was in a nunnery, which isn't something that happens to most superheroes in any medium. That part is easily and interestingly explainable, especially since the name Margaret was spoken by the nun sitting in Matt's bed. Margarert Murdock (or whatever surname she'll be using in live-action) is Matt's mother, and her presence could change a lot for the upcoming season of Daredevil and beyond.
Margaret's presence is pretty WTF from any angle, but before thinking too deeply about that, one has to try and figure out how in the hell Matt even made it to a nunnery in the first place! The similar comic story featured a Matt that was far less physically broken (although the stress and emotional turmoil was a tad higher), and the comics also didn't task a brutalized Matt with somehow escaping from a giant underground cavern beneath a skyscraper that has been bombed to smithereens, leaving all of his loved ones to assume he's dead. Did Elektra end up saving him in the end, unable to let that part of her former life go? If so, that opens up another box of questions about how she would have even known about his mother, unless Stick was somehow responsible, as Daredevil proper proved that he knew who she was.
If you've just finished this list, you might not be willing to dive right back into the show, but all eight episodes of The Defenders will be there for you to stream on Netflix at any time. (And if there was a clue about Margaret Murdock somewhere else in the season that I missed, please share!) For other things to stream in the future, our 2017 Netflix schedule will help. And our summer TV schedule and our fall premiere guide will clue you in on everything else hitting the small screen in the near future.