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Here's Your Ultimate 'The Defenders' Refresher Course

Get all the dirt on these super-powered New Yorkers before watching the epic Netflix crossover
by Karen Mae De Vera | Aug 18, 2017
Photo by defenders
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As far back as 2013, Netflix and Marvel already knew that they’d be setting up a mini-universe even before Daredevil aired. So every connection, shout-out, and world-building has been deliberately executed in order to have the culminating event happening in the Defenders. They’re kinda like a low-key, street version of the Avengers, fighting crime on a smaller scale (like Spidey in Homecoming). They ditch the garish outfits—save for Matt’s devil Halloween costume—act more approachable, and keep it close to home in New York. (We’re kinda wondering what the hell Doctor Strange was up to since he also lives in the same city. Unless he’s still busy with all the Thor: Ragnarok stuff.)

And with Defenders within our grasp, we’re sure you’re worried about getting lost in all the in-jokes and references. Because not everyone’s seen all the series nor remembers exactly what happened. After all, the first season of Daredevil aired back in 2014.

Now, read up and catch up before you start binge-watching.

And obviously, spoilers abound so don’t say we didn’t warn you! 

1) Daredevil/Matt Murdock

Who is he?

Matt Murdock is a self-employed lawyer by day and a crimefighter by night getting rid of crime in Hell’s Kitchen. And just like Batman, he abides by the no-killing code.

What can he do?

After being exposed to chemicals that blinded him, Matt developed superhuman hearing and smelling. He can detect scents and sounds from great distances and several floors above. He can also tell if someone is lying to him, which has proven useful in his law practice. He’s also agile enough to dodge bullets and attacks just by feeling vibrations and body temperature.

What’s his deal?

He may not kill anyone but sometimes lets rage get the better of him. The Punisher even tells him that Daredevil’s “one bad day away” from becoming like him. In season two, he grows distant from Karen and Foggy in hopes that it would ensure their safety. Karen is kidnapped by The Hand later on proving that no, that’s not gonna work. Matt and Foggy also end both their partnership and friendship as of season two since the latter takes a job in another law firm.

What’s he been up to?

In the first season, Matt fights against organized crime headed by Wilson Fisk and successfully puts him behind bars. In season two, Daredevil has to deal with the vigilante killer Frank Castle while as Matt Murdock he has to represent the guy in court. Matt’s ex-girlfriend Elektra also appears after a long time and forces him to fight alongside her and former mentor Stick in order to defeat The Hand. Eventually, Frank backs him up by sniping enemies during the big fight against Nobu and The Hand.

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Who’s out to get him?

Wilson Fisk who’s still causing trouble even behind bars and The Hand who have an ongoing war with The Chaste (which Stick and Elektra are a part of).

Where did we last see him?

Daredevil takes on Nobu and The Hand with the help of Elektra, who dies helping him, and Frank Castle. Later on, The Hand is shown resurrecting Elektra and most likely turning her into the living weapon, Black Sky. Matt also reveals his superhero identity to Karen before the credits.

Claire Temple/Night Nurse connection: Claire finds Matt lying on a dumpster and severely injured so she takes care of him. They date for a bit but she can’t handle all the superhero drama and leaves. Little did she know that she’d go on to play an important role in the Defenders universe as the resident healer, patching up dem busted-up heroes. She’s kinda like the Nick Fury of this universe in the way she appears in every series and brings them all together.

Defenders ’verse shout-outs:

Jeri Hogarth, the laywer whom we first see in the Jessica Jones series, meets up with Foggy Nelson to provide a job opportunity. Also, the chemical that blinded Matt belonged to Rand Oil & Chemicals.

2) Jessica Jones

 

Who is she?

She’s a detective with extraordinary strength and agility who doesn’t wanna get too into superheroics.

What can she do?

She possesses superhuman strength and can jump really, really high and far (“guided falling”).

What’s her deal?

Her family dies in a freak car accident and she’s taken by IGH so they can conduct experiments on her to give her abilities. After that, she stays under Kilgrave’s control for awhile, doing his dirty work including killing Reva Connors (A.K.A. Luke Cage’s wife). She doesn’t want to get close to anyone for fear of putting them in harm’s way thanks to her stalker.

What’s she been up to?

She’s been running a detective agency called Alias investigations and puts her sleuthing skills to good use. But then Kilgrave appears again, controlling the people around her, thus triggering her past trauma of him physically and mentally damaging her. With help from her foster sister Trish Walker and Luke Cage, she tries to track down mind manipulator.

Who’s out to get her?

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Kilgrave can control people to do his bidding and is obsessed with Jessica and her powers that he acts more like a creepy stalker than a nemesis. She was able to kill him last season but who knows, it’s not like anybody stays dead in this universe.

Where we did we last see her?

She’s finally able to face her captor head-on and overcome Kilgrave’s influence, telling him to smile (something he always tell her to do) before snapping his neck. Jessica kicks back and relaxes at her office desk, ready to accept new calls with former Kilgrave victim Malcolm as her new assistant. Meanwhile, Trish is sent IGH files from her mother and she starts to investigate further.

Claire Temple/Night Nurse connection:

Jessica meets Claire at the Metro-General hospital and asks her to tend to a wounded Luke.

Defenders ’verse shout-outs: Jessica and Luke are the only Defender members to get, uh, up close and personal before the team-up series.

3) Luke Cage

Who is he?

Luke Cage is a former Marine and escaped convict who does odd jobs like washing dishes or working at the barbershop in order to keep a low profile. He also uses his powers to protect the people of Harlem from criminal activity.

What can he do?

After Luke was severely injured after a prison fight at Seagate, he’s placed inside a restorative chamber that malfunctions when the prison guard messes with it, giving Luke his superpowers. He has nigh invulnerability and can survive power blasts even from a rocket launcher. Like Jessica, he also has super strength and is able to carry heavy concrete and rip out car doors with one hand.

What’s his deal?

Even before he got his powers, Luke already had a lot of issues including being wrongfully imprisoned at Seagate. His wife Reva was also slain by Jessica under Kilgrave’s orders. Plus, his father figure Pops was killed in a shoot-out. He just seems to lose a lot of people in his life.

What’s he been up to?

Luke sweeps the streets of Harlem from crime thereby pissing off the gangsters profiting there. He tries to expose the corruption going on in the area.

Who’s out to get him?

Councilwoman Mariah who wants to take complete control of Harlem and her cousin Cottonmouth (who was later killed by Mariah) who ran the criminal operations that kept being disrupted by Luke. Diamondback, who provides the weaponized tech from Hammer Industries (Stark Industries’ rival whose owner appears in Iron Man 2), and his right-hand man Shades, who eventually teams up with Mariah in the end.

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Where did we last see him?

Luke had a showdown against his older half-brother, Diamondback, in front of Pop’s Barbershop (because symbolism) and was able to bring down the latter. Unfortunately, Luke finds himself behind bars once his past as Carl Lucas is revealed. Mariah is still in power and now owns Harlem’s Paradise with Shades by her side. Diamondback is about to be experimented on by Dr. Burstein, meaning he might get powers of his own.

Claire Temple/Night Nurse connection:

An injured Luke is brought to the hospital by Jessica and met the nurse. He meets Claire a second time when she visits Harlem and they kiss at point plus, the trailers hint at a sorta relationship.

Defenders ’verse shout-outs:

Luke had a brief fling with Jessica Jones, which soured when the former found out that the latter killed his wife, prior to the series’ events. Colleen Wing’s self-defense classes are being advertised in a pamphlet that Claire reads. Claire also mentions a lawyer (Matt Murdock, obvs) who could get Luke outta jail.

4) Iron Fist/Danny Rand 

Who is he?

He’s basically the Tony Stark of the Defenders universe. A rich kid with a lot of emotional baggage. Oh, and he can punch hard enough to bust open a bank door.

What can he do?

His training in K’un-Lun gave him the ability to wield his Chi to heal and punch with a force more powerful than even Jessica and Luke. The downside is, his special power as the Iron Fist requires him to charge for a long time before he can use it again since it drains his body.

What’s his deal?

A rich kid coming from a family with a billion dollar enterprise, his plane crash-landed leaving his parents dead. He is rescued by Monks and learns martial arts with the K’un-Lun. He eventually becomes the immortal weapon called the Iron Fist—a role that’s been around for generations. Danny is suffering from a lack of purpose in his life and tries to find meaning in being Iron Fist and/or working for his family’s company.

What’s he been up to?

After learning martial arts, he comes back to New York to find it taken over by Harold Meachum. He also finds out that Madame Gao has been selling drugs by using his family’s company as a front. And then has Harold and Bakuto turn on him. Along with Colleen Wing, Danny tries to take down The Hand. Also, most of his enemies has a knack of resurrecting.

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Who’s out to get him?

Harold Meachum, Madame Gao, and Bakuto are all part of The Hand, which has been secretly controlling Rand Enterprises. 

Where did we last see him?

Danny was able to kick out The Hand from Rand Enterprises and has a relationship with Colleen. But then he finds out that the K’un-Lun was attacked since he left his duties as gate guardian and the city disappeared. And Madame Gao was able to escape and will be appearing in The Defenders.

Claire Temple/Night Nurse connection:

The nurse prolly got sick of bad things always happening to her in this shitsack world and starts fighting back. Danny finds her having a training session with Colleen Wing.

Defenders ’verse shout-outs:

Jeri Hogarth from Jessica Jones is Danny Rand’s lawyer and Madame Gao, one of Wilson Fisk’s associates, plays a bigger role in the series.

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