In many ways, The Defenders is Netflix's most ambitious show yet. Like The Avengers did on the big screen for characters like Iron Man and Captain America, The Defenders is a notable attempt to bring small screen Netflix heroes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist together. Fans looking for fun interactions between characters (such as Luke Cage pointing out the hypocrisy of Iron Fist) will be pleased, as will people looking for some good fights between various superheroes and ninjas.
One group that will not be as happy, though, are fans expecting everything about The Defenders' plot to make sense. Even by the standards of a silly superhero story, there are plenty of headscratching moments in The Defenders that make absolutely zero sense to fans. What's worse, there are plot points involving our heroes and villains that are so stupid that it makes certain scenes in earlier Netflix series seem retroactively senseless as well.
Don't believe us? Fortunately, you don't have to have Daredevil's super-senses or Jessica Jones' detective skills to find out the truth... just check out our handy guide to The Defenders: 15 Biggest Mistakes And Plot Holes You Completely Missed!
15 The man with no brains
The most talked-about moment of the Defenders finale involved Daredevil’s fateful decision to stay behind and fight Elektra, buying his friends time to escape before the entire area is filled with fire and rubble. Daredevil talks a good game to his friends, telling them that he must make an attempt to save Elektra and that he will join them soon.
There are a few problems with this, though. One is that Daredevil admits to Iron Fist (who later shares it with the others) that he doesn’t think he will be coming back, leaving instructions for the rest of them to protect his city. And during the fight with Elektra, they discuss how he knew he would be unable to save her, sharing a final, doomed kiss before things start blowing up.
It’s sweet and emotional, but also senseless: Daredevil chose to save someone he knew he couldn’t save by getting himself killed, putting the city he claims to care about in jeopardy. Unless Daredevil became suicidal overnight, he makes absolutely no sense here.
14 Why do the Hand run out of "the substance?"
Over time, we find out what The Hand are so desperate for. Their leadership is after a mysterious “substance” that is able to resurrect people from the dead, granting functional immortality. They are driven to increasingly desperate measures because they have run out of this substance, and so for the first time in centuries, death is a real possibility for our villains.
This certainly makes for a good motivational hook, and it even goes a long way toward humanizing Alexandra, who worries about having only months (or weeks) to live before dying of cancer. However, what makes less sense is how The Hand ran out of this substance.
Alexandra implies they have had to used it to resurrect themselves (more on that later), and we’ve seen them waste it on odd choices, such as Iron Fist bad guy Harold Meachum. This seems wasteful and frivolous, and it’s made worse by the creators revealing in an interview that Gao had been making drugs out of the substance and selling it.
These villains would never have run out of their live-forever substance if they weren’t finding creative ways to waste it every day!
13 Miraculous salvation
It’s obviously meant to be a neat cliffhanger that Daredevil’s own show will explore later, but let’s be real: Daredevil should not have survived what happened at Midland Circle. He was hundreds of feet underground, and the only way out had been destroyed. The place was filled with smoke, ash, and rubble. Yet we see him waking up in a completely different location and being taken care of by nuns.
The problem with this is that most explanations for who could have saved him bring their own complications and problems. For instance, an obvious answer is that Elektra somehow survived and used her ninja skills to get Daredevil to safety. It seems a stretch to believe that she could survive and other superpowered, substance-enhanced Hand warriors such as Gao could not survive.
But it seems impossible that she could open any additional mystic doorways (if any still existed) without Iron Fist, and even if the way wasn’t completely blocked, it seems impossible she could have carried an unconscious Daredevil up the destroyed elevator shaft. Ultimately, it’s another neat reveal that makes zero sense as soon as you start thinking about it.
12 The Exploders
Of course, that big explosion wouldn’t have happened at all if the heroes had not all agreed to set the bomb. While Luke serves as a voice of reason and objects to the plan at first, they eventually convince him that this is the only way to stop the hand. However, as a plan, it’s absolutely insane, and the heroes all break their respective moral codes in order to agree with it.
We are repeatedly shown that The Hand is an organization that stretches across the entire world. However, the heroes believe that they can defeat the organization by blowing up a single building in order to kill a handful of soldiers and leaders.
While that is crazy in and of itself, it’s also bonkers that a crew that usually abstains from killing (remember how they were all worried about whether Daredevil snapped their prisoner’s neck?) suddenly agrees to a plan that amounts to mass murder. It’s a rushed decision in a season finale that already suffered quite a few pacing problems.
11 Luke's weakness for feet
Even on a team of people that punch bad guys professionally, Luke Cage is undoubtedly the big gun. The reason for this is his unbreakable skin: he is literally bulletproof, and we have seen previous scenes of characters severely injuring themselves in an attempt to punch him. In fact, it’s a big enough deal that it usually requires the iron fist to hurt him with a blow. However, we see Elektra knock him out with a single kick!
The show’s defenders (so to speak) might say that Luke Cage was still woozy from the mysterious smoke that Stick used to knock him out. However, he had revived from this already and joined the fight when a kick from Elektra knocks him back out. Cage then requires hours of recovery time.
It makes no sense that Elektra (however skilled she is) could hurt a bulletproof man with her foot, but it happened because the writers weren’t sure how else to end that scene. Maybe for the second season of Luke Cage, the bad guys will start packing Elektra feet instead of special Hammer guns.
10 The disappearing elevator
When it comes to finding plot holes, some of them require knowledge of the deep lore of things like Marvel Comics and the MCU. Sometimes, though, there’s just an old-fashioned goof-up, and this is exactly what we get in the final episode of the first Defenders season. As Jessica, Luke, Iron Fist are trying to escape via elevator, Elektra disables its controls. Pretty soon, the elevator cable snaps, but Jessica is able to use her super-strength to rescue her friends before dropping the elevator.
It’s a really awesome scene, and it just has one problem: we never see or hear that elevator crash. The lack of the crash is especially notable because Daredevil and Elektra have been fighting so close to the elevator shaft, close enough for Elektra to disable the controls by throwing a sword. To be fair to the writers, it’s possible that this elevator fell into one of the many other plot holes in this scene and was never heard from again.
9 Bulletproof Bakuto
One of the more jarring aspects of watching The Defenders was trying to understand the particular powers and abilities that different members of The Hand had. Characters such as Madame Gao suddenly were doing knock off Force pushes, for instance. It became even stranger when these characters suddenly had abilities that completely contradicted what we had seen before, and the most egregious example of this is Bakuto.
Previously, Bakuto had served memorably as the mentor to Colleen Wing before we found out he was evil. One of the highlights of Iron Fist was watching Colleen duel with Bakuto. While the villain was skilled, he was still vulnerable: Colleen hurt him with a sword thrust to the stomach, and Davos killed him by stabbing him in the heart.
Bakuto gets resurrected in time to be a villain once again in Defenders, and in one scene, we see him getting shot multiple times by Misty Knight without getting hurt. How did Bakuto suddenly become bulletproof, and why is being bulletproof not enough to make him sword-proof, since his head is later sliced off?
8 Displaced Danny
Over the course of the show, we find out that Iron Fist is the key to The Hand’s ambitions. This is quite literal: his mystic powers are the only way to unlock a sealed doorway that allows access to dragon skeletons, which are necessary to create the substance that helps The Hand live forever. As confusing as this entire plot is, it’s even more confusing what happens next.
For the sake of a dramatic reveal, we later see Iron Fist waking up alone within the skeleton of a dragon. Soon, Elektra is dispatching forces to try to hunt him down. One small problem with this: they went through the doorway together. Elektra was with him when she forced him to open the door. Nonetheless, this master tracker and world-class assassin manages to lose the body of the person she is standing right next to.
To make things worse, she apparently takes her time figuring out he is lost and ordering him to be found. Even if the magic doorway somehow scattered them, she should have been trying to hunt him down as soon as she saw he was gone!
7 A foggy plot hole
While the coolest thing about The Defenders was seeing our favorite heroes team-up, it was almost as cool to see our favorite supporting characters again. Characters like Malcolm and Karen help to humanize our heroes, and characters like Foggy and Claire serve as emotional anchors for viewers and heroes alike. Unfortunately, Foggy makes a decision towards the end of the series that is so baffling that even he cannot figure out why he did it.
At one point, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage are suspects for murder and at the police station. Matt Murdock is there, but out of costume, and it’s clear that the police suspect him, too. At this point, Foggy brings Matt his Daredevil costume and gives a pretty speech about how he is giving his friend an opportunity to put his heroic life behind him and ensure that the police never see him as anything but Matt Murdock, lawyer.
What was Foggy thinking? If Matt had stayed behind in the custody of the police, he would now be found carrying evidence of his illegal vigilante lifestyle… literally the opposite of what Foggy claims he wants to happen!
6 Evidence locker snatch
The reason that The Defenders are able to enact their crazy plan to blow up an entire building is because they have access to lots of explosives. These explosives come from a man Jessica Jones was investigating and after she calls the cops, all of it ends up in police storage. When she sees her opportunity, Colleen Wing slips into storage, grabs the explosives, and then escapes the police station.
While the scene where she does this is brief, the entire thing stretches credulity to the breaking point. The show tries to wave away the absurdity by saying that she does this while the security cameras are disabled. However, it stands to reason that an evidence locker would also be guarded or watched by human eyes, especially when it’s filled with explosives.
These explosives are not even locked away, so Colleen (somebody in protective police custody) sneaks in, steals enough explosives to bring down an entire building, and then walks out of the building without any of the police noticing. With cops like this, we understand why New York needs so many superheroes!
5 Worst. Police. Ever.
Perhaps the most absurd thing about the plot to blow up the building is that we never see any of our heroes get arrested. The show later explains that Foggy and Hogarth help clear up any legal issues. However, it’s crazy that they weren’t arrested immediately after the building explodes!
Right before the explosion, we see the police trying to arrest our heroes, and they are fully aware of the plan to destroy the building. It looks like Luke is about to fight the police, but we cut to Luke, Jessica, and Iron Fist running alongside the police to get far away from the explosion.
At this point, the cops have their chief suspects for multiple murders and domestic terrorism within reach. Instead of arresting or even questioning them, the cops merely take them back to the station so they can have a cheerful reunion with their friends. It's another moment in a season finale that strains credulity.
4 Why do The Hand ever assassinate each other?
In one of their many meetings, Alexandra casually mentions how every single member of The Hand's leadership has tried to have each other killed at different points in history. It's a moment that is supposed to remind us of how these characters are both very old and very manipulative, but this throwaway line has the side effect of revealing just how idiotic these criminal “masterminds” really are.
The entire plot of The Hand in the MCU revolves around their plot to gain more of the mysterious substance that allows them to resurrect one another and effectively live forever. Because of this, assassination attempts on one another make no sense. The only thing that will happen is that another Hand member will resurrect the dead person.
No power vacuum is created, no one really gains anything, and all they do is waste more of the substance they are worried about running out of!
3 Karen and the fake news
One of the few happy subplots in the first season of The Defenders shows us how Karen is actually growing in skill and confidence as a journalist, carrying on in the footsteps of Ben Urich. After Daredevil seemingly dies, though, she admits to Foggy that she was doing her best to bury the story and not cover it. She reasons that it wouldn't take much for the public to put together famous lawyer Matt Murdock and famous vigilante Daredevil disappearing at the same time as proof that they are one and the same.
While Karen's desire to hide this story is reasonable, there's just one small problem: it assumes that no other newspapers and no other reporters will ever dig into this story. After all, Daredevil's death is connected to the explosive destruction of a major building. In all likelihood, this would be the story of the year for New York City, and at best, Karen's decision not to cover the story herself (and possibly craft some artful alibis for Matt) is simply delaying the inevitable of someone finding out his secret by reporting on it themselves.
2 The blank slate dilemma
Elektra's inevitable betrayal of Alexandra is presumably intended to be a shock for the viewer. It is certainly a shock for Alexandra herself, as she has been confident the entire time that Elektra can be used as “The Black Sky” weapon of destruction for The Hand. This confidence stems from the idea that Elektra will be a “blank slate” after her death, making it easy for them to mold her into their own personal assassin.
It's a good plan on paper. However, it overlooks a pretty crucial plot point: there is absolutely no reason to assume that Elektra would be a blank slate. Everyone else that we have seen be resurrected by this mysterious substance (such as Bakuto, Alexandra, and even Harold Meachum) all retained their knowledge and memories after being resurrected. They assume that Elektra will be different for reasons that are never made clear for the viewer.
1 Iron Fist is the absolute worst
When the Iron Fist show debuted, fans and critics instantly declared it to be the weakest of the Netflix MCU shows. And while people debated exactly why that was, one common answer was that the characterization of Iron Fist was much weaker than the characterization of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, or Luke Cage. Unfortunately, this continues in The Defenders, with Iron Fist making decisions that are not only out of character, but completely insane!
Perhaps the greatest example of this is when he refuses to cooperate with the other heroes. Once they figure out Iron Fist is the key to what The Hand is trying to obtain, they decide they must keep Iron Fist contained so The Hand cannot abduct him and use him. This plan is overwhelmingly logical, but Iron Fist whines about how he needs to be out on the streets fighting.
Once again: Iron Fist finds out he is the key to everything the enemy wants, and his immediate desire is to flaunt himself in front of the enemy and potentially get captured. He is so stupid about this that the other heroes are forced to tie him up.
Did you notice any other plot holes in The Defenders? Let us know in the comments!