The following contains spoilers for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law Season 1, Episode 3, “The People vs. Emil Blonsky,” now streaming on Disney+.
Court proceedings are a long and valuable part of television, with a wide variety, from Law and order at Matlock, Combinations at Extraordinary Prosecutor Woo. With this variety comes a chasm in the actual legal prowess of the attorneys featured. Some shows act like a power fantasy, with dazzling displays of charisma and wit. Others depend more on the tension that comes with not knowing whether every case will be won or lost. Sitting somewhere in the middle of this vast spectrum is Jennifer Walters, star of Marvel’s recent foray into the genre, She-Hulk: Lawyer.
Above all, Jen is reliable. Her personal struggles stem from superpowered hijinks interfering with her law career. If it weren’t for the world of heroes and villains she’s drawn into, she’d be just another prosecutor in New York City, rising through the ranks. Opposed to this reliability stands AMC star Jimmy “Saul Goodman” McGill. You better call Saul. Saul works as a defense attorney, but looks for trouble with a scheme or scam for every occasion, so which approach is actually the best?
Saul will do anything to win
Saul is every joke, every stereotype, and every first thought about bad lawyers come to life. While its morals are lacking, its results are not. Saul isn’t in it for the money – or at least, not just the money. He gets off on tricking others, with the money often coming simply as confirmation of his success. As such, he’s willing to go to ridiculous lengths to win a case, often pulling out elaborate cons that do more than just stretch the letter of the law.
Over the show’s six seasons, this included staging a fake letter-writing campaign for a client, staging fake incidents to draw publicity to his cases, and even meticulously editing every mention. of an address on several boxes of documents. Saul is a trickster, but he combines his flair for the dramatic with real diligence that makes it all work. In previous seasons, one of his nicknames was “Charlie Hustle”, and hustle really is the right word to describe him. He will lie, cheat, and even steal to get what he wants, but never in a way that questions how much work he is doing for even a second.
She-Hulk will not be written off
Jen has the one thing Saul doesn’t have – a moral backbone. Saul, on the other hand, has little to no understanding of where “the line” is, and even when he can see it, he can’t help but cross it. Jen, on the other hand, has a very clear sense of right and wrong, a key quality for a good superhero, and that reliability is something Saul lacks, as he was disbarred for You better call Saulwhich prevented him from pursuing one of his client’s cases while throwing his life into a spiral.
Jen is also no slouch when it comes to the actual practice of law. The first episode sees her take on a massive defense firm, and she’s about to win when the case is thrown out on a technicality. The opposing lawyer is impressed and goes so far as to hire him for his own firm, at the head of a brand new division. She’s also won both cases presented to her on the show so far, thanks to creative thinking and a strict adherence to legal process.
Saul wins against She-Hulk in court
Ultimately, it’s Jen’s first big case that is most telling of how the couple’s court battle would unfold. Jen is probably better than Saul when it comes to practicing the law. She’s as effective a speaker as he is, with fewer rhetorical tricks but a hard-won sincerity he can’t match. She’s an experienced lawyer with a lot of experience and what seems like a natural aptitude for the field, which Saul admitted doesn’t come easily to her. Plus, Jen is willing to do things “the right way” which ensures she doesn’t have any of Saul’s massive responsibilities.
However, Jenn lost that first big deal, even with all his might. The other side found a technicality and played it to their advantage. Saul just has to find a weakness to win a case. She’s also clearly uncomfortable with media attention, which Saul is more than happy to use to his advantage. He builds his entire practice from advertising during You better call Saul, time and again. Even if they weren’t one-on-one over a high-profile affair, it’s more than likely that Saul would stage some sort of incident without drawing attention to it. Jen may be a better lawyer, but if the best lawyer is the one who goes the furthest for her client, Saul wins – no contest.