One of the joys of a shared universe is all the in-house references and easter eggs dotted throughout the plot for the hardcore fans to find. Marvel's The Defenders is no exception. Being based from the world of comics means we get references from two directions, both from the already established MCU and from the source material. There are no less than a dozen Marvel easter eggs in The Defenders Episode 1.
Let's start with the title of the episode "The H Word." Obviously, the word no one wants to say out loud (or at least Jessica and Luke don't) is "hero." But The H Word also refers to something else: hegemony. In the world of politics, this word references dominance, leadership. And while the dominance part is part of what Luke and Jessica *don't* like about the word "hero," it's very much what we see our newest character Alexandra doing with Madam Gao. (By the way, seeing Gao be subservient to anyone is hella creepy, no?)
So where have you seen that image before? Or why *does* that line seem so familiar? Let's run down all the callbacks and Easter eggs tucked away in The Defenders' first episode of this inaugural season.
The Five Colors Of The Show
Everyone's world is tinged a different primary color so you know which world you're in the second it starts. Is that light red? Matt. Yellow streetlights? Luke? Blueish world? Jessica. Sickly green? Iron Fist. Silvery white? Alexandra. It's a little jarring at times, especially if you're someone who's sensitive to lighting shifts, but it's also the most comic booky the Netflix MCU has gone.
Phnom Penh/Bar The Big Boss
That opening fight feel familiar? That's because we saw Iron Fist fight a battle much like it in Episode 12 of his own show. A call back for those who made it that far in the stand alone, an intro for those who didn't, and an improvement in fight choreography, rolled into one.
Trish And Her Car Woes
Once again, Trish is having issues with her car. This time it's getting towed.... Until Jessica decides it isn't. (Also calls back to how Jess doesn't use her powers, except in a weirdly casual manner.)
Punisher's Lt. Jake Berkowitz
Murdock is interviewing a cop on the witness stand by the name of Berkowitz. That name just so happens to be the name of the cop in Dolph Lundgren's Punisher movie from the 1980s. A coincidence? With a Punisher series coming next from Netflix? I think not.
Claire & Luke
Luke likes having sex in opening episodes. It's his thing. And after hopping from show to show, it's good to see Claire commit to one superhero.
Foggy Works for Hogarth Now
Foggy represents Luke Cage for Hogarth. This is just a great crossover, on so many levels, referencing the ends of not only Daredevil Season 2, when Foggy got hired, but the end of Jessica Jones when Hogarth started the law firm, and Luke Cage, when Claire said she knew a good lawyer.
Earth 613/Power Fist
The bus number taking Luke back to Harlem is 613. Same number as alt-earth 613, where Luke Cage takes on the Iron Fist's powers and becomes Power Fist. Clearly, he'll be meeting Danny first in this series.
Don't Trust The B In Apartment 23
Jessica Jones turned into Krysten Ritter's character from Apartment 23 when she talks on the phone. (It's such a nice touch.)
Matt As Stick
Matt gets to start doing the mentor thing now, as he hands down the advice Stick once gave him to the boy in the wheelchair who he just won $11 million for.
Seriously, how long has it been since the events of Jessica Jones? At least long enough for the Luke Cage events to happen, and the Iron Fist ones. And she still has gaping wall holes and cardboard over the front door. Please Malcolm, get those fixed.
Iron Fist Costume
And finally, after an entire series where Danny Rand never once showed up in the Iron Fist costume, The Defenders finally fixes that. (In a dream sequence, but still. Finally.)