She-Hulk Explains One Of The Strangest Moments In Shang-Chi

"Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" featured a few unexpected faces, one of them being Emil Blonsky/The Abomination (Tim Roth). Last seen in "The Incredible Hulk," Abomination's cameo comes when Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and his friend Katy (Awkwafina) visit a Hong Kong fight club run by Shang-Chi's sister Xialing (Meng'er Zhang). In the club, Abomination is fighting a cage match against Wong (Benedict Wong), and thanks to some sling ring portal trickery, Blonsky punches himself out and loses the fight. After the match is concluded, Blonsky and Wong exchange some friendly banter in the locker room before taking portals home.

The scene passes too quickly to be distracting, but Abomination's inclusion in the film still feels random. He drops in and out of the story with no tangible impact or explanation. "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law" creator Jessica Gao has admitted that Blonsky's "Shang-Chi" cameo was to set up his return in her show.

Abomination made his return in the second episode of "She-Hulk," and this week, Wong made an appearance, too. While the episode can't remedy pacing problems with "Shang-Chi" itself, it finally provided some context for their cage brawl.

She-Hulk explains

In the previous episode of "She-Hulk," Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) reluctantly agreed to be Blonsky's defense attorney at his parole hearing. Maximum security prison has changed Blonsky; he's no longer an adrenaline junkie soldier who shoots dogs when he's angry or the monstrous supervillain who rampaged through Harlem. Instead, he's a hippie, with a fondness for meditation and haiku writing. More importantly, he's a reformed man who wants to move on with his life. Unfortunately, the episode ended with footage of his fight with Wong going viral, which won't do his parole bid any favors.

When Jen confronts Blonsky in episode 3, he maintains that he was forced out of his cell and tells her to contact Wong. Jen eventually manages to get in touch with him, and Wong confirms that Blonsky is telling the truth. "Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness" revealed that Wong is now the Sorceror Supreme, but apparently during the events of "Shang-Chi," he wasn't yet. As part of his training to earn the title, he needed to battle a "worthy opponent" — he selected the Abomination. Despite Blonsky's own protests, Wong freed him from his cell for the fight.

Wong initially assumes that Jen wants him to use sorcery to help Blonsky, whether by erasing everyone's memories of the video or sending Blonsky to the mirror dimension. Jen, however, simply asks Wong to testify at the parole hearing.

The Abomination paroled

Blonsky's parole hearing takes up the bulk of the episode. Wong shows up late, having "lost track of time," but once he takes the stand, he clears Blonsky's name. To hammer in the point of Blonsky's innocence, Wong reveals that he offered his new friend Emil asylum at Kamar-Taj. However, Blonsky turned him down in favor of serving out his sentence. Jen is able to spin this in her client's favor, pointing out that Blonsky had the chance at an unearned release but didn't take it.

Wong's testimony, combined with prison staff accounts of model behavior and Blonsky's demonstration that he can control his other self, convinces the prison board. They agree to grant Blonsky parole, provided he refrains from transforming into the Abomination. Let's see how long Emil can hold up that end of the bargain.

In the meantime, Blonsky apparently plans to open a guided meditation center alongside his seven "soulmates" (women he met as prison penpals). If this trailer is anything to go by, Jen herself will even be attending one of Blonsky's sessions in a future episode.

Blonsky has become a very different character than he was in "The Incredible Hulk," and fans hoping for a traditionally villainous Abomination may be disappointed. However, his characterization fits the show he's in and plays to Roth's comedic chops. If nothing else, Emil Blonsky is a more natural fit in "She-Hulk" than he was in "Shang-Chi."