Reminder: Madame Gao Isn't the Leader of the Hand in 'Defenders'

Sigourney Weaver is here to subvert all your expectations about the Hand.


Sigourney Weaver’s Alexandra is the big bad of The Defenders. Even though she had never been alluded to before in any of the other five seasons of Netflix’s Marvel shows — Daredevil Seasons 1 and 2, as well as the first seasons of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron FistAlexandra, extravagant and terrifying beyond measure, is the woman running this whole Hand show.

Or, at least, she’s running part of it. Remember: the Hand has some issues in upper management.

But up until now, it’s been assumed that Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho) was the leader of one faction of the splintered Hand. It turns out we were all very, very wrong. She’s a boss lady, but she’s not the boss lady everyone thought she was despite her side-eye skills and clever comebacks.

Gao was especially teased as the leader of one faction of the Hand during Iron Fist’s first season, which ended with her listening in on Davos (Sacha Dhawan) and Joy Meachum’s (Jessica Stroup) plot to take down Danny Rand. It’s pretty obvious that she plans on folding them into her game.

Madame Gao, always plotting.


That plot is on hold, though, to introduce Alexandra as the real one pulling the strings. Everything Gao has done so far has been at Alexandra’s command, which is kind of totally unexpected since it’s never been hinted at before.

Alexandra, who is an ancient being currently dying from cancer after several lifetimes’ worth of chances to fuck up the world, is now determined to fuck up New York City before she dies. Her faction of the Hand — which has been assumed to be Gao’s faction up until this point — has been in direct opposition to Bakuto’s (Ramon Rodriguez) child-soldier regime and wants to take over the world with the help of “Black Sky” (revealed to be Elektra in Daredevil Season 2).

She’s also one of the “five fingers,” of the Hand, though she seems to be the most powerful of her allies so far. The five fingers are Alexandra, Gao, the man in the white hat, and Nobu Yoshioka (who was killed in Daredevil), as well as Bakuto; they fulfill a prophecy of sorts that states that the hand is strongest when all five fingers come together and form a fist. They can topple governments, start wars, and cause general chaos much more easily when they work together.

Not that they’ll get that far with the Defenders around to take them down.

The Defenders Season 1 is now available to stream on Netflix.

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