Ideologies collide in the most divisive trial Nelson & Murdock has to face- defending Frank Castle. And picking an impartial jury of New Yorkers proved to be a hard sell. Half see castle as a perversion of law and justice. Others praise his bravery to deal with the dregs of society.
And say what you want about Jon Bernthal’s Frank Castle, aka the Punisher, he is all about the entrance. Sloped forehead,square jutting jaw, the boxer-cauliflower-esque ears, hard lined nose- he’s a fighter, a brute and ball of chaos and fury. And we see this candidly in the first scenes of Bernthal entering the courtroom. Even in prison gear, chained like an animal, you still sense an air of rage, violence and defiance. It’s a militaristic form of TWD‘s Shane all over again. And *swoon*.
Castle stands bold before his prosecution and individuals who either want him locked away forever or dead. And right before the opening credits, we have the violent, sanguine vigilante of rage, who’s gun speaks more than he does, standing in front of the American flag. A chilling juxtaposition. More chilling than it should have been. It stands as a reminder that the world we live also has mass murders happening in the ‘unlikeliest’ of places, and acquiring a gun is easier than opening a bank account, and many men become so unhinged that taking multiple lives is as easy as the flexing the index fingers.
In order to bolster any chance of Frank living to see old age in a prison cell, the Murdock & Nelson team are looking to mount a defence that brings into question Frank Castle’s time in the military which would bolster a claim for PTSD. It is left up to Karen Page, apparently the Punisher’s talking buddy, to ease him into agreeing to the defence strategy.
And remember when we said Frank doesn’t like to be called anything remotely close to crazy? Well, yeah, that was never more apparent than in this episode. But he partly caves into Karen’s request to provide a name of a character witness in exchange for information on her help finding out the perpetrators that killed his family. Franks accounts of the incident conflict greatly with ME’s report, which points once again to government conspiracy.
Things start off rocky as Matt Murdock was pretty much a no show during the opening statements in the People Vs Frank Castle case. And as you guessed it, Murdock’s moonlighting with Elektra to find the Coder of the cryptic ledger they stole in Episode 6 is the reason he’s been MIA. That leaves Foggy playing mediator and again putting further strain on his relationship with Matt.
Foggy’s character is being fleshed out more and more in season 2, as much as he is comedic relief, their is growing depth in him as a character.
The conspiracy surrounding the murder of Frank Castles’ family slowly starts to take form as an excited utterance that came from the chief medical examiner on the case, a prosecution witness, revealed he falsified the autopsy family reports initially under threat. Only obvious that he’d come clean on his misdoings in court because someone else threatened him to tell the truth- Elektra. Who else has their ‘face covered with a foreign accent’ (don’t answer that). She overheard a heated argument between Matt and Karen on the issues with the case, Matt being a late-show to the opening statement. So Elektra tried to be Matt’s little helper elf by tying up and threatening the medical examiner to speak. But having given testimony (to a cleared out courtroom) and under duress, that little bit of evidence from the doctoring doctor gets thrown out.
And in that heated argument, Karen let’s it slip just how much she revers the Punisher. Or at least, the theory of the Punisher. And more ideology gets tossed around channelling the idea that the Daredevil creates his own demons to fight, whose very existence has given rise to the surge of vigilantes appearing across Hell’s Kitchen. Penultimately birthing the Punisher, aka Daredevil without the moral hangups. Cognitive dissonance, as one would expect, should be tearing Matt inside as much as it was affecting his relationships and responsibilities. But Matt feels to be super stubborn. Not that it’s uncharacteristic of him, but it would’ve been nice to see some more moments of doubt in his actions.
But what’s more puzzling, Daredevil and Elektra’s decryption of the ledger leads them to a part of Hell’s Kitchen that was carved up and handed to the Yakuza during the Wilson Fisk reign back in Season 1, and what they find their leads to even more head scratching. A hole in the ground. Rather an excavation. That goes pretty deep. Possibly in search of the literal hell. Usually when the mafia dig a hole its big enough for maybe a few bodies. But this feels like they were looking for something that was buried deep. And whatever it is, it can’t be good can it?
Karen, in speaking of the righteous vengeance of The Punisher with Matt, said “right or wrong, you can’t deny that [Frank’s methods] work. The way she receded made her look like she said a dirty word, an inside-thought that made the transition to loud words. As for Matt, his being versed in the art of persuasion and sanctimonious viewpoints seemed to hide any doubt in his standing… if doubt was ever part of the equation at that point.
On another odd note, it feels the Devil’s fighting style is different; more street brawler / mixed fighting than martial art branched-style of acrobatic display. He’s a son of a boxer, sure, but it looks like he reserves the balletic-style of fighting to taking down bosses. All-round, this episode is bringing back some of the waning momentum to the series.