We’re almost there.
So the last episode, the trail of Yakuza and cryptic criminal organisation activities lead Elektra and Daredevil a path of destructive breadcrumbs to a hole in the dirt. Not just any ol’ type hole. And excavation, which turns out to be about 4 stories deep. But not soon after the duo find the hole does the mysterious Hand, ninja elite, move with a deft silence that throws Daredevil a bit off his game (as he uses his super-senses of hearing to locate and fight enemies. The ninjas seem to be able to mask their vital signs from Daredevil’s radar, which surely makes for a more interesting set of adverse variables for the Man Without Fear, which leaves Elektra to deal with most of the dispatching.
Elektra however gets fatally wounded, in a moment of hesitation in taking a ninja foot-soldier’s life thanks to Matthew’s ol’ “take-no-life” stance. And just as both are over powered by the remaining ninja clan, someone from Season 1 makes a valiant rescue, Matt’s old blind bad-ass mentor Styx. Old man got game. And honestly, there is never a moment where I feel he isn’t blind; sometimes Cox’s performance playing a blind guy doesn’t come off as effective some times, but with Stick, from the distant, off-stare to the waddle-type walking, even when fighting, you really get the feeling he’s blind.
After a hairy escape, ninjas chasing a muscle car on foot with bows and throwing weapons if you could believe it, Stick takes Elektra to Matts place to give her some hardcore combat / shaman surgery. In desperate moments, Murdock leans on his faith, and a woman who he has great feelings for is near deaths door and so he begins praying. Ol’ habits die hard, especially for this Catholic.
It is however in Murdock’s catching up with stick that he discover’s his old tutor knows Elektra. And by Stick referring to Elektra as ‘Ele’, it is in a very intimate capacity. Or as Stick puts it, “Elektra works for me”. So her turning up out of nowhere was no accident. Matt’s about sick of Stick’s secrets, and is above hitting a blind man. Stick then goes off rambling of a war that’s brewing, a clandestine battle that was see-sawing its way into the world above ground. It’s cultish. Ancient. Fable-esque. All surrounding the discovery of the world’s greatest secret: immortality.
So “these pieces of shit”- vagabonds, murderers and the likes in ancient Asia, discover the key to immortality and being free from the fear of death, kill their masters and any opposition, becoming a wealthy, vast organisation that spread across the world. And like all such vile nefarious occult organisations, they take on a cool moniker- ‘The Hand’. And The Hand are searching for some doomsday weapon called ‘Black Sky’. Which explains the 4-storey excavation.
But in The Hands infamous rise to power is the related, even more epic story of ‘The Chased’; The Hand kills everyone in a particular village, but the one survivor, a boy, takes the blade from his father’s lifeless corpse and pretty much cuts down many of the Hand’s foot-soldiers. This kid, grown up and having drafted fighting recruits, becomes the Chased. The only force that stands against the Hand. All good campfire storytelling, but Matt’s not biting. but whether or not he believes it, The Hand sure does, and with their ability to surpass Matt’s senses, he’ll have some real problems in Hell’s Kitchen to get a read on them.
And with all this chaos going on at Matt’s home, it’s no wonder he was a no show to court… again. So Foggy takes the lead questioning Frank Castle’s character witness, the Colonel, who gives us a brief look into Frank’s valiant and patriotically-violent military history. War hero clears a LZ of insurgents single-handedly saving American soldiers’ lives. Awesome. But when Frank’s defence starts to point towards his mental / emotional stability, we see Frank gets a bit irked. Foggy, in any case, is handling the case as elegantly as one would expect given the circumstances.
After convincing Frank to take the stand in his own defence (smart idea, right), Karen goes to get absentee Matt to actually show up to court, just at the precise moment Elektra is covered up in bed. Stick let her in. Such a dick move, Stick.
So now Matt’s not in good speaking terms with both Karen and Foggy, and Matt does his one-two interrogation shuffle in court which proves yet again Matt is as masterful with his art of persuasion as he is with martial arts. Where he seemed to draw parallels between his hidden self, the Daredevil, and the Punisher, but drawing a line a taking lives.
But something is wrong. It looks like someone got to Frank. Which seemed weird, as who threatens the Punisher… and with what; the officer that brings The Punisher to the stand whispers to Frank “Think about what you want, Frank”. What follows is a tirade that shows the ugly side of the Punisher, the defiant, arrogant killer, who’s lips couldn’t furl any more to connote the disgust for the “scum” and “piece of shit maggots” he put down. He was the Punisher: unforgiving, no remorse, a blight of nature.
Having seemingly lost the case with the Punisher’s little outburst of wanting to kill every one of [the bad guys], looks like all Matt has left that’s any good relationship wise is Elektra. And Elektra seems like she feels the same way, wanting to leave under Stick’s thumb to spend a life in love and fight. But Stick hints at an ugly secret in Elektra’s past that, when uncovered may be what taints her in Matt’s eyes forever. Elektra forces Stick to leave Matt’s apartment, which is the perfect time for The Hand to discover their safe house.
Matt, reaching home to the one thing that’s right in his life, gets an arrow to the chest, and we aren’t talking cupid’s. A ninja foot-soldier dispenses some harsh punishment and after a bout of B grade martial arts, Murdock overpowers the ninja and unmasks him; his heartbeat confirms to Murdock the ninja he’s been fighting is prepubescent. A kid. But that doesn’t stop Elektra from slitting the boys throat. It was so cute how she dashed the knife from her looking all guilty like Matt found her taking cookies from the cookie jar, but covered in a kid’s blood.
This is who I am… do you still want me
That brought a chuckle. Reminded me of an ex. Brrr.
So now Frank’s in prison, and already the gen. pop. are making threats to stick him. Lovely. He gets led by that corrupt officer through prison aisles, away from surveillance and onlooking eyes to a empty gym / communal area, where one person is banging out those weights in the same kind of methodological deliberate way he speaks… The King Pin… Wilson Fisk. Yep. He’s back.
So this episode boasted the return of two of Season 1’s top players, and it seems the King Pin didn’t let his incarceration slow him down, as he seems to have a run of the prison. And undoubtedly asking for Frank’s presence is at a means to an end, and if Fisk thinks he can use the Punisher, you know its for bloody, killing reasons.
The episode had some glory moments, most of them being the return of familiar faces. Punisher’s outburst was particularly fun to watch. Fight scenes still leave a little more to be desired but it looks like the Punisher is still in play.
RATING: 3 out of 5 stars
Better an arrow to the chest than an arrow to the knee, then he’d never be able to practice law or be Daredevil again.
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