Luke Owen reviews the seventh episode of Daredevil…
At the end of the last episode, we learned that the Russians are no longer part of Fisk’s plan (on account of them being all dead) which raises the question: who is next on the hitlist for Daredevil? Which arm of Fisk’s reach will he discover next? Well, with the title giving away the reveal of which character we’re introducing in this episode, the answer is Nobu.
Which can only mean one thing: The Hand can’t be far off.
But before we get into all of that, there’s the small matter of Daredevil now being hailed as “The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen” and being blamed for the bombings in the city as well as for the deaths of the cops who were shot by Fisk’s unnamed assassin (Bullseye?!). This leads to a fascinating dynamic for Foggy Nelson that comes straight from the pages of the comic books – he hates Daredevil but he loves Matt. In the first scene between the two in this episode, Foggy talks about his displeasure of Ol’ Hornhead, but then gives Matt the ‘best friend’ pep talk. It’s interesting for us as a viewer because we can already imagine the hearbreak Foggy will go through if he ever finds out Daredevil’s true identity. There has been some issue with Eldon Henson as Foggy in the early goings, but he’s really worked his way into the character by this point and is superb in the role.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s focus on what this episode is all about: Daredevil learning how to control his powers through the help of the man known as Stick.
Stick was introduced into Daredevil lore by Frank Miller in the early 1980s as a way to explain how Matt Murdock learned to focus his heightened senses. The show follows a similar plot line with Stick being brought in by the nuns to help a young orphaned Matt who seems to be struggling to come to terms with his father’s death. What he’s really struggling with however is learning how to block out the sounds that echo throughout his head. Stick never went easy on Matt in the comics, but this version of the character is a complete bastard. We see him in the opening of the episode chopping off a man’s hand before decapitating him and then all he does is berate Matt for his lifestyle choices. Scott Glenn is utterly joyous in this role and his complete arsehole nature is sold perfectly by Charlie Cox, who continues to be the shining star of this series.
The two are going to work together for the first time as Stick has come to Hell’s Kitchen to stop a shipment coming in named Black Sky, which is being headed up by Nobu. Throughout the episode, The Hand are teased in dialogue and revealed that they plan to rise up against Fisk should they ever make into Hell’s Kitchen and stopping Black Sky is the first step to making sure that never happens. Daredevil makes Stick promise not to kill anyone (in a great T2 reference), but Stick goes against his promise when he attempts to kill Black Sky. But what is Black Sky? Nothing but a child. So Daredevil being the hero that he is stops him, leading to an incredibly dramatic fight scene between the two.
What makes the fight scenes in Daredevil so good is that The Man Without Fear never looks like he’s in control. He makes mistakes, he slips up – and often looks like he is going to lose. The one take fight scene at the end of episode two is so perfect because Daredevil looks like he is going to be beaten at every turn only to make it back on top. This happens again here with Stick, who is clearly the master of the situation, making the fight scene all the more thrilling. And with the flashbacks showing how young Matt was looking for a father figure and friend over a mentor, there is so much more dramatic weight to it. But even with Stick’s dickish ways throughout the episode, there is a sign that he does actually care about Matt as a person.
In other news, Karen Page has brought Foggy Nelson into her and Ben Urich’s quest to discover the truth about Wilson Fisk, so it’s only a matter of time before Matt gets involved too. There are a lot of hints in this episode that Foggy is falling for Karen hard, and even quint Spanish lady Elena can see that. Are we heading for a love triangle? With Matt, obviously, not Elena…
Is it too early to introduce The Hand? Probably, yes. For this first season, the show is better of sticking with Fisk as the big bad and then bringing elements like The Hand and Elektra into the next season, should they get one. If there is one mistake this show can learn from that the 2003 movie made, it’s keep it simple and try not to cram in too many classic Daredevil storylines. And, if “Stick” is anything to go by, they are on the right path.
Plus, we now have Stone in the mix…
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.