Ricky Church reviews the ninth episode of Daredevil season 2…
Earlier this season Daredevil once again got a fight in a tight hallway outnumbered by a bunch of thugs. It was a very well filmed and choreographed scene, showcasing Daredevil’s fighting skills, but this time The Punisher got his own hallway fight scene and showed just how brutally effective he could be when pushed into a corner.
First off, after ‘Guilty as Sin’s cliffhanger, it was great to see Vincent D’Onofrio again and with such a prominent role in this episode. He was one of the standout aspects of Daredevil’s first season and it was very exciting to see him in such a drastically different environment. Despite the change in his circumstances, Fisk still manipulated events and has not given up on his quest to rule the city. D’Onofrio again excelled in selling the character’s charisma and Machiavellian intelligence, showing there was very little he was unable to accomplish with so few resources. That being said, it was still a little unbelievable that Fisk would have such free reign in prison, particularly in the episode’s conclusion as he organized Frank’s escape.
I may be sounding like a broken record, but Jon Bernthal again delivered an excellent performance as Frank Castle, showing the inner conflict within him as he reluctantly made a deal with Fisk in order to find out more about his family’s deaths. Despite this partnership, it didn’t stop Fisk from betraying Frank when it suited him, leading up to one of the series’ most memorable scenes yet. The prison fight was an intense and ruthless encounter, perfectly displaying Castle’s vicious nature against criminals. It was amazing to see how Frank utilized everything at his disposal to kill the near dozen inmates attacking him; you couldn’t help but share in Fisk’s awe as Frank succeeded against the odds, marveling (no pun intended) at his survival instinct.
Meanwhile, Daredevil continued to investigate The Hand’s plans, rejecting Elektra for her manipulations and drive to kill. This served to further distance Matt from Foggy and Karen as he pushed them away in order to keep them safe, but again he’s proving he can be his worst enemy by doing this and underestimating this mysterious group. He didn’t take Stick or Elektra’s warnings about The Hand seriously, but after the reveal Nobu is still alive, and apparently mostly healed from his third degree burns, he’s realized he can’t defeat this enemy on his own. While this story has moved forward in interesting ways, we are still no further to discovering what The Hand’s objective is, nor why exactly the Black Sky is so dangerous. At this point, it’s a big MacGuffin that tries to raise the stakes through mystery, but is so far unsuccessful at it.
Much like the last couple of episodes, the main draw has still been The Punisher storyline as Frank fought off a horde of thugs and Karen began piecing together several of the loose threads in the case. Speaking of Karen, Daredevil continues Karen’s great characterization by allowing her to follow these clues on her own initiative and use her intelligence to uncover the biggest question marks of Punisher’s case. ‘Seven Minutes in Heaven’ was an excellent addition to the season, even if Matt’s storyline wasn’t quite as interesting as Punisher’s, but it’s because of the latter’s partnership with Fisk and his own brutal hallway fight that made it enjoyable.