Thank you for joining me for the third part of my reviews on Marvel’s Daredevil. This time I will be looking at episodes seven to nine. If you need to catch up, here is a link to part 1, and part 2.
Episode 7 – Stick
Finally, we got to meet Stick, who opened the show with a violent introduction to his world; chasing down something he referred to as ‘Black Sky’ (which turned out to be on route to New York City).
Nobu was connected to the shipment, and met with Leland briefly to ensure everything was in place. The moment Nobu left, Matt took advantage of Leland’s vulnerability and confronted him about Fisk. Leland, who can be slippery, managed to get the jump on Matt; tazering him before making his escape. Of course that only happened because Matt was distracted by the sound of…well, Stick!
I didn’t expect the men to get all sentimental over the reunion, Stick is hardly the warm and fuzzy type. But he barely took a breath before he began criticising Matt about his life choices; how badly he’s dealing with things, his shit-hole apartment, the distractions (women/furniture/silk sheets).
When Stick finished toying with him (after a brief scuffle), he helped himself to a beer and told Matt about Black Sky, or all he needed to know at least – which wasn’t a great deal. Matt agreed to help as long as Stick promised not to kill anyone. He had a few words to say about Matt’s inability to cross that line, but made the deal.
And then promptly broke his word. It turned out Black Sky was a child, which was shocking enough, until Matt understood Stick’s intentions were to kill. He managed to intercept the arrow, though he failed to prevent Nobu from escaping with the child. He was a little busy dealing with the mess Stick left behind.
Stick was waiting for him when Matt arrived back at the apartment. He pushed Matt as cruelly as he’d done in the past, which led to a brutal battle of wills. The fight was evenly matched (Matt had learned a trick or two), though they were both a little worse for wear (as was Matt’s furniture).
Later in the episode, we saw Stick sitting before a mystery figure. This was a reference to the Ninja cult, The Hand, which means the story could develop further next season.
Elsewhere in the story
Nelson and Murdock
The team continued to entertain with their delightful banter; this time discussing the mask and his bad press. Obviously Matt tried to avoid being dragged into the discussion, and he evaded pretty well. He wasn’t the only one who was evading. Foggy noticed Karen’s distraction and was clearly concerned.
Later, Karen made a visit to Elena (Mrs Cardenas); a supply run, so to speak. As payment, she tried to gain information from Elena about the Construction Company and workmen provided by Tully. Elena didn’t have much to offer, but was able to describe a man with a tattoo – a distinctive pattern on his neck. When Karen left the apartment, she was jumped by two thugs. They started to rough her up a little, but Foggy came to her aid (with a baseball bat), and they managed to get away.
Karen and Ben
Karen and Ben hit a dead end in terms of the investigation, but were determined to continue. After Foggy saved her from the thugs outside Elena’s apartment, Karen decided to bring him on board (he’d only follow her anyway), and introduced him to Ben.
We saw a young Matt, still tormented by his heightened senses, living in a nunnery. The nuns asked Stick for guidance (he’d had positive results in the past), because Matt seemed to be getting worse. Of course Stick knew the truth – Matt was getting stronger.
Matt’s training started immediately, and he certainly didn’t receive any concessions from Stick. In fact he made a point of being direct – some would say ornery. It was fun to see Matt grow into his abilities, using his senses and forming a picture of the world around him. Stick was particularly punishing, especially when Matt showed any sentimentality. So when he made Stick a bracelet (from an ice-cream wrapper), Stick crushed it and walked away.
In the present, Matt found the bracelet hidden in the rubble in his apartment. Not only had Stick straightened it out, he’d kept it for twenty years. This was either a clever move on Stick’s part, to get inside Matt’s head, or he really does have a softer side!
Episode 8 – Shadows in the Glass
This was a Fisk centric episode which, though revealing in terms of his background, was also slightly disturbing. D’Onofrio does an excellent job with the role – but then he is referred to as the ‘Human Chameleon.’ Some of my favourite parts were when he threw a little Goren into the mix! I loved his character in Criminal Intent.
Initially, we saw his comfort in routine, and the repetitive nature of his existence – his life through a microscope. It was a continuous loop; waking from a nightmare, staring at his painting, making an omelette for breakfast, choosing a suit, and fastening his father’s cuff-links.
Cracks appeared in Fisk’s (mostly) impeccable control, when he received a visit from Madame Gao, and she voiced her displeasure over recent events. You could all but see the internal battle inside him. It was beautifully played.
His control snapped the moment she left. Fisk unleashed the rage monster, upending the table and refusing to speak to Wesley; presumably until he’d found his centre again. Wesley brought in the cavalry, namely Vanessa. It turned out to be the perfect move because, although Fisk was resistant, he eventually shared his dark past. Vanessa’s acceptance was a turning point for Fisk.
The reality of this could be seen in the small changes to his routine. He allowed Vanessa to choose his suit; never even flinching when she bypassed his father’s cuff-links. But the changes were evident on a much grander scale. After so long in the shadows, Fisk announced his identity on national television. A fact which threw a huge spanner in the works for Ben (who was settling down to write a story).
Fisk’s fascination with the painting finally became clear, because it resembled the wall of his apartment when he was a child – a wall his father forced him to stare at. We discovered that his father was a bully. He forced Wilson to commit an act of violence; encouraging him to kick a boy when he was down.
Later, when he heard his mother and father fighting, Fisk snapped. He grabbed a hammer from the side, and struck his father with it – repeatedly. When his mother realised he was dead she sprang into action. She didn’t call the police, or seek help for her son. No, instead she chopped her husband up into tiny pieces!
Episode 9 – Speak of the Devil
What an explosive start! Matt and an unknown ninja (at the time) were battling it out in a warehouse. The actual scene was interspersed throughout the episode, but I’m going to deal with it first. The sequence was a brutal fight to the death. The ninja (okay, Nobu), was using a Kyoketsu-shoge – a double edged blade (with a curved blade near the hilt).
When all the scenes fit together, we learnt that Matt had been lured to the warehouse, where Nobu, who was lying in wait, slowed his heartbeat and modulated his body temperature, to avoid detection.
It was a bloody battle. At one point, Nobu used the Kyoketsu-shoge to drag Matt across the warehouse floor; tearing into his flesh. But Matt is a Murdock, and Murdock’s always get back up. He managed to turn the fight around and knocked Nobu into a container of fuel (which drenched him through). A few sparks later and Nobu was on fire.
Fisk arrived at that moment with Wesley and two of his men. He thanked Matt for taking care of Nobu, who was becoming ‘an issue’. He then baited Matt, challenging him to a fight. Matt could barely stand at that point, but he took a swing.
Fisk’s street fighting skills were evident and, as he was wearing a custom made suit to protect himself, Matt lost the upper hand (he was a walking wound by then). Eventually, Fisk regained his control, and told Wesley to finish the job. This show of arrogance was a mistake, because Matt was able to use the last of his strength to get away – diving through the window and into the water below. As Fisk looked down into the shadowy depths, Wesley asked what he wanted to do about Nobu, to which Fisk replied – ‘Let him burn.’
Elsewhere in the story
Nelson and Murdock
The team spent much of the episode brainstorming ways to get to Fisk. They started by agreeing to pull on the threads which led to Tully. Unfortunately, it turned out Tully was on an island, living off the pay-out he received for his properties. Elena told them of Fisk’s offer, unsure where to turn as her neighbours wanted to accept the settlement figure. In the end she decided to fight for her right to stay and left to convince her neighbours to join her.
Matt paid a visit to Vanessa at the gallery, armed with a cover story about finding some artwork for his apartment. I found it particularly symbolic when Vanessa steered him towards a painting in tones of red. She described the contrasts from her point of view; anger/rage, love/hope. Pretty much like the city.
The tension ramped up when Fisk arrived for a visit, and what I found compelling, apart from the excitement of having them both in the same room, was their discussion about Hell’s Kitchen. Both Fisk and Matt have made the speech before, sharing a burning desire to save the city. Fisk’s passion might stem from a skewed sense of morality, but their goals oddly collide.
When we returned to the team, it was to find them discussing another dead end. Things started to look up as they unveiled their new Nelson and Murdock sign – cue group hug! But ultimately the scene ended in sadness because they learned Elena had been murdered by a junkie in the building. As Elena had no family, the team agreed to take care of the arrangements.
Matt’s confrontation with the junkie was violent, which aligned with how close he was to the edge. The trail led to the warehouse at the docks, where he encountered and fought Nobu.
We’ve met Father Lantom before, but in this episode we got to know him a little better. Matt, who is often drawn to the church, accepted his offer for a latte. They talked about the devil, not the concept, but the belief that he walks among us.
After his meeting with Vanessa, Matt sought Father Lantom’s guidance again. It highlighted Matt’s internal struggle because he’s not ready to cross the line. He has darkness inside him and he doesn’t want it to spread by taking a life.
During a conversation with Wesley about rising polls, they raised the subject of Detective Hoffman (Detective Blake’s partner). Fisk sent Hoffman to kill his pal in an earlier episode, and now he’s in the wind.
A little later, in a meeting to discuss property, Fisk and Nobu butted heads. Elena’s apartment building, and the entire block, had been promised to Nobu. He refused to compromise and choose another, forcing Fisk’s hand. He did agree to take care of the mask, and Fisk had a few ideas – laying a trap to get Matt to the warehouse.
The secret is out
Foggy was racked with guilt over Elena’s death and drank heavily. He later stumbled to Matt’s apartment and let himself in after hearing a noise. He encountered Matt, or to Foggy the masked vigilante, who passed out from his injuries.
It was so obvious what was going to happen, but I still held my breath when Foggy pulled the mask back to reveal Matt’s face.
So now it’s over to you. Did you enjoy meeting Stick? What did you think of the Fisk centric episode? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
NB: Images used within this review are the copyright of Marvel Entertainment/Netflix. All rights reserved.