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Stick’s appearance in the last season of Daredevil was a particular highlight for me, so I’m entirely happy to see this season using him more – and especially since they’re really going in hard on all the ninja mythology stuff which, while completely unnecessary to the character, is one of the idiosyncrasies I really love about Daredevil. I already know the ninja stuff gets a bit too much for some people later on in this series, but for now, at least, I’m fully on board.
The Punisher’s trial also got really interesting here. Colonel Schoonover’s explanation of Frank Castle’s character made for a gripping story, though like several sequences in this episode (such as Stick’s discussion of the Chaste’s ancient origins) it’s hard not to wish it had been shown in flashback, rather than told. Seeing Matt back in the courtroom was also enjoyable, and for a moment I almost believed they might succeed in defending the Punisher, even though (as discussed in last episode’s notes) their goal was pretty nebulous.
But the Castle went and tanked his own defence with an outburst that was obviously prompted by some strategic blackmail. In retrospect, this trial was never going to end in anything resembling success, though I’d have preferred to see Matt be a little more active when he realised someone had got to Castle instead of just letting it all unfold. That said, it was all worth it for the ending. I realised what was happening just early enough to be incredibly excited (to the point of shouting “no, no they won’t! oh no they WON’T!”) at the moment Fisk’s reveal was made. I absolutely cannot wait to see more of the Kingpin in jail, and unsurprisingly it looks a lot like he’s doing okay for himself even inside the pen.
Matt and Elektra’s doomed love story took good position in this episode too. From Stick and Matt saving Elektra (and the payoff for Matt making tea as part of Elektra’s cure was a near-perfect Stick moment) to Elektra rejecting Stick’s war only to immediately renege on her promise to Matt. You can see why the guy’s an emotional mess right now. Throw Karen’s surprise visit into the mix and yeah, that’s a lot of pressure on one guy.
In fact, it’s hard to imagine what Karen even thinks is going on, though it does make you wonder how long he can go without just telling her the truth. Right now his two lives are bleeding together far too much for it to remain tenable, and I wonder what sort of conclusion that’s going to reach. Right now it looks like Matt Murdock isn’t going to even be around by the end of this series and Matt’s going to become like The Punisher or Elektra – living his alter-ego full time.
So while this episode was maybe a little more tell than show overall, I personally didn’t have a huge problem with it. The only jarring thing – Elektra’s sudden shift from femme-fatale into meek, lovesick damsel – could at least be explained as a calculated play, though I’m a little sceptical. But for me, the Punisher trial and the exploration of the Hand and the Chaste is more than enough to keep me excited about moving forward with the series.