Marvel's Daredevil Review by Henry Tran

Marvel's Daredevil 2.08: Guilty as Sin

Marvel's Daredevil 2.08: Guilty as Sin

Written By:
Whit Anderson
Directed By:
Michael Uppendahl

Matt Murdock officially breaks in this episode of Daredevil. He does all that he can to keep his world from falling apart, but there just seems to be no end to any of it. I think the show is demonstrating from multiple fronts that while Matt is a capable fighter in his Daredevil persona, he remains literally and figuratively blind to what's happening in both his civilian and superhero lives. The trial of Frank Castle plays as a slow tease, at first somehow keeping up the notion that Nelson and Murdock (or really, Nelson and Page at this point) are winning the case. Then it all goes to hell when Matt gets involved. Things are just beginning to get worse with the Yakuza and the Hand, which likely portents establishing more of the mystical side of the Daredevil mythos than anything else related to the Man Without Fear.

 


 

The episode starts with a battle between the good guys (Daredevil and Elektra) and the newly revealed bad guys (ninjas likely employed by the Yakuza/Hand). There's a pivotal detail divulged by Matt during the fight, which is that he can't tell where these ninjas are because their heartbeats have been masked. What makes Matt an effective fighter while being blind has now been eliminated as an advantage for him. He doesn't get hurt, but Elektra looks to have been mortally wounded, and they both could have fallen down that giant hole in the ground if they weren't saved by Matt's former mentor Stick. Matt can't "see" these ninjas coming, and it's a continuous theme that runs throughout the episode. I really thought that this might be the episode where Elektra dies, which was a legitimate possibility given the state of her wounds, but she was saved by some ingenious homemade remedy created by Stick.

 

In the middle part of the episode, this plot doesn't really go anywhere, as Elektra is stuck in Matt's apartment to recover from her wounds, and Stick finally reveals his true purpose for even being on the show in the first place. And the exposition of the backstory isn't much of a surprise. The Yakuza having gained some control over the Roxxon Corporation is more of a business arm of a mysterious organization called the Hand. They had a small role to play last season with the introduction of the Black Sky child that was delivered to one of the ports in New York. While Stick tries his best to make his story about the Hand and his creation of the Chaste to fight the Hand sound more ominous in order to create some fear within Matt, it really slows the overall plot to a crawl. The idea that there has been an invisible war building from within Hell's Kitchen after the demise of Wilson Fisk -- and that Matt has been unable to see it for a long while now -- really lacks the punch that it should provide.

 


 

Last season, we were able to concretely see what Wilson Fisk's plans were for the city, and we understood the context by which those plans came to fruition (taking advantage of the city's slow rot in the wake of the Chitauri attack on New York). Here, it plays as just an excuse to provide the exact context by which Elektra came into Matt's life. She was a plant, trained by Stick in order to make sure that Matt somehow became the crimefighter that Stick wanted him to be, so that one day, he could come to Matt and convince him to be a part of the Chaste, thus using him as another weapon in the fight against the Hand. It makes a certain amount of sense, but the underhanded way in which Matt is being manipulated by both his mentor and his former lover cements my impression that both of them are just all bad news for Matt's life.

 

That revelation affects his civilian life as a lawyer as well. Putting aside the terrible, soap opera-like reveal of Karen finding Elektra in bed with Matt tending to her -- which leads to Karen immediately rejecting Matt without explanation -- Matt's absence from the trial of Frank Castle is made all the more glaring here. Foggy is able to somehow build momentum in getting to his stated goal of keeping Frank away from the death penalty, first having Frank's former commanding officer deliver devastating testimony that paints Frank as a war hero, followed by convincing medical testimony from a psychology expert that basically confirms that Frank is re-living his family's deaths over and over again.

 


 

So the strategy of putting Frank on the stand was a bad idea from the very beginning, though it was puzzling to see that a smart man like Foggy didn't recognize that. The circus show went on, with the odd notion of having Matt cross-examine Frank due to the fact that Matt has heard Frank's sob story as Daredevil. The questioning becomes a total farce, as Frank goes completely on a tangent, basically owning up to the fact that he's cold-blooded killer who would do it again if given the chance instead of his lawyers painting him as a deranged, but damaged lunatic. There's no belief in what they're doing here.

 

Foggy knew from the get-go that Frank was a psychopathic, remorseless killer, and yet, he was forced to have to defend him to the best of his ability. He did his job. Matt, on the other hand, having not been present for much of what had happened in the trial (yet another thing he's blind to), doesn't so much as question Frank on the stand but rather tries to legitimize his vigilante ways through an eloquent, if misguided, statement to the jury. It's all for naught, as Frank is dragged from the courtroom, literally kicking and screaming, as a ploy to get him in the same prison as Wilson Fisk. What will come of this development? I have no idea at this point, but I hope Fisk can bring some intrigue to the table. So far, the show is struggling to get past this slog in the middle of the season.


Our Grade:
C
The Good:
  • Fisk’s return to the story could be a promising turn of events
The Bad:
  • The middle of the episode crawls due to some clunky exposition
  • Anyone could see putting Frank on the stand was a huge mistake

Henry Tran is a regular contributor of review for Critical Myth; The Critical Myth Show is heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @HenYay

Marvel's Daredevil by - 5/9/2016 7:45 AM148 views

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