Marvel's Daredevil Review by Henry Tran

Marvel's Daredevil 2.11: .380

Marvel's Daredevil 2.11: .380

Written By:
Mark Verheiden
Directed By:
Stephen Surjik

After watching this episode, I wondered how large the Hand's plan for New York, or perhaps even the world, is. Why are they using a bunch of random human bodies as blood and chemical guinea pigs basically, to fuel or bring about the Black Sky that's presumably in that stone egg chamber? I have a series of questions regarding the Hand's plan that the show proper doesn't seem to want to give concrete answers to. With time running short on this season, that may not happen. Matt tries to get any answers that he can by playing detective (and torturer, though it's basically just beating guys into submission for information) throughout the city, but most of it is frustratingly opaque.

 


 

First, there is the matter of the ninjas from the Hand invading Metro-General in order to retrieve the zombie-fied kids who are now the Hand's sources of power and fuel. Once again, there is an impressive-looking, elongated fight sequence where Matt takes out bunches of deadly ninjas with almost nary an injury. After the fight, there's some unclear workplace politics going on about what the hospital administrators want to do with the strange bodies that further cloud up the narrative. It's not subtle, with the long looks of creepiness from those in charge, and the whole thing irks Claire enough for her to quit her job. I don't blame her, especially since she witnessed a co-worker die right in front of her and she definitely doesn't want to meet the same fate if this is just the start of when things go downhill.

 

Circling back to the action that kicks off the episode: Look, I'm never going to say that the fight sequences on Daredevil aren't impressive, but the speed, ferocity, and brutality, not to mention the relative sameness, of the fights is starting to make them feel less interesting as a flavor of the show. Last season had a lot of really good material outside of the fight sequences: discussion about the hero's inherent philosophical leanings, internal as well as external conflicts, slowly developing plans and machinations of the villains. So far, this season has been missing a lot of that in pivoting the story from the actions and motivations of Frank Castle to what exactly the Hand has in store for both New York City and the rest of the world. There isn't really a lot of room for say, exploring the legal ramifications of representing a known (and seemingly remorseless) killer, or even the moral implications of Matt doing such an action. The show is too invested now in Daredevil's brand of vigilante justice to backpedal towards how Matt's Catholic guilt complex factors into everything that he does.

 


 

That job is left up to Karen, who wholly rejects Matt's pleas to protect her to gravitate towards a bond with Frank Castle. From the looks of things between them, Karen feels loads of sympathy for Frank's plight, perhaps of the thought that he has somehow been treated poorly by those who have tried to help him as they avoid being in his sights. To be fair, Frank is much more honest, direct, and open to Karen than Matt ever was during their brief romantic affair in the middle of this season. It's just that she can't really escape Frank the killer when it looks as if she wants to only help Frank, the damaged individual.

 

At times, it's hard to differentiate between those two psyches. The diner scene is a prime example of this. The beginning is a period of relative peace with Frank. He listens to a good song (while having broken into Karen's car), remembers the good times he had with his family, and opens up to Karen a little bit over some fresh coffee. To Karen, this is the person worth saving, and makes what she's doing for the Bulletin all the more legitimate. All of that built up goodwill goes away once a threat to life is identified, and Frank shifts into Punisher Mode, which means the terrifying, irredeemable, rampaging killer comes out. The Punisher is useful for instances like what happens on the boat at Pier 41. He's only after the Blacksmith, or information about the Blacksmith's whereabouts. But Frank, in his single-minded mentality, has trouble toggling between those two. It makes for a nice collision of plots when Matt gets onto the same boat, through information gathered from a meeting with Madame Gao in Chinatown, and they both duke it out.

 


 

It's clear from frame one that the man in charge of the boat is not the Blacksmith, though Frank doesn't really care about that distinction. Matt does his best to convince Frank of this again, even yielding to Frank's kill policy just this one time in a last-ditch effort to placate him, but it's useless to argue with Frank on this. He only cares about the mission, and I think that's what Karen has trouble understanding. The Punisher will always be a part of Frank Castle. Even after he probably kills the Blacksmith. No amount of convincing or placating or sympathy from Matt or Karen will remove that part. It's awkwardly presented by the end, especially when Stick and Elektra make an appearance out of nowhere, but now the show is all in on Daredevil throwing out his no-kill philosophy. That just seems to be what everyone in his world wants. He may not be strong enough or willfully stubborn enough to fight it the way he has before.



Our Grade:
B-
The Good:
  • Karen’s interactions with Frank are unusual and nuanced
  • Matt has quite the moral dilemma to ponder
The Bad:
  • The Hand’s endgame is still strange and completely elusive
  • Are the fight sequences getting too repetitive?

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 - 5/31/2016 1:33 PM141 views

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