Marvel's Daredevil Review by Henry Tran

Marvel's Daredevil 2.12: The Dark at the End of the Tunnel

Marvel's Daredevil 2.12: The Dark at the End of the Tunnel

Written By:
Lauren Schmidt Hissrich and Marco Ramirez
Directed By:
Euros Lyn

Approaching the end of this season, there has never been a more apparent split in both running plotlines than in this penultimate episode. Daredevil no longer has his focus divided between the Hand and Frank Castle. After the explosion, everyone presumes that Frank is dead, and that the hunt for the Blacksmith is now over. I would argue that this isn't the best course for Daredevil to take, as it relegates Daredevil at times to being a guest star on a show that bears his own name. But that's the bed the show has made once it introduced the Hand as the overarching threat in a similar vein to Wilson Fisk last season. The Hand just lacks the overwhelming presence of Wilson Fisk, as well as having to compete in each episode with an arguably more compelling antagonist for our heroes.

 


 

Even while Frank Castle seems like the more watchable of the two storylines created for the show here, it feels like everything there is reaching its conclusion. That was true from the start of the episode, as the NYPD is left to clean up the mess that he made on the ship. They, as well as Karen, think that he took the Blacksmith with him and so the whole story is over at that point. So one does wonder why she would continue to write a story about Castle for the Bulletin, especially since she has almost lost her life several times over in her zealous pursuit and defense of the story. It seems more like the show has to have her doing something, what with Foggy finally shuttering the law offices of Nelson & Murdock.

 

When she continues pursuing the story, in effect still chasing Frank Castle due to the slight nagging suspicion that he didn't really die on the boat and that there's more to this entire saga, it leads her to track down the only source alive enough to say anything about Castle that's beyond him being a remorseless killing machine: Colonel Ray Schoonover. And yet, that impression never really goes away, even as the conversation between the Colonel and Karen starts out so cordially. The revelation slowly comes out that the Colonel is actually the Blacksmith that Castle, and well everyone, has been looking for. It doesn't really track with what has been said about the Blacksmith so far, though one could presume that the Colonel lived something of a double life that parallels what Matt is going through. When Frank finally confronts his former commanding officer, there's an air of inevitability to everything that's happening. Karen makes one last appeal to whatever is left of Frank's humanity, but he's already in Punisher mode by then, and can't be reasoned with. She makes a bad bet here, as it's likely that he never really cared about her, only about the mission and vengeance for his family, and all of the stories about his past were a front aimed at accomplishing that mission to the end. If Daredevil couldn't reason with him, what makes Karen think she could achieve a different result?



 

As for what does in this episode, it boils down to finding the Hand and finally confronting them. Their true motives are laid bare here, once Matt finds their base of operations within the labyrinth of sewer tunnels beneath the city. Finding the Hand means also rescuing Stick, who is interrogated and graphically tortured by Nobu (in a series that seems to revel in brutal deaths and murder, bamboo shoots under one's fingernails seems to be my personal limit), and once again fighting any number of deadly, silent ninjas. The limits of Matt's enhanced senses are now pushed to him tracking the ninjas' breathing rather than hearing the ring of their sword weapons. This pushes the show's suspension of disbelief to new heights.

 

It also becomes hard to swallow what comes next: Elektra joins the fight, and Nobu reveals the truth to everyone: That Elektra, not whatever is in the stone egg chamber, is the Black Sky weapon the Hand has been waiting to unleash to the world. Like what happened with the Blacksmith, Elektra being the Black Sky doesn't hold much water, other than being a convenient explanation for why Stick wants to kill her so badly. What's really upsetting is that Elektra spends one moment rejecting the explanation, then accepting that fact the very next moment. This supposedly independent woman, one who seemingly didn't let any man control her, has spent her entire life being controlled by men. Stick built her into the weapon that he now wants destroyed, which I don't really think was his original intention. Once Daredevil gets in the way of all of the Hand's plans for the Black Sky, Nobu determines that he must die. So the episode leaves the series in an entirely questionable place as the season finale comes up next. The Hand will most likely be the entire focus since Frank Castle's story is effectively finished at this point. It hasn't been all that compelling lately.



Our Grade:
C+
The Good:
  • The Punisher has practically taken over the series at this point; no wonder he’s getting his own spinoff
The Bad:
  • The Hand are a poor successor for Wilson Fisk as the primary villains of the season
  • The truth about Elektra doesn’t make a whole lot of sense

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 - 6/6/2016 5:30 PM180 views

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