Aaaaaaaand there it is. Picking up directly where the previous episode left us hanging in such a fantastic way is something truly refreshing that can be done with shows designed around being binge-watched. Then jumping directly into a fight with Daredevil and The Hand? This strong opening was a jolt of adrenaline just when the show needed it.
Things are beginning to come full circle, with Stick and the enigmatic fight between The Chaste and The Hand taking center stage, and The Kingpin being revealed to have been pulling the strings on the Frank Castle trial for who knows how long. I was shocked that a bigger deal wasn’t made of Matt overhearing that guard threatening Frank. Considering that last season Matt went out of his way to stake out a member of the jury just from noticing an elevated blood pressure, it seemed like he wasn’t giving it his all. Which would make sense because of how much he’s had going on. Even his weak attempt to let Foggy and Karen know of this was completely discarded, also understandably. Instead it just seems like a way to let the audience in on the secret of the Kingpin before the characters can make the discovery on their own, which is fine in the end.
In the end The People V Frank Castle took a backseat to the mystical going-on’s of The Hand here, as it was revealed that the entire reason for Elektra’s return to Matt’s life was Stick. Making the more mystical tale of The Chaste VS The Hand a large story from Stick, while told in a cool way, felt like an awful lot of exposition all at once. In the end it made it hard to care about The Chaste’s plight; which in turn helped ally Elektra toward Matt. Her doubts beginning to form after genuinely falling in love with him all over again seemed genuine, and choosing him over Stick demonstrated how these two were fated to go down this dependently destructive spiral together in a poetic way. Knowing that the two of them can never truly end up together because of “what she is” cemented the tragedy; and slitting that Hand member’s throat was a brutal way of shocking Matt into the realization that he has been disillusioned and making terrible life choices. “This is who I am. Do you still want me?” Yeah, can’t blame Matt for doubting himself now.
While the focus on The Hand material was nice, I still can’t help but feel like The People V. Frank Castle made for a more interesting moral quandary, not even just in the nature of “do we punish The Punisher” but also the strained relationship between the defense. Seeing the Colonel testify to Frank’s character was especially funny, as I couldn’t help but picture him as General Eiling from The Flash. Having his testimony fire back in the DA’s face was especially gratifying. Also of note was Karen noting the difference between EED and PTSD, but I couldn’t help getting “midichlorian vibes” with this, as EED seems like a way to explain what makes The Punisher be The Punisher. The legal defense explains why it’s here, but I don’t think a reason is needed for Frank to Frank people; he’s just a badass.
But yes; the trial ended with a Guilty verdict on purpose. It was Wilson Fisk pulling strings the whole time, and that reveal at the end was fantastic. While it’s disappointing to see the trial wrapped up in a deflating way without helping to repair the bond of Nelson and Murdock, it’s exciting to know that the plot is no longer saddled down by the trial; and that Kingpin has some plan for The Punisher.
For my review of the previous episode of Daredevil, “Semper Fidelis,” click here.