Those bastards! Why would they do that? WHY?
Okay, we’ll get to that later. First, let’s talk about Karen. Right now there is nothing to link her to Wesley's murder. She was clever enough to cover her tracks, which kinda implies that she may have done this before (or just seen a lot of detective shows). But if Fisk's mother says something about the nice blonde girl who visited her to her son then Fisk will come after her, and her friends, with everything he's got. And this will be a Fisk without the calming influence of James Wesley so it will be a complete bloodbath. Karen knows this and as such all her actions in this episode were driven by paranoia and survival. Which is why I found that entire nightmare sequence unnecessary. Karen's paranoia was evident throughout the episode, we didn't need a dream to give us this insight into her mental state.
Why didn't Karen confide in her friends? They would've seen that what she did, she did as self defence. Wesley did abduct her and threaten to kill everyone she loved. Was she afraid that they would encourage her to turn herself in (unlikely, Ben, Matt and Foggy aren't that stupid) or that this would expose her dark past and cause them to think less of her? If she'd shared with someone her paranoia might not have consumed her, which lead her to push Ben to publish the article, inadvertently kick starting the chain of events that eventually lead to his death.
I’ve watched enough TV over the years to know when something horrible is about to happen. There is always this unnerving stillness, where things just seem way too calm. When Ben was walking to his car after getting fired I was certain that something terrible would happen. Either he would be attacked or his car would blow up. When he got in his car and drove away I breathed a sigh of relief. Then he got home and knew he was going to be attacked, and when it was revealed that Fisk was there I knew that Ben’s days were numbered.
Barring some last minute deus ex machina there was no way Ben was getting out of this one alive. I wanted one, as bad as they are, I wanted one. I wanted Thor himself to come crashing through the window and send Fisk flying into the Hudson with a swing of his mighty hammer. From a storytelling standpoint, that would have been terrible, but I would've accepted it all the same because I love this character so much and I did not want to see him die. I was screaming at the TV when it happened. I didn’t want Ben to die. I didn’t think Ben could die. He’s been an integral part of the Daredevil universe for decades. I thought for sure he would have plot armour ten inches thick protecting him. Those bastards, why did they have to kill off one of my favourite characters?
Sigh, rest in peace, Ben Ulrich. You are going to be deeply missed. And a big thank you to Vondie Curtis-Hall for bringing this character to life so well. I'm really going to miss having him around.
'Stick' was the first episode to suggest that there was something mystical going on beneath the surface, something that has now all but been confirmed in this episode. There was definitely some magic at work here. Gao's workers appeared to all be in some sort of trance, which was broken when she had them swarm Matt. And then Gao herself threw Matt across the room like he was nothing. Who is she really and where is she from if not China? The logo on her drugs is a pretty big give away for all you comic readers out there.
When he wasn't getting tossed around by old ladies, Matt was showing off his mad parkour skills. Those healing meditations really work wonders, don't they? In the previous episode Matt couldn't even walk from one side of his apartment to the other without reopening his wounds. And in the show's timeline that was, what, a day ago? Now he's running around rooftops like a bat out of hell. Even though they did show him tending to his wound afterwards, I still found it difficult to buy that Matt would be able to pull off such acrobatics quite so soon.
While his body may be healing at a phenomenal rate, Matt's spirit is still very much battered and bruised. It is rare that we ever see a superhero vulnerable, and I mean emotionally. We often see them physically vulnerable, which even the non-superpowered ones recover from with inhuman quickness so they can take down the bad guy in the final act. But emotional vulnerability is rare and crying is usually reserved only for the death of a loved one. I can't think of the last time I saw a hero break down and cry because the pressure of everything was finally getting to them. And that is what I love so much about Matt Murdock. Despite all his superhuman abilities, he is the most human costumed hero around.
Notes and Quotes
--Foggy is still pissed at Matt, but I'm glad he's no longer drowning his sorrows and is actively working to find something to bring Fisk down.
--This week's most obvious symbolism was Karen washing herself from head to toe in a futile attempt to wash away a stain that just ain't gonna come out no matter how hard she scrubs.
--The music playing in the car during the Parkour scene is Bach's Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor.
--Does Matt go back for his sticks or does he just buy new ones?
Ben: "Run the article. It'll sell papers, it's sexy."
Ellison: "You sound like a whore."
Ben: "Well, I learned how to be one from you."
Foggy: "You and I should not drink."
Karen: "Yeah. Yeah, I'm thinking about giving it up, moving on to the hard stuff."
Foggy: "Narcotics? Deal me in."
--Holy foreshadowing, Batman!
Three out of four mad Parkour skills.
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.
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