Frank and Matt are closing in on the Blacksmith. Meanwhile, Karen and Claire deal with the fallout from the men in their lives.
Karen's struggling to find a way to help Frank after he saved her life. At the same time, she's not doing very much to keep that life saved. Frank's looking more and more deeply into what he is clearly realizing is a very complicated woman. It makes sense that Frank, who's recovering from a clear tragedy, is connecting with Karen, who is also clearly traumatized about her own past. I almost get a sense that Frank is disappointed Karen clearly has feelings for Matt. I guess I'm happy Karen can't deal with Frank's brand of violence. It gets results - he gets a line on the Blacksmith - but seeing someone's cheek half ripped off is never calming.
Claire's choice to help Matt is having devastating effects on her life. Her friend and colleague was killed, and Claire's also under a ton of pressure to keep quiet about why, lest the hospital have terrible publicity (why rampaging junkies are okay instead is beyond me.) I thought Claire walking out was one of the bravest things I've seen her do. Is any of this going to help anything, however? Because the mysterious children are back with Nobu and his people, and they're bleeding again and feeding the Mysterious Giant Urn, and all the lengths Claire went to to return health to the kids have cost her her career.
Matt, like Frank, is slowly becoming more and more focused on the Blacksmith who I'm starting to suspect is going to be someone we know. Matt goes after Tower for info, which starts him down an RPG-style quest for info. Tower points Matt to Chinatown and Madame Gao, who points him to the pier, where he stops Frank from murdering the wrong guy. This leads to another knockdown fight and SuperBro Discussion, only now I think after seeing what Wilson Fisk has been up to and seeing how Frank was manipulated by Fisk Matt sort of has less of a moral leg to stand on, even if Frank is completely correct. Once Matt starts down that slope, he may not be able to get back again. Frank proves himself a hero a hundred times over to me in the end, even if he is a violent one, and this has to be one of the best interpretations of the Punisher done anywhere. I bet we're going to see Frank Castle again sometime soon.
The coda for the episode has Elektra and Stick ready to fight, and perhaps kill, each other. These scenes were the weakest part of the episode to me, unfortunately; Stick's motives are just so unclear. I love the character, and loved the sword sharpening scene, but wish we had more of an angle on what's making Stick tick.
It looks like Nelson and Murdock is completely over, the Punisher is severely injured, Nobu is ready to rise to power–and if Matt gets rid of him, he can look forward to Fisk to contend with. Crikey!
Bits and Pieces
Marci bringing Foggy a bottle of vodka in the hospital. I still think she's going to get him a job at her agency.
The waitress serving Frank and Karen in the diner was cool throughout.
Why did the police bring Karen to the pier and the scene of a crime?
Similarly, how did the men knifed by Elektra manage to drive the car all the way to Matt's apartment? Is Stick's hideout that close by?
Karen: You said you'd bring a car, not steal mine.
Frank: It's a good song. We used to sing along to that. Imagine me doing that.
Karen: I inherited the tapes along with the car.
Frank: Look, I might generally be considered out of my skull, so this might not mean much, but this could be the craziest, most batshit thing I've ever heard in my life. People that can hurt you, the ones that can really hurt you, are the ones that are close enough to do it. People that get inside you and.. and.. and tear you apart and make you feel like you're never gonna recover. Shit, I'd -- I -- I would chop my arm off right here, in this restaurant, just to feel that one more time for my wife. [scoffs] My old lady, she didn't just break my heart. She... she'd rip it out, she'd tear it apart, she'd step on that shit, feed it to a dog. I mean she was ruthless. She brought the pain. But she'll never hurt me again. You see, I'll never feel that. You sit here and tell me you're all confused about this thing, but you have it. You have everything. So, hold on to it. Use two hands and never let it go. You got it?
Matt: I can't let you start a war for the wrong reasons.
Frank: Maybe a war is what I need. Maybe I need that.
Claire: Our mutual friend is gonna have to get friendly with another nurse, because the next time he needs help at the hospital, I won't be here.
This episode felt like it was stuffed with storylines to get us to the climax of the season–but the cast and writers managed to pull it off. The Blacksmith, the Hand, Fisk, Madame Gao, Foggy, Claire... amazing. There's nothing like a well-structured show mythology. Four out of four Mysterious Giant Urns.