by Logan Cox
Only three episodes left after this. If you can't take the heat, stay out of Hell's Kitchen.
Fresh off of last week's thrilling developments, Matt - with the help of Brett Mahoney and Claire Temple - manages to save the children whose blood Nobu and The Hand were draining for some nefarious purpose. While he still can barely comprehend the idea that Nobu has apparently returned from the dead, Matt and the rest of New York discover that the Punisher has escaped from prison.
And though we don't see him, it seems he's hell-bent on revenge. Reyes calls in Matt, Foggy and Karen to assist in Punisher's capture, showing evidence that he has threatened her daughter. Desperate, she admits to being behind the sting operation in Central Park that led to the deaths of Frank Castle's family. She admits this just in time for a hail of bullets to cut through the window of her office, killing Reyes and wounding Foggy.
While Foggy recovers in the hospital and Karen tries to warn other potential Punisher victims with Mitchell Ellison, Matt follows his intuition that Wilson Fisk was the one who orchestrated The Punisher's escape.
This leads to the first confrontation between Matt and Fisk since they beat the hell out of each other in last season's finale. Though, he's not meeting Fisk as Daredevil here, but as Matt Murdock, the blind attorney who put him away. Nevertheless, this encounter holds about the same level of hostility as their last, since Matt incurs Fisk's wrath by threatening to ensure he never sees Vanessa again if he doesn't admit his involvement in the escape. The cuffs come off and he starts smashing Matt and screaming in his face, making clear his intention to destroy Nelson & Murdock when he is free, and that he should fear Fisk's release more than Frank Castle's rampage.
Did not expect this. I know I should expect it from the Kingpin, but somehow Fisk's ballistic violence always catches me off guard.
The meeting with Fisk may have been the biggest mistake Matt has made all season. Not just because he ended up on the receiving end of one of Fisk's beatings again, but because he showed his hand. Literally, he gave Fisk a solid uppercut to the face. And though Fisk laughed it off at first, he later winces at the busted lip Matt gave him before demanding that his lawyer show him the files they have on Matt. I'm thinking Fisk is starting to suspect Matt and Daredevil might be one and the same.
Meanwhile, Karen and Ellison arrive too late to save Dr. Tepper, the Medical Examiner, finding him already shot to death. Karen then goes to her apartment to look through her files and see who else could be a target. She is confronted by Frank Castle, who stealthily disables her police escort and tells her at gunpoint that he is not behind the killings. This is confirmed when Karen's apartment is hit with another barrage of gunfire. Frank saves her in time, and the two flee.
And while that's going on, Elektra arrives at a fancy airport hanger and has a cute conversation with a guy. This guy quickly reveals that he's an assassin sent to kill her. Naturally, Elektra bests this fool and kills him with his own weapons. Before he dies, he tells her that he was sent not by The Hand, but by Stick. Hmm, so I guess if you decide you aren't with Stick anymore, he just has one of his other proteges take you out. Unless this was a deliberate ploy on Stick's part to lure Elektra back into the war against the Hand. And, like Punisher glimpsing the reflection of a bloody skull on his chest last episode, Elektra has found her own classic signature: the sai. I doubt she's just going to spend the last few episodes sitting pretty in Paris.
Matt goes to the Metro-General rooftop to await The Hand's eventual arrival. He has a moving conversation with Claire, who tries to get him to come back down to earth and stop being the martyr. Despairing at his constant setbacks and lack of progress he's been experiencing this season, Matt seems determined to isolate himself completely, cutting off a real life with friends and loved ones, being the devil full-time to keep his city and everyone he cares about safe. As powerful a theme as it is for a story like this, I'm kind of hoping his feelings about this are resolved by this season's end.
Anyway, the kids they saved earlier turn out to be brainwashed or something, because they've killed that Roxxon guy (who was the father of one of them) and started acting real creepy and evil. Then Nobu's ninjas converge on the hospital, setting up another huge brawl for Daredevil to bash his way out of. Nice.
Bits and Pieces:
* The mystery man at the center of Frank Castle's revenge arc seems to be The Blacksmith, a major drug lord of some sort. He was supposed to facilitate a deal between the three gangs Frank's been slaying this season, only he didn't show up and the police sting set off the shootout that destroyed Frank's life.
* They really did all they could to make Reyes redeemable, even when it was too late.
* Fisk ensured that the affidavit Matt had to sign was written in braille. Donovan, Fisk's lawyer, considers his employer to be very thoughtful.
* I liked Jacques Duchamps, the gentlemanly assassin Stick sent after Elektra. He looked a bit like John Stamos. If only he'd led with those sai.
* Karen's got a gun. I don't blame her.
* Claire Temple is both the wisest and most normal of these characters. She basically said everything I and others have probably been wanting to say to Matt for awhile.
* According to Claire, the kids weren't just being drained of their blood. The Hand was injecting them with various substances, turning them into "human chemical farms that can be tapped as needed." Good lord, what are these guys up to?
* Not sure I like those creepy kids at the end. Felt a little too much like a random horror movie. But I guess if I can accept a devil-themed superhero fighting ninjas at a hospital in Hell's Kitchen, I can accept that too.
Foggy: This case just keeps serving up the shit burgers.
Fisk: Yes! The son of a boxer!
Matt: ... You are running this place. You did set him free.
Fisk: You ask such small questions, Mr. Murdock.
Matt: You're regaining your power.
Fisk: Yes, ask my lawyer, he'll deny it. Ask the guards, they'll deny it. Ask the inmates here, they'll cut their tongues out before they talk! But I have something to say to you. When I finally get out of this cage, I will dismantle the two lives of the amateurs that put me in here! You, Mr. Murdock, and Franklin Percy Nelson.
Matt: No. I put you here, not Nelson!
Matt: I did it!
Fisk: The two of you took the laurels, you'll both take the blame. I'll chop both the heads off of that snake! And I'll spend more than six dollars in postage to bring you down!
Elektra: Are you going to try to kill me?
Jacques: Something like that.
Elektra: Well, you ought to know... it's rude to keep a girl waiting.
Claire: (Regarding Foggy) The bullet wound will do wonders for his career in hip-hop.
Claire: Maybe you need to climb down off that cross of yours and spend some time with us normal people for a change.
Matt: I should have stopped this.
Claire: You know you kinda did, right?
Matt: Well, not soon enough.
Three out of four Punisher x-rays.