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DAREDEVIL Episode 8 Recap: Is Punisher ‘Guilty As Sin?’

Warning: This recap contains spoilers for the Daredevil episode “Guilty As Sin.” Leave the ring and find a fight away from this page if you haven’t seen the episode yet.

Marvel’s Netflix series have managed to make superhero world feel so every day and relatable that it’s sometimes easy to forget about the stakes. But then, Daredevil discovers a massive hole in the ground and an endless number of ninjas show up and you remember the extraordinary circumstances. Daredevil’s “Guilty As Sin” finally named the Hand and brought Stick back into the picture to explain the nature of the mysterious war he’s been fighting. And he wasn’t the only face from season one to reappear.

Daredevil and Elektra were assaulted but somehow miraculously not pushed into the gigantic pit they were standing next to. The ninjas made for some interesting choreography because of their speed, skill sets, and numbers. When we see Matt fight, it’s usually some form of brawl, but that wasn’t an effective technique here. The battles were more elegant and fluid. Matt got by, but he put himself and Elektra at risk because he stopped her from killing. Luckily, Stick showed up to bail them out and to heal the poisonous wound inflicted upon Elektra.

Their getaway was plagued by ninjas–which I bring up because it’s a fun sentence to type and because holy hell, how many are there? I guess it’s sort of the point of ninjas, but it was overwhelming.

Anyway. Stick was a plot point from the first season that wasn’t necessarily unresolved, but he was a character I wanted to see more of. Scott Glenn nails the tone for the gruff and focused teacher, and I love seeing Stick sass Matt. He was Elektra’s teacher, and the most surprising thing about learning of their history was how she lets Stick get away with calling her “Ellie.” He recruited her to help with the war. Elektra later revealed Stick sent her to Matt in order to distract him and get Matt to drop his friends and career ambitions. He’s a classy guy.

His connection to Elektra and explanation of his war helped clear up a few points and brought the season together more tightly. It was an elaborate, smart game of connect the dots. He explained how powerful men discovered the secret to immortality and became the Hand and another group called the Chaste rose up to protect the world from the Hand. It sounded like a fairy tale, and Matt dismissed it as such.

Given everything Matt’s encountered, I don’t think he should have acted like it was all impossible. A healthy dose of skepticism? Sure. But for a man who has faith in God (who, as Stick pointed out, has the resurrection thing down), Matt should have put his baggage with Stick aside and listened. And yes, this is some nice set up for Iron Fist.

Stick’s presence interrupted whatever positive influence Matt might have been having on Elektra. Emphasis on the word might. Elodie Yung did an amazing job communicating how Elektra was torn between her emotion for Matt and wanting to be better for him and being loyal to Stick and her beliefs. She ultimately decided to choose Matt and a better path. Her ferocity and strength is unquestionable, but it meant so much to her to have Matt believe in her. It wasn’t about a man believing in her either, but about someone thinking she could be different. Compliments to her for telling Stick to go away.

Of course, this was all too late to salvage Matt’s relationships with Foggy and Karen. Matt continued to slack when it came to his Nelson and Murdock responsibilities. Where Matt fell, Foggy soared. He worked well under pressure and started to once again give Frank Castle the possibility of a more positive (read: not completely terrible) outcome. He aced questioning a military officer Frank served under, and he made a plan for questioning Frank once it became necessary for Frank to take the stand.

Foggy’s not so great at recognizing his own strengths. He insisted Matt had to be the one to question Frank. It started well enough, except Matt didn’t so much question Frank as give a statement. I don’t know enough about trial rules to know if such actions would be acceptable, but it was weird to me that an attorney was allowed to say so much without asking a question. Still, it was dramatic and let Matt express some eloquent thoughts about vigilantism. Did you note all the expressions on Foggy’s face while Matt was talking?

Unfortunately, Frank yet again reneged on what seemed like a good deal. Instead of being the willing witness he agreed to be with Karen, he lost it. He ruined any and all progress Nelson and Murdock made. He yelled about being in his right mind and not needing any help. It hurt. At this point, we’ve seen enough of the softer (ish) side of Frank to want justice for him. But alas, Wilson Fisk heard about him and his skills and made an offer Frank couldn’t resist. Well, hell.

The arrival of Stick brought clarity to Elektra’s purpose in Hell’s Kitchen and made the Elektra and Matt relationship more interesting. Combine his appearance with Elektra demonstrating her auto-kill instinct at the end of the episode and the return of the Fisk, and I’m on the edge of my seat in a way I haven’t been yet this season. Don’t get me wrong–I’ve been entertained, but for the first time, I’m dying to know what happens next.

Random thoughts:

  • Stick insisting upon Matt making tea to keep Matt out of his hair and to have a soothing beverage after healing Elektra was perfect.
  • Did Stick really have to let Karen in? He’s not exactly nice, but that was a real dick move.
  • Props to the makeup team for the work they did on Frank’s bruised face. The changes in the sickly hues have been subtle and spot on.

Favorite quotes:

  • “The city you’re sworn to protect is ground zero in a war it doesn’t even know is happening.” – Stick
  • “I’m smack-dab in the middle of my right goddamn mind.” – Punisher

Did you see Fisk coming? So much other stuff has happened in season two I’d sort of forgotten about him. Head to the comments and tell me your thoughts about the latest with Frank and about the return of Stick.

IMAGES: Netflix, Malisse Icons

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