Episode 7 “Semper Fidelis” leaves us, the adoring Daredevil devotees, with the ever so tantalizing hook of, “How deep is that hole?” As one would hope, episode 8 “Guilty as Sin” picks right up with that answer. The hole is very deep. Forgive my sarcasm. For along with the deep hole comes a truly interesting development in the series. Why do the Yakuza need such a deep hole?
Before our hero and antiheroine Daredevil and Elektra have a moment to speculate, ninjas! (I know that last bit was not a complete sentence, but cut me some slack, because NINJAS!) My childhood self could hardly be contained. The fight that ensues may not be as impressive as some of the visually creative fight scenes from season 1, but I must reiterate. Ninjas.
The icing on this deep hole cake with a ninja swirl is the return of someone from Matt Murdock’s past. Stick is back. He reappears with almost perfect timing. Apparently he could not show until the morally conflicted Matt Murdock accidentally causes Elektra to be caught with a mortal blow from one member of the attacking ninja horde.
Escaping the swarming ninjas was only a small part of the battle. With some questionable chemistry and dubious surgical techniques Stick saves Elektra’s life. With that minor miracle we are left to wistfully wish that the ancient poison fighting powers of toilet bowl cleaner, whiskey, baking soda, and pliers could heal the rift between fighting friends.
We see in this episode the distance between Foggy, Karen, and Matt grow with Matt’s absence from the Punisher case. This absence gives us a few opportunities to relish in Foggy’s victories over the cold, ambitious, yet surprisingly unprepared District Attorney. The courtroom drama develops with a more engaging force than most on television. This is definitely my biased opinion, and I would bet it is the opinion of most fans of the beloved Marvel characters at this courtroom drama’s center.
Even more deeply in the center of this episode is the ancient conflict of two warring factions. Stick gives us the story and the reason for his secret war. Through his story to Murdock we learn of an ancient war between the Hand (Ninjas!) and the Chaste (Stick!). Our horned hero reacts predictably with indignation and disbelief. The strict moral code that defines Matt Murdock is repeatedly challenged this season.
Challenges abound as Foggy fights for reducing Frank Castle’s charges. These charges seem impossible to weaken as they are at a level on par with terrorism. “You killed my dad!” cries a young man from the gallery trying to cut the seemingly conflicted Frank Castle in his chains. If “acting is reacting” then Jon Bernthal’s performance in the court room has depth and subtlety matched only by the brilliant performance of Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk in season 1.
Deborah Ann Woll’s performance as Karen Page shows some layered reactions as well. Karen certainly has an insecure and implosive reaction to the scene she enters makes her a witness to what could seem to be the aftermath of either either the weirdest three way in history or the lamest fight club in history. Matt being pushed further away from it is impossible to end your Netflix binge on this episode. After a cryptic comment from a security guard, Frank Castle goes rogue on the stand and sabotages any chance he’d have of not going to prison. His maniacal twitching and ranting leads him into the private prison work out yard of the Kingpin.
That’s one deep hole, but not nearly as deep as the trouble we will be in once the Hand gets a hold of the “black sky” or as deep as the incredible, layered performance Jon Bernthal gives as Frank Castle or as deep as the Wilson Fisk’s corrupt networking.