GUILTY AS SIN – 9.5/10
In my last review I wrote that watching Daredevil isn’t the same as watching a normal series; it’s more like watching a 13 hour film. I stated that it was only natural that a 13 hour film would begin to somewhat drag in the middle. Well, don’t I look silly now? Episode 8 didn’t just make me eat my words, it roundhouse kicked them down my throat as the Daredevil lore was blown wide open. Yes, we knew that The Hand and The Chaste were coming, but this show has always been grounded in a type of gritty, hyper reality. Well now its primary focus is a mystical ninja war, that may not be to everyone’s liking but I am excited as hell. Oh and seeing as this won’t show up on the preview I can finally type these words… STICK AND KINGPIN ARE BACK!!!!!!!! So yeah, I liked this episode.
Things pick up from the end of episode 7 with Daredevil and Elektra staring down the very large hole in the Roxxon building when they are suddenly attacked by a group of skilled ninjas. To make matters worse the ninjas are completely silent, they don’t even have heartbeats, making them totally invisible to Matt apart from the sound of their swords. They do their best to fight off the ninjas, narrowly avoiding the hole in the process. Elektra goes to kill one of the ninjas but Matt yells at her to stop, the distraction leads to her sustaining a poisonous sword wound to the gut. Matt goes to her but is instantly overpowered by the ninjas, just as things look their bleakest the cavalry arrives in the form of Stick. He decimates the ninjas and gets Matt to bring Elektra to his car before more arrive, and there are always more ninjas.
Stick’s driver speeds away from the scene whilst the ninjas pursue them on the street and over the rooftops like a swarm of ants. Despite being on foot they manage to keep up pace with the car, firing off arrows that very nearly take out Matt. Stick fires his crossbow with deadly accuracy but they still continue to come at the car. They manage to evade the ninjas, retreating back to Matt’s apartment, but the toxins from the sword are beginning to kill Elektra. Stick creates an antidote for the poison which he pours into the wound, causing her heartbeat to go back to normal. Matt asks if she will be okay and Stick nonchalantly says that he has seen her pull through worse. Matt is shocked to hear that Stick knows her and demands answers.
With matt otherwise engaged it falls on Foggy and Karen to defend Frank. They call Colonel Schoonover (Clancy Brown) to the stand to speak about Frank’s heroism during the war. They also call up a medical expert who claims that the damage that Frank sustained to his brain in the shooting has left him in a permanent state of ‘fight or flight’. Both witnesses seem to help Frank’s case, however all this good will is destroyed when the son of one of Frank’s victims has an emotional break down in the court. Frank admits to Karen that even if he caught the people that killed his family he doesn’t know if he could stop killing, this may just be who he is now. Foggy tells Karen their only chance now is to get Frank on the stand, but Matt needs to be the one to cross-examine him.
Stick tells Matt that he trained Elektra to help him fight in the eternal war against The Hand, an ancient race of warlords who discovered the secret of immortality. They used their new powers to take over Asia, opposed only by a group of warriors known as The Chaste. The Hand’s goal is simple; to achieve world domination using a mystical weapon known as The Black Sky. Elektra admits to Matt that it was her mission to seduce him and make him rejoin the fight but she truly did fall in love with him. Matt says that if the war is real then they can fight it without taking lives, he implores Elektra to leave Stick and fight alongside him but thier conversation is interrupted by Karen. She tells Matt that if he cares about Nelson & Murdock then he will be there in court to cross-examine Frank.
Matt does indeed make it to court the next day, receiving a frosty welcome from Foggy and Karen. As Frank is brought in to court, Matt overhears a policeman telling him to “think about what you want, Frank.” Clearly someone has gotten to Frank, this becomes even more apparent when he blows his own defence by screaming about how much he enjoyed killing his victims and would gladly do it again. Foggy and Karen make it perfectly clear that they blame Matt for this mess and neither one has any interest in speaking to him. Matt returns home to find Stick gone, Elektra says she sent him away so they could be together but she is worried if Matt will still want her once he has seen who she truly is. He tells her that he loves her and leaves her to get some rest.
As Matt leaves the bedroom he is shot through the shoulder by the arrow of a Hand assassin. The toxin instantly begins to affect him and he does his best to fight off the ninja aided by a severely weakened Elektra. They manage to subdue the assassin, revealing him to be little more than a child. Elektra instinctively slits the boy’s throat, killing him instantly. Matt asks her why, she responds by saying that this is who she truly is but Matt goes into a poisoned seizure before he can respond. Meanwhile Frank gets taken in to gen-pop, the cop from court leads him through the prison as the other inmates jeer at him. He finally gets taken out to the gym area in the courtyard where he is greeted by none other than Wilson Fisk, who says he is delighted to see that Frank got his message.
As a long-time reader of Daredevil this episode really was a total delight to watch. The writers haven’t shied away from the fantastical elements of Daredevil’s lore; instead they have run directly towards it. The rest of the season will now feature a whole lot of ninja action which is a very good thing. But that isn’t the only thrilling narrative that was introduced in this episode, with Frank now out of court and in gen-pop it will be interesting to see whether The Punisher is trapped in there with his enemies or they are trapped in there with him. But above anything else, rejoice because Kingpin is back! It seems likely that Fisk has information for Frank on his family’s killers, but that information would have to come at a price. What could Kingpin want from The Punisher?