DAREDEVIL: S02E12

THE DARKNESS AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL – 7/10

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You know what they say about family; you can’t live with them, and you can’t ram a sai into their heads, not that that is going to stop Elektra from trying. In many ways, season 2 of Daredevil has been all about families; Matt, Elektra and Stick form a messed up family unit, Frank’s entire motivation is to avenge his family, and Nelson & Murdock is a family that has gradually fallen apart. There is no lack of irony in a girl called ‘Elektra’ having daddy issues, but you can’t really blame her for being  angry at Stick when he tried to have her killed for no apparent reason. Although as Matt later points out to her, Stick would never do anything without reason. This penultimate episode revealed a lot of truths, but not all of them were particularly satisfying.

Elektra had hinted at a life of training with Stick and here we witness it in flashback form. We see her as a young girl taking on four fully grown men as Stick watches on. A fellow member of The Chaste questions Stick’s decision to train her but is silenced as she takes down all of her opponents. But there is darkness inside of Elektra, even as a young girl and Stick has to stop her from beating one of her sparring partners to death. She later finds herself cornered by her opponent, who vengefully attacks her but she easily kills him with cold precision. Stick’s Chaste brethren realises that there is more to Elektra than meets the eye so Stick is forced to kill him and leave Elektra in the protection of a wealthy family. However he makes very little effort to protect her in the present day and they fight until Matt arrives to break it up.

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Matt’s counselling session doesn’t last long as all three are soon attacked by The Hand. They stop fighting each other in order to defend themselves, but the ninjas still manage to vanish with Stick. Matt asks Elektra to help him to save Stick, naturally she refuses and vows to find Stick first and kill him. She warns Matt not to get in her way or he will suffer the same fate. Matt goes back to the office to try and work out where The Hand could be hiding, he bumps into Foggy there and they share an awkward but civil conversation. It seems that this really is the end of Nelson & Murdock and Matt makes no attempt to talk Foggy out of leaving. With the firm closing Karen has thrown herself into her new role at The Bulletin and Ellison convinces her to keep pursuing Frank’s story, so she decides to pay a visit to Colonel Schoonover.

Following a suggestion from Foggy, Matt realises that The Hand have been using the sewer network to travel around the city. He heads down to the subterranean world under Hell’s Kitchen where he is attacked by Hand soldiers. Realising that he is using their weapons to track them they throw them away, making them totally invisible and leaving Matt defenceless to their attacks. His attackers flee but Matt continues to track them by following the sound of their dripping blood. He arrives at the processing plant where The Hand is keeping Stick; his mentor silently whispers to him to track the ninjas by the sound of their breath and this finally gives Matt an advantage. Meanwhile Stick has to endure some brutal torture from the Roxxon CEO who demands to know where ‘it’ is.

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Karen interviews the Colonel at home and is touched by his kind words, but her visit takes a sinister turn when she recognises one of the soldiers in Schoonover’s wall of photographs. It is one of the bodies she saw down at the docks and the hired goon that seemed to know Frank. The Colonel pulls a gun on her confirming that he is in fact The Blacksmith. He leads her out to her car, telling her to drive to a secluded location in the forest. But upon their arrival they are rammed by another car driven by a very alive and very angry Frank Castle. Frank quite literally takes Schoonover out to the woodshed to punish him; despite Karen’s pleas he shoots Blacksmith in the head. He then discovers a secret panel in the shed, revealing a huge armoury and a bullet proof vest with a very familiar design on it. It seems that Frank’s war is far from over just yet.

Matt eventually fights his way to Stick, saving him from his torturers. As they go to escape they are stopped by Elektra who still wants to kill Stick. Matters are complicated even further when Nobu arrives with his ninjas. Nobu reveals that it isn’t Daredevil or Stick that they want; it is Elektra, as she is The Black Sky weapon that was stolen from them. Having battled against her true nature for her entire life Elektra is elated to hear that she belongs somewhere, but Matt says she will have to kill him to get to Stick. He implores her to be more than just the Hand’s weapon. Matt’s words move her and she ends up helping Stick to escape while Daredevil fights off Nobu and his ninja forces.  However Nobu has other plans for our heroes.

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As Daredevil heads towards its crescendo there has been a noticeable dip in quality. It is undoubtedly better than anything else on TV right now but it hasn’t managed to maintain the same level of excellence that it started with. This episode answered a lot of questions, but rather than being huge moments of enlightenment the reveals felt more like inevitable eventualities. Perhaps this is a side effect of binge viewing, watching the episodes in quick succession can lead to a form of fatigue. There was still plenty to enjoy in this episode, including a multitude of excellent fight sequences but at this stage the amazing quality of the fight choreography is pretty much a given for Daredevil. With one episode left I am hopeful that it can regain its momentum and finish the season on a high.

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