REVIEW: Daredevil: Episode 7- Stick
Now into the latter half of its series, writers of Netflix’s Daredevil could’ve relaxed a little, and allowed their amazing series to simply play itself out to its close. The show’s already packed cast gets yet another addition in Stick however, and any notion that the show’s plot might slow down in its second half are swept away with some especially comic book orientated teasers of what’s to come.
The episode opens with a new feel that, although slightly teased with both Chinese and Japanese influences in the first half of the season, had yet to be fully fleshed out. So when a terrified Japanese man fires at an unknown assailant, we presume that we’ll be seeing a similar “tell me everything you know” scene from Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), as we saw in the first half of the series. This isn’t the case and instead, the newest cast member to join the fold, Stick (Scott Glenn), makes his debut. After removing the man’s hand with a samurai sword- yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds-Stick learns the location of “black sky”, and a whole new area of the Marvel Cinematic Universe begins to unfold before our eyes. Oh, and if you’re very much into your comics, you might’ve realised that Stick removing the man’s “Hand” was some of the smartest foreshadowing of an ancient mystical, ninja order I’ve seen. For those not familiar with Daredevil’s backstory, just watch on and I’m sure all will be explained.
As of yet, the series has been focusing on the very human aspects of Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Murdock’s battle for Hell’s Kitchen . However, with the introduction of Stick, we now begin to see Daredevil fitting into the much more fictional Marvel world. The episode fills in a little more of Matts past, as well as Stick’s, as it was Stick that originally mentored Matt and trained him to use his “abilities” for a coming “war”.
For those who don’t know, Daredevil has long been linked to the supernatural aspects of the Marvel comic book world, and with Stick’s introduction into Matt’s life, we also see this world slightly impacting on the series. The episode manages to integrate these mystical notions cleverly however, never pushing the world that it’s built up as far as to make any of it seem obsolete. If magical superheroes had simply appeared in this episode, that gritty feel we’ve all gotten used to could’ve been wiped out in a scene. As I say however, the writers are slowly, carefully and cleverly intertwining their existing Hell’s Kitchen storylines, with the routes of those that will eventually become far more prominent. Without ruining the episode too much, the identity of “black sky” is particularly interesting as we see Stick trying to push Matt to kill, focusing on the human emotions of the characters, rather than the supernatural aspect of “black Sky” itself. Overall, this introduction of mysterious Japanese orders just adds to the show’s already peaking levels of tension, as well as hinting at far darker threats than Fisk on the horizon.
Even without setting up more of the Marvel Universe however, the episode stands up to its predecessor in almost every way, and even exceeds it in some cases. A fight scene between Matt and Stick is one of the best we’ve seen so far in the series, coming very close to rivalling the single shot hallway scene in episode 2. We finally get to see some of Matt’s real ability, as he backflips and leaps around his house, battling his ex-mentor with the ferocity we’d expect from the son of a boxer.
The episode also manages to bring the many threads of narrative being woven across the show together. A scene in which Foggy (Elden Henson) discusses his desire to punch the masked man of Hell’s Kitchen is a perfect example of the bonding Karen (Deborah Ann Woll), Matt and Foggy have sorely been needing. We also see Foggy incorporated into Karen and Ben Urich’s (Vondie Curtis-Hall) investigation into the Union Allied corporation run by Fisk, and the show seems to have all of its trails leading in similar directions again, offering us a more unified feel to the series.
The new supernatural hints that have begun to drop are the icing on the cake for a series that manages to introduce a brilliantly fleshed out character almost every episode. The show’s attention to detail when it comes to the psychology of every persona in the show is what’s making them so watchable and engaging to follow. But with all plots heading back in the same direction again, there seems to be only one end to them all, a final confrontation with Wilson Fisk himself, and aren’t we all dying to see that.