Sunday, August 9, 2015

Summer TV Rewind: Marvel's Daredevil 1.07: "Stick"

“Smart don't come out of books, kid. Smart is making the right decision at the right time. Like now. What's it gonna be, Matty? You gonna spend your life crying and rocking yourself to sleep at night? Or are you gonna dig deep and find out what it takes to reshuffle those cards life dealt you? Your call.”

Now that the Russians are gone, “Daredevil” has turned focus to another branch of Fisk’s criminal empire – Nobu and his Japanese mafia. We don’t learn much about the bigger picture of what they’re up to, but we do learn that they’re trying to import a “weapon” called Black Sky. We also learn that Nobu is suborn, almost to the point of stupidity. At the same time, we also learn more about Matt’s past, and the flashbacks to young Matt return after a several episode hiatus. Specifically, we get to meet the person who was Matt’s biggest mentor after his father’s death, who happens to be the person who really taught him how to fight. The appearance of Matt’s mentor also hints at other nefarious things brewing beyond Fisk’s empire that will likely present problems for Matt in future seasons.

The episode opens in an office in Japan where a man shoots at an approaching elevator. Unfortunately, though, he empties an entire magazine and hits no one. A blind man, armed with a sword, asks where “Black Sky” is. After he cuts off one of the Japanese man’s arms, he finally spills. Black sky is on a cargo ship, headed to New York City. So the creepy guy with the sword is on his way to New York, headed straight for Matt and company. First, though, he’s got a little business to clean up. He uses that sword to chop off the Japanese man’s head, blood spatter appearing on the elevator.

In New York, it’s near the end of the work day at Nelson and Murdock, and the gang are looking at a negative news story about the masked vigilante. Foggy is the most anti-vigilante. He doesn’t question that the vigilante is responsible for the bombings, and he thinks the vigilante is clearly a terrorist. Worse than a terrorist, actually, since he (the vigilante) doesn’t take responsibility for his actions like a terrorist organization would. Karen is somewhere in the middle (she was shaken by the bombings, but she still remembers that the vigilante saved her life). Matt, of course, says that if the vigilante walked into Nelson and Murdock, he would defend him, because crimes should be tried in a court of law and not the press.

In a shady parking garage, Owlsley tries to do a deal with Nobu, saying that he knows Nobu’s crew is trying to smuggle in something big, and with the Russians out of the picture, it is in the best interests for the other pieces of the Fisk empire to stick together. Nobu says it’s no go, though. He doesn’t want to cut Owlsley in on Black Sky. After Nobu leaves, Matt approaches Owlsley and demands information about Fisk. Matt is distracted by the sound of someone who uses a walking cane approaching, and Owlsley uses that distraction as an opportunity to taser matt and dry off. The blind man from the opening scene (who we later learn is just called “Stick”) appears. As Matt is trying to recover from being tasered, we get a flashback to Matt at what appears to be a Catholic rehabilitation center. One of the nuns brought Stick in to try and help Matt adjust to his blindness. They have a conversation on a park bench over ice cream where Stick basically tells Matt to get over feeling sorry and learn to use his new abilities. In the present day, Stick tells Matt he needs his help to save Hell’s Kitchen.

Karen had been super awkward when leaving the office in the earlier scene, and we soon learn why. She’s got a meeting with Ben. The meeting is in Ben’s car at what looks like a port. They compare notes on what they have discovered about Union Allied and related organized crime. They’re starting to see connections, but it’s tangled “like spaghetti.” They’re far behind what Matt has already learned, because they don’t know who the Kingpin is. Karen leaves the car, and it seems like the whole conversation was being watched.

Karen then next pays a visit to Mrs. Cardenas to drop off some groceries. Mrs. Cardenas asks about the “handsome lawyer,” and Karen immediately assumes she’s talking about Matt. She was talking about Foggy, though. The conversation doesn’t really go much of anywhere, which makes me feel bad for Foggy once again. Karen tells Mrs. Cardenas that she can pay for the groceries in information. Specifically, Karen is trying to make a connection between the repairmen who were working on the apartment and the people responsible for the explosions. Mrs. Cardenas is able to give Karen a description of the repairmen. On her way to the car, Karen is attacked by two men, presumably who have been watching her since the meeting with Ben. Foggy appears just in time to fight them off with a baseball bat, which impresses Karen. Karen ends up taking Foggy to Ben’s office and lets him in on what she and Ben have been up to. They look at the conspiracy wall Ben has been creating, and they speculate that the man in black is fighting the Kingpin, not working for him.

Matt brings Stick back to his apartment, and all Stick has is criticism. He doesn’t like the apartment because he can sense Matt had a woman there and there are too many “soft” things, like the silk sheets Matt uses because anything else feels like sandpaper. He also criticizes Matt for having friends. He thinks Matt needs to cut himself off from all his friends and everything comfortable to prepare for “the war.” Matt isn’t buying it, and we see a flashback to Stick teaching Matt how to fight. In the present, they are fighting as well, and Matt does better this time (obviously). Stick explains that Nobu, not him, is the person Matt should be worried about right now. Nobu is importing a very dangerous weapon. Matt offers to help Stick as long as there is no killing. Stick agrees to the terms.

Matt and Stick wait in the shadows at the loading dock, and everything goes according to plan until the shipping container they are interested in opens and Matt sees that Black Sky is actually a chained up kid. Stick tries to shoot an arrow at the kid, but Matt stops it. Chaos ensues, the kid is hustled off by some of Nobu’s men, and Matt is left to fight off the rest of the goons. Afterwards, Matt finds Stick waiting for him back at the apartment. Stick tells Matt that he followed the kid and killed him anyway. Matt is furious, and this sets off yet another big fight between the two of them. Eventually, Matt lets Stick go, but not after a command to stay out of his city. After Stick leaves, Matt finds the ice cream paper bracelet. Apparently Stick kept it after all. Matt gets very pensive, and I think he’s wondering if banishing Stick was the right choice. Stick, meanwhile, reports back to a scary, scarred dude whose face we can’t see. He asks Stick if Matt will be ready “when the doors open,” and Stick says he has no idea.

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