Daredevil S01 E07 – Sticks and stones

Previously: Fisk and Daredevil had a chat that didn’t go great.

Stick

Marines: We open to a guy hurriedly running down several flights of stairs. He runs into an office, grabs his gun and runs back out. He stands in front of an elevator and nervously watches as it descends several levels. When the doors open, he fires shots in rapid succession, apparently all without realizing no one was in the elevator. He’s still shaking when he reloads his gun, but all for naught as someone comes out of the shadows and puts a sword to his neck. In Japanese, Sword Man asks where Black Sky is. Nervous Guy says he doesn’t know and Sword Man CHOPS OFF HIS HAND WTF UGH THEY SHOW THE HAND AND THE BLOOD. I was not prepared. (A: ME NEITHER. NO THANKS.) (J: Yeah, that escalated quickly.) (C: I forgot about this and now I’m barfing forever.)

Sword Man asks again where Black Sky is and Nervous Guy says it’s gone. They put it on a ship headed to New York City. Nervous Man swears to it and promptly gets sword mauled for his trouble.

JUSTICE AND WAX.

Office. Foggy is looking at a newspaper headline about the man in the mask: The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. Foggy doesn’t buy it, mostly because he thinks the masked man is a coward. Karen doesn’t buy it because she thinks the masked man is misunderstood. Foggy groans in pain after throwing a ball in the air, which reminds us of his injury. This whole time, Matt is silent and reading something while at his desk. Karen pulls him into the conversation by asking him what he thinks. Matt says Foggy should be in shape to pitch for the Mets by mid-season. Karen tells him to be serious and he says that while he’s angry about what happened during the explosions, he doesn’t think the masked man should be tried and convicted in the papers. Karen asks if that means their firm would defend him. Foggy says hell no, but Matt says yes because he’d want to make sure the right people were held responsible for the violence.

Jessica: During this scene, I was wondering how his friends would react to his response because, really, we know his Daredevil persona way more than we know his everyday-lawyer persona, so for us as the audience it’s kind of tough to judge his reactions as Matt, because we don’t super know what Matt is actually like, but I guess we are only 7 episodes in and I think this one is going to expand on that. Did they think his answers were acceptable, something that “Matt would say”? Are they ever suspicious of him or think he’s acting strangely? Do they understand Matt’s sense of morality and his strong opinions on certain issues? Also, it seems that, unlike some other super heroes, Matt and the Daredevil persona are almost identical (except for the literal punching aspect) so maybe there’s not that same larger gray area that separates, say, Batman and Bruce Wayne or Spiderman and Peter Parker. But feel free to disagree!

Mari: That is such a wonderful point. I think even his daytime job and night time job are show so closely related, since Matt is essentially going after the same people, that we don’t have a ton of separation between the two. I also think it matters that his hero persona isn’t fully developed. We only call him Daredevil because we know him, but he really is just a shadowy figure in a mask.

Trying to lighten the mood, Foggy suggests some company softball. Karen laughs but he seriously invites her to batting practice at Chelsea Piers. Karen hesitantly says that she totally would but she’s got a thing. Foggy awkwardly tells her to go do that thing.

Once Karen is gone, Foggy sighs and mimics hitting himself with the bat. Matt sarcastically tells him that was smooth and Foggy says he’s an admitted work in progress. Foggy asks if Matt ever worries about Karen in a there’s-something-she-isn’t-telling-us kind of way. Matt simply says that everyone has secrets. (C: Come on, Matt. TRY to act normal sometimes.) Foggy, he pure of heart and simple of life, says he doesn’t. He’d like some, especially of Matt’s hottie-McBurner-phone variety. Matt tells him that things didn’t work out with her and Foggy looks genuinely bummed for him. Anyway, Matt says he’ll be staying late to get a jump on the tenement case. Foggy offers to stay, but Matt tells him there’s no need. On the way out, Foggy tells him that it was her loss. It’s real sweet. Kind of incorrect ’cause we are talking about Rosario Dawson here, but sweet.

Annie: Yeah. And Clairesario totally is in the right here. Daredevil/Matt is kind of a train wreck and Claire deserves someone who isn’t going to get her kidnapped and beaten up. 

Jessica: I liked this little back-and-forth of Foggy’s and Matt’s friendship. It was sweet and felt genuine. Yay friendship!

Mari: Shady Location. Leland tells Nobu that business may proceed uninterrupted. He also asks what Nobu is going to do when the mysterious thing gets here, letting on that he knows what said mysterious thing is. It’s all very business bad man showdown-y, but the moral of the story is that Leland thinks that after what happened with the Russians, they should look out for each other. Nobu says that each man needs to stand for himself “or fall with the unworthy.” Leland has n0 clue what that means. I think it means you got de-nied.

Jessica: Sorry Leland, you’re not being mysterious enough with your phrases. You’re out!

Catherine: I always get this feeling with Leland like he has no fucking idea how he got into this situation.

Mari: Nobu drives off and Leland makes his way to his own car. I half expect his car to blow up, but what really happens is that Daredevil appears behind him. Leland pretends like he thinks this is a stick up, even when Daredevil asks who he works for, and gets punched in the face pretty quickly. Daredevil knows Leland works for Fisk and moves his money around. Mid-threatening speech, Daredevil is distracted when he hears someone nearby using a cane. Leland uses the chance to taze him, call him an asshole, and drive off. (A: Maybe focus a tiny bit better, DD? Jeeez.)

Sword Man from the cold open makes his way to Daredevil and sassily asks if he’s just going to lay there the whole night.

That throws us into a flashback. Matty is in his bed and he’s overwhelmed by all the different things he can (super) hear. In the hall, a nun is explaining to Sword Man that Matt is getting worse ever since they took him on. Nun has heard about Sword Man’s [SM] work with special children and thought he could help Matty. SM says not for free and the Nun awkwardly tells him about Matt’s sizable inheritance. SM asks about Matt’s mother and Nun tells him that’s a story for different episode, I guess. (J: Audience- “oh?” Netflix- “Wait for it! Wait for it!”)

Nun shows SM to Matty’s room. SM tells Matty that everyone thinks he’s getting worse, but he isn’t. SM tosses him some keys, which Matt catches easily. Matty is actually getting stronger.

Park. Matty is holding an ice cream cone and wondering what it has to do with training. SM tells him to shut up and eat his ice cream, because he’ll be the one asking the questions. The first lesson is that no one is going to ever feel bad for him because he won the lottery. Matt gives a disbelieving, “I did?” but no questions allowed. SM asks when Matt got blinded. Nine years old. SM says that Matt has nine years of seeing movies and blue skies and up girls’ skirts that he never had because he was born blind. After nine years Matt gets hit by a truck but doesn’t die, all miracle-like. Then he got Toxic Goo in his eyes and what next? Matt answers that now he can hear everything and can sense things. SM says that’s called a gift. Matty never thought of it that way and SM says it’s because he’s stupid. Matty, bless him, says he is not. SM continues to be the jerk-teacher by saying that just because he taught himself to read Braille doesn’t mean he’s smart. Smart doesn’t come out of books, but from making the right decision at the right time. Like now. So, he asks, what’s it gonna be? Is he gonna spend the rest of his life crying and rocking himself to sleep at night? Or is he gonna dig deep and find out what it takes to reshuffle the cards that life dealt him?

Matt doesn’t answer the question. He simply says that no one has bought him ice cream since his dad died. SM asks what flavor it is, but the answer is not vanilla. It’s vanilla bean and sugar grains and milk from three different dairies and a batch of chemicals and dirt from the ice cream vendor’s hands. SM says the word is huge and all Matty needs are the guts to let it in. They practice with some passerbyers: a dog who is hungry and dying to eat the hot dogs he sees, a woman who is flush and in love, an old man who is dying. After some more platitudes from SM, Matt asks how SM even found him. SM vagues an answer and then says that he’s going to train Matty and help him control his gifts because he’ll need them for the upcoming war. Matty’s like uh what war, but it’s not time for that answer. Matty doesn’t even know who SM is or what to call him.

We jump to the present and Daredevil calls SM Stick. Stick asks if Daredevil is going to lie there all night or get off his ass. Daredevil is like “bro you’ve been gone for 20 years why are you in my city,” which is a valid question after 20 years. Stick tells him this city pretty much hates him and also he just got lit up by an old guy so he’s not doing a very good job overall. He claims to be here to save him and everyone in Hell’s Kitchen from a horrible death.

Jessica: So clearly Stick hasn’t changed much.

Catherine: Stick is THE WORST. If that wasn’t immediately obvious.

Mari: Just a bit obvious.

Karen’s thing she had to do was obviously meet with Ben. They are in his car and Karen is informing him that Union Allied’s paper trail led nowhere. They busted up the company into too many small components. She compares it to trying to straighten out a bowl of spaghetti. Ben suggests letting it go but she says it’s not going to happen. (J: Plus, you know if she lets it go, he’s just going to keep going after it himself. At least that’s my impression. He’s a newspaperman. He can’t help it. He just wants her to avoid the danger if possible.) Ben tells her to stop complaining then because this is the long, complicated, boring, sometimes fruitless job. Ben has found out bits and pieces: Yakuza, the Triad, drugs, the Russians. Karen asks about the man in the mask and whether or not Ben thinks he shot those cops. Ben tells her about being there when Blake was shot. He’s got some feels about it, but basically, they can’t know anything they can’t prove. He does advise Karen to run the other way should she ever see the man in the mask. Karen says that man saved her, but Ben asks if maybe he was just there to hurt someone else. I mean, the two are not mutually exclusive, Ben, but it’s still solid advice. Ben says there are no heroes or villains, just people with agendas. In the case of this show, our hero and our villain have pretty much the same motivation for their agenda.

This episode is like half done and there’s been a lot of talking so I’m kind of done with this scene now. To be clear, it goes on but it’s mostly a discussion they’ve had before about how dangerous this all is. (J: The scene did feel a bit extraneous.)

Mattpartment. Stick gets in there and starts judging the “shithole” right away, down to the lingering smell of a woman and the silk sheets. (C: Dude….stop….) He calls it all a distraction. Matt thinks he’s just pissed that he went out and made a life for himself without Stick’s help. Stick says he’s actually proud of Matt, really, but those silk sheets are going to strangle him. It’s a ~*metaphor*~ for how Matt is supposed to be living attachment free and stuff. He even suggest cutting loose the 2 people Matt cares about because relationships are a luxury people like them can’t afford. Matt asks if that’s why he left. Stick vagues that he had his reasons. Matt was just a kid, though. Stick says he still is and mocks him for all his feelings. Matt snaps, probably like Stick wanted him too, and Stick easily twists his arm.

Annie: Not here for this, let’s get back to kicky-punchy. Can’t believe I’m saying that…

Mari: We flashback to Stick doing this to a young Matty, who can’t figure out a way to break free. Stick tells him to quit, then, but Matty won’t because Murdochs don’t quit. Stick lets him up to try again. Matty circles around him and calls him a bully. Stick says the word is full of them. What’s Matt going to do about it? Matt attacks, but Stick evades him easily and knocks him down. Stick says he’s got too much rage. Anger is useful, but rage is out of control and bad. Matt tries again and gets knocked down again. This time he starts crying, blaming himself for his father’s murder since he was the one who wanted his father to win. Stick is about as sympathetic as you would expect him to be and basically says too bad, so sad, get up and prove I’m not wasting my time. Matty gets up and starts doing his fancy kicks again, but Stick evades him and twists his arm…

Which sends us back to the present. Matt gets out of the arm lock and Stick laughs because it took Matt 20 yeas to learn how to get out of that arm twist.

 

I guess Stick’s done insulting his life now (though he does insult his choice of beer), so Matt asks again wtf he’s doing here. Stick reiterates that it’s that whole war thing again, and this time it’s with the Japanese. Matt doesn’t want Stick tearing up Hell’s Kitchen going after the Yacuza, but Stick just scoffs that Matt doesn’t even know what’s happening in his own backyard. He fills him in a little: the man who was talking to Leland was Nobu and he’s getting a weapon called Black Sky delivered that very night. Matt wants him to say that he needs his help, but Stick dances around that like a PRO. Instead he says that he wants Matt to help himself and he needs a soldier, not a friend. We go into sub-speech number 283091 about how people die in war. Stick asks how many people Matt has killed so far and seems upset that his silent answer implies a 0. People gotta die, I guess.

Catherine: Maybe we don’t ask the old guy who bilks blind kids for lessons on morality.

Mari: Stick finally coms around to asking Matty to help him, to ride with him and go after Black Sky. Stick promises that if he does, Fisk will fear him because he kicked the guy Fisk fears in the nuts. (J: I was a bit confused here. Who were they implying Fisk fears? Nobu? Or an unnamed other villain? I didn’t pick up on that inference…) Matt also makes him promise not to kill anyone, which he does, and also calls Matt a pussy.

That night, Karen goes to visit Elena. She’s brought her groceries and suggests that Elena pay her back with information she needs to gather for a legal case. Elena says yes, of course. She must be working on that case with the handsome lawyer. Karen thinks she means Matt, but she means Foggy as there is not a man more handsome than a man in love. (C: AWWW)  Karen is kind of surprised and freaked out by that, but c’mon girl. Surprised? (A: KEEP UP, KAREN!)

Karen moves the conversation along and says she’s trying to make a connection between the construction company and the repairmen who destroyed her apartment. Elena tells her to ask Mr. Tully, but Karen’s been told he’s on vacation. This pisses Elena off because evil people should not get vacation. (J: Preach!) (C: Relevant as fuck.) Elena doesn’t have any paperwork or receipts from the repairs, but she said one man was bald and the other man had a large tattoo on his arm. Karen seems to think that is helpful. Elena is a little worried now, but Karen tries to calm her by saying if they can connect the repairman to the construction company, they will have their “dicks in a vice.” She switches to English for that last bit, but Elena understands perfectly. Karen apologizes, leaves, and Elena is left to cross herself and kiss her picture of Jesus.

As Karen leaves the building, a large bald man is waiting just outside. She starts hustling away from him and grabs her keychain mace, but another guy grabs her into the alley. Second Bad Man pushes her up against the wall and asks why she’s bothering the old lady. First Bad Man stops her from using her mace. Karen manages to kick away Second Bad Man, but First Bad Man pushes her to the ground. Things look bad, but suddenly First Bad Man is taken out by a softball. Foggy! Karen is less ! about this rescue because Foggy admits that he was following her because he was worried about her weird behavior. Karen insists that she can take of herself and emphasizes that by macing First Bad Man. Foggy suggests having the rest of this conversation away fro m the Bad Men. (J: Seriously.) Foggy hits First Bad Man with his bat and they run off.

Dock. Nobu arrives as the dock just as his shipment does. Stick and Daredevil are there. Daredevil picks up 12 calm heartbeats and 1 different, stronger one– Nobu. He also detects their weapons and silencers. They want this to be quiet. Stick gives Matt some sticks, though Matt doesn’t think he’ll need them. Stick insists and tells him to thin out the herd while he takes care of Black Sky. Stick grabs something from his bag and at first glance it seems to me like he might be setting up a sniper rifle so now I’m convinced Black Sky is a person.

On the ground, Daredevil starts picking off Nobu Helpers.

We join Stick again and now it looks like he’s assembling a bow.

Daredevil keeps working. The shipping container is opened. And it’s a kid. (J: So now we know where this is going.) He’s grimy and manacled. Daredevil hears his heartbeat. Two Nobu helpers unlock the kid, and Daredevil hears as Stick sets up his shot. Stick releases and Daredevil manages to kick the arrow out of the air. It alerts the bad guys to his presence, though, and they all start shooting. The kid gets shuffled away and loaded into a van. Daredevil makes quick work of the Nobu Helpers left behind and when he’s done, Stick is gone.

Flashback. Stick and Matty train with the sticks. Matty is having to fight and repeat things like “the mind controls the body, the body controls our enemies and our enemies control jack shit by the time we’re done with them.” I just want to give Matty a hug. At the end of the session, Stick tells Matty that fighting is just the beginning. Now he has to work on his deep down feelings and suggests mediating, which will even help him heal faster. Matty says he’ll learn how, just like Stick. Then he pulls out a bracelet he made for Stick out of the wrapper on the ice cream cone Stick bought him when they first met. Stick crushes the bracelet and tells Matty that their training is over. Stick expected too much from Matty.

Catherine: Wow. If you hadn’t already wanted to hug Matty you sure would now, jeez.

Mari: Mattpartment. Stick is already there, waiting. Matt is like, “uh, you said you weren’t going to kill anyone.” And yet. Stick said that was the mission. The kid in the container wasn’t really a kid. Matt isn’t having that so Stick calls him emotional and a crybaby again. Matt says maybe Stick should’ve stuck around and finished training him, then. Stick says that he needed a soldier and Matt wanted a father. They were both disappointed. (J: Feels!) Stick is done here, but Matt stands in his way and says he won’t let Stick kill that kid. Stick says he’s already dead. He caught up with the van while Matt was dicking around with Nobu’s men. (J: Yeah, I don’t buy it.)

Matt is pissed and they start fighting again. Stick bests Matt and breaks a lot of his apartment so it’s super rude. He keeps hitting him while he’s on the ground and yelling for him to get up. Matt finds one of the fighting sticks on the ground, grabs it and jumps up. The fight continues, Matt getting a bit of an upper hand until they start fighting up the stairs (!) and Stick gets Matt in a chokehold. Matt struggles for a bit before flipping out of the hold so that Stick lands under him, on his back, on the edge of a stair. Matt gets up and kicks Stick a bunch more times for good measure. Matt grabs Stick’s bag and throws it at him with a “get out of my city.” Stick says maybe there is hope for him yet and tells him to keep the sticks. He’s going to need them. (J: I did get a bit excited when the sticks showed up the first time, because, isn’t that Daredevil’s thing? I think I remember that from the movie.) (C: It is!)

Karen brings Foggy to see Ben and insists that it’s okay because Foggy kicks ass and is a kick ass attorney. Ben is easily won and tells Karen to show Ben the board of investigations and playing cards. Ben adds a Jack of Hearts to the board to represent the man in the mask. He asks if the Jack and King are working against each other, which one trumps the other?

Jessica: I like thinking of Ben sitting there with his little sharpie, drawing the black mask on his Jack card, and like, decorating all the other cards and deciding who should be who.

Mari: Matt cleans up the Mattpartment sullenly. When he sits on the couch, he finds that Stick has left the ice cream wrapper bracelet on the arm.

Catherine: Yeah, yeah whatever. He’s still a dick.

Mari: Especially still a dick.

Elsewhere, Stick reports to a man whose face we don’t see that Black Sky is no longer a threat. The man’s back is to us and he’s got a few criss cross wounds on his back. Stone? Let’s go with Stone. Stone asks about Matt and whether or not he’ll be ready “when the doors open.” Stick says he has no idea.

This wasn’t my favorite episode so far, but it does do a lot to give us more of Matt’s backstory and origins. I think the actor playing Stick did an amazing job but I was so turned off by that character and almost the repetitiveness of what we saw from those flashback scenes, between him beating up on Matt and feeding him one-liners about besting grief and emotion. The point is, of course, that Matt never does. We end the episode with Matt still sitting in his apartment having a lot of emotions and a lot of grief. We see here that young Matty struggled with guilt over the loss of his father and then had to deal with Stick leaving him, in a way that I’m sure Matty could’ve blamed himself for. It’s a lot of baggage for our superhero, but it informs who he is, grief, rage, feels and all.

Jessica: I liked this introduction into the Matt –> Daredevil transformation (or, to be more accurate, Matt –> Masked Man, but we’ll get there!). I do want to see more of Young Matt though, and how he finds his moral center after Stick leaves him. Like, if he didn’t base it off of his father or fighting mentor, who did he base it off of? Where does the “no killing” rule come from? I would like to know more please! 

Catherine: I have stuff to say about Matt’s decision to become a vigilante and the timeline of it but it will have to wait ’till later this season to avoid spoilers. But it’s gonna be thesis length probably. I can’t control myself.

Mari: I really am growing to like Foggy, but I’m not sure how I’m liking his dynamic with Karen. I get that he was worried about her, but the following her thing was a touch on the creepy side. And while Karen does get in some mace in on the end, she got another damsel in distress scene with Foggy riding in to save her. I don’t know, man. I’m just unsold for the time being and it probably doesn’t help that this all came in an episode I was already feeling just okay about.

Annie: I found this episode draggy. The pacing seems off with this show sometimes and it makes my antsy. I’m not a Stick fan and I feel like they could’ve used the episode ‘real estate’ better. And I’m team Foggy-Karen, too. If only he’d stop doing creepy things.

 

Next time on Daredevil: Fisk is losing control in S01 E08 – Shadows in the Glass. 

 

Catherine (all posts)

I am a 25 year-old human woman who lives in Maine. I'm a freelance writer who mostly spends time that I should be doing that, watching T.V. I also love reading and comic books way too much.





Marines (all posts)

I'm a 20-something south Floridan who loves the beach but cannot swim. Such is my life, full of small contradictions and little trivialities. My main life goals are never to take life too seriously, but to do everything I attempt seriously well. After that, my life goals devolve into things like not wearing pants and eating all of the Zebra Cakes in the world. THE WORLD.





Annie (all posts)

I'm a radio broadcast grad, caffeine enthusiast, dog person, and Toronto Raptors fan. Former graveyard-shift radio host and communications manager to the non-profit stars, now a freelance writer and communications advisor. I hate spoilers and weak tea.





Jessica (all posts)

I'm a chronic book nerd and love storytelling in all forms. I'm particularly excited by the rise of the television show as an art form with long, cinematically beautiful plots and complex character arcs (I also watch cartoons). My travels in the past handful of years have led me through three continents and most recently landed me among the majestic mountains of Colorado. Some day I will compile all my travel journals/blogs into one place. Some day. Until then, you can find me with craft beer in hand, ready at any moment to deeply and passionately discuss survival tactics for the zombie apocalypse.





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