Monday, 16 November 2015

Review - 'Daredevil', S01E07 - 'Stick'

With the previous episode working fairly effectively as something of a mid-season finale, by bringing an end to the Russian mob story-line, it makes sense that new elements would be introduced here. Though, even with that in mind, this episode was still something of a surprise.

Here, we are introduced to Stick (Scott Glenn), a mysterious figure who acted as something of a mentor to a young Matt Murdock when he was still struggling to come to turns both with his blindness, and his unnaturally enhanced sense. Stick, a blind warrior who happens to share Matt's abilities, was naturally well placed to teach the boy how to control his other senses. Of course, Stick also turned out to be a bit of a hard-ass - determined to turn the boy into a warrior, so that he could fight in some 'war' which Stick refused to elaborate on.

Twenty years earlier, Stick walked out on Matt when the boy made the mistake of trying to give him a gift - showing an emotional attachment that the old man disapproved of. Now, though, Stick is back, following the trail of something called 'Black Sky' - a dangerous weapon being delivered to Nobu (Peter Shinkoda), the leader of the Yakuza presence in Hell's Kitchen. Matt agrees to help on the condition that Stick does not kill anyone - of course, things don't quite go according to plan.

Meanwhile, Foggy finds himself joining Karen and Ben's investigation, after saving Karen from a pair of hired goons - joining their efforts to make sense of the complex web of loosely connected businesses and shuffled papers that seems to make up Fisk's own fortune. There is a somewhat weird issue with this particular plot-line, though. By this point, the audience already knows that the figure that they are investigating is Wilson Fisk - meaning that the audience is a few steps ahead. Of course, the same was also true of Matt's early efforts to learn Fisk's name, so maybe it can be forgiven.

The Yakuza plot-line is fascinating, though. Even by the end of the episode, there were no clear answers on what, exactly, the Black Sky actually is - or, what Nobu actually had planned. What little we did see of the 'Black Sky', though, seemed to suggest that a supernatural element may have just been added to the series - though, of course, there aren't any clear answers to be found, here.

Also fascinating was the idea that Wilson Fisk may actually be afraid of Nobu - something which seems even more remarkable when you consider Fisk's treatment of his former Russian allies. It also gives the audience further confirmation, should they need it, that Fisk's alliance of criminal organisations may be far from stable - while, also, seeming to indicate that Fisk might not even be the greatest threat Matt will face in his efforts to tear it down.

The best part of the episode is Stick, himself, though - and, his interaction with Matt Murdock, both as a child and as an adult. His border-line abusive take on 'tough-love', and his insistence that Matt's refusal to kill is a weakness, formed a strong contract to Matt, himself. Obviously, rejecting what Stick had once tried to teach him was an important moment in establishing Matt's current attitude - so, it is interesting to get some indication of the type of person Matt Murdock could have become had things turned out differently. Also, it certainly doesn't hurt that Scott Glen is great in the role, too.

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