Daredevil Season Two: Kinbaku

daredevil-kinbaku-flashback

You ‘n Me Babe, How About It?

Episode five of Daredevil’s second season is “Kinbaku.” This might be the least clear title they’ve done for one of their episodes, but I think I see where it comes from. It’s a split episode, happening in the present and ten years ago, when Matt Murdock met Elektra Natchios. I’m not wild about hero shows doing excessive flashbacks, but it works this time out.

The episode opens ten years ago, when a much younger Matt and Foggy are crashing a high end party. They have some amusing banter with a waiter before Matt gets out of the kitchen to the main gathering. This is when he meets Elektra, and they begin what you could call some competitive flirting with each other. This continues on for a bit until they leave together in a very nice red sports car of questionable ownership.

In the present, Elektra is in Matt’s apartment, insulting his beer. They do a lot of verbal sparring over their past. Whatever happened, it was not a friendly breakup. She asks for his help, but he’s not inclined to do it, between their past and her breaking into his apartment. She offers to hire him, which he turns down, and eventually, he tells her to get out.

At the office, Foggy is reading a newspaper about the Punisher being caught and held in the hospital. To no great surprise, the firm is still having major money problems. Karen comes in, and seems surprised to see Matt in the office. I can understand his not being in a lot given his night job, but if she wasn’t expecting him, why was she carrying three coffees? They do some more awkward flirting, which is fun to watch.

Karen’s stubborn streak starts surfacing when she says she’s not satisfied with the newspaper coverage about the Punisher. She shares her own research, including her little bit of breaking and entering. She doesn’t mention the men in suits she presumably escaped from that we saw arriving while she was at Castle’s place. Foggy doesn’t want to hear this, and seems desperate for things to be “normal.” He uses that word a lot in this episode. I think the stress of being a superhero’s best friend is getting to him. Foggy gets a phone call and announces that, for once, they have good news from the bank– they just got a large deposit. A very worried Matt goes out to check on this, suspecting Elektra’s involvement.

Assistant District Attorney Blake Tower stops by the law office. He and Foggy have a very odd conversation. Blake wants all their files on the Punisher. When Foggy points out the ethics problems with this, there is vague talk about future favors vs. current threats. It seems Reyes and her assistant are very unsure, even scared, about something to do with the Punisher. Maybe that’s part of what Karen is digging in to.

In another flashback, Matt and Elektra break into the gym where Matt works out. He tells her a bit about his father, his father’s death, and what the place means to him. Eventually they end up in the ring, and sparring. Elektra is amazingly skilled for a spoiled rich girl, and Matt has apparently already had at least some of his training that later allows him to be Daredevil. It’s a decent sparring/flirting match, with a much more fun ending than any sparring match I’ve ever had.

In the present, Matt has gotten to the building where the meeting is Elektra wanted to hire him for. He uses his skills and senses to find a place to eavesdrop from, and is amused by how she handles herself. She puts the chauvinists running the meeting in their place, before doing something odd with a trick pen. The meeting is with Roxxon, a long time source of bad things for most of Marvel’s heroes in the comics, and it’s even come up in the movies and tv shows a few times now.

Still stuck on maximum curiosity mode, Karen goes to see Ellison, Ben Urich’s former editor. He’s initially defensive, but eventually gets drawn in to her story about the missing pieces of Frank Castle’s life. He grants her access to the newspaper’s back issues, and Karen goes to work. She strikes a deal to give Ellison’s paper, the New York Bulletin, an exclusive if she turns up a story.

At Josie’s, Foggy gets a questionable looking drink, although I think that’s the only kind they have. He’s there with his ex-girlfriend Marcie, and they sort of flirt. Foggy is fishing for information about either DA Reyes or the Punisher, and Marcie is smart enough to figure that out. I really have the feeling they’re both very lonely and, for whatever reason, don’t feel brave enough to reach out to each other. Marcie’s new job is at the same firm where Jeri Hogarth works, and they even mention Jessica Jones in passing.

Karen finally finds something of interest in the paper, but realizes she’s about to be late for a dinner date she and Matt have. She runs out, confusing Ellison. Their dinner is friendly, if awkward. When Karen goes to the powder room, Matt gets a call from Elektra, which upsets him as they argue. He and Karen both agree to go elsewhere, as this fancy place doesn’t really suit either of them.

The next flashback shows Matt and Elektra’s really questionable dating life. They break into a big mansion that Elektra brought them to. She has more than one agenda here, aside from breaking and entering a few other thrills. It turns out this isn’t a random house, and Elektra is sort of trying to do something for Matt. It’s a mix of sweet thought and really twisted, and shows the very different places they are in, as well as why they aren’t together anymore.

Karen and Matt end up at a small Indian place for dinner. They talk, and we hear a lot more about Karen’s past. There’s not much detail, and I suspect her barely mentioned brother is a big part of her dark past that she’s hiding. She describes the place for Matt, and it’s a really nice scene. Their date goes well, with him even walking her home. I kind of kept expecting some form or other of disaster to erupt. They have a nicely done goodnight scene before Matt leaves.

He doesn’t go home, which would have been a better choice. He ends up at Elektra’s penthouse. Things don’t go too well on many fronts, and the episode ends with a few surprises in a row, which set up for the next one being really interesting.

What I liked: The writing remains very high quality on this show. Usually, in a season that’s only 13 episodes about a superhero, I’d be impatient with one where the hero never gets in costume and has minimal action. But the writing is easily good enough to keep me interested in what they do with the various characters. Matt and Karen’s goofily awkward dating is amusing me, and I really liked his little goodbye speech to her at the end of their day. Foggy is feeling the strain, and they show it well without him going off the deep end or anything.

What I didn’t: As ever, very little. I mentioned the bit about Karen having a coffee for Matt if she wasn’t expecting him to be there. I do wonder how much of Nelson and Murdock’s problems come from Matt’s masked career, and how much from Karen being stubborn and snoopy. I could have lived without seeing Ellison again but he seems a bit more sympathetic this time around.

All in all, another great episode. I’ll give this one a solid 4 out of 5. It was ok getting a break from the Punisher, and seeing more of the Elektra/Matt dynamic.

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