The eighth episode of Daredevil’s second season, “Guilty as Sin,” shows things getting worse on just about every front for everyone. As seems to be happening a lot of late, the episode starts exactly where the last one, “Semper Fidelis,” left off. Daredevil and Elektra stand next to their discovery, a truly impressive hole.
They don’t get much of a chance to reflect on their discovery. Another wave of ninjas attack, and they are very, very good at what they do. They even have special training that negates some of Daredevil’s advantages. It’s a rough fight and Daredevil distracts Elektra at a key moment with his debate over their views on lethal force. This damn near gets both of them killed until the cavalry shows up at the last minute in the form of Stick, Matt’s mentor from last season. Stick is a jerk, but he’s an amazing fighter. They get out, barely, after a running battle that includes a mysterious driver Stick brought along, and one of the weirdest car chases I’ve seen in a while.
Back at Matt’s place, Stick works to save Elektra’s life, managing to still be a dick the entire time. One of the things I noticed during this scene was something that changed from last season. There was an ongoing thing first season about the big red light that shone into Matt’s place from a sign outside. It was why he got a break on the rent, since the light didn’t bother a blind man. That seems to have completely vanished. It’s a small detail, but I’m kinda curious about it.
Between treating Elektra, Stick tells Matt about the larger struggle he’s been involved in, including his appearance in season one. It’s an unlikely story, even in the context of the greater Marvel Universe, and Matt isn’t inclined towards believing Stick anyway. The exchange doesn’t go well. It get worse when Matt learns another secret about Elektra. They do finally name drop the group they are fighting, which many Marvel fans will recognize- the Hand.
Things aren’t going much better in court. Once again, Matt is a no-show, pushing Foggy towards a nervous breakdown over the case he didn’t want in the first place. They do manage to get Frank’s character witness on the stand, Colonel Ray Schoonover (played by Clancy Brown and that impressive voice of his). He paints a glowing picture of Frank Castle, and Reyes manages to screw up her cross examination by violating a rule every lawyer knows- don’t ask a question in court you don’t know the answer to.
After more tension between Stick and Matt, the episode comes back to court. There’s an x-ray on the wall which looks a lot like the classic Punisher skull. Foggy gets in testimony about Extreme Emotional Disturbance. Things are looking better when someone in the galley jumps up and yells about Castle killing his dad. That doesn’t win points with the jury, no matter what the judge’s instructions are.
Following that outburst, Karen talks with Castle. She finally gets him to agree to take the stand. Karen shares this news with Foggy. It’s a good sign, but Foggy says Matt needs to do the questioning. Foggy, very reasonably, points out that there’s a reason he and Matt are partners, and they each have strengths and weaknesses. Karen goes to persuade Matt of this, which is when things get much worse. Stick, of course, lets Karen in as Matt is talking to Elektra, who is mostly undressed and in his bed. This, too, doesn’t go well, as you can imagine.
The next morning, Matt manages to finally show up, although he’s late enough to make things tenser than they need to be. He and Foggy bicker briefly. I really am starting to wonder if their partnership will survive this case. The writers further demonstrate their ignorance of how courts work, or choose to ignore it. There are protestors with signs both in favor of and against Castle, which no judge or bailiff would allow. They bring Frank in to take the stand, and now he finally has a suit on? A bit late at this point.
Matt could do a great job here, but for reasons known only to him, he goes off on a tangent. He veers far off course and starts talking about the city needing heroes, and DA Reyes being so hell-bent on stopping them from acting. Frank finally snaps and has his own tirade which probably sinks their case, upsetting everyone. Matt and Foggy part company after more harsh words. Karen isn’t too thrilled with Matt either, at this point.
Once more back at Matt’s place (did the set designers burn up their budget this episode?), Elektra has her own argument with Stick. They aren’t agreeing on anything, and Elektra chooses Matt over Stick and his war. Stick tries to talk her out of it and then storms off. Matt and Elektra have a touching reunion interrupted by yet another ninja attack. This is a really brutal fight. It seems as if the ninjas are following video game law, with each wave being harder than the last. The fight ends with a few surprising twists that are going to really strain things even more for Elektra and Matt.
Back at the prison, Castle gets processed in and led through various cell blocks. Again, the fact that he’s not in some kind of Protective Custody way over-estimates a District Attorney’s influence and shows a lack of understanding about how jails and prisons function. They build up to a big event as Castle gets led through the prison, and the final review was a surprise.
What I liked: The fight choreography remains fantastic. I’m really impressed with how they handle that. While it’s painful to see, Foggy and Karen getting more and more frustrated with Matt makes perfect sense, and isn’t just pointless dramatic tension. The twists and turns in Castle’s case were well done, as was the surprise at the end. The overall writing is great. Clancy Brown is always impressive.
What I didn’t: I strongly dislike that Mat is letting down Foggy and Karen on almost every front, especially after pushing to take this case in the first place. Matt’s being a jerk, and I’m growing less and less sympathetic to him as time passes. Stick, too, is a jerk, but it’s expected from him. I already mentioned the various errors about court and jail procedures above.
I’ll give the episode a 3.5 overall. Things are ugly and there are quite a few episodes to go. I hope they let Matt get out of this hole he’s digging for himself. At this rate, the Man Without Fear is going to be the Man Without Friends.