We need a Punisher Netflix series confirmed and we need it now! Our episode begins with the selection of the jury that will be judging Frank Castle’s crimes, of which there are many. The atmosphere created here is astounding, with the scene zipping from perspective to perspective: Castle being led to the courtroom, Murdock and company preparing the defense, and the jury being chosen with each of them expressing their approval, or disapproval, of the Punisher. I’m somewhat reminded of the scene from the end of Boondock Saints where people give their two cents on the idea of ruthless vigilantism (though the Daredevil version is far superior). That’s what’s so appealing about the Punisher, I think; his motivations are black and white but the reaction to him is grey.
The Nelson and Murdock attorneys think about their next steps as they regroup at HQ. Each member is given their own specific task to accomplish in relation to the case, with Karen’s being the most fascinating as she goes to talk with the man himself: Frank Castle. There’s a certain sadness you feel, and have always felt, from Karen and its demonstrated here once in again in her talks with the Punisher. Karen Page has always been an interesting character in both the comics and the TV series, more so as her dark past never seems to release its tendrils from her current state of mind. You feel it in nearly every word she says and every action she takes, and this is especially true when Matt and herself argue about whether the Punisher is “right” for New York City. Karen is projecting herself onto the actions of Frank Castle, believing that criminals should be punished and in a way, she herself should be punished. Again, it’s a nice way to have the Punisher reverberate among the cast and the city as a whole.
Meanwhile, back in ninja town, Elektra employs Matt to help her first decipher the ledger they stole from Roxxon in the previous episode, and second to kick some ass. Much like the previous episodes, these scenes almost seem like filler especially when it’s revealed that Daredevil and Natchios’ first stop is nothing but a trap with the Yakuza laying in wait. Granted, this episode does a far better job of integrating Elektra into the rest of the plot (that we’ll discuss later), but it still feels like something of a slog when you’re fighting for screen time with the electricity that is the trial of the freaking Punisher! Matt and his ex’s chemistry is ever present however and it makes the scenes serviceable, but I just wish they had been able to knock it out of the park. The Hand plotline was always going to be tricky when presented in a show that’s trying to take a stab at realism, but it’s part of who Daredevil is, for better or for worse.
When we get back to the courtroom, Matt is nowhere to be found as he recovers from his ninja adventures, leaving a startled Foggy with the insurmountable task of delivering the case’s opening statements. What a cross to bear, eh? The development of Foggy and Karen has, for the most part, revolved around them becoming their own people outside of Matt’s shadow. When Foggy does a bang-up job on delivering the statements, you feel proud for the guy and can see how far he’s come along with how much his career really means to him. Of course at the tail end of Foggy’s speech, Matt walks in and the Punisher delivers a gut-busting quip.
It’s in the final stretch of the episode that Elektra finally creates a presence in the Punisher trial, having heard previously that the coroner working on the day of the death of Castle’s family may have some secrets that he’s hiding. He’s Murdock and Co.’s star witness and Elektra threatens the heck out of him off screen. Seeing the injuries Elektra left on his person, aside from the coroner’s broken psyche, the witness’s testimony is dismissed, leaving Foggy fuming. Pulling Matt into a bathroom to talk about the case and his constant absences, this is the scene where the relationship between Nelson, Murdock, and the debilitating action of Daredevil all come to a head.
Revealing that his ex-girlfriend was responsible for trying to torture the witness in their desired direction, Foggy’s last straw is broken and he lashes out at Matt. It’s well deserved as Murdock has let his Daredevil persona completely take over his life. As opposed to someone like Spider-Man or Superman who legitimately misses opportunities in their day-to-day life thanks to their saving of lives, Matt’s reasons for missing the case feel selfish. Roxxon’s plans aren’t involving anything that’s causing the end of the world or actively taking lives (as far as Daredevil knows), he’s simply using this as an opportunity to spend time with his ex-girlfriend, whose destructive personality is addictive yet toxic at the same time. This helps separate Matt from so many other heroes bouncing around in that he can let his passions get the best of him. Foggy storms out of the bathroom to work on the case, Matt leaves in a huff as well, leaving poor Karen on her lonesome.
Later that night, Murdock confronts Elektra and the two, after a heated argument, discover a byproduct of the Hand: a giant hole! A hole so deep that when something is dropped into it, it takes several minutes to hit the bottom!
This episode manages to course correct a bit from the previous installments, attempting to blend the two storylines and somewhat succeeding. The trial is where the real juicy bits of this episode lie and it makes for a very good entry into the ongoing shenanigans of the Punisher and the Scooby gang.
Grade: ★★★★ Very good
The Collider Offices of Nelson and Murdock:
-The choreography here, if it’s going to be one of the main parts of the Elektra storyline in terms of the pair fighting ninjas, needs to be on point. Here, I felt something was a little bit off or maybe I’m comparing everything to Episode 3.
-Listen, I like Daredevil’s costume, I think it works, but please try to keep it out of direct light. Stick to the shadows, Mister Murdock.
-I’m going to get to talking about the hole during next week’s recap. Believe you me, I’m going to get to the hole!
-Karen: “Cross your fingers.” Foggy: “I’m crossing everything.”
-Elektra: “You’d make a mighty good mess. More liquid than solid, I’d imagine.”
-Foggy: “I’m no doctor, but I’d say he’s at least driven past crazy town.”
-Punisher: “That was a pretty thick slice of bullshit, counselor.”