Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Daredevil Recap: Stick (1x07)

The episode starts off with a bang (literally) when a man--his face shadowed--races down flight after flight of stairs. He enters a dark office. It's night; no one else is around. He pulls a gun from a drawer and loads it. With high-paced, heart-pounding background music, the man goes to the elevator and watches the numbers count down the floor levels.

The elevator opens. The man shoots his gun over and over in the direction of the elevator, yelling. When he runs out of shots, he looks up. The elevator is open except for his bullet holes in the wall. Surprise flashes across his face. He scrambles to load another cartridge into his gun when a sword slides to his neck. Blood trickles on to the blade from where it nicked his skin. A deep voice asks, in Japanese:
"Where is it?"
"I don't know."
"Where is the Black Sky?"
Instead of answering, the man lifts his gun. Both propel into action until the mysterious man slices off the first man's hand, gun still clasped between his fingers. He threatens the first man with more injury and asks once more:
"Where is the Black Sky?"
The first man gives in and tells him it's on a ship set for New York. The mysterious man slices the first man's head off. Blood splatters the elevator. The mysterious man enters the elevator, pressing the button for floor one. As the elevator doors close, a close-up shot of the mysterious man is shown. He's blind.

Cue credits.

*Pause for admiration of the credits and credits music.*

Foggy holds a newspaper with the headline, "The Devil of Hell's Kitchen," and a grainy photo of the man in the black mask. He makes a joke, typical, and says he'd like to unmask the guy and punch him. Karen still defends him while Foggy continues by calling him a nut job. Then Karen asks Matt his thoughts.

Matt makes a joke about Foggy's injury recovery, but then he admits the events from the bombing do upset him. He doesn't think, however, the man in black should be convicted by the press. Karen asks if the Devil got caught would they, Nelson and Murdock, offer their services to him. Foggy immediately responds with a "Hell, no." But Matt simply replies with:
"It would be his right."
Foggy changes the subject from deeply depressing to the high note of creating a company softball team. Karen laughs and says, "We have three employees." To which Matt responds, "At least two of them aren't blind."

Foggy then tries, and fails, to get Karen to join him for softball practice in the park. Her excuse? She has a "thing." She leaves, which gives Foggy his moment to gripe about his failed attempt at smooth-talk. Matt teases him. The two have their great bro conversation about secrets, relationships, and worrying over Karen.


Foggy leaves Matt to work on some case, but instead, he reads over a paper in braille about Leland Owlsely--Fisk's finance man.

Speaking of Leland, the man meets Nobu in a dark, suspicious place (parking garage, warehouse, you name it). They discuss finances, secrets, and too much of Nobu's power plans. Leland tries to make a deal with Nobu to look out for each other (because of the whole "Russian thing"). Nobu replies:
"Each man must stand for himself or fall with the unworthy." 
That was deep, Nobu. Real deep.

Nobu leaves and Matt (as the man in the black mask) confronts Leland. He interrogates him and beats him up. But he's distracted by the sound of a cane tapping the ground. Leland tazes him and drives away.

The man with the cane approaches Matt.
"You just going to lie there all night?"
The camera pans to reveal the man, who is obviously familiar with Matt. It's the guy from the intro: the mysterious man with the sword.

Flashback to when Matt was in an orphanage. He's lying on his bed, covering his ears with his hands, and convulsing from the constant noise. The mysterious man walks with a nurse down a hall, discussing Matt's condition. He enters the room and talks to Matt.
"They think you're getting worse but you're not, are you?"
He throws his keys toward Matt, who reaches up and snatches them from the air.
"You're getting stronger."
Matt and the man sit on a park bench, eating ice cream. They discuss what happened to Matt: how he became blind and what that means for him. The man tells Matt he has gifts,which are his senses. He then teaches Matt how to use his gifts to take in the world.

"The only way guys like you and me survive is to grab it [the world] by the throat and never let go."

Matt responds to the man with his name: Stick. They discuss a few things, such as why Stick is back after twenty years of no communication. He says the war brought him back; that he needs to save Hell's Kitchen from something coming.

Karen and Ben meet in a parked car. Oh, so this is her "thing." They discuss more of the Union Allied stuff. Ben makes it clear that it doesn't matter what he or she thinks; what matters is the proof they uncover. He can't take a story to his editor if it doesn't have proof. They also discuss the shootings from the other night when Detective Blake was shot right in front of him. Ben gives Karen a fair warning:
"The Man in Black pops up, do me a favor, run the other way."
Matt brings Stick back to his apartment. Stick knows--despite his blindness--how much the apartment costs, that Claire had been there, and that Matt is trying to pretend to have a normal life (supposedly). Matt is clearly not happy with Stick's sudden appearance. Stick tells Matt to cut himself free from this life, for their sake, because:
"You're a warrior... a warrior, a heir to the Spartans, the baddest of the badasses." 
Matt protests, but he continues on his rant until Matt lunges for him.

Stick has hold of Matt, teaching him to fight. We see the beginnings of the Devil of Hell's Kitchen at the ripe age of ten (beat that, Batman).

Matt ends up on the floor crying out:
"It's my fault! It's my fault! It's my fault, I killed him." 
He thinks--no, he believes--he is the reason his dad was killed. Stick tells him he won't ever truly know what happened that night or why his father won the fight. But he needs to get up. Matt gets up and goes after him.

Matt gets out of Stick's grip and they talk again (so. much. talking. Where's the action?). Stick claims he's back because of the war... this time with the Japanese. They discuss Nobu. He's bringing in a weapon--the Black Sky--to the docks tonight. Stick wants Matt's help (even if he won't admit it). But first he asks Matt how many people he's killed for Hell's Kitchen. When Matt doesn't reply, Stick scolds him and says someday it'll come down to him and the other guy. Then he'll have to cross the line (I smell foreshadowing).

Matt agrees to help with one rule:
"You don't kill anybody."
Karen helps Mrs. Cardenas with her groceries. She then asks if Mrs. Cardenas can tell her anything else since Mr. Tully is unavailable (on vacation apparently). Mrs. Cardenas gives some information about the repairmen.

As Karen leaves the apartment building, a man follows her. Nervous, she reaches for her mace, but before she can do anything, another man jumps from the shadows and grabs her. They ask her what she's doing with the "old lady." Before Karen replies, Foggy arrives and knocks the guys down with his baseball bat. He admits he followed her because she had been acting weird. They run off before the men can recover.

At the docks, Nobu arrives as the "weapon" is being unloaded. Stick and Matt listen from above to the events occurring down below. Matt tells Stick what he notices. Stick tells Matt to "thin out the herd," while Stick will take care of the Black Sky. Stick gives Matt a pair of fighting sticks to assist him. Matt does as instructed and what he does best: attacks from the shadows, picking off the men one by one.

Stick prepares something that looks like an arrow while the Japanese open the cargo container. Inside, there is only a kid. Half-naked, he sits chained to the container floor. Matt, hearing the heartbeat, pauses in his attacks. He looks up toward Stick.

The old man has an arrow drawn on a bow, aimed right for the kid. The henchmen unchain the kid and lead him toward the car. Matt springs into action and knocks the arrow askew. It flies past the kid, alerting the Japanese. They shoot the sky with bullets while Nobu and the kid make their getaway.

Matt fights off the henchmen. When he looks up, Stick is gone.

Matt trains more with Stick, showing the time spent has paid off by his fancy moves. Stick asks him:
"What rules the body?"
"My mind."
"What's your strongest weapon?"
"My body."
"Connection, mind, body?"
"The mind controls the body. The body controls our enemies. Our enemies control jackshit by the time we're done with them."
Stick says fighting is only part of the process. He tells Matt he needs to meditate. It will help him control his feelings, heal faster, and tune his senses. Matt then gives Stick a bracelet made from the wrapper of the ice cream they got on the first day. Stick crushes it in his palm. He then tells Matt he's finished training him. He leaves and Matt calls out:
"What? Why?"
"I expected too much of you."
Matt returns to his apartment. Stick is waiting for him. He angrily drops the fighting sticks at his old mentor's feet. He confronts Stick about the events at the dock. Stick responds with no emotional attachment. Matt accuses him of defaulting to killing children. Stick claims there wasn't a child in the container, only a weapon. Matt still protests:
"I could hear his heartbeat. Light and fast. He hadn't even hit puberty yet."
Matt says Sticks should have stuck around to train him better. He says he won't let Stick kill the child, but Stick says he already did.

The fight (finally), which ruins Matt's apartment. Stick tells him to "Get up" just like he did when Matt was younger. Matt snatches up one of the fighting sticks and gets up, fighting full force. Stick grabs him around the neck, and Matt struggles to break free.

He finally flips him off, down the steps. He hits Stick until Stick lies on the floor, gasping for breath. Matt mutters:
"Get out of my city."
Sticks gets up and says maybe there's hope for Matt after all. He puts on his glasses, tells Matt to keep the fighting sticks--because "you're gonna need them."--and walks out.

Ben--in his office--meets Karen and Foggy.
Ben: "What part of 'don't tell anyone about this' don't you understand?"
Karen: "Foggy's not just anyone... all right? He's a kick-ass attorney and sooner or later we're going to need one of those. And he just plain kicks ass."
Foggy: "When the need arises."
Foggy is looking thrilled by Karen's comment; Ben is not so amused, but he lets Karen show Foggy the pin-board they've created. Ben adds another player to the board: the Man in Black."

Matt's in his apartment, rummaging through the debris from the fight. He finds the bracelet he gave to Stick long ago and contemplates this in silence.

Stick sits before a smoking pot. He says, "It's done." and mentions the Black Sky. A deep, mysterious voice says, "For now." and asks about Murdock.

The camera pans out to show the back of a man sitting across from Stick, the source of the deep, mysterious voice (lots of mysterious people in this episode, eh?). He has long, dark hair, which just touches the scars covering his bare back. He asks Stick:
"Will he be ready when the doors open?"
"I have no idea."
Cue credits.

Have you seen this episode? What did you think?

All photos from the official Marvel's Daredevil facebook page and the Daredevil Red Thread site. 


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