This episode is very Elektra heavy, as it chronicles how the two of them met, and why she left him the first time. I tried really, really hard to like this character and finally concluded that she’s not meant to be likable. Let me be blunt here: Elektra is an asshole. She’s everything I hate in a female character and she even displayed a couple of new qualities I detested.
Anyway Matt, who evinces about as much personality as a hedgehog, in the flashback scenes, is totally smitten with her because she’s a risk taker, who loves danger. I don’t mean jaywalking, or sticking a fork in the toaster type danger. I’m talking about stealing cars and beating each other up as foreplay danger. The two of them have less chemistry than Matt and Karen though, no matter how much heavy breathing she and Matt engage in. (And Elektra does that breathless talking thing, a lot!) Don’t get me wrong, Elodi Young, as Elektra, is abso-tively gorgeous and her martial arts moves are adequate, but I hate the character. I’m not sure if its the acting, or the horrible dialogue, though. Elodi acts like she’s in a series that’s waaay sexier than the one in which she’s currently starring.
Anyway most of the episode is spent in flashback, as we see Elektra and Matt meet, fight, steal cars, make love, and then the deal-breaker for Matt, breaking into the house of the mobster, (now in hiding), who ordered the death of his father, so Matt can torture and kill him. Matt’s perfectly willing to vandalize the man’s house and beat him up, but killing is going too far, and he declines her invitation to commit murder. Elektra promptly walks out on him. No, really! She acts extremely gleeful about him killing a man, looks completely unhinged while encouraging him to do it, and when he says no to her, she just walks out of the scene.
Ah yeah, incidentally, I’m not impressed by love scenes where the characters grope each other like rabid hamsters. I think that type of acting is meant to convey how they just cant keep their hands off each other, and are in some kind of “people heat”, but I mostly find that kind of shit deeply annoying. (A better love scene would be Richonne’s first, from The Walking Dead.)
I thought, surely, there was a way they could have made Elektra look less batshit, but the writers decided not to go that route, I guess, in favor of making her seem like a version of “My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”!
(Otoh: The fight scene where Elektra and Matt meet-cute is still a thousand times better than the movie version, between Affleck and Garner.)
Back in the present day, there’s some shady business dealings she wants to hire Matt to help her with that involve the Roxxon Oil Corporation and the Yakuza. Once again, Matt has to tell her “no”, but he is willing to spy on her to find out her true reason for coming to NY. There’s some computer hacking involved, and when her business partners discover her involvement, they hire thugs to visit her apartment, where she and Matt are waiting to kick their ass. Matt is there because Elektra has been spying on him too and knowing about his nigh-time activities as Daredevil, stole his suit.
Oh, yeah. Karen and Matt go out on one of the most awkward dates ever. Awkward and gaudy. This scene hurt my eyeballs.
This episode is mostly about some courtroom type stuff involving Frank Castle, and Matt and Elektra breaking into a building owned by the Yakuza to steal a book. Every step of the way Matt could make different choices but doesn’t. He is seemingly unable to stay away from Elektra and her exciting world of physical danger, even though he keeps saying he wants nothing to do with her.
Karen develops a rapport wit Frank Castle as his trial begins. Reyes, the DA, wants the death penalty but Murdock and Assoc. decide they will represent Frank in court, and perhaps they can unearth exactly what’s wrong with Frank, why his family was killed and what Reyes has to do with any of it. Karen visits Frank’s home. He hasn’t visited his home since his family died.
Matt interrupts his court case to run off with Elektra and attend a party, break into a vault and steal a book. So not only is he keeping his Daredevil life a secret from Karen, he’s keeping Elektra a secret too. This is not going to end well. Foggy is mortified at having to take on Reyes, by himself, and for the second time they fight about Matt’s extracurricular activities. This appears to be a theme this season. Apparently, Foggy has had enough of this shit.
Things come to a head when Matt reveals his night-time activities with Elektra is what’s distracting him from his court case. Foggy and Karen let him have it about his irresponsible behavior, and their relationships become strained. As Matt neglects his duties in The Punisher court case, Foggy ends up having to do all the work, including the opening statements, which he hadn’t planned.
Matt and Elektra are still running around getting into fights with the Yakuza. These fight scenes were a lot of fun and definitely reminded me of scenes from the books, where Matt fights against dozens of ninja assailants. But for some reason I couldn’t enjoy them too much because these scenes are interspersed with scenes of Foggy, hard at work, trying to save Frank Castle from life imprisonment. I kept thinking about all the work Matt was neglecting because he prefers beating people up at night. Ah yeah, Elektra is in there somewhere, and she gets wounded.
Incidentally, a lot of the fight scenes are filmed in so much darkness that I have no clue about Elektra’s fighting style. I’m used to watching Matt fight and Charlie Cox is always spectacular, but couldn’t get a clear picture of what Elodi Young was doing and hence don’t really remember how she fights. Sadly, the most memorable thing about her is her looks.
I have no idea exactly what Elektra and Matt are trying to accomplish in their endless fighting with the Yakuza, either, as its somewhat murky. Its hard for me to really care about the fight scenes because I’m not entirely sure what all the fighting is about beyond simply fighting. What do the two of them stand for?
I also don’t like Elektra because she is a distraction from his day to day life, and Foggy rightfully calls him on it. I also suspect she has ulterior motives beyond the reasons she states for showing up in NY and enlisting Matt’s aid. She doesn’t need Matt’s help to do any of the things they’ve been doing, and why now?
If you pay close attention, you can see that Daredevil is a distinct personality, that is mostly separate from Matt Murdock, the lawyer, but you can also see elements of Daredevil’s personality bleeding into Matt’s everyday life. Wonderful acting on Charlie Cox’s part here.
Guilty as Sin:
So all is revealed as Matt and Elektra are attacked by ninjas, Elektra is wounded by a poisoned sword, and then saved by Stick, Matt’s teacher and mentor. It turns out that Elektra does have ulterior motives for getting Matt into all these endless fight scenes. She works for Stick and has been assessing Matt’s preparedness to join in Stick’s ongoing war against The Hand.
Matt emphatically states that she and Stick are insane and he’s not joining their little war. He and Stick argue, and Matt kicks Stick out of his home, but not before Karen has a chance to stop by and catch Elektra recuperating in Matt’s bed. Welp! I saw that coming!
Matt does agree to take Elektra back if she leaves Stick alone. Elektra goes to Stick and tells him she’s leaving him for Matt. Before they can go through with any of their plans, they’re attacked by an assassin, who is little more than a child. Matt stops just short of killing him, but Elektra, impulsively slits the boy’s throat, while a horrified Matt watches. The first time they had a falling out it was because Matt wouldn’t kill. Til now, he’s been in control of their relationship, and encouraging her not to kill in their many fights. This time their falling out will be because Matt won’t accept her killing people.
He really is a stickler about that sort of thing, even though it strikes me as a bit hypocritical. Beating the crap out of people, breaking their bodies, terrorizing and torturing them for information, is all okay, but he has to draw the line at killing, because life is precious, or something.
Yeah, okay Matt. But it would be nice if he could draw the line at committing violence. This isn’t arguing about self defense. Going out and violently inserting himself into situations is something he chooses to do, outside the law, every night. And he thinks it’s okay to do these things because nobody’s dead by his hand.
Murdock and Associates lose their court case when Frank takes the stand and purposely blows his own defense. Frank continues to be a puzzle to me. Every time Foggy and Karen try to mount a defense for him, he either deliberately blows it, or refuses to abide by it. Its like he wants to go to prison. I suppose I could see that. After all, he won’t have to look so hard to find the bad guys and he can beat up as many as he wants.
Foggy blames Matt for their courtroom loss, and Karen ain’t too happy with him, either. Frank goes to jail, where he is led to a meeting with The Kingpin. (Its nice to see D’onofrio again being his usual excellent self.)
So, we’re a little over halfway through the season and things are moving apace. There are some parts of the narrative I really just don’t find very interesting. Or rather, they’re not as interesting as I thought they’d be. One of those plot lines is the one about The Hand. I liked the fight scenes well enough. They’re very exciting but I didn’t care very much about them because they just seem like fight scenes added to have action and with no particular meaning.
But maybe that is the point, to show Matt engaging in pointless action for action’s sake. Nothing gets resolved, no one’s life is saved, he and Elektra aren’t fighting FOR any philosophy. His fight scenes with her are essentially meaningless, so maybe that means his relationship with her is essentially meaningless, too. The fighting didn’t become interesting until Stick showed up (or maybe I was just excited to see Scott Glenn).
I’m bored with the Frank Castle/ DA Reyes intrigue, probably because much of it consists of Karen reading, and rustling papers, or sitting and writing notes, although I like the dynamic that was created between her and Frank. She doesn’t let him bully her and stands her ground with him when he tries to push her away, and I like that. She’s determined to help him. She’s also dealing with the emotional aftermath of killing Wilson Fisk’s Majordomo last season, after he had her kidnapped, and I’m glad the show hasn’t forgotten what happened the previous season.
I’ve developed an amazing respect for Foggy, and Eldon Henson, the actor who plays him. Foggy is a much better lawyer than he thinks he is. I also like that he’s pushing Matt to make a decision about what he wants do with his life. Does Matt want to abide by the law, or be a vigilante, like Frank? Foggy’s argument is that Matt cannot serve two masters, or rather, serve one master, badly.
We’ll see how this all plays out in the last five episodes.