Welcome back to the ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 marathon recap! This will be the final multi-episode recap before the finale, which will get its own recap to make sure I don’t miss any details. Jumping back in yet again…
Episode 10 opens with Detective Mahoney showing up with the police to the Farm, where Stan waits with the abducted children to be taken to the hospital. On Matt’s suggestion, Mahoney takes the kids to the hospital and puts them in the care of Claire Temple, who keeps them in a sequestered wing of the hospital. Matt shows up to explain the full situation to Claire, telling her about the return of Nobu and why he wants to keep the kids’ location quiet, which she agrees to but knows it could cause more trouble for her down the line. As Matt speaks to Claire, we see the news report about Frank Castle having escaped from prison, and Matt knows more trouble is on the way. The Punisher is back on the warpath.
The next day, Foggy, Matt, and Karen are summoned to DA Reyes’ office, it being the first time the old team is back together, and things are still tense. Foggy is sure Reyes wants to implicate them in Castle’s escape, while Matt pitches his theory that Wilson Fisk is behind Frank’s escape, as they were both in Cell Block D. Instead, they are all pleasantly surprised when Reyes comes clean with them, explaining about her undercover agent in the drug trade, all orchestrated to find the Blacksmith, and how did she not clear the park ahead of the sting because she did not want to spook the gangs. No sooner does she tell the truth than Matt hears a gun cock outside. He orders everyone to duck a moment too late as bullets spray into the office (in broad daylight mind you!). Reyes takes the brunt of it, instantly dying on her desk, and Foggy takes a bullet to his shoulder. Fortunately, the assistant DA, Matt, and Karen are unharmed.
As Foggy is carted off to the hospital, Matt tells Karen to be careful, while he himself heads off to prison to visit his old enemy, Fisk. The meeting is intense, with Matt accusing Fisk of freeing the Punisher, and then warning that he will have Vanessa’s visa revoked so she can never return to New York. In a rage, Fisk breaks free of his restraints and slams Matt’s head into the table multiple times, vowing to kill Matt and Foggy once he is out for putting him in prison, no matter the cost. Matt leaves the prison, understanding that Fisk is rebuilding his power while still serving his sentence, and with a new worry for the future on his mind (Season 3 plot perhaps?.)
Karen meets with Ellison, and they decide to go and try to warn former ME Tepper that Castle is out and gunning for the people involved in Reyes’ cover up. They arrive at his apartment too late, as the man is already dead. Ellison sends two cops to guard Karen as she heads home, not wanting her to suffer the same fate as Tepper, learning from his mistake in not sending police to watch over Ben Urich last season. It’s a nice idea, but I’m not sure two cops would truly be enough to protect Karen if Frank actually tries to kill her, but it is the thought that counts.
We then go back to Elektra, who disappeared following Matt’s dismissal a few episodes ago, about to board a private jet to get out of New York city and leave Matt, Stick, and the Chaste behind. She is sitting at a bar sipping tequila when she is joined by a man named Jacques (a long time Disney actor shoehorned into the episode) who buys her the bottle and starts flirting with her until she realizes that he is there to kill her. They begin to fight, with Jacques pulling put a pair of sais to fight with (FINALLY we learn where she gets her sais from in the series!). Elektra eventually takes the sais from Jacques and ends him with two sais through either side of his torso, right before learning that he was sent to kill her by Stick. Clearly the man does not take rejection well. Now she really is being Chaste (ba-dum-bum.)
Karen returns home, leaving the two police officers outside, only to hear the thud of them hitting the ground as they are taken out. She grabs her gun and faces Frank as he enters her apartment, with the man immediately informing her he did not kill Reyes or the ME, that someone is setting him up. She struggles to believe him, her decision cut short when bullets start firing into her apartment, and Castle jumps on top of her to save her from the blast. Clearly she believes him now, as it seems the Blacksmith is targeting her because of her investigation (we assume).
Back at the hospital, Claire visits Matt on the roof, who is keeping guard for Nobu and the Hand. Claire informs him that the kids were not just having blood pumped out, but also having chemicals pumped in, being some kind of incubators for whatever the chemicals were. Symbolically Matt’s helmet is off, as he is still struggling to be both Matt Murdock and the Punisher, which Claire tries to convince him is possible. He can have a life, he does not have to be a martyr, and step one is going downstairs to visit Foggy, to do the human thing, instead of remaining on watch on the roof. He seems to hear her, but he still does not leave his post as she descends back down the stairs.
Claire returns to the kids and finds them standing over the dead body of Stan, his son Daniel holding the scalpel that killed him. As Clarie turns to run away from the possessed kids (taken over by the chemicals in them?), we see that an army of Hand ninjas is scaling the walls of the hospital, clearly intent on reclaiming the lost kids. Claire is trapped in the hallway between the Zombie kids and the hand Ninjas, one of whom kills her fellow nurse Luisa. Claire is saved when Matt appears, taking on everyone by himself. Claire helps out by knocking a newly arrived Ninja out a window, but she is then pushed out after him. Matt jumps out to save her, grabbing one of the ropes the ninjas used and managing to swing both him and Claire back into the hospital through another window one floor down. They are safe for the moment, but the Hand has escaped with the kids.
Matt shows up in the aftermath in civilian garb, and explains everything about the Hand to Claire, letting her in on some of the supernatural stuff going on. Meanwhile, Foggy is visited by Marci, who claims that her company was impressed with Foggy’s opening statements in the Castle trial, and want him to interview with them. Knowing that Nelson and Murdock are just about dead, Foggy agrees to the interview.
Claire meanwhile is dealing with the aftermath of the attack, and the fact that she admitted those kids without authorization. During the autopsy on the ninja she pushed out the window, they discover the man has been cut open before for an autopsy, giving credence to the immortality of the Hand agents theory. The hospital decides they want nothing to do with what happened, and try to cover it all up, including the death of Claire’s friend Luisa, and Claire quits, completely disillusioned with the institution which is supposed to be about helping people and saving lives. As she leaves the hospital she sees Foggy also being released, and she informs him that she will not be able to help their mutual friend at that hospital ever again. Perhaps this is the beginning of her solo career as the Night Nurse to the superhero community? If she could just get a retainer from Tony Stark, she’d be all set…
Karen lies to Mahoney about what happened at her apartment, claiming she did not know who saved her from the bullets, but agreeing to go into police custody for protection. On her way to a safe house, she is greeted by Matt, who learned of her predicament. She admits to lying to the police and that Castle saved her, but Matt is worried about her and does not like the idea of her keeping things from the cops. Still he relents to her going into protective custody, and she is sent to a hotel where they can keep her “safe.” Unfortunately for them, that is not truly her plan, as she is barely there 5 minutes before she sneaks out and joins up with Frank, who takes her to a rundown diner where they can talk. She and Frank talk about his past, the Blacksmith, and his plans, and Frank opens up to her once again. Unfortunately, he also tells her that they were followed, and she realizes Frank was using her as bait to get to the guys who shot at her. He sends her to the kitchen to hide while he takes down the goons sent to kill her, using both guns and hand-to-hand combat in brutally efficient (and nauseatingly violent) manner, interrogating the final guy to learn that the Blacksmith is down at the pier.
Matt meanwhile has done some sleuthing on his own, and learns that an old villain from Season 1 is actually the Blacksmith’s competition in the drug business, so he goes to visit Madame Gao in Chinatown. Though she still considers Daredevil her enemy, she knows she can use him to take out the Blacksmith, so she gives him information on where to find the man, pointing him in the direction of the pier. Matt finds the appropriate ship just after Castle does, and finds the Punisher about to get revenge on a man claiming to be the Blacksmith, which seems a little too easy, and Matt knows it. Matt convinces Frank to spare the man as he is not really the Blacksmith. As more men approach, Castle pushes Matt off the boat so he can deal with the gang with deadly force, but as bullets open fire the entire ship explodes (apparently it was loaded with gunpowder) and everyone aboard is killed… seemingly.
On the other side of town, Stick has learned of the failed attempt on Elektra’s life and is now waiting for her to show up to exact her revenge. He does not have to wait long, as she appears and they start to battle, stopping when Matt arrives and urges them to reconsider. Elektra seems intent on destroying her old mentor, as we flash back to an early training match with a young Elektra facing three older boys while Stick and another instructor watch. She defeats them all, and almost kills one who taunted her earlier, but Stick intervenes, preventing her from crossing that line at such a young age. Still the other instructor is wary of the skilled young woman.
Back in the present, the three are attacked by the Hand, joining forces against a common foe, but to no avail. They came to kidnap Stick, and they manage to slip away with their prize while Matt and Elektra can do nothing. Matt tries to convince Elektra to help him save Stick, but she still wants to see him dead, so they part ways once again, more at odds than ever before.
The next morning at the pier, the cops, and Karen are going over the scene, with Mahoney and the rest convinced that everyone on board was killed, even Frank, though Karen is still skeptical, knowing that if anyone could survive, it would be Castle. She returns to the Bulletin and meets with Ellison, who basically officially gives her Ben’s office as her new “home,” convincing her that even if Castle is dead, there is still a story there. She agrees to do a piece about Frank Castle the man, not the Punisher, as no one had published anything about his family or motives just yet. With that in mind, she decides to visit his old army CO (the man who testified during the trial) and get more information on Frank, visiting the man (Colonel Ray Schoonover) at his home. He confirms that Castle was a good man, but while looking at his photos Karen recognizes one of the soldiers as one of the corpses on the pier. Which of course means that the group dealing the drugs was Castle’s old army buddies, making Schoonover the Blacksmith. Schoonover realizes the jig is up, and tells Karen that they approached Castle to join them on the drug trade, but he turned them down, making him a liability. He leads Karen to her car by gunpoint, and they start driving away from the house, Karen terrified that she might finally be out of luck. Fortunately for her, Castle is not dead, and plows a truck into the side of her car, knocking out both her and Schoonover.
She awakens to find that Frank dragged Schoonover into the woods, heading for a shack (that presumably is where Schoonover was going to take her to kill her). She pleads with Frank to spare his life, as they can use Schoonover to clear his name for the DA and the ME, but Frank ignores her, and Karen decides she is done with Frank Castle, leaving him to his Punishing. Castle takes Schoonover into the shack, and Schoonover hints that Castle’s family was specifically targeted during the gang shooting, inciting Frank’s anger even more. Instead of demanding more answers, though, Frank simply shoots Schoonover in the head. On his way out, he discovers a hidden door in the shack, leading to a fully loaded armory, complete with a body suit that looks suspiciously like a skull (FINALLY we are getting to Frank’s iconic Punisher costume). Whatever comes next, we know the Punisher will be fully loaded.
Backtrack to earlier in the day, where Foggy finds Matt doing research in their old Law offices. They basically both agree that it is time to close down Nelson and Murdock, and seem to be warming up to each other somewhat, realizing that they need to move on in order to salvage whatever remains of their friendship. Foggy asks about Matt’s research, and Matt tells him about the Hand always escaping almost magically, and Matt is looking into subway tunnels to see if that is how they escape. Foggy points out that there used to be old railway tunnels that his grandfather used for Bootlegging back in the day. Matt realizes this is how the Hand have been getting around, and investigates the old train tunnels, finding the Hand waiting for him. He struggles to fight them, as they have realized his handicap, and have stopped using their weapons (the only part of them he could hear due to their ninja silence). Matt persists down the tunnels, taking the beating, and eventually hears Stick’s voice. His old mentor, while bruised and bloody, and with Bamboo shoots being driven under his fingernails (gross, and cringeworthy to watch), knows Matt is coming and can hear his whispers, and is explaining to Matt that to fight the Hand, he needs to listen for their breathing, as they still have to exhale air. Bolstered by his mentor’s advice, Matt handily takes down the Hand agents he is fighting, and saves Stick from his interrogation. Unfortunately, Elektra finds them at the same moment, and she still wants to kill Stick.
We flash back once again to Elektra in training, where she is attacked by the young man she almost killed earlier, this time, the man wielding a knife, and she defends herself, ending the fight by grabbing the knife and cutting the man’s throat. Stick and the other instructor arrive too late to stop her, and the other instructor wants Elektra put down, constantly calling her “it” in ominous tones, and Stick agrees that they should kill her. But not really, as Stick instead kills his fellow instructor and then he and Elektra are on the run. The flashbacks end with Stick leaving Elektra with the wealthy family that would raise her to adulthood, explaining that he would always look out for her.
Back in the present, while Stick, Matt and Elektra bicker, Nobu arrives with more Hand ninjas, and reveals that Elektra is the Black Sky (what? this is not fully explained in this episode), and her destiny is to lead the Hand, with Nobu and the ninjas all bowing to her. Matt, however, insists that Elektra has a choice, and does not have to be part of the Hand, even offering his own life to show Elektra what it would mean to join the hand. While she does hold her sword at Matt’s throat and almost goes through with it, she chooses her former love and her former mentor instead, and they battle the Hand once more. While Elektra helps Stick escape, Matt takes down the remaining Hand ninjas and Nobu. With the heroes gone, Nobu declares to the Hand that Daredevil must die (ending an episode with an ominous proclamation from Nobu is my favorite part of this season so far).
Now comes the tipping point of the show, as they have A LOT of loose ends to tie up in the final episode. What is the Black Sky, how can it be Elektra? How does the Castle story tie into the Hand? Is Nelson and Murdock truly dead? Where do the kids tie into everything? Where will Claire find her next job? The show has a lot of work to do in the final episode of Season 2, but I believe they are up to the task, and I cannot wait to finish the episode and come back here for the final recap!