Episode 7 of ‘Daredevil’ opens with the two legal counsels working to select a jury for the trial of Frank Castle, with every juror either seeing the Punisher as a hero or a major threat to the city, leaving Matt and Foggy feeling like it will be impossible to find an impartial jury. They finally agree on a jury, and the lawyers get to work on their real cases. Entrusting Matt with the opening statement, Foggy and Karen get to work on their plan of action, dismissing the insanity plea and attempting to go with a PTSD plea, with Karen getting the job of getting Castle on board. Unfortunately, Castle thinks the PTSD idea is an insult to those truly suffering, and refuses to play along, though he does provide his old army CO as a character witness. Karen explains to Foggy Frank’s POV on the issue, and they work together to find other options, realizing that Frank’s vivid descriptions of the dead bodies of his family do match the Medical Examiner’s findings, guessing that the ME doctored his report. They decide to work the ME when he hits the stand, hoping that by invalidating the ME’s testimony they might be able to get a mistrial.
Matt meanwhile, is called away by Elektra as she has found a man capable of decoding the ledger, a perverted professor who they find busy with some Korean call-girls when they go to pay him a visit. The man decodes the information for them, leading them to a train yard where the Yakuza are expecting a secret shipment that night. They find nothing but sand in the car named in the ledger, and while wondering whether they were set-up, the pair are attacked by a large group of Yakuza, who fortunately Matt and Elektra are able to take care of relatively easily, though not without Elektra getting a pretty deep cut in her throat. They head back to Matt’s apartment to clean up, and stay up discussing the past, and where Elektra went after trying to get Matt to kill Roscoe. She admits that she felt she did not deserve Matt and went far away. Matt falls asleep watching her on the couch, and wakes up realizing that he is very, VERY late for the trial, at which he is supposed to be giving the opening statement.
Foggy, annoyed that Matt is late for the biggest trial of their careers, ends up having to follow DA Reyes’ opening statement with his own, painting Castle as a decorated war veteran and good father, who tragically lost his family, and is now a target for the DA and being taken advantage of in the justice system. Matt shows up to hear the end of Foggy’s speech, and congratulates his friend on a job well done. Still, Karen and Foggy are wary, realizing Matt cannot be counted on. They update Matt on their plan for the ME the next day, and that night Karen and Matt eat Thai food and discuss the ME plan at Matt’s apartment. They get into a discussion about vigilantes, and how Karen might agree what with what Castle is doing, which upsets Matt, as he still believes that it is always wrong to kill. Karen leaves before the argument can escalate, but it is clear their difference of opinions on the matter will have long term repercussions on their relationship. Also, Elektra was upstairs eavesdropping, and she drops in on Matt following Karen’s exit, claiming she had come over to inform him of possible construction sites the dirt might be connected to. Matt tells her he needs the night off to work on the trial, and Elektra relents, saying she will go scouting that night instead.
The next day at the trial, as the ME hits the stand, he looks nervous, and everyone can tell. He asks to speak privately with the judge, and reveals that he altered the documents for Frank Castle’s family, and another unknown John Doe, and says he is admitting to it because he was threatened by a woman in a mask (Elektra). The judge throws out his testimony, and refutes Foggy’s attempt at a mistrial. Matt pulls Foggy aside and reveals that it was Elektra who interfered, and that she is their new mystery client. Foggy is pissed that Matt is lying to him once more, and a fight ensues between the two friends, with insults and harsh truths being thrown around by both. Foggy basically tells Matt that he does not want his help on the trial anymore, and demands that he tell Karen about Elektra. As they leave the courtroom, Karen sees that something has happened, but cannot find a way to reconcile the two friends.
Matt and Elektra head out to investigate the most likely construction site, the same location that Matt noticed on blue-prints shortly before his fight with Nobu the previous year. They take down a few guards, and then happen upon a massive hole in the ground, with a bottom terribly deep (in fact, Matt drops a flashlight into the hole to listen for it hitting the bottom, and it does not hit before the episode ends). The next episode opens with Matt hearing the flashlight hit the bottom of the hole, and guessing it is about 40 stories deep. The pair are then attacked by a gang of ninjas, who move so stealthily that not even Matt can fully hear their movements. He and Elektra work hard to take down the gang, but Matt distracts Elektra by stopping her from killing a ninja, and she gets slashed across the stomach. Matt is then knocked down, but before he is gutted by a sword, he is saved by Stick, who makes his Season 2 entrance at last.
Stick helps them escape in his car, driven by an unknown lackey, while Matt holds Elektra in the back, the woman bleeding out. Even as Ninjas continue to attack the car the group makes their escape, with Stick calmly and casually loading a cross-bow and shooting down ninjas as they go. Once back at Matt’s apartment, Stick manages to save Elektra from the poison on the blade that attacked her by using what appeared to be whiskey, baking soda, and a pair of pliers, but Elektra has recovered from worse, at least according to Stick. Now at last Matt is fed up, and demands answers from his old mentor. He learns that Elektra works for Stick, and was trained by him. He learns about an ancient sect of supernatural ninja/gangsters known as the Hand, who swept across Asia years ago, their weapon a supernatural WMD called Black Sail, that they have never been able to activate before because of their enemies, Stick’s group, the warriors known as the Chaste. Elektra is now a member of the Chaste along with Stick, and the Hand will not rest until every Chaste member is dead. Matt does not entirely believe Stick, but Stick warns him that war is coming to Hell’s Kitchen, and what the Hand is cooking up will be terrible.
At the trial, Castle’s CO paints a picture of a good man with impressive war skills, who could not possibly be the same man as the Punisher. With things potentially starting to swing in their favor, Karen and Foggy want to bring Castle to the stand, but it takes some convincing by Karen to get the man to agree to it, Castle not being entirely happy with another testimony where a doctor claims that the bullet to Frank’s head might be causing his mental instability. After Frank agrees, Foggy and Karen decide it would be best if Matt spoke to Frank on the stand, and Karen goes to Matt’s apartment to ask him to come back. She spots Elektra on the bed and instantly figures out that Matt has a new lady now, and storms out after demanding that Matt come back to the trial for Frank’s cross-examination.
Matt shows up at the trial as the team requests, and though Foggy and Karen are very tense around him, gives it his best effort, with Foggy telling him the plan of just asking Frank what exactly happened that day. Unfortunately, Frank does not seem to want to talk about what happened (potentially due to a warning a guard whispered to him earlier, which seems very suspicious), and Matt pulls an audible, speaking about how Hell’s Kitchen needs heroes, and that Frank was one of those heroes, but he is also sick and does not know the difference between right and wrong anymore. Infuriated, Frank starts yelling about how he is in his right mind, enjoys killing criminals, and will kill every one of the gangsters in Hell’s Kitchen gleefully. The Punisher is escorted from the courtroom, and Nelson and Murdock lose the case, everyone blaming what happened on Matt. Foggy is pissed that Matt did not follow the plan and never had his head in the game, and warns that their partnership might just be over, a sentiment shared by Matt. Karen essentially breaks up with Matt and also storms out of the courthouse.
As Elektra gets better, she tells Stick that she wants to stay and fight alongside Matt, using his ways, but Stick claims she will never change, and that she and Matt still do not know the full picture. She throws Stick out of the apartment (the man getting into his car and telling his lackey that he is done with amateurs, and to take him to the wall where he can meet up with his real team), and then Elektra and Matt talk, with Elektra admitting she was sent by Stick all those years ago to bring Matt back into the fold. Only problem is, she fell in love with him, and she is eternally grateful she did not snuff Matt’s light when she hurt him all those years ago. They are attacked after Stick leaves by a ninja who followed them from the pit, and though Matt subdues the man, he takes a poisoned arrow in the chest. He wants to interrogate the ninja, but in an adrenaline burst Elektra kills the man (who Matt belatedly realized is very young man). Elektra admits that this is who she is, and asks if Matt still wants to be with her. Before he can answer, he collapses, feeling the effects of the poison.
The Punisher is brought to jail, and he is escorted to a work-out yard, where we see a massive man lifting on a bench press, putting up a ton of weight relatively easily. Could it be? The camera dances around, blocking him from view, but eventually we see the massive torso, and a bald head. Wilson Fisk is revealed, and he greets Frank Castle, claiming that the man must have gotten his message. At the beginning of the 9th episode, we flash back to Fisk arriving in prison, where he is met by the current “Kingpin” of the prison, Dutton, who claims there cannot be two Kingpins in that facility, and vows to keep Fisk in line. We learn that Fisk and his lawyer on working on a long term plan to get him out of prison, and that it might take years. Worried about Vanessa, Fisk at first asks all remaining funds be put toward her protection, but changes his mind when he hears about the Punisher trial. Which leads us back to the meet up between Fisk and Castle, where Fisk informs Frank that Dutton was the drug-dealer that facilitated the meeting between the three gangs on that fateful day in the park, and offers Frank 7 minutes alone with Dutton so he can get revenge for his family. Frank reluctantly takes the offer and is escorted to Dutton’s cell, shiv in hand (provided of course by Fisk, who clearly has taken control of most of the guards in the prison). Frank kills Dutton’s cell-mate, then holds Dutton at knife-point demanding answers. Dutton admits that he was there, but the whole thing went wrong because there was a Fed in one of the gangs, and everything went south from there. He then informs Frank that over 100 gangsters were involved in that shooting and that his crusade will never end. Frank walks back toward the cell exit and discovers Fisk watching. Fisk double-crosses him and locks him in the cell block after having the guards open all of the cells. Frank goes FULL Punisher and kills everyone in the cell block, using his shiv, a make-shift spear, and a make-shift tomahawk to stab and kill all the other prisoners. Following that debacle, Fisk meets with Frank once more, congratulating him on exceeding expectations, and the two share blows after Frank head-butts the gangster, with Fisk keeping the upper hand. He encourages Frank to leave the prison and keep up his war, knowing that Frank killing the other gangs and keeping them distracted is the best way for Fisk to keep Vanessa and his own business safe. Frank takes the offer, and the last we see of Frank Castle he is being driven away from the prison, free once more to wage his war.
Fisk meanwhile, sits with Dutton in his hospital room eating his dinner while watching the one-time prison Kingpin die a slow and painful death. Fisk admits to Dutton that the man was right, there was only room for one Kingpin in that facility.
Back at Matt’s apartment, Elektra uses the same technique Stick used to heal Matt of the poison arrow, and the two discuss where to go from there. Matt claims that Elektra enjoys killing and is only pretending to be a good person with him. Elektra says that Matt will die if he faces the Hand alone, but Matt does not care. He orders her to leave, and though it is clear the two still love one another, it is just as clear that it will not work out as long as Elektra keeps killing and Matt continues to value life. Foggy visits Matt a little while later, and they decide that with Matt sliding more and more into the vigilante lifestyle, they should close up their law firm for the time being, as Foggy cannot count on Matt, and Matt claiming Foggy would be better off without him.
Karen meanwhile, having given up on Nelson and Murdock’s, goes to the Bulletin to dig up more information on the John Doe the ME spoke of with Ellison. They visit the ME who claims the John Doe was an undercover cop working in one of the gangs but does not have more information to share. Karen and Ellison return to the Bulletin and Ellison encourages her to keep digging, realizing she has a knack for this kind of work. He gives her Ben Urich’s old office to work in (which is nice, but really… would they keep his office open and exactly like it was for over a year?), and Karen sets off to continue her investigation, potentially landing a new career at the Bulletin.
Daredevil heads out and meets up with Stan Gibson, the Roxxon accountant whose ledger he and Elektra stole a few episodes ago, and learns the Hand is holding his son hostage in a drug facility called the Farm. Matt and Stan head out to find the boy and shut down the drug facility, with Daredevil heading in first to take down the guards. While speaking to one of the henchmen, Matt smells blood from the basement and asks what they are growing downstairs. The man laughs at him and Daredevil goes to investigate, learning that the accountant’s son and many other missing kids are being held in cages with blood being pumped from their bodies into a massive vat with strange symbols on it. As Stan and Daredevil free the children, Matt is attacked by a garbed ninja with the same fighting style and weapons as Nobu, the Yakuza assassin Daredevil defeated and burned alive last season. They briefly battle, but the ninja escapes down an elevator with the blood vat, pulling back his hood to reveal the scarred visage of Nobu. Matt says “You’re dead,’ and Nobu chillingly returns “there is no such thing.’
And that’s how episode 9 ends, promising that ‘Daredevil’ is about to go very supernatural, although I suspect some of these mysteries and villains might not be fully explored until we get to the ‘Defenders’ movie.
Check back soon for the recap of episodes 10-12!