Daredevil: .380 review S2, Ep. 11

Just some guys about to show up at a diner for the last time.

It’s a testament to Daredevil’s writing that .380 never felt too cluttered considering the numerous subplots converging as this season nears its finale.

The episode got off to a great start with The Hand scaling Metro General en route to retrieving their kidnapped blood bank. This immediately put Claire in a bad position as The Hand was willing to kill anyone who crossed them, including Claire’s fellow nurse Louisa. Daredevil arrived in time to rescue Claire leading to another creatively staged fight scene with the hospital’s emergency lights illuminating the blacked out rooms and hallways. Claire held her own though knocking a Hand ninja out of the window plunging to his death.

One aspect this season that’s been unexpectedly interesting to follow is Matt’s awful relationships. He really leaves everyone he cares about in a terrible physical and emotional state. Any self-imposed exile or distancing he’d do would actually leave everyone else in much better position.

In the Metro General assault aftermath, Claire was stuck trying to explain why she risked the hospital safety by allowing the kidnapped victims into the hospital in the first place. Things got weirder as Claire, the medical examiner and the hospital union rep Shirley Benson (Suzanne H. Smart) learned the dead Hand member already appeared to have had an autopsy done.

daredevil season 2 - punisher-minThe hospital administrator didn’t want any further probing into that and pitched a cover-up story blaming Louisa’s death on a junkie. Claire wanted no parts of that and quit, which presumably now paves the way for her to establish her own 24/7 superhero clinic like her comic book counterpart.

Matt meanwhile was busy as Daredevil pursuing a lead with Reyes’ former assistant Blake Tower. This was a strong ‘Batman style’ interrogation scene as Daredevil learns of a rival gang making a dent into The Blacksmith’s control of the Hell’s Kitchen drug market. The leader of this gang? Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho), who Matt thought he already ran out of town. Gao tips him off to a possible major shipment.

Frank arrives at that information in slightly different fashion. After her near-death experience, Karen agreed to be placed under police protection. Her security detail was pretty terrible as she almost immediately slipped them to meet up with The Punisher, who took her to an out of the way diner.

Over several cups of coffee, Frank called Karen out on her feelings for Matt, scoffing at her suggestion that he hurt her too much. Jon Bernthal injects so much battle hardened, world-weariness in his portrayal of The Punisher and it’s those moments, not the unyielding criminal assassin that makes him the definitive version of the character.

But Frank wasn’t really there to play romance counselor, instead using Karen as bait for Blacksmith’s goons. Punisher savagely attacks them to get Blacksmith’s location serving as a reminder to Karen that at his core, Frank Castle is a very, very dangerous man. Karen’s reactions to the sounds of various beatings, stabbings and shootings in the main area was tremendous.

By the time Daredevil arrives at the dock yard, Punisher has already wiped out most of the Blacksmith’s goons and is confronting the man himself. Or is pretending to be as they realize it’s a trap. Whoever The Blacksmith is, they certainly aren’t messing around when it comes to keeping their identity secret.

daredevil - .380 review - elektra-minDaredevil is increasingly more conflicted about his path to protecting Hell’s Kitchen and considers Frank’s methods to take out The Blacksmith. Frank warns Matt he can’t come back once he crosses that line.

I appreciate the show at least having Daredevil consider a more final solution instead of the more ‘heroic’ measure of trusting the legal system. In the subsequent explosion on Blacksmith’s boat, Daredevil and Punisher are separated. There’s little chance Punisher is dead so it’ll be interesting to see what Matt decides.

In the third major subplot, Stick braced for war with Elektra. He gave two of his charges a knife for safe keeping, but it didn’t work out so well as Elektra gutted them in their car with her sais. The driver managed to get to Matt’s neighborhood and warn him Elektra was going to kill Stick though. Stick was focused however on meticulously sharpening his sword so it could be ready just as Elektra arrives.

Rating: 9.2 out of 10

The Punisher again shined as Daredevil considers walking a darker path while all roads lead to The Blacksmith.

Photo Credit: Netflix

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