The truth behind the murder of Frank Castle’s family and Elektra’s involvement with stick are both revealed.
Episodes 12 – 13:
12: The Dark at the End of the Tunnel
13: A Cold Day in Hell’s Kitchen
Karen goes to see the Colonel after Frank’s apparent death at the Docks. She plans to interview him for a follow up piece for the paper. During their conversation, she sees that one of the men in the picture on his wall was involved in the explosion on the docks. Realizing that Karen has pieced things together, the Colonel pulls a gun on her. Before the Colonel can do anything to Karen, Frank ambushes them. He drags the Colonel out into the woods, where Karen finds them. She pleads with Frank to talk to her and not be a monster. Frank flatly declines and takes the Colonel inside a shed. Once inside, he blows the Colonel’s head off, which Karen hears as she walks away. Before he dies, the Colonel hints that the death of Frank’s family wasn’t just a drug deal gone wrong. It may have had something to do with their actions overseas in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
After killing the Colonel, Frank discovers that the shed hides a pretty big cache of weapons and body armor. He heads back to his old home where he reads the newspaper article about his own death. From the looks of things, he makes the decision to keep fighting. He starts to paint the iconic Punisher skull on the body armor from the armory and turns on the police scanner to listen in on what’s happening.
Elektra and Matt continue to argue after Stick is abducted. They both go their own way to find Stick. Matt is determined to save him and Elektra to kill him. After getting a tip from Foggy about abandoned transport systems in the city, Matt is able to find where Stick was taken. He gets there, but has trouble fighting the ninjas after they figure out he’s tracking their weapons. Stick is able to hear the fighting and communicates to Matt that he needs to track their breath. The hint works and Daredevil is able to get to Stick. As soon as he is rescued, Elektra appears.
They are also joined by Nobu, who demands that Stick finally tell the truth behind what’s going on. Interspersed with images of Elektra’s past with Stick, Nobu reveals that Elektra is the “Black Sky”, the living weapon that the Hand has been searching for. Stick admits that he’s always known that Elektra is Black Sky. Daredevil stands between Elektra and Stick once again and offers her the chance to kill him to get to Stick. When she can’t bring herself to do it, he seizes the chance to disarm her and convince her to fight with himself and Stick, who’s already started killing ninjas.
After Elektra gets Stick to safety, he tells her that the reason Matt saved him was in order to protect her from herself. He understands that Matt fears the act of killing Stick would be Elektra’s point of no return. Instead of convincing her to fight for him, Stick tells her to earn the faith that Matt has put in her. Elektra is still conflicted by the idea that Matt even trusts her. She’s also conflicted to find out that she is the very thing that she’s been trained to fight her whole life. Despite all the conflicts, she agrees to go with Matt and the two pay a visit to Melvin to get Elektra outfitted with some more durable gear. While they’re there, Melvin also gives Daredevil a new multi-purpose baton to fight with.
Foggy is meeting with Jeryn “Jeri” Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss) of the firm Hogarth, Chao and Benowitz. After which, he gets a call from Foggy on behalf of Detective Brett Mahoney. The Detective was roughed up by members of the Hand. When Daredevil goes to see him, he tells him that they were after records on everyone that Daredevil ever saved. Upon hearing this, he immediately rushes off to Karen’s apartment. He arrives only to find that she and several others have been taken. Fortunately for them, one of the people who was taken is a convict that has a tracking anklet. After one of the prisoners is shot in the head, he turns the anklet back on.
The anklet allows Elektra and Daredevil to find the hostages. Not able to let the hostages die for the sake of strategy, Daredevil rushes into the Hand’s trap. He’s followed by Elektra. The two are able to free the hostages, but they are greatly outnumbered. As they prepare to go out and face the Hand and their possible deaths, Matt offers to run away with Elektra if they survive. He realizes that this is a part of his life that he needs and that she gets him. Elektra is clearly afraid, but agrees and they head out to face the army of ninjas. By this time, Karen, Foggy and the police have all gathered to watch the confrontation even though no one is exactly sure what the reason for it is.
Even though they are able to take out most of the Hand, they are no match for Nobu. He gets the upper hand on them and is about to strike the killing blow on Daredevil when Elektra steps between them. She’s impaled by her own weapon, taking away the Hand’s hope of obtaining their human weapon. Just as before she dies, Elektra utters the phrase, “this is not the end”. Nobu orders his remaining men to finish Daredevil, but they are taken out by the Punisher from a sniper position. Presumably, he heard what was going on on that police scanner and figured that “Red” could use some backup. With the cover fire, Daredevil is able to defeat Nobu, throwing him from the roof. When Nobu comes back to life on the ground, Stick is there to meet him a sword. He runs Nobu through the heart and then decapitates him.
Afterward, Matt and Stick bury Elektra. Stick asks Matt is being with Elektra was worth the pain, and Matt says that it was. Foggy and Karen meet at Josie’s where Foggy closes out the long running Nelson & Murdock tab as a sign of them moving on. Karen then heads back to the office to write the piece about everything that’s happened. As her voice reads out a story about what it means to be a hero, Matt is shown walking alone through the streets while Frank sets fire to his old home and grabs a disc labeled “Micro”. As the words finish, Matt arrives at the Nelson & Murdock offices to meet Karen. He tells her that he has something that she needs to see, and pulls the Daredevil mask out of a paper bag. He finally admits to Karen that he’s Daredevil. At the same time, the Hand has dug up Elektra’s body and placed her into the same stone coffin that Nobu was protecting. As the lid is closed, a single heartbeat is heard.
- It’s a very little thing, but having the car set to play “Shining Star” when the General kidnaps Karen was a cute way to show that Castle was on his way. The song was on the radio earlier when Castle and Karen were in the car together, and Frank talked about liking it.
- “MICRO” could be a reference to a comic character that goes by the name “Microchip“.
- Carrie-Anne Moss’ appearance creates another tie-in between this series and Jessica Jones. It also could mean that we’ll see Foggy pop up in the Iron Fist series, as Jeri is a character born in the Iron Fist comics.
- In an peculiar turn, Claire Temple and Frank Castle find themselves as the ones who are giving out relationship advice to Matt and Karen. It’s a strange time when the Punisher is the one giving you advice about love. I think that’s a great indicator of just how bad Matt and Karen’s relationship is.
When I try to evaluate the season based on Daredevil’s enemies, it seems a bit disjointed. After everything that’s happened in this season of Daredevil, it seems a little strange that a confrontation with the Hand was the finale. It didn’t help that the final confrontation was done under cover of night, making it pretty hard to make out the details of what was supposed to be an epic fight scene. The Hand seemed to be more of a secondary threat tied to Elektra for most of the season, since the Punisher was the public menace. The Punisher and Hand stories never really crossed over with each other. The show tried to make them feel a little more connected by having Frank intervene with Daredevil’s fight in the final scene, but I think that made even less sense than if Frank had just disappeared into the night. Then there’s the threat of the Kingpin still looming in the background. Even Matt’s friends seem spread out across the different villains. Karen and Foggy spent most of the season dealing with the Punisher, while Stick and Elektra dealt with the Hand. Ultimately, some of this is due to the fact that both the Punisher and Elektra are getting set up for their own Netflix series, while the Kingpin will be returning to Hell’s Kitchen sooner than later. Even so, it doesn’t change the fact that he only real connection between any of these situations was Matt Murdock.
While everything going on around him might not have come together very cleanly, I think this season did a great job at exploring the duality in Matt’s life as he had to deal with his past, present and future as both Matt Murdock and Daredevil. He had to decide whether or not he wanted to be a lone crusader or let people help him. He also had to decide whether or not it was worth it to him to even continue to be Matt Murdock or just embrace the part of himself that is Daredevil. These were all interesting character arcs that kind of got lost in the shuffle of all the craziness going on around him.
The finale had a great moment that dealt with that when Matt and Elektra thought they were going to die. Matt revealed that he really does want to be Daredevil. It’s not just him doing the right thing or upholding some ideal, it’s something that he enjoys and feels like he needs to do. That was something that had only been hinted at throughout the first two seasons of the show, but hadn’t really been dealt with directly. To be honest, I don’t know if the subtlety is good or bad. On one hand, I would like for the show to be more obvious that it’s dealing with these issues but, on the other, I’m glad that they respect the audience enough to not beat them over the head with these details. Then, on yet another hand, I could be giving the show too much credit for poorly handling the character development. I guess the critics can decide if it’s good or bad. I’ll just leave it at saying that I did notice how Matt changed during the season.
Obviously, the biggest result of Matt’s development is his decision to tell Karen his secret. I know that in the comics, this is a decision that causes problems for Matt, but this version of Karen Page is very different from her comic book counterpart. In the comics, Karen is more or less broken after repeated trauma and kidnappings that resulted from her being close to Matt Murdock. That eventually leads her life to spiral. She becomes a porn actress, gets addicted to heroine, and sells Matt Murdock’s secret identity before being killed by Bullseye. Let’s hope that Netflix version does better with this information than the other one did. I have hope for her because, so far, this Karen has been pretty different from her comic persona.
Personally, I’m hoping that this leads to a more consistent relationship between Matt and Karen. I don’t care if they’re together or not, I just want their interactions to be something in between the extremes that they always seem to be operating at. The two are good on screen together, but their time is so sparse between everything else going on that it feels like they very rarely have a normal moment together. While the character of Karen has been great as an individual, I think her interactions with Matt and Foggy have been some of the more uneven parts of the series. It’s more like she checks in with them occasionally rather than actually growing with them.
With Elektra and the Punisher probably moving on, I suspect that the next season of Daredevil will deal with Matt trying to rebuild his life as Matt Murdock after pushing Karen and Foggy away. However, that may get folded into the “Defenders” series, which is currently being filmed and will air long before the 3rd Daredevil series. The only reason I say that is because it would be strange for Daredevil to try to join a team while his personal life is still on very shaky ground. It has also been confirmed that Karen is going to be in that series as well and I’m hoping it will be to do more than to fight with Matt and then get kidnapped.