In Episode 6, titled “Regrets Only,” Matt Murdock is pulled right back into Elektra’s world. The ex-lovers team up to take on a band of assassins who try to kill Elektra for hacking into the servers at Roxxon. Then, they go undercover to infiltrate a gala event to swipe a ledger that could contain incriminating evidence against the corporation. What they discover leads to the emergence of a new threat.
While this is happening, Frank Castle has taken on new legal representation. Nelson & Murdock agree to represent the Punisher in his murder case to ensure he gets a fair trial. Foggy is worried this could do permanent damage to their firm’s future. As for Castle, the vigilante opens up to Karen about his previous life and remembers portions of what he lost.
This may be the most ‘fun’ episode of “Daredevil” yet; fun being a relative term for a series where the jokes land immediately after a ninja assassin threat is neutralized, but it struck a nice balance between the deadly serious tone the show usually has and some lighter moments.
“Regrets Only” had a buddy-caper comedy feel to it at times, as Matt Murdock finds himself caught up in Elektra’s drama. Sure, he complains about it initially – quite forcefully, in fact – but by the end, he can’t resist smiling about it, as if he knows that this woman, this gorgeous, intelligent, lethal and very likely insane woman, is all kinds of bad for him...yet he simply can’t resist. Just two episodes in to this arc and Charlie Cox and Elodie Young already give off the vibe as if they’ve been paired together for years.
Elektra’s joie de vivre is on full display in this episode, happily working up an appetite while dispatching the ninja goons who try to take her out at the beginning of the episode. It’s a typically dimly lit scene, brutal and effective.
Later on at a diner, Matt insists, “There is no ‘us.’ This is your problem.”
Poor Mr. Murdock. Who are you kidding?
I was relieved to see Matt ask Elektra how she knew about his alter ego, because I’m sure I wasn’t the only person wondering how she figured out that her ex-boyfriend spent his night as a suited-up vigilante.
But lest we forget that Hell’s Kitchen (in the MCU, at least) is one depressing place, one trip back to Nelson & Murdock will jog your memory. Karen expresses serious concern for Frank Castle’s legal future after meeting with his public defender and realizing he’s deep in DA Reyes’ pockets. Matt has yet another debate about the sanctity and value of human life, this time with Foggy, who thinks defending Castle, is a huge mistake. It’s kind of hard to argue with Foggy from a practical standpoint on this.
But Matt manages to convince his very reluctant partner that Nelson & Murdock should cut a deal on Castle’s behalf to try and spare him from the death penalty.
Of course, they first have to go to the hospital, where Castle is being guarded by the NYPD, and convince him to hire them.
The ensuing hospital room scene with Castle provides some useful exposition that basically lays out the storyline that will keep the Punisher around – namely, that the DA wants him dead. For what reason is still not clear.
There’s an undercurrent of vulnerability running through this episode. Foggy, as he feels increasingly on his own at the firm; Matt, struggling to accept that Elektra is a huge emotional blind spot for him; and then there’s Frank Castle.
He’s at his most vulnerable here, strapped to a hospital bed, horrifically bruised and facing 37 counts of murder and a DA that seems extra motivated to bury him.
But Castle seems more interested in remembering his former life. He asks Karen, with whom he shares some unspoken connection, for details of what she saw in his family’s home. Were the dishes still in the sink, he asks? Karen tells him about drawings on the walls of the kids’ rooms, the plastic dinosaurs and sports trophies scattered around. It’s all very low-key and the camera work complements the mood well. When Castle tells Karen that he failed to keep his family safe. It’s a moment that reveals The Punisher’s war on crime is as much about guilt as it is about vengeance.
As for Matt and Elektra, they’re attending a gala full of Roxxon execs with the purpose of stealing a ledger containing the company’s nefarious secrets. The gala caper gives Matt a chance to use his blindness as a useful distraction. Also, his acute sensitivity apparently makes Matt the world’s best safecracker. Once security is alerted, they manage to escape by pretending to be a drunken couple shagging in a conference room. Because no one ever suspects the blind guy.
The ledger contains all sorts of incriminating information about drug and weapons deals, human trafficking, but one section is encrypted. What could it be? And who is actually after Elektra? It turns out, it’s not the Yakuza, after all. That means another key member of Daredevil’s Rogues Gallery has arrived on the scene -- The Hand!
Remember the kinder, gentler Frank Castle that we told you about in those moments with Karen? Well, Foggy cut what seemed like great deal for him -- life in prison with a chance for parole in 25 years. But Castle doesn’t take the deal. In fact, he even threatens DA Reyes and promises to watch her burn for her misdeeds. Foggy shows up at Matt’s apartment to tell him the news. The Trial of the Century is happening, and hey, it begins next week.
It’s a good thing Elodie Young as Elektra is so damn entertaining, because the reasons for Elektra’s return are fuzzy, to say the least. She has her money invested in Roxxon, blah blah blah, she hacks their servers, they send assassins after her. I’m waiting for the inevitable connection to some larger shadowy conspiracy, which now appears to involve The Hand, but so far, none of it is making much dramatic sense.
Speaking of conspiracies, am I the only who doesn’t care about whatever cover-up is going on regarding the deaths of Frank Castle’s family? I think it’s because District Attorney Reyes is such a one-note villain. She’s been a weak spot for me this season. Perhaps the Trial of the Punisher will serve her better.
The scene where Castle tells Karen she was never in any danger is a pretty lazy Retcon. Castle insists he only hurts those who deserve it, and that he was a Scout Sniper. In other words, if he wanted her dead, Castle points out, she would be dead. Except, if you go back and watch that first episode, the bullets come awfully close to Karen. One of the many reasons this incarnation of the Punisher works so well is that he’s so unforgiving, so single-minded, and so unrelenting. It’s totally believable that an innocent victim could get caught in the crossfire. Let’s not insult our intelligence with silly explanations like this, shall we? What’s next, Mercy bullets?
I’ve talked about this before, but we’ve had another Inconsistent Power Set Moment. When they’re searching for the Roxxon ledger, Matt somehow is able to identify that one drawer in a hidden room that only contains books and paper. Was it sense of smell? I would buy that, except there is no indication onscreen at all that suggests Matt used his nose to ID the drawer. If you’re going to write some bad retcon dialogue to soften up The Punisher, you may as well as toss in a quick line to explain this. Parameters, people, parameters!
The Comic Book Corner:
Not very many comic book-specific Easter Eggs or references in this episode, although the guy who says, “what makes you think I am Yakuza?” is called Lord Hiroshi by Elektra. In the comics, Lord Hiroshi led a faction of The Hand in the Daredevil comics series.
The Hand, in case you were wondering, first appeared in “Daredevil” #174.
This was a challenging episode that, while fun, lacked some of the urgency of earlier episodes. When it focused on The Daredevil/Elektra dynamic, it hummed. The stunt teams seemed to exercise admirable restraint with the two major fight scenes in this episode, and the silhouetted slugfests benefited from their abruptness. But the pacing suffered every time we moved on to another plot line. The return of Frank Castle was a welcome sight, but it seems the writers are having trouble with the colliding storylines of Elektra and the Punisher.
Will their stories connect in some way? I have high hopes for The Trial of The Punisher, if only because I'm hoping Matt will get to actually do some work as a lawyer. I know, fighting ninjas is much more exciting. But his work as a lawyer has always been a massive part of Matt Murdock's persona. We’re getting hints that Matt’s balancing act of lawyer by day, vigilante by night is starting to get wobbly. I’d like to see this play out more, especially in regards to how it affects his relationship with Foggy and Karen.