I’ve been waiting for this moment since I first started the series. I know I say this about almost every installment of Netflix’s Daredevil, but this was such a good episode! “Stick” revolves around Daredevil’s former mentor and teacher who has come back to Hell’s Kitchen to work with Murdock and to educate him on some new lessons. (spoilers ahead!)
Last episode, Vladimir revealed to Daredevil the name of Fisk’s crooked accountant, Leland Owlsley. Murdock tracks Owlsley down and gets ready to brutally interrogate him, but he’s distracted by the sounds of a cane nearby. Leland tazes our hero and gets away, and a frustrated Daredevil is left groaning on the floor at the feet of his old mentor, Stick.
Don’t let the seemingly tame nickname fool you; Stick is actually one of the most underrated and lethal characters in Marvel. He is the leader of a martial arts group called the Chaste, whose core mission is to fight an opposing ninja clan called the Hand. Despite being blind, Stick has honed his other senses to superhuman levels on par with Daredevil. As we see in the show, his sense of smell is so keen that he can sniff an ice cream cone and go into detail about every single ingredient used in the process.
But his powers aren’t restricted to identifying ice cream ingredients. As we learn throughout the episode, he is virtually unstoppable in a fight. The only person who even puts up somewhat of a challenge is Daredevil himself, but Stick brushes him off after a quick scuffle in Murdock’s apartment. Seeing these two fight is awesome, and you wonder how much work they must’ve put into the choreography. It’s more than just punches and kicks; these fight scenes with Stick and Daredevil are works of art.
Scott Glenn is an excellent Stick. I was blown away by his performance. I’ve always praised Marvel for picking the right actors and actresses for roles, and Glenn’s Stick is further evidence of the fact. He’s such an ass, but he manages to slightly hint at his role of a protective father figure. Glenn encapsulates both of these character traits flawlessly. Despite him kicking Murdock’s ass at the end of the episode, I think deep down, he really cares about his former student.
There is a touching moment in the episode during a flashback where young Murdock gives Stick a sentimental gift to remind him of their time eating ice cream together. At first, Stick seems touched, but then he crumbles the gift up and dismisses Murdock, telling him that their training is over. It’s heartbreaking. I’m assuming that Stick’s coldness is done for one of two reasons: he thinks that Murdock is getting too soft to become a fighter, or he doesn’t want to bond too closely with the boy in case something happens to either of them. It’s a tragic end to what could’ve been a solid family relationship between Murdock and Stick. Sad, yet epically exhibited on screen.
Getting back to the current time period, it appears that Stick came back into Murdock’s life to ask him for help. Stick wants to eliminate a new potential weapon called “Black Sky” that is making its way to Hell’s Kitchen. The duo prepare to intercept and destroy a shipment of Black Sky when Daredevil discovers that it’s a code name for a young boy. Our hero deflects Stick’s arrow before it can kill the boy, and the plan completely falls apart. Back at the apartment later on, Stick reveals that he tracked down the boy and put another arrow through his chest, triggering Murdock to attack him, which leads to the final fight between the former teacher and student.
I know I’m not the only person who’s asking what the hell is Black Sky. As far as I know, it’s not documented in any of the comics. My best guess is that Black Sky is a group of young Inhumans. I’m not sure what the timeline for Daredevil is, but it definitely occurs sometime after the events of Avengers Assemble. Between that time and the recent episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., it’s possible that Black Sky is the result of the Terrigenesis, which triggered dormant Inhumans to demonstrate their powers.
Another possible explanation for Black Sky ties into the final scene of the episode. All we see is Stick reporting to a man whose scarred back is turned to the camera. According to the credits, this man is Stone, another member of the Chaste. It’s a little odd that Stone seems to be the master over Stick in this scene when it’s actually the other way around in the comics. Regardless, it’s possible that Black Sky has something to do with the Chaste, or their mortal enemies, the Hand.
Scott Glenn is my main reason for loving this entire episode. Stick is such a great character and I can’t help but love him even if he’s a complete ass. Unfortunately, this is the last we’ll see of Stick since Glenn was only cast for one episode. I’m praying that if he doesn’t show up in the second season of Daredevil, that we at least see him in the upcoming crossover, The Defenders.
Final Grade: A
+ Scott Glenn does a phenomenal job as Stick.
+ There was an adequate use of flashbacks to show Stick training Murdock; it wasn’t tedious or overdone like on other shows that utilize flashbacks.
+ The final fight scene with Stick and Daredevil was beautiful.
– I wish Stick was slated to show up in more episodes. There were too many questions left unanswered and I don’t want to wait for next season!
– Stick leaves his combat staffs for Daredevil to keep; I think Daredevil uses these as models for his future trademark weapons.
What were your thoughts on “Stick”, both the character and the episode? Tell us what you think in the comments or on Twitter!