Because Matt’s life wasn’t already shitty enough, The Hand had to come and fuck up everything involving him and his relationships with those around him. Really that is the moral of the story with “The Man in the Box”, which could easily be considered a setup episode but actually took the time to build up Matt in a fun new way. We are able to see just how being Daredevil has effected Matt’s life as a whole and what everyone thinks of Matt’s decision to live his double life. These are all massively important steps toward developing Matt into more than the character he has been portrayed as, and now he at least has a general understanding of what it means to both Matt and Daredevil. Especially, in light of Matt’s conversation with Fisk and what it means for future seasons of the show. All of this build up made for one of Charlie Cox’s best episodes to date and possibly one of his best of the entire series.
Usually I try to save the best for last but I need to gush over how great Matt and Fisk’s conversation was. I mean god damn I loved just the sheer amount of tension that exists from the moment Matt steps in that room to the moment he leaves, it was astounding. It was like watching boxers feel each other out in the second round of a twelve round fight as Matt knew all the right buttons to push in order to get the info he wanted out of Fisk. The beautiful part of it all is that Matt has to hold back against Fisk, as opposed to Fisk not giving a shit whether Matt knows or not that he is running thing and is going to ruin both his and Foggy’s life once he gets out. Vincent D’onofrio and Charlie Cox play this scene so well it was absolutely staggering to watch. I mean it this is my favorite scene of the season thus far and i don’t know if it will be topped.
At the same time you had the world dealing with the ramifications of Frank being out and how he wants revenge on The Blacksmith and whoever blew up the sting. This made Reyes’ demise and the subsequent fallout really enjoyable as you didn’t know who “Frank” would target next since there are a lot of people who wronged him. I mean sure, it was pretty clear Frank wasn’t actually killing those people, it didn’t make sense with the narrative or really match his MO, but watching people be in fear that The Punisher was unloading on civilians now added an entirely new layer to the proceedings. Also hell, it was super gratifying to watch Reyes go down as she has been the absolute worst to deal with. Sign of a good villain for sure, but as soon as the bullets hit her I was so relieved we would not be dealing with her in the future.
I also really enjoyed all of the Claire and Matt conversations as they brought the season’s big conflict to the forefront as to whether Matt should just be daredevil full time. Claire, much like she is on the other Marvel shows provided the voice of reason in the situation. Matt can’t simply be Daredevil as that will make him lose his connection to the things he is fighting to protect. Its simple yet effective but Matt seemingly refuses to realize that his greatest weakness is also what gives him that unbeatable drive. Sure, Foggy, Karen, Claire, and anyone Matt cares about will only give Daredevil a larger vulnerability, but the manage to humanize his fight and separate him from the more dangerous ideology of say The Punisher or Fisk. Still, Matt resigns himself to put on the helmet as it is the only place he truly feels at home and in control. Eventually that costume won’t feel safe to him anymore, but watching that progression is really exciting and gratifying.
The only part that felt bizarrely out of place in the entire episode was the Elektra material, as it was just an excuse to keep her in New York. Sure the fight was gratifying and it finally gave Elektra her sai’s but the arc as a whole really seems to be falling flat. Of all the new people this season Elektra is the one I dislike the most as she seemingly is just there to be a brutal jokey force in Matt’s life. While I can understand and appreciate that, I do feel it kind of detracts from the mood the show is trying to set and would be more at home on say Jessica Jones. Hopefully all of this Stick trying to kill Elektra bullshit is actually going somewhere, because right now I am supremely underwhelmed with her entire arc. I just need more out of her, or hell a reason to like her at all would be really nice at this point.
Overall it was an exceptionally strong episode, but we need to tighten some of the side arcs a little bit.
Final Grade B+
+Charlie Cox’s performance this episode
+Matt and Fisk’s chat
+Reyes going down
+Matt and Claire’s chats
-Elektra’s plot was super weak
-It was obviously not Frank killing people
-That moment when Fisk touches his broken lip and has a vague idea that Matt is Daredevil is absolutely perfect. I love how Daredevil does those small moments.
-So somehow Elektra and Jaques managed to empty out an airport hangar for their fight. That seems super convenient for everyone involved.
-I hate when cops on shows are super dumb. I mean Frank is good but no-one saw him at all?