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Television

Daredevil: Season 2, Episode 10 - "The Man in the Box"

Elena Zhang

Daredevil and The Kingpin confront one another, while The Punisher is set loose on the city.


Daredevil

Cast: Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Jon Bernthal, Elodie Yung, Stephen Rider, Rosario Dawson, Vincent D'Onofrio
Subtitle: Season 2, Episode 10 - "The Man in the Box"
Network: Netflix
Amazon

"The Man in the Box" acts as a transition episode to get us to the last third of the season. The main characters we really care about were sidelined for the most part, in order to give all the moving parts a chance to push forward. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, just a sign that there are so many different running plots this season that still need to converge somehow; this episode was spent nudging all the disparate storylines into the same direction.

It's always a breath of fresh air whenever Claire (Rosario Dawson) appears. She's a wonderful character, often acting as the stand-in for the audience, saying what needs to be said without catering to the often muddled and lofty viewpoints of the main characters. She gets right to the heart of things in a way that doesn't feel pretentious or cheesy; she comes across as someone who just doesn't have the time to deal with the egotistical codes that often trap our superheroes, because she's too busy on the front lines saving lives and dealing with the minutiae, something that Daredevil (Charlie Cox) used to be more involved with.

In fact, this is the issue with which Claire confronts Matt on the rooftop. During these past few episodes, Matt’s been isolating himself more and more from the people he truly cares about; first because he fell prey to the temptations of darkness, and now because of, what else, guilt. Claire bursts his martyr complex bubble, telling him he's not the only one who cares about the city, and that he's separating himself from the humanity he's trying to protect.

Matt, unfortunately, refuses to relent; he's even more bent on getting rid of distractions, believing they are making him less effective at this job. It's troubling that not even the fact that his best friend Foggy (Elden Henson) is lying in the hospital from a bullet wound can wake Matt up to the fact that he’s human just like everyone else. I'm wondering what it's going to take for him to come back to the sea of "normal people". That being said, his sense of failure does make sense, because his code was fundamentally contradictory: believe in the law, work against it. Matt needs to reexamine his motives and justifications for being a vigilante, and this is where Frank (Jon Bernthal) comes in. Frank's more than just other side of Daredevil's coin. He's not Matt’s opposite.

While Frank is hardly in this episode, his presence looms around every corner. Karen (Deborah Ann Woll), however, realizes that Frank isn't the culprit of the latest string of murders. Although Ellison (Geoffrey Cantor) may have been correct when he suspected Karen was projecting her own code of honor onto Frank, the killings weren't Frank's style, and Frank himself proved his innocence in the end. Frank and Karen are a truly interesting and dynamic pairing, and I’m excited to see how their partnership will play out. It may be too presumptuous to call them friends, but they definitely share a strong emotional connection that's a joy to watch and explore. With Karen, Frank's at his most vulnerable, and with Frank, Karen proves her courage and empathy time and again.

Perhaps it’s because Frank has become one of the show's greatest characters that now Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) seems to shrink in comparison. He’s just as powerful as ever, as he proves when Matt pays him a visit in prison; Fisk's thunderous threats and show of brute force were awe-inspiring. However, all the complexity and nuances that came with his character in season one have disappeared; instead, they’ve been replaced by common supervillain tropes. Before, he was trying to save the city just like Matt was, albeit through immoral methods. Now, his only motivation seems to be gaining power. While this allows Fisk to be an unquestionable bad guy for Daredevil to fight against, it is less thought-provoking than a villain who has shades of grey.

Finally, we see that Elektra (Elodie Yung) is being now being targeted not by The Hand, but by her former mentor, Stick (Scott Glenn). Sadly, once again, Elektra and the gang of faceless ninjas are the least interesting part of the episode. I’m guessing that The Hand is somehow going to be connected with both Fisk and Frank, but even so, this subplot’s weakened by unclear motivations and one-dimensional villains. Hopefully, The Hand’s purpose for being in this season will be made clear soon, but in the meantime, Frank will continue to outshine even the heroes in Hell’s Kitchen.

Other Thoughts:

The drained victims from the farm were suitably creepy as hell.

Reyes' (Michelle Hurd) death was shocking a moment, but in the end it seemed inevitable given her shady actions and her hand in the Central Park massacre. The scene was masterfully directed, with the ensuing silence sending chills down my spine.

Any speculations as to who’s setting up Frank? I’m guessing it's the Blacksmith, or perhaps may be part of Fisk's scheming.

I wonder if Fisk will soon be making the connection between Matt and Daredevil, which could spell real trouble for our hero.

7

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