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Marvel's DAREDEVIL E7.S1: "Stick" [Review]

Source: Netflix/Marvel
Daredevil has finally been released on Netflix. All thirteen episodes are available for viewing right now, but I decided to review each individual episode in the season, as if it were airing on TV. Today, I'll be reviewing the seventh episode, "Stick." If you haven't seen it or haven't seen the show at all yet, just come back to read this when you do. And remember...
This episode is more of an origin story than previous episodes, and really gets into how Matt Murdock became Daredevil. It's also a very dark and often confusing episode, especially the ending. The episode begins with a mysterious man decapitating an Asian business man, and the man is revealed to be Stick (Scott Glenn). Finally. I was wondering when the show would get to him. Stick is an important and integral part of the Daredevil mythos, and I loved their take on him.

I enjoyed the brief scene of Murdock (Charlie Cox) having a sitdown with the other members of Nelson and Murdock discussing the fallout from the bombings and the way the media has portrayed Daredevil as a terrorist. The superhero-as-criminal angle has been done before, but I thought this scene felt more realistic than most. I could easily imagine this conversation about Osama Bin Laden. Very realistic look into the comic book universe they live in. Their debate about Daredevil and whether they would prosecute him shows how the personas of Murdock and Daredevil are beginning to diverge, and I wonder if they might end up involved in Daredevil's actions on a legal plane. But it's always great to see Foggy and Matt banter.

Karen and Foggy didn't have too much to do in this episode, except for the brief encounters with Urich, but I'm assuming they'll get back to them later. Cut to Daredevil confronting Leland Owlsley to get information on Wilson Fisk's operation. Instead of the interrogation we expect, Daredevil gets distracted and promptly tasered and left unconscious on the floor.

I guess some viewers might find Daredevil getting his butt handed to him by an old man, but I loved it. Once again, it's a reminder that Daredevil is not the perfect crimefighting warrior like Batman or Captain America. He's a human who makes mistakes, and it makes his fight scenes genuinely tense, knowing he could fail at any time.

In flashbacks, we learn that when Murdock was a child, he was in an orphanage, and how pitiful was that scene? It's not like Matt's life was a bed of roses with his father, but now he's even more alone. He's also struggling to control his increased senses. It made me miss the scene in the movie where he wakes up in the hospital, overwhelmed by images and sensations. But along comes someone who can help him, the mysterious Stick. 

I expected Stick to be the usual tough-but-kindhearted martial arts trainer I've seen in movies and TV shows ever. I was in for a rude awakening. Stick is a real jerk, and I only say "jerk" because this is a family-friendly blog. There are stronger words I could use. He's blunt and cold and downright cruel. The direction of his help came down to his line, "Nobody feels sorry for you and nobody ever will." But he does teach young Matt to use his senses and focus on them, which was cool to watch.
From here, the episode flashes back and forth from his present to his past. Stick recruits Murdock for a mission to destroy a mysterious weapon known only as Black Sky. The hostility between the two is understandable. When they revealed why, it brought my heart. Just when Matt found someone to rely on, Stick abandoned him. Their relationship boiled down to Stick wanting a warrior, and Matt wanting a father and they were both disappointed. I loved the contempt Stick showed for Murdock's apartment and his job. From Stick's perspective, Murdock might as well have been living in the Playboy mansion. It seems like Stick is involved in some kind of war, apparently involved the Yakuza or something bigger. He's a soldier, and wanted Murdock to be a soldier, too.

Now the ending where Black Sky turned out to be a child was kind of a cliche, but the implications were huge. Seeing that child with chains all over him, transported in a shipping crate, and Daredevil saying its heartbeat was strange makes me think it was more than it appeared. Stick kept calling the child "a thing." Not sure what Black Sky is, but the mysterious guy Stick was talking to in the end makes me think it's the start of a new storyline. I wonder if that mystery will be resolved in this season or the next. It's hard to believe they could get into it fully when they haven't even fleshed out the conflict between Daredevil and the Kingpin yet. 

The ending fight between Daredevil and Stick was Obi-Wan-versus-Darth-Vader level stuff. 

Only other thought is that, once again, Murdock's mother is brought up. What's the deal there? I hope they get to that this season, too. But they've got so much going on. I can't imagine them tying them all up neatly in thirteen episodes. 

My rating: Recommended

What did you think of this episode? 

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  1. Unfortunately I'm one episode behind your reviews. The series has been awesome so far.


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