Written by Mark Verheiden
Directed by Stephen Surjik
Ninjas are attacking the hospital! One of Claire’s nurse friends dies before Matt gets there to fight them. Claire shoves one out a window (so she probably has a higher kill count than Matt), and then gets shoved out herself. Matt dives out on a rope and catches her before she can hit the ground, and they swing inside. He tries to follow one of the ninjas and one of the emaciated people, but loses them. Brett questions Karen about the shooting at her apartment, but she convinces him she didn’t see anything. She also tells Matt to back off after telling him the truth, and she sneaks away from her police protection to go meet up with Frank and help him find the Blacksmith. Marci visits Foggy in the hospital. She wants to set up a meeting with him about a job. Claire gets into a lot of trouble for bringing in the patients that attracted all the ninjas, and her bosses aren’t interested in investigating the autopsy scar on the guy she shoved through the window, because they’re getting paid off handsomely not to. Matt catches Assistant D.A. Towers for any info he has on the Blacksmith. Frank is impressed with Karen’s choice of guns, and Karen appreciates that he’s honest with her. Frank is pretty sure Karen’s in love with Matt, which makes her all flustered. The diner gets attacked by a couple of the Blacksmith’s goons, who Frank brutally kills after getting the Blacksmith’s location out of him. Matt finds Madame Gao, who is the Blacksmith’s biggest competition, and therefore willing to help Matt take him down. Claire quits, because she doesn’t want to keep her mouth shut about what happened. Frank goes to the pier to find the Blacksmith and blow up his ship. However, the man on the ship isn’t the Blacksmith. Matt shows up and stops him from killing the flunkie. Frank is pissed, but Matt wins the fight. Matt wants Frank to work with him. Frank dumps Matt in the drink. More goons show up and open fire on the boat, igniting all the gasoline Frank dumped on the deck. They think he’s dead. (They’re dumb.) Some dudes inform Stick that Elektra killed the assassin he sent. Holy crap. She stabs the next assassins too. The police arrive after the ship blew up, to seize the heroin and take stock of the crime scene. Claire and Foggy leave the hospital at the same time. The emaciated weirdos continue voluntarily bleeding for whatever freaky cause they believe in. This time, it kills them. Nobu declares the giant urn thing ready. The barely-alive assassins come to tell Matt that Elektra’s going to kill Stick, then croak. Stick sharpens his sword and waits for Elektra. She arrives, and the episode ends.
This episode feels very fragmented. We get small pieces of each storyline, which are mostly not connected to each other. I mean, a lot of those pieces are good, but they don’t make a particularly elegant whole. I think my favorite parts were Frank and Karen in the diner (before the violence), all of Claire’s scenes, and Matt and Frank on the boat. I particularly like the idea that killing just one person in the name of justice (but without the support of the justice system) means crossing a line you can never uncross. It’s like, one soul is worth more than whatever lives are at stake. However, that very sensible notion is somewhat undermined by Claire shoving a dude to his death and then still being as good a person as she’s always been. Are there no allowances for killing in self-defense or in the defense of others? Frank Castle is picking fights, and Matt is usually fighting offensively rather than defensively, and those would not be justified deaths. But if you or, say, a hospital full of potential victims are getting attacked by a horde of anonymous ninjas? That’s definitely a moment where lethal force is necessary.
Things I Liked
Things I Didn’t
Claire was right; Matt just cut the rope of his own anchor by distancing himself from Foggy and Karen and his job. Maybe he should consider a vigilante route that involves permanent incapacitation instead of the police handoff option or the murder option. Chop off some limbs or shoot out some kneecaps; it’d be pretty hard for them to continue their lives of crime after they finished serving sentences that way. (I say this very glibly, but I’m semi-serious.) But also, are the prison sentences for crimes like Fisk’s and the Blacksmith’s seriously so short that these dudes would be a problem again before they’re very elderly at the earliest? Can the justice system not keep adding time to their sentences for all their other crimes while they’re in prison? Because Fisk has murdered people. That should keep him inside for the rest of his life. And the Blacksmith is in about the same boat, he just hasn’t been caught by anyone with legal authority yet.
Honestly I think Karen actually will end up being a negative influence on Matt once she knows the truth. She’s too comfortable with Frank as a person in spite of his methods, and too willing to go to dangerous lengths to find stuff out herself. Update as of rewatch: And the way she reacts to Frank's speech about how the only people who can hurt you are the ones close enough to do it, and if you have that, you should hold on with two hands? He might've been trying to get her not to give up on Matt for the wrong reasons, but I'm pretty sure he only made himself look rather admirable in her eyes. I don't think she's falling for him (yet), but she's never been this intense about Matt. Frank is already close enough to hurt her quite a lot.
Claire just killed a guy in self-defense, and it didn’t affect her morals at all. She’s so incorruptible that she won’t take orders from employers she knows are being paid off. She would make a more effective vigilante than Matt!
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.