TV Review: Marvel's Daredevil - Season 2 Episode 5 "Kinbaku"
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EPISODE 5: "Kinbaku"
SYNOPSIS: A former lover arrives in Hell's Kitchen and turns Murdock’s world upside down. Karen digs for the truth about the Punisher.
REVIEW: I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this first post-Punisher episode of the season, but boy am I glad that it delivered in a very unexpected way. With the introduction of Elektra in the closing minute of the previous episode, this hour gives us the backstory between Matt Murdock and his assassin lover. But, unlike the 2003 version of the character, this Elektra Natchios is more in line with Frank Miller's original vision. While the Jennifer Garner version of Elektra was out to avenge her father, this Elektra comes with a death wish that follows a similar path to Matt Murdock and Frank Castle. The big difference is that now we can see where Elektra's influence helped change Matt into the man who would become Daredevil.
The episode flips between the contemporary plot and ten years ago when Matt met Elektra while a law student. At a faculty party he crashed with Foggy, Matt is saved from being kicked out by Elektra who proceeds to belittle Matt as a boring and dumb poor student. Matt challenges her pre-conceived assessment when he says she is a bored, rich girl. Elektra takes a fancy to Matt and the two speed off in her presumably stolen sports car. Later, Elektra takes Matt to his father's old gym where Matt tells her about how his father was killed by a criminal named Roscoe Sweeney. Elektra then takes a swing at Matt, proving her theory that he was more than just a blind law student. The two spar and eventually have rough sex right in the boxing ring. Elektra later takes Matt to a house in the suburbs where they profess their love for each other and imagine a future as a happy, married couple with children. When the home owner returns, Elektra reveals it is actually Roscoe Sweeney. She offers Matt a chance for revenge as Sweeney threatens to kill them both. Matt beats him until his face is a swollen pulp and Elektra begs Matt to kill him. Matt refuses and Elektra is shocked that they don't understand each other like she thought. When Matt calls the police, she disappears.
In the present day, Elektra teases Matt but he wants nothing to do with her. She pretends to need his help with a legal issue involving her father's estate and holdings with Roxxon Corporation. Matt refuses but when they find she has deposited money in the Nelson and Murdock account, he scales the rooftop at Yakatomi Building and listens in as Elektra attends her meeting. Elektra also turns on a device in her pen which sends the room into a buzz as something goes wrong with Roxxon's servers. She leaves and Matt heads off to his date with Karen. Matt and Karen's date starts stiffly at a fine dining restaurant but when Matt gets a foreboding call from Elektra, the couple depart for a cheap Indian restaurant where they are more comfortable. Matt walks Karen home and the two kiss. She invites him upstairs, but Matt refuses saying he doesn't want to mess up what they have. After bidding Karen goodnight, Matt begins to walk away. The smile on his face quickly fades as he stumbles through the crime-addled streets to the sound of sirens.
Matt heads to Elektra's penthouse where she greets him expentantly. Matt says he has one question for her and wants to know why she took him to Roscoe Sweeney's mansion that night ten years earlier. Elektra tells Matt that he knows why are reiterates that she truly loved him and moves in for a kiss. But, before they can, Matt hears guns with silencers and men ascending the elevator. Elektra reveals that it is the Yakuza whom Matt thought he had wiped out of New York. Elektra says her stunt at Roxxon got their attention and Matt realizes everything Elektra has done has been a plan. When he prepares to leave Elektra alone, she dons her own ninja garb and reveals to Matt that she has his Daredevil armor. The episode ends as she prepares for the onslaught of gangsters.
Before we delve into these events, the episode also follows up on the Frank Castle storyline. Karen reveals early in the episode that the news coverage about Castle is lacking in details about his family and the bullet wound he had been treated for. Assistant D.A. Blake Tower arrives and demands their Grotto files, but Foggy refuses without a supina. Tower threatens that D.A. Reyes is going to destroy them. Foggy meets with Marcy and asks for her help in dealing with the D.A. and she shares that her new firm is buzzing with Reyes' plan to tie The Punisher conviction to the other vigilantes in New York, namely Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Karen heads over to the newspaper and meets with Ben Urich's editor about her theories on Castle. He agrees to let her use their resources for an exclusive on Castle. Karen looks through old issues of the paper (the servers were wiped in the Battle of New York) and they find that Castle's family was killed at the carousel Frank visited in the prior episode in a gang war that included all of the gangs The Punisher had been targeting.
Another very solid episode and one that doesn't feature Matt Murdock fighting in any way as Daredevil. The fighting is at an absolute minimum. Instead, we are treated to a crash course in the Murdock/Natchios romance which is a very stark contrast to the Murdock/Page coupling. Where Matt and Elektra was raw and sexually violent, Matt and Karen is sweet and soft. The difference also parallels Matt's internal struggle with his alter ego. Elodie Yung is pretty damn fantastic as Elektra, instilling her with a confidence and some broken bits under the surface, giving her a jagged personality that is both sexy and dangerous. I am still not sure if her actions are initiating this battle with the Yakuza or if there is more under the surface, but this was a great way to kick start the new arc of the season.
MARVEL UNIVERSE REFERENCES: Elektra mentions Roxxon Corporation which has appeared in multiple MCU properties, most notably ABC's Agent Carter. Marcy also works for Jeri Hogarth's firm and mentions Jessica Jones.
NEXT ON DAREDEVIL: "Regrets Only" - A lethal foe returns with a vengeance, Foggy and Murdock risk the firm to ensure justice, and Karen sees a different side of the Punisher.
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