TV Review: Marvel's Daredevil - Season 2 Episode 7 "Semper Fidelis"
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EPISODE 7: "Semper Fidelis"
SYNOPSIS: Murdock and Foggy take on the DA in the trial of the century, but their client refuses to play along. Murdock struggles to balance his dual identities.
REVIEW: It seems like Matt's nighttime activities with Elektra have caught up with him sooner than anticipated. In an hour that should have been one of the stronger outings this season, some cliches and flawed logic pull it down to the lowest rating I have given an episode of the series to date. This was also the final episode I watched in advance of the series being released on March 18th, so the cliffhanger ending resonated a bit more with me than it would if you were binge watching all thirteen hours. This episode relies heavily on the trial of Frank Castle and how Matt's alter ego not only affects this momentous case for his law firm but also his relationships with Karen and Foggy. This also marks a connective point between the first and second seasons beyond the passing references to Wilson Fisk.
Opening with scenes of potential jurors, it becomes clear that The People of New York versus Frank Castle is going to be the Marvel equivalent of the Trial of the Century. Castle's divisive actions and subsequent arrest make him the first of the vigilantes to be held accountable for their actions. In that regard, it mimics a street level version of the Sokovia Accords we will see in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. A precedent will be set by this trial that could alter the Netflix/Marvel universe as we know it. The series doesn't truly represent Matt Murdock or Frank Castle as superheroes in the traditional sense but the impacts on what this could mean for Jessica Jones or Luke Cage are quite clear. The only problem is that Matt is being called away to work with Elektra and it causes him to make some serious mistakes with the trial.
First off, Matt and Elektra question a man about the encrypted ledger and learn it is for a shipment at the railyard. When they check it out, the train is full of dirt. They then have to fight off Yakuza thugs and Elektra is injured. At Matt's apartment, they discuss their scars and fall asleep. Matt oversleeps and missed the opening statement he was set to deliver. Foggy, nervous and covered in flop sweat, steps in and does an admirable job of painting Reyes as a bad guy without playing the PTSD card in regards to Frank, a strategy the soldier felt would belittle those who actually suffer from the syndrome. When Matt arrives, Karen and Foggy are noticeably upset, but Matt begs them to let him cross-examine the Medical Examiner the next morning. Karen helps Matt prepare and the two indulge a conversation about vigilante justice. Matt plays up his roles as lawyer and practicing Catholic, but they are divided over whether Castle's methods were just or not. As Karen leaves, Elektra arrives and tells Matt she didn't overhear anything. Matt declines to join her as he needs to prepare for his next day in court.
For all we hear about Matt Murdock being a great and brilliant attorney, he comes across as a lackluster lawyer on this series. It is early in his career as Daredevil, but Matt can barely show up to work and looks like he has been in an all-night fight club or alcoholic bender. Prepared to dig into the medical examiner in court, Matt begins his cross-examination but the doctor quickly breaks down and admits to falsifying the autopsy reports for the Castle crimes and the deaths of his family years prior. With the courtroom empty, the judge strikes the doctor's testimony, further hurting Murdock and Nelson's defense of Frank Castle. Matt and Foggy argue in the court restroom after the doctor admits he was threatened and coerced by a mysterious woman the night before. Matt admits to Foggy that the woman was Elektra which further infuriates Foggy. Matt has once again been lying to his friend and now it is impacting the case that Foggy never wanted to take in the first place.
Matt confronts Elektra about her "help" with the medical examiner which has now hurt his day job. Matt is clearly mad and demands that she stay out of that part of his life. Elektra claims she was trying to help but doesn't see any merit to his work as a lawyer, saying that his rules bar him from saving his city from the real threat. Matt, fully of anger, head to the building they have been hearing about from the Yakuza. The plans Matt saw when he fought Nobu indicate that this particular building was not part of Wilson Fisk's master plan but was for some other purpose. Matt and Elektra take down the thugs and guards and the building and plow their way inside. As they investigate, they find a massive hole in the base of the building. Matt is unable to sense just how deep it is, so they drop a flashlight down to wait for the sound when it hits the bottom. The episode ends with no sound to be heard.
This was another less than stellar episode of the second season. If anything, this episode accomplished showing that Matt is not as strong of a lawyer as we were led to believe nor is he faultless as a superhero. Elektra is clearly a loose cannon, but there does seem to be ulterior motives to what she is doing. Hints continue to be dropped that whatever is going on in New York is more than just a criminal gang vying for power in Fisk's absence. I don't require that every episode be a slam dunk, be we have seen several uneven episodes this season compared to the much more consistent first year. The case against Frank Castle is far more intriguing than the Yakuza investigation but I am nervous that the two are not going to come together naturally in the remaining six episodes. But, I am more than happy to be proven wrong.
MARVEL UNIVERSE REFERENCES: No overt references this episode.
NEXT ON DAREDEVIL: "Guilty As Sin" - As the firm's trial spins out of control, a figure from Murdock's past returns to deliver shocking revelations about the future of Hell's Kitchen.