Martin Carr reviews the eighth episode of Daredevil season 2…
Once Elektra crossed that line in episode seven there was a wedge driven between Nelson, Page and Murdock the size of a Buick. Testimonies are thrown out, friendships are in tatters, while there is the small matter of that forty storey chasm at the end of ‘Semper Fidelis’. Aside from this we have an open and shut multiple homicide murder trial, with a man more than aware of his wrong doing.
As relationships splinter, loyalties are tested and district attorney Reyes begins circling the wagons we open on ‘Guilty As Sin’. Which throws up a few big surprises, one large slab of long term narrative exposition to lay some structural groundwork, as well as one blinding slap fest. Beyond that Daredevil drifts into the realms of Aaron Sorkin courtroom mainstay A Few Good Men, minus any implication of not being able to handle the truth.
Having rejected post-traumatic stress disorder as an honourable defence against his crimes, Foggy and Karen are backed into a corner defence wise. Since Matt’s disappearing act and Elektra’s testimonial intervention, Castle’s options are limited. What Berthal does now is similar to the not guilty decision earlier on in the season, while this time round Karen’s reasons for emotional manipulation are borne of desperation. If anything this where Daredevil falls back onto genre cliché for the first time.
Courtroom dramas always include sudden outbursts and moments of indecision from the accused before the credits roll. What ‘Guilty As Sin’ manages to do is make that twist so good, that this minor detour is forgiven in a heartbeat. Also the fact these scenes are intercut with Murdock and Elektra’s on-going situation keeps the momentum up. And the way that Yung and Cox play them you are kept in the dark about which way his loyalties lay, even as that Punisher twist kicks in and your jaw hangs open.
Let me promise you now that there is a storm coming and you better hope Nelson, Page and Murdock own the biggest umbrella. Because when that storm hits Daredevil as a series is hitting overdrive and damn the consequences. This is pitch perfect, diamond edged precision carved from a single sheet of story writing two by four, more addictive than nicotine but easier on the bank balance. As an ensemble just got bigger by two so best we make room as according to episode nine, there are ‘Seven Minutes To Heaven’. A sobering thought indeed for all the Catholics reading. For everyone else, including those television executives who probably passed on masseurs Murdock and Nelson before Netflix stepped in; please take note this is how you do it.