Daredevil: 2.04 Penny and Dime/2.05 Kinbaku

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How lovely to see the ever reliable Tony Curran appear in Daredevil as the first arc of this season draws to a close in episode 4 (where the first season played out like one 13 issue mini-series, the second seems to play out more like a regular ongoing comic, sprawling stories in more easily digestible chunks). Curran is no stranger to the MCU (he was very briefly in Thor: The Dark World) and a regular genre face. The Irish are closing in on Frank Castle and out for revenge, tying up loose ends and brutally hunting him down in the episodes opening minutes. It's a stark reminder of why Matt wisely wears a mask.

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A somber tone permeates the episode and we find Grotto's funeral only has three attendees; Matt, Foggy and Karen. The episode also sees the welcome return of Father Lantom, who delivers a tough eulogy and has tougher words for Matt. It's the complexity and conflict of Daredevil and his world that makes him such an endearing comics character and the team capture that perfectly.

Matt returns to Melvin for a new mask. We get hints of a wider, weirder world to come and was that a hint of Melvin's alter ego Gladiator in his armour design? The new mask is great and fixes the only real problem I had with the costume, the eye pieces. It looks great and feels much closer to the comics.

There are a few elements that feel a little rushed. Matt restoring the honour of New York's Finest seemed too easily resolved, and reminders of Fisk also served to remind us that we don't have a villain that fills those shoes yet. Karen has more to do in this episode but her story doesn't really resolve itself in this episode, serving primarily as a way of visually giving us more of Frank Castle's backstory without laying on the heavy exposition.

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Jon Bernthal prepared for the role of Frank Castle by walking the streets of New York at night carrying a rucksack full of rocks and it seems to have paid off as he delivers the best live action iteration of the Punisher yet. His penny and dime speech is heart breaking whilst his ability to deliver substantial damage after being brutally tortured is heart racing.

Ah yes, the violence. The Netflix Marvel shows aren't for the faint hearted though the violence rarely tips into the gratuitous but even I struggled with the drill and the sound mix on Frank cutting his hands free.

The episode had a great balance of drama and action, with a great pay off as Matt rescues Frank. Things start to move forward for Matt and Karen too and, after a tender kiss all seems to be going well for the pair. Of course, anyone who knows anything about Matt Murdock knows that happy, lasting relationships aren't really his thing - I think the only person with a more complicated relationship history in the comics is Hawkeye - and so we are proven right by the appearance of Elektra.

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Kinbaku translates as "the beauty of tight binding", and is a form of Japanese Bondage. Dark sexual kinks are certainly explored as Elektra Natchios comes crashing back into Matt's life. We open with a flashback to their first meeting, a beguiling use of close ups and sound design, utterly captivating. It's a darker echo of the tender moment Matt and Karen shared in the previous episode and again I have to congratulate the production team for their confident and intelligent use of sound and image to really give us a sense of Matt's world and to tell the story in an exciting way. The sequence with Matt on the roof top, following Elektra's journey through the Yakatomi building was great stuff, well directly and smartly designed.

Elodie Young's Elektra has something of Vesper Lynd about her and the way she and Matt sum each other up was pure Casino Royale. Her and Matt sink into an intense, erotic and incredibly dangerous relationship. Matt's hand on her neck as they make love in the wrestling ring is a lasting image and the chemistry between Young and Charlie Cox is wonderful. In fact the chemistry between the whole cast is fantastic and really makes this the stand out of the small screen MCU.

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It's an episode high on tension and character beats but low on action which is by no means a criticism. As Matt points out it makes a nice change of pace not to be dodging bullets again. The episode plays off Matt's current relationship with Karen and his previous relationship with Elektra. The episode is not short of humour and we see

We have our most explicit reference to Jessica Jones yet and there are a few references and nods peppered throughout, especially to the first Avengers movie. Roxxon corporation play a big part here and it's nice to see that Daredevil is starting to feel more cohesively part of the MCU. It was fun to be back at the Daily Bulletin too but it would be nice to see the Daily Bugle turn up eventually (perhaps a merger?).

It's a thrilling (and tender) episode whilst also a nice change of pace from the action heavy Punisher arc (which still simmers in the background) though that promises to change with Episode six...

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