After the Bond-like hi-jinx of Matt and Elektra in Episode 6, I’m here to take over from Nicole and talk to you about Episode 7, Semper Fidelis. This episode plunges us right back into the Punisher trial, where Matt really probably should have been while he was off fighting the Yakuza. Matt’s double life really takes center-stage, with Elektra and Foggy trying to get him to realize he is one person, no matter how much he is pretending otherwise.
Frank’s trial is the focus of this episode, even with Elektra’s increased presence. His trial is reminiscent of the season one trial sabotaged by Fisk, with both instances including the client pushing things forward and generally making Foggy Nelson’s life miserable. In the season two version of the client-sabotaged trial, Frank refuses half of his potential defenses, then goes crazy on the stand. Karen really pulls extra weight in the Scooby team, talking Foggy through theories, interviewing Frank, and holding everything together with metaphorical duct tape.
This episode starts with the full team of Nelson and Murdock focusing on Castle’s case. Matt even steps up, offering to write the opening statement, while Karen goes off to talk to Frank about their planned defense. And naturally, Foggy and Matt are proud parents, watching Karen go off to interview a mass-murderer.
They grow up so fast, don’t they?
When Karen talks to Frank about the defense that the Scooby Team has planned, he isn’t exactly impressed, as it seems like the typical PTSD defense argument, something Castle is entirely against presenting – although his reasoning as to why may surprise some.
PTSD, huh? We think it would greatly help with your defense Don’t do that, It’s an insult. Lots of veterans experience it I’m not talking about me, I’m talking about them. It’s an insult to them, people who are actually going through it.
But Karen stands up to Frank, pushing him for a character witness, and is given the name of his old Commanding Officer. The chemistry in the scenes with Karen and Frank just continues to grow. Deborah Ann Woll and Jon Bernthal are absolutely fantastic together. Their on screen presence it’s easily on par with that of Charlie Cox (Matt Murdock/Daredevil) and Elodie Yung (Elektra).
Back at the office, Matt actually does get the part about “Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury…” sorted out before things go sideways on his end of the Castle Defense. Elektra calls him up and talks him into night-time fun, despite his meager efforts to turn her down. Really, Matt, you could have put up a little bit more of a fight.
Daredevil and Elektra infiltrate the swanky apartment of a professor that can translate the Yakuza documents. (Side note: This man is a douche, which they hammer in pretty hard in a matter of a few minutes of screen-time.) After many fists near his head, busting out the high-rise window, the douchey-professor deciphers the text in the Yakuza documents.
Meanwhile, Karen and Foggy actually work through Frank’s case back at the office. Foggy loses hope and Karen gives him an inspirational speech before coming up with a plan to get the medical examiner to screw up on the stand, resulting in a miss-trial. It could work, but it all depends on Matt.
As long as he has the opening statement of the year, I think we have a chance!
Meanwhile, Daredevil and Elektra have followed the ciphers in the documents and found a train full of really heavy cargo – dirt. As dirt spills out around them, the Yakuza attacks – with guns! Daredevil jumps through gunfire to start the fight, with Chris Brewster (Cox’s stunt double) looking fabulous as always.
The best things in life leave you breathless, right?
I’m glad you feel that way, because I’ve got something for you.
This banter between Matt and Elektra was so good. This bond that they have, this chance for Matt to really be his full self in front of somebody. So much is conveyed in that one little exchange.
The second half of the fight isn’t so smooth, resulting in Elektra having a cut that Matt needs to stitch up in his kitchen. She asks Matt about how he explains his scars to the women he brings home, and he evades with the general suaveness that seems to have come about simply because of her presence. The conversation gets more serious as Matt explains his scars, revealing that Elektra knows about Nobu. Matt asks her where she went for all of those years, and Elektra gives many non-answers eluding to being full of secrets. Matt gives up on his questioning, and she settles in for a restless night of sleeping on his couch while he seems to take in everything about her, falling asleep to the rhythm of her breath.
Staying up all night listening to his long lost ex-girlfriend sleeping leaves Matthew late for his opening statements. Which, of course, is Foggy’s worst nightmare.
You know those college stress dreams, where you show up for class in your underwear? That’s me right now.
But Foggy steps up, as does Elden Henson, who manages to steal the spotlight in nearly every scene he’s in, especially when it comes to the court room scenes. He comes up with an opening statement, on the spot, and to no surprise, Matt shows up halfway through, but it’s too late. Thankfully, Foggy has pulled through, proving to himself and anybody that’s watching that he is the talented attorney that he has consistently proven to be. His client, in particular, thought it was fantastic.
That’s a pretty thick slice of bullshit there, Counselor.
Aw Frank, you are so sweet with your compliments!
Matt wants to make it better, offering to take over the interrogation of the medical examiner. His insistence that he can pull it off and make it all right cuts straight into a romantic moment between him and Karen, eating Thai in his living room, flirting more than strategizing. Planning for an interrogation is boring, so they discuss vigilantes instead. This leads to Karen admitting that she thinks Frank’s form of justice works, which throws a wet blanket on the night, entirely.
Of course, this whole argument was overheard by the ghost of girlfriends past, who Matt amazingly refrains from going on an adventure with for this one night. (Way to go Matt. Be strong.) And with that dedication to his day-job, our hero shows up for the interrogation of the medical examiner fresh and prepared. Unfortunately, somebody got to the medical examiner first, and he was so freaked out that his testimony couldn’t be admitted in the trial, totally blowing the one chance of using his testimony to justify a re-trial.
This leads to the most fantastic fight between Matt and foggy since “Nelson Vs. Murdock” in season one. Matt explains to Foggy that Elektra was the new client, and also the person that threatened the medical examiner. Foggy struggles to understand all of the bullshit coming from Matt’s mouth, and blows up in a spectacular way. It’s a brilliant showing of Matt not being able to control everything going on in his life, of Foggy venting his frustration, and it all falling apart.
I don’t care Matt! Stop acting like these things just happen to you! No one’s making you go out all hours of the night fighting bad guys, and nobody is making you lie to your friends over and over again. Elektra is not the problem Matt, you are. It’s almost dark, I’m sure there’s some place you’ve gotta go…
After the fight between Matt and Foggy in the bathroom, Karen is waiting. She demands to know what’s going on with Matt, confronting him more directly than she has in any previous moment. He responds by asking her if she wants to know as his secretary, or as his girlfriend.
From here, Matt confronts Elektra, then releases all of his frustrations on a gang of Yakuza that happen to be around. Elektra, knowing Matthew well, lets him take this fight on his own and release all of that frustration that he almost released onto Foggy. The pair then walks into the building to see that it is empty… until Matt leads her to a giant empty pit.
He takes her flashlight to toss inside, hoping to hear when it hits bottom. After waiting a few seconds, the credits roll before Matt hears it land. It’s an interesting way to end the episode, one that is sure to leave viewers ready to immediately dive into the next episode, which I’ll be reviewing tomorrow!
5 angry girlfriends out of 5. The pacing in this episode was fabulous, with just the right mix of drama, humor, anger, and fighting. It showed the battle between Matt’s two lives beautifully, having both Foggy and Elektra throw them back in his face.
- Matt punching the window, and standing there for a moment longer, seemingly mesmerized until it broke.
- Matt taking the deciphered text and handing it off to Elektra, perturbed. Those truly blind moments are fantastic.
- Daredevil and Elektra fighting the Yakuza by the train. Particularly “The best things in life leave you breathless, right?” line.
- Angry Foggy in the bathroom, where Matt almost got physical with his argument. It was such a great moment.
- All the one-liners between Matt and Elektra. I could watch the two of them banter for weeks. Forget the Punisher spin-off, give me the Matt and Elektra sit-com (Far less likely, I know).
- Poor Foggy. Have I said that enough? I said it so many times while watching this episode. POOR FOGGY.