Daredevil, Season 1, Episode 7 (Stick) / Episode 8 (Shadows in the Glass).
When reviewing the opening episodes, I congratulated the writers who’d resisted immediately exploring the origin story of Matt. Of course it had to happen eventually, but who would’ve expected a paired origin story with Matt and Wilson getting their own separate origin episode?
Father figures can be a positive thing, but can also bring out their worst side. Matt, in desperate need of a father figure relied on Stick to train him to deal with his blindness. Wilson on the other hand became tiresome of his father tormenting his family and lead to his father being his first blood. It’s an interesting dynamic by contrasting the origin of the two characters in two separate episodes – but all in all it just wasn’t that interesting.
Something coined “Black Sky” promises a dangerous threat which must be stopped – so Matt’s old mentor Stick comes to support Matt knowing he’s the Daredevil. The thing is we’re dealing with a protagonist that doesn’t want to kill. Vladimir criticises Matt’s reluctance to kill last episode, and it’s a continued criticism as Stick urges to kill “Black Sky”. What is “Black Sky” exactly? Well it wasn’t clarified in the episode, but all we learn in the end is that “Black Sky” was in a form of a child. Whether he actually was a threat or not was debatable, but the important point in the episode was that Matt prevented Stick from murdering “Black Sky” due to his morality. We also learn that Nobu is of a higher hierarchy than Fisk and its little details like this which make up the episode
The actual flashbacks of Matt and Stick were quite heartfelt scenes. Skylar Gaertner has been an absolute delight in all of his scenes as Young Matt, with this episode included. Stick abandoned Matt as a child due to him noting how dependent Matt has become on Stick – it results with Matt having a heartbreaking understanding that he’s once again alone. Quick snap-transitions from Matt and Stick fighting in the past and the present showed us how important Stick was to Matt and it’s even more heartbreaking to see Stick still having the ice-cream wrapper bracelet Matt had made all those years ago – albeit the fight scenes became a bit overwhelming. It was almost as if they were trying to squeeze in as much fight scenes as they could for the purpose of having action in a rather motionless episode.
Shadows in the Glass instead focuses on Wilson’s back story. This episode was more successful in presenting an engaging origin story, perhaps due to having more visual style than previous episodes. The daily routine which Wilson proceeds is almost like a ritual. It’s never-changing, and his cufflinks are a constant reminder that he’s “not cruel for the sake of cruelty” as his father was. This was all until Vanessa became a major impact to Wilsons life. Are we to gain faith in Wilson? Well that’s an argument for another day, but it’s difficult to not side with Wilson, no matter how sinister his father’s murder was. This alone made the episode interesting to watch, but the back story itself had more depth rather than just training scenes after training scenes. This was a better conducted origin episode.
While we see Wilson’s back story, we also get to see Karen and Foggy gaining a bigger role in the series as their investigations of Union Allied are now aided with Matt’s help. Ben Urich is reached out by Daredevil as Matt decides to use this ensemble of characters fighting against Union Allied to his advantage. Unfortunately Ben, while at first intrigued by the Daredevil, concluded that Wilson Fisk’s charitable announcement on live television was more evident than Daredevil’s “he said, she said”. Unlike Stick, there’s a genuine sense that the plot is actually going somewhere opposed to being a filler origin episode.
Even small scenes such as Wilson recollecting his childhood and him murdering his father to Vanessa felt fantastic. Seeing the two bond closer through this honesty, despite how tormented Wilson seems, indicates how corrupt the couple will be when they inevitably become Wilson and Vanessa Fisk.
Even though both episodes tackle an origin story, the two episodes felt extremely different. Since one episode felt better than the other, we’re giving two separate grades for our joint episode reviews.
Shadows in the Glass:
+ ‘Rabbit in a Snowstorm’ returns. It’s a nice callback to show the continuity between the episodes.
+ Seeing Stick and Matt bond between the beer, despite him probably getting the cheap “German piss” was one of the better scenes of the episode.
+ Also Foggy fending for Karen was beautifully done. I’d love to see the two of them faced in more action-packed situations, the characters are just full of life!