The previous episode of Daredevil ended with a pretty great reveal, and hopefully it wasn't spoiled for you. Because seeing the Punisher led into a prison gymnasium to have a meeting with, well, you know who, is my favorite moment of the season so far.
The opening sequence of "Seven Minutes in Heaven" follows Wilson Fisk's journey after we last saw him in season one: He's apprehended, admitted into prison, confronts a man named Dutton who declares himself the Kingpin inside the joint, and slowly uses his (diminished, yet still significant) resources to acquire protection and influence.
Fisk also stays abreast of current events, and learns about the Punisher from the papers. Because he's Wilson Fisk, he figures out a use for him: He wants Frank Castle to take out Dutton, making him the Kingpin once more. Of course, there's an incentive for Frank, too: The possibility of closure, as Dutton dealt with the gangs present at the Carousel Massacre and could tell him who was really responsible.
Frank initially balks at any deal, but is ultimately too single-minded to refuse. And so, Fisk gets him a shiv and seven minutes in Cell Block A to meet with Dutton.
BUT WAIT! We can't forget about Matt, who was left dying on his living-room floor.
Thankfully, Elektra treats him with Stick's awful anti-toxin, which looks like it was made for scouring cast-iron skillets, then hires cleaners to put his apartment back together. When Matt comes to, he asks the exact same question I asked in my last recap, which is something to the effect of: Why the hell did you kill that kid, Elektra?!
She claims it was self-defense, since the kid would have sent more Hand ninjas after them. Matt isn't convinced. He says she's being dishonest about wanting to be good — she enjoys killing. They've deluded themselves with the idea that they can work together; they're only good for corrupting one another. He tells her to get lost. He's going to take on the Hand by himself.
Later, Foggy comes by Matt's place to suggest they close the office so they can sort things out between them. Unfortunately, Matt's still in full-jackass mode when it comes to his friends, so he uses Foggy's visit as another chance to speechify about how Daredevil is who he is and if that's a problem then maybe they should shutter the office for good.
MATT, WHY ARE YOU A BAD FRIEND AND SO TERRIBLE AT TALKING ABOUT THINGS?
Of course, this whole exchange leaves Karen adrift, as she's found a new lead on the John Doe that no one can place from the Carousel Massacre. Foggy doesn't really care, though, since the trial is over and he's pretty sure Nelson & Murdock is dead. Undaunted, Karen heads over to the New York Bulletin to talk to Ellison about what she's found: a photograph of the crime scene … with an extra body that was missing from the official police record. She thinks it's the John Doe, which means the medical examiner falsified an autopsy report.
Page's leads are unusually strong, so Ellison decides they should team up to chase this story. They quickly find the disgraced medical examiner and ask him about the John Doe, whom he nervously admits wasn't an innocent victim or a gang member, but an undercover cop. The Carousel Massacre was a sting gone wrong.
In prison, Frank gets his seven minutes with Dutton, during which Dutton admits that he brokered the deal between all three gangs. He also tells Frank it was a sting operation, then does him one better: The guy behind it all is still out there. He's an anonymous drug lord known as the Blacksmith. After getting everything he wants to know from Dutton, Castle stabs him and makes his way out — only to find the guards have locked him in the cell block and set the inmates loose to kill him, at Fisk's behest.
Which, kind of hilariously, leads to another hallway fight. This time, however, it isn't done in a single take and is much more violent; Frank straight-up kills just about every guy who comes after him. It's quite possibly the most violent scene we've seen on the show, which also makes it the most distinct. Also, it's nice to get another big action scene for Jon Bernthal, who hasn't really had any since Frank's early-season scuffles with Daredevil.
This fight lands Frank in solitary, where Fisk pays him a visit to express disappointment that he survived, but also to say he's figured out another use for a guy who's really good at killing criminals. Fisk wants Frank to hunt down the Blacksmith, cutting down both this elusive criminal and everyone around him. That way, the New York underworld will be open for the taking when Fisk he gets out. "When I'm finally out of this cage, it won't be to wage a war, it will be to win one," he says.
Frank responds by saying if the two of them ever meet again, only one will walk away.
With Dutton dead, Fisk is now Kingpin of the Joint, and he uses his influence to disguise Frank as a guard and set him loose on the streets. To quote a comic book: Welcome back, Frank.
Meanwhile, Daredevil is chasing down something known as the Farm, which Roxxon and the Hand have both been hiding. And man, it is the most messed-up thing this show has ever dreamed up: a cellar full of caged prisoners being drained of blood. There's also a giant freaking sarcophagus-looking thing, but Daredevil doesn't have any time to examine it because he's attacked by a Trenchcoat Ninja.
This Trenchcoat Ninja is wielding some very familiar chain blades. And this Trenchcoat Ninja knows all about the last time Daredevil fought a guy with chain blades.
Why? Because the Trenchcoat Ninja is the guy who nearly killed Daredevil with his chain blades. That's right — it's Nobu.
"You're dead!" Daredevil exclaims. "There is no such thing," Nobu responds, before escaping in a freight elevator with the strange sarcophagus.
Yeah, things are about to get really weird.
Devil in the Details:
- I miss Ben Urich. I like Daredevil a lot, but every once in a while, I remember the show killed Ben Urich and I get really mad. Like in this episode, when Ellison gives Karen his old office while they chase down the John Doe lead. Karen definitely misses him, too, and is touched by the gesture. It's nice that Daredevil lets a major character still have a postmortem presence — it would sting much more if no one ever mentioned Ben again. Still think he didn't have to die, though.
- A new job for Karen Page. Her slow journey toward investigative journalist is pretty great. The show has been really good at giving Karen important things to do, and it's been interesting to see her chafe against the dysfunction at Nelson & Murdock. She's choosing to do more effective work than she can at the firm.
- But seriously, Wilson Fisk. Sure, the Punisher is fun to have around and Elektra introduces a fun bit of chaos into Matt's life, but until Fisk's return, no character had really filled the void he left behind. Vincent D'Onofrio is so good in the role, and I'm hoping for a big rematch just to see more of him.