Daredevil S2 Ep5 Review: ‘Kinbaku’

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Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

After the majesty of ‘Penny and Dime’ how could episode five, entitled ‘Kinbaku’, possibly compete? The answer is that it couldn’t. That’s not to say that it was a bad episode by any stretch of the imagination, it just didn’t offer the same level of enjoyment as those that came before it had and that made for the weakest point so far this season.

So, Kinbaku saw the series moving on from The Punisher and introducing the latest challenge for Matt Murdoch in the form of Elektra, ably portrayed by Elodie Jung. It is fair to say that, in the past, Elektra has been given something of a raw deal when it comes to Marvel’s on screen endeavours. She was first seen in the atrocious film version of Daredevil and then went on to have on the most baffling spinoff’s in history with the solo Elektra film. In both instances the character was a mere mockery of her comic book self and it would take the most disconnected of fans to enjoy the iteration. Fast forward to this much improved version of Daredevil and you get an Elektra who is more in line with what Marvel fans would be expecting. The problem then? Well she still isn’t all that enjoyable a presence.

To take nothing away from Jung, Elektra comes across as a bratty little rich girl who has never felt any real world consequences as her father’s money has always been there to act as a protective cushion. That view of her will change as the season rolls on and her motives and origins are revealed in a fully fleshed out manner, for now though she is just that off putting member of the social elite with no redeeming qualities to endear to the everyman.

You see her wayward tendencies early on as she steals a car and breaks into somebody’s home, smashing their belongings as she goes around. Sure, the explanation for the latter of those offences is a very good one but you still can’t quite shake the feeling that she isn’t acting out of any acute sense of justice but rather because she just wants to break the rules and rebel. That kind of teen angst may be entertaining in some settings but it is irritating here especially after spending four episodes with someone as truly compelling as The Punisher.

It has to be said that, despite her many flaws, Elektra’s addition to the cast does make for an interesting storyline advancement for Daredevil. It allows you to take a closer look at his life during his law school days and those moments are actually quite well done. From the off it is clear that this is not the same Matt that you know from the present day, he displays none of the world weariness and instead falls straight into the arms of Elektra. They seem to get one another right from the off in a way that clearly no one has gotten either one of them before. There is very little need for pretense between them and it is not hard at all to see why they fall for one another in such an immediate fashion.

The real standout moment of these flashback pieces came when Elektra tracked down the man who had Matt’s father killed. That’s the house she broke into and smashed up. Don’t let that fool you into thinking she really cared for Matt in any normal way though, she merely wanted to make him more like her by having him kill a man. Charlie Cox showed the mix of darkness and humanity perfectly as Matt was conflicted in the face of a man he hated so deeply. He allowed himself to release the pent up anger with a vicious beating but he would not go so far as to actually kill the man. After hearing so much talk of Matt’s resolve not to take any lives in pursuit of his mission it was nice to see potentially the origins of that resolution. It added layers to his character and made the dynamic between him and Elektra all the more tantilising.

The final thing that Elektra brings to the table in this episode is the addition of two large villainous groups that followed in her wake. The Yakuza are back in order to support the shadowy Roxxon Corporation and both are a clear danger to Daredevil. It should set up an interesting and bloody arc that will push Matt to his very limits and test the strength of his character. As will being surrounded by morally grey characters such as Elektra and Punisher.

Karen continues her own very intriguing arc in this episode as she delves yet deeper into the origin of The Punisher and attempt to unearth a conspiracy surrounding his family’s death and his own shooting. There are many ways that this storyline could go and it was actually the most attention grabbing of the stories put forth in Kinbaku. The investigation will take her into dangerous waters and is revealing a more determined side to the kindly character. Her softer side is not being ignored in favour of this though as she finally went on a date with Matt and it made for a rather beautiful little scene as they sat beneath a sea of lights and bonded, each showing a tenderness for the other. This relationship will probably end badly but it is going to be a sweet one up until then.

Despite being nowhere near the quality of Penny and Dime, or indeed any of the other episodes this season, Kinbaku was not a poor showing and brought plenty to the table. Elektra needs to be built upon more effectively in future episodes but she still promises to be an exciting addition to the show.  The real headline this time though is that Karen and her involvement with Punisher is taking over as the most compelling part of Daredevil.

Score: 7.0

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Daredevil S2 Ep5 Review: ‘Kinbaku’

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