Thanks to the joint efforts of Punisher and Kingpin, ‘Seven Minutes in Heaven’ was a riveting bloodbath that beat all episodes that came before it in quality and enjoyability. With that in mind it was clear that ‘The Man in the Box’ was never going to surpass, or even live up to, the lofty standards that had been set. That didn’t mean that it couldn’t be every bit as enjoyable on its own merits.
The episode began in a subdued but undeniably eerie fashion. Police were called to the scene from the end of the last episode that featured the blood drained, near death bodies of The Hand’s victims. Their rescue did little for the immediate plot but it did provide a welcome change of pace from other episodes which have all begun with an intense action sequence. It is well advised to mix things up from time to time lest your audience grow weary and that is exactly what the writers have done here. In fact, a large portion of the episode followed this same ethos as it was likely used to create a buffer between the bloodshed from the last episode and what is to come in the final three.
The main body of the story didn’t kick in until Matt, Foggy, and Karen were called into DA Reyes office in the wake of The Punisher’s escape. Viewers may have expected more political posturing and threats against the fledgling law firm from the corrupt DA, that is not what happened however. What you got instead was a broken looking woman who was genuinely scared of the man she had wronged. She revealed that her daughter had been threatened by way of Punisher’s skull x-ray being left in her bag. Shortly after the full extent of the cover up was finally revealed fans got the explosive finale to Reyes’ story that they had been expecting. A hail of bullets tore through the office, killing Reyes and wounding Foggy. It should sound odd to you that Punisher would be anything other than precise in a hit, or that he’d threaten a child. That’s because this clearly wasn’t him. Whilst you never find out who it was, at least not in this episode, it is supposed to be clear from the off that this is an imitator. Adding yet another mystery to this season just makes for even more compelling viewing and means that Karen’s investigative storyline is not over despite the conspiracy being uncovered.
One element that really made episode nine stand out was the return of Wilson Fisk to the show. His unique brand of savagery has been missed greatly in his absence and you’d be hard pressed to find a Daredevil fan who wasn’t clamouring for his return. Well, he appears to be sticking around for the time being as he once again popped up in this episode. Matt rather quickly linked him to Punisher’s escape and paid him a visit in prison, as a lawyer rather than as Daredevil. The main thing to gleam from this meeting was that Kingpin would move Heaven and Earth to exact his revenge on Matt and Foggy, blaming them for his incarceration. In a speech that would strike fear into any man’s heart he told Matt in no uncertain terms that he was going to kill both of them, and to punctuate his point he slammed Matt’s head into the table repeatedly. This did confirm to Matt that Kingpin had the prison under his control but it also assured him that he was doing the right thing in distancing himself from his friends, proving he was more of a danger to them than an asset.
That breaking down of relationships continued throughout this episode as Matt made it clear that he was no longer interested in being a meaningful part of either Foggy or Karen’s life. He showed he still had feelings for them and that the decision tortured him but he also recognised that they wouldn’t have been in a position to get shot and threatened if it weren’t for him. This disaster in his personal life feeds nicely into the war with a much larger foe than he has ever faced before, The Hand. His isolation from his former life mirroring this new isolation from his former reality perfectly as he finds resurrection and blood ritual becoming the new normal. It is sure to be a life altering final three episodes for Matt, and Daredevil alone might not be enough to stop what it coming.
Over the course of this episode the tension is cranked up to eleven with shocking twists and teases aplenty. Things are only going to get more violent and the stakes are only going to get higher as the season draws to a close. It is an exciting time to be a comic book fan and Daredevil has to be considered the pinnacle of that genre right now.
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