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Friday, May 29, 2015
Daredevil S01 E07: Stick
before that I'm not a big Daredevil guy. If that's not embarrassing enough, the next bit will be. My introduction to Stick was Splinter. That's right, the rat sensei of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Splinter, was my introduction to Stick, Daredevil's martial arts teacher and enemy of The Hand - or as they're known in the TMNT universe, The Foot. And the thing is, I was only barely aware of the Turtles.
swinging swashbuckler in San Fran who fought the Jester, the Owl, and the Stilt-Man - not what I'd seen in that title of late. But TMNT intrigued me. I loved the parody, and shameful as it is, it's where I learned of Splinter, I mean Stick.
Elektra. The Chaste's mission was to eradicate The Hand. Stick eventually died in that pursuit. He might have also encountered Wolverine back in the 1930s. As I've said, I'm not a big Miller fan, so beyond that, details are iffy in my mind.
Stick, as portrayed by Scott Glenn, makes his first and supposedly only appearance in Netflix's "Daredevil" in this self-titled episode. Rumor has it that originally showrunner Steven S. DeKnight wanted Sonny Chiba for the role, but I think this works out better. Of course as we see in our pre-credits scene, Scott Glenn is pretty damned Sonny Chiba...
In the opening, Stick is after a businessman in Japan, and by after, I mean Quentin Tarantino style. Somebody is going to die horribly either by gun or sword. Stick is looking for something called Black Sky, and takes first the guy's hand, and then his life to find out what he wants to know. Whatever Black Sky is, it's on its way to New York.
Back in New York the Owl is doing some accounting for Mr. Nobu, and intimates that he knows that his people (are they The Hand?) are bringing something into the docks. Owlsley's intention is an unofficial alliance in case the Kingpin turns on them as he did the Russians, but Nobu will have none of it. Just as they leave and we know whatever Black Sky is, Nobu's people are getting it, Daredevil confronts The Owl, and as he's about to get the info he needs, his prey gets the upper hand and tases our hero. When Stick coincidentally finds Daredevil, it's flashback time.
superhero secret origins especially in film and television. Get in and get out, or don't mention it at all, and get right to the real story. I was so proud of this "Daredevil" in that they did the origin in just a couple minutes in the first episode. Daredevil is a Silver Age Stan Lee superhero, blah blah blah, radiation creates heroes, villains, and monsters. We get it, move on.
Based on those thoughts, one might think I would hate this episode. Logically you'd be right, but I don't. Scott Glenn, doing his curmudgeonly best David Carradine crossed with Robert Durst, saves these sequences. I love the bit in the park where Stick trains young Matt to open his world and read it, and equally love when he judges the adult Matt for what he's done with his life.
Stick is here in Hell's Kitchen, fighting the war he spoke of so often when training young Matt. This war this night involves the weapon called Black Sky, what Stick refers to as the bringer of shadows. It's not something Matt wants in his world. The two strike an alliance. Matt helps Stick stop Black Sky, and Stick promises he won't kill anyone. Yeah, that's gonna work, especially when he says it Robert Durst style.
We also get a bit of our work triangle - Matt, Foggy, and Karen. Over and above their discussion of the vigilante the paper is calling 'the devil of Hell's Kitchen,' we get just enough of the three actors' chemistry to know we want more. Charlie Cox and Elden Henson are especially good together, as I've said before. Even Foggy knows now what we've known since episode one, Karen is hiding something. Maybe she's a vampire? Oh yeah, that's right.
Ben Urich get together to trade notes, even the master actor can't save the scene from seeming awkward and long. At least he's aware he was the target last episode. Perhaps in the future the awkwardness might be saved as Karen finally brings Foggy into Ben's house of cards circle.
Black Sky turns out to be a child, in torn clothes and chains, delivered to the docks in a big storage unit. While Black Sky appears to be a boy, Stick only refers to him with the 'it' pronoun, as if he is a thing. In the comics, The Hand does have an interest in artifacts of supernatural or demonic origin, just as Stick himself has an interest in powered individuals. Witness his seeking out Daredevil and Elektra as students with The Chaste.
The appearance of Stone at the end seems to be an assurance of that, whether here, in future series, or in the second season of "Daredevil." Scott Glenn is amazing as Stick, and equally amazing are the fight sequences between him and Matt, both as a kid and as an adult. Props go to Skylar Gaertner as young Matt. The kid is really good too. Excellent episode all around.