Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandalorian: “Chapter 13: The Jedi”

In which all my dreams come true and my emotional reaction is much more muted than I expected.

She’s here, y’all, Ahsoka Tano has arrived in live action and while I was apprehensive about the casting decision here (not that I don’t love Rosario Dawson, she’s wonderful) I was vibrating at a frequency I can’t really explain to people who don’t know her and how wonderful she is to people.

So, we open with a scene of a shadowy figure running through some burned out woods and taking out motherfuckers with two white light sabers. It ends with Ahsoka standing before a Magistrate at a wall, who tells her that she’s going to kill her. Ahsoka basically rolls her eyes at this and disappears into the mist and ROLL CREDITS.

Baby Yoda is trying to get his little silver ball back and Mando is babbling about finding Ahsoka (Mando is all of us in this moment, and LBY is all of our friends who don’t know, nor care about Ahsoka). and when they land on Corvus (a planet I’m very into) they go to the Magistrate who hires Mando to kill Ahsoka.

He goes into the woods to find her and she gets the drop on him because she’s the best and they discuss why he came looking for her. She has a little telepathic force conversation with LBY who is actually named GROGU.

WE HAVE A NAME AND AHSOKA GAVE IT TO US. We learn that Grogu was trained at the temple but was taken away sometime before or during Order 66, and also after some Force Powers testing, Ahsoka refuses to train Grogu, because of his emotional connection to Mando and is fear of losing him. She’s been on that particular heart breaking, Dark Side leading train before.

She does however ask for Mando’s help freeing the village and in a badass set of fight scenes they do just that. She then tells him to go to a Jedi Temple planet and hopefully, Grogu can then commune with the Force and choose his path, and a teacher will come.

This teacher will, with all likelihood be Ezra Bridger, because, during her fight with The Magistrate, Ahsoka asks about Thrawn, and as we all know, the last time either of them were scene they were riding some space whales into the unknown reaches.

Anyway, the nerds were in fine form this time around, with a lot of screaming and talking about how much we love Ahsoka (because we do) and speculation about Ezra, and shouts of #NotAJedi.

I was overwhelmed by how good Rosario Dawson was as Ahsoka, managing to capture her movements and facial expressions perfectly. And I’m so glad for more people to know her and love her. She’s the best.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandalorian: “Chapter 11: The Heiress”

You guys are we all doing OK? I’m not, (I mean in general maybe, my OK-ness varies hour to hour at this point) but in regards to this episode and it’s bearing on Star Wars and Science Fiction television, in general, I am not OK.

I mean, I’m thrilled but I’m also like *BOOM* galaxy brain. SO, let’s get into the episode.

Mando, LBY and Frog Lady land on an industrial planet and Frog Lady is reunited with Frog Husband. Mando puts The Razor Crest in for repairs, and heads to a tavern to get some information on other Mandalorians and some food for LBY, now that his supply of yummy frog eggs is gone. The baby gets some soup that tries to eat him. (Star Wars is whacky) Mando gets a ride on a fishing boat that will allegedly take him to some other Mandalorians.

It doesn’t. The captain just wants to feed them to a sea monster and steal the Beskar. RUDE. Luckily, they are rescued by three Mandalorians jumping on board. They include MOTHER FUCKING BO KATAN! And not just a new intrepretation of Bo, she’s played now in person by Space Jesus herself, Katee Sackoff.

When she takes off her helmet Mando is scandalized and she and her two companions laugh and say that he’s “A Child Of The Watch” which he doesn’t even know, but they agree to help him find The Jedi for LBY if he helps them with a heist. Said heist is to find The Darksaber so that Bo can take her place as ruler of Mandalore again.

Cool, great, love it. We see a brief conversation with Moff Gideon and eventually Bo gives Mando a piece of information, he should go to a forest planet and there he will find a Jedi to help him with the baby. That Jedi is….AHSOKA TANO.

Guys, seeing Bo, and seeing Katee playing her would have probably held me over to the next season, really. But that we’re this close to Ahsoka made me run around flailing. Because of some family commitments I couldn’t stream this with my friends, but I did leave family dinner to watch them all get these revelations and it was so satisfying.

Bo Katan is great, I like learning for sure that Mando was raised in an extremist sect (this was always the assumption), and that we are likely in the next few weeks going to see live action Ahsoka is pretty much getting me through. (Having things to look forward to is my main coping mechanism, and I’m freaking out a little about the Holidays due to COVID spikes and also, my sister isn’t going to be at Thanksgiving for the first time ever and OMG YOU DON’T CARE!) Ahsoka is very important to me, as I have outlined many times. I love her very much. I’m still mixed about her being played by Rosario Dawson, WHO I ADORE, because part of what’s made Ahsoka mean so much to me is Ashley Eckstein’s stewardship of her, and my odd, parasocial relationship with Ashley.

That’s beside the point though. Ahsoka is about to enter mainstream, live action Star Wars and I cannot wait.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7: “Gone With A Trace”

It was a big day for Ahsoka on Friday so this is going to be a longish entry.

First we get the newsreel, reminding us of Ahsoka’s decision to leave the Jedi order (As if we could forget!) We then get a thrilling free fall, as the engine on her speeder bike, brings her to the lower levels of Corruscant. She quickly meets a new mechanic named Trace and they become fast friends because who wouldn’t want to be friends with Ahsoka?

Trace and her sister are trying to scrape by in the lower levels and the war makes that tough. Ahsoka is still knee jerk defending the Jedi and the war, but her protestations don’t have the heat they used to. Trace’s sister has made a dangerous deal to build some droids and the three girls do so, even though it goes wrong. Ahsoka feels uneasy about the whole situation but helps anyway. (OF COURSE SHE DOES.)

I’d missed Ahsoka, so I was happy to see her back, finally, and doing what she does best, participating in barely controlled mayhem while offering compassionate help to people that really need it. This set up reminded me a lot of the novel Ahsoka where she winds up in a similar entanglement. (I’m sure that’s where they got the idea for this storyline.)

In other Ahsoka news, our girl is coming to The Mandolorian! And she’s going to be played by Rosario Dawson. Now, y’all know how I feel about Rosario, I think she’s great! And I do feel like she’ll do an exceptional job as Ahsoka. (Man, I can’t wait for her to call Baby Yoda “Little One!”) I do know that my nerd rage is going to bubble when people meet her for the first time here and it’s not Ashley Eckstein doing the work. She’s been Ahsoka’s voice, heart and protector for the past decade. Also she’s a kind and lovely person who’s been very nice to me over the years and who makes stylish clothing I like quite a bit.

But part of fandom, especially long running, multi author fandom like Star Wars is seeing new interpretations of the things you love. If I stamp my foot and whine that Rosario Dawson isn’t “the real Ahsoka,” aren’t I just as bad as all those fanboys who go crazy every time we get a new Batman? I’m sure she’ll be wonderful and Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni will write her very well. This will be Ahsoka The White, remember, who has passed through time and space at Mallus and been hunting for Ezra for five years, after all. She’s different. She will be different.

Can’t wait to see what next week brings. Again, I hope you all are keeping safe. STAY HOME if you can. Drink drinks, eat food, video chat, watch Star Wars, the Force will be with us during this.

Zombie Kill Of The Century

I love the movie Zombieland. I just like zombie movies in general, actually, and Zombieland also has other things that I like, sarcastic quips, Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone among them.

So, I knew I was going to at the very least enjoy Zombieland: Double Tap. And I did. It also includes a few other things that I really like, love triangles and Rosario Dawson. HOORAY!

Zombieland isn’t the best movie ever, but it’s a good one, so obviously it’s sequel is also not a great movie, but an adequate one. It’s fun, funny, the kills are good and it’s final set piece is reasonably impressive, for a midlevel zombie comedy.

There’s also a bunch of Elvis jokes, a dumb hippy kid who tries to convince Abigail Breslin’s Little Rock that he wrote, “Like A Rolling Stone,” which is genuinely hilarious, especially once she reveals that she was only hanging out with him to get away from her suffocating family and because he had weed. “I know who Bob Dylan is you idiot!”

Also, that final set piece? It involes Rosario Dawson running over a bunch of zombies with a monster truck.

I’m sorry, I’m human, that’s just plain wonderful.

Rankings

  1. Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood
  2. Spider-Man: Far From Home
  3. Avengers: Endgame
  4. Rocketman
  5. Detective Pikachu
  6. Zombieland: Double Tap
  7. Godzilla: King Of The Monsters
  8. Downton Abbey
  9. Joker

Trailers

Knive’s Out: My level of hype for this movie is astronomical. It looks so so so so so so good.

Doctor Sleep: After finishing the book, I’m even more excited for this. I like that they’re making Dan and Abra’s first contact seem a little bit creepy.

Charlie’s Angels: This is going to be the gayest lady movie ever isn’t it? Whatever, I’m in for the wigs alone, but the action looks pretty sweet too and is Patrick Stewart Charlie?

The Turning: YOU GIVE ME ALL OF THE GOTHIC HORROR. ALL OF IT. We wants it. The precious. (Evil demon children. Also is this literally a modern take on The Turning Of The Screw? Because that’s awesome. I should read that. I like the James I have read…)

Bad Boys For Life: I am glad Will Smith is back. I’ve missed him. I didn’t see Aladdin and I still haven’t seen Gemini Man, so I get that my excitement may seem less than wholehearted, but it isn’t.

Countdown: No. I mean, it looks fine, just, not for me.

Deconstructing Defenders: Daredevil: Season 2: Episodes 3 & 4

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Season 2: Episode 3: “New York’s Finest”

While Season 2 in total is no where near as effective as season 1, this episode is among the best in the entire Defenders run. Frank has Matt chained to a water tower on a roof, and they talk about heroism, murder, Matt says Franks name like seven million time, “Frank, you don’t have to Frank! FRANK DON’T!” And then, after getting out, Matt takes part in The Hallway Fight 2.0.

But that basic summary really doesn’t do the conversation justice, especially not when you take fandom into consideration. There’s an ongoing conversation in fandom circles, only magnified by a certain director on the other side of the fence, about whether Superheroes should kill. And here’s that conversation, in detail, by two characters basically on opposite sides of the spectrum. Daredevil doesn’t kill, and beats him self up mentally and spiritually when he thinks about the pain he inflicts. The Punisher kills first, asks questions later, or, for the most part not at all.

“You’re one bad day away from being me,” is such a chillingly true statement, and I love it so much.

The other part of this episode is Foggy following Claire around asking her to help him find Matt and her basically being like, “I like Matt, but he’s a pain in my ass, so I’m cutting a running,” which, I can’t blame her for, but also CLAIRE! DON’T GO!

Karen decides that justice can only be served by Karen Page being nosy, so she does that and finds an x-ray of Frank Castle’s skull, with a bullet lodged in it.

Season 2: Episode 4: “Penny And Dime”

This episode is not as good as the last one, but it’s still really good, and has that epic shot of Daredevil standing in the rain on top of a church, which is pretty damn great. It also, unfortunately has the stupid, Karen and Matt rain kiss which is just. UGHHHHHH.

Anyway, Matt manages to corner Frank and Frank tells the amazing story of coming home from war to find his daughter in school. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful and awesome and I love everything about the scene, from Matt, sitting on the ground beside him, to the explanation of “one batch, two batch, penny and dime,” to now Sergeant Brett Mahoney apprehending The Punisher. YAY!

Matt, Foggy and Karen celebrate with beers and shots, and then Matt and Karen make out in the rain, but their chaste happy joy is short lived, as Matt gets home and Electra is sitting in his apartment, ready to throw things at him.

Other Stuff

  • Jon Beranthal can deliver a speech. That is all
  • Rosario Dawson is the best. That is also all.
  • I’m mean about Karen’s snooping, but it is actually well done, I just hate the relationship between Matt and Karen and wish that it didn’t happen. And her finding Frank’s house is really a cool moment.
  • Matt trying to get his priest to forgive him for shit that’s not his fault is both very sad and hilarious.
  • The Irish mobsters kill Frank’s dog, because apparently these men have not seen John Wick. Which is a shame because killing an unstoppable killers dog. Also, because John Wick is a great movie.
  • Guys! ELECTRA’S HERE!!!!

Deconstructing Defenders: Jessica Jones Season 1: Episode 13

We’re done here. And I really do love this finale. (I actually watched it in the same run as the previous two episodes, in a bid to get ahead of things, I’ve got a big couple of weeks coming and I want to get as much done early as I can.)

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Season 1: Episode 13: “AKA Smile”

The finale, which is a very good episode in it’s own right, is now completely over run in my mind by the appearance of Claire.

I don’t know what it is, you guys, but Claire Temple is my favorite part of The Defender-verse, so anytime she’s involved it’s like nothing else matters. Not Jessica snapping Kilgrave’s neck, not Trish having a coming reckoning with her mom, not Hogarth defending Jessica to the DA, nothing, can dampen my love and deep belief that Claire is not only the most important character in the Netflix branch of the MCU, but in the MCU in total. (OK, maybe Coulson can hold a candle to her. BUT HE’S THE ONLY ONE!)

Moving on, the non-Claire portions of the episode, which are mercifully brief. Jessica and Trish make a plan to take on Kilgrave, and I really do love the headphoned, hoodied Trish fake out. It’s such a cool moment, and I love the look on Tennant’s face when he realizes that he’s been duped.

The ending itself, with Jessica realizing that she’s going to be a hero now, is another favorite, and I also love Malcolm and Claire interacting. (See how I brought that back around to Claire?)

Other Stuff:

  • Malcolm is Jessica’s Karen. Trish is her Foggy. Someday, I would like all four of these people to sit down and have coffee. Claire can arrange it. Also, I mean literally have coffee. Not in the Luke Cage sense. Maybe Trish can have them on her show, “My friends is a superhero, let’s chat!” I don’t know who from Luke’s world would be there, Misty? I guess? But she’s gonna be a cyborg at some point, and everyone else Luke cares about dies.
  • I feel like I should make some grand sweeping statement about the feminism of this show. I really did notice how few white dudes there are. (White women in abundance, and not many WOC, a valid criticism I saw early on when the show started) but I think Kilgrave might be the only white dude you see regularly. Which is pretty amazing. The show deals with rape, abuse, loss of control, asserting yourself and a hundred other issues critical to feminist thought and media that it’s almost impossible to pull out each element.
  • You see Claire and Luke’s easy chemistry birthed here, and while I do ultimately want him and Jessica to get it together, there’s something to be said for someone you just click with, over the angst and back and forth.
  • As amazing as David Tennant is, I really hope that Kilgrave’s death proves permanent. Ressurection will surely be a crucial point in The Defenders but I hope that Jessica gets to remain fairly grounded. You know, like how Iron Man solo movies remain about corporate intrigue and terrorism?

OK, so next week we dive into Daredevil season 2. Here’s hoping it holds up. (I doubt it will). I did watch that one at a slower clip to begin with, over the course of a week rather than 2 days, so, we shall see…

Deconstructing Defenders: Daredevil Season 1 Episodes 5 & 6

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving, if you were celebrating! I assume that you’re watching

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Episode 5: “World On Fire” 

I remember calling this, “the shipping episode” as it’s divided pretty clearly into a Matt and Claire section, a Foggy and Karen section and a Fisk and Vanessa section. It is, also, however one of those kind of weak filler episodes that all of these shows have. It’s about moving the pieces to get to the next spot, which is naratively necessary, but not always super compelling.

After her kidnapping, Claire and Matt talk about his powers, his “world on fire” vision, she tells him she thinks he’s skirting too close to the edge of darkness, which mostly just pisses him off, but she’s probably right. Matt asks her to stay with him until he settles things with The Russians and Fisk, she agrees but is not thrilled about it.

Meanwhile, Matt and Foggy take on the case of Mrs. Cardenas, a woman who’s being pushed out of her apartment building. Matt goes to Officer Brett Mahoney (YAY!) and asks for information on the landlord, while Foggy and Karen go to the big old fancy law firm that the guys decided not to work with and Foggy dismantles his ex girlfriend. Karen and Foggy are then adorable, fixing up the apartment and eating food together, and they’re perfect, the end.

Fisk and Wesley tell Vladimir that it was the man in the mask that killed Anatoly, which sets him down a path, but also, they wind up blowing him up while Fisk and Vanessa have dinner, and he strikes a new deal with Owlsley, Nobu and Madame Gao. Matt beats up some people to get more information about Fisk, but doesn’t really get much of anything.

Like I said, pieces moving.

Episode 6: “Condemned” 

“We’re not so different, you and I,” the villain says to the hero. It’s a little bit of a cliche, but when you’re doing the groundwork to set up an epic rivalry, having a protagonist and antagonist who mirror one another isn’t the worst thing you can do, and this episode actually executes the trope pretty well, when, after Fisk has half of Hell’s Kitchen blown up, Matt takes Vladimir to a warehouse and fixes him up, trying to get more information on Fisk.

In the end the hero and the villain wind up talking over a walkie-talkie, Fisk trying to stall in order to get enough false evidence together to make the explosions look like they’re Matt’s fault. It’s a wonderfully well done scene, just, you know, a little hacky. Meanwhile, Ben URICH (I said Carson last week because I’m an insane person? Who knows…) is trying to figure out what’s actually happening, Foggy is in the hospital and Karen is freaking out because they can’t reach Matt.

Claire is also freaking out because her kind of boyfriend is trying to save the life of the man who kidnapped and beat her, and also that whole explosion thing. But it is nice for Matt to have someone to talk to.

Other Things

  • Matt’s super smell comes into play here, he explains that he can smell copper in the air when Claire’s stitches open up. Also he explains his “world on fire” super vision, and it’s really cool, and actually one of my favorite scenes in the show.
  • Foggy and Karen FOREVA!!!! I’m still a little mad at the show for pushing her and Matt together, because they’re amazing.I mean, I get it, but it still sucks.
  • Vanessa brings a gun to her date with Fisk, because she is a stone cold badass.
  • I know there’s a lot less Claire from here on out, and I’m braced for it, but it’s still a bummer.

 

Deconstructing Defenders: Daredevil Season 1: Episodes 3 & 4

Who’s ready for week two of Daredevil and I am no less enthused about this television show than I was before. It’s just really, really good.

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Episode 3: “Rabbit In A Snowstorm”

The final scene of this episode, where Wilson and Vanessa meet, is probably my favorite scene in all of The MCU. Truly. I remember being completely blown away by from the moment I saw it at NYCC in 2014, but watching it again, knowing how everything plays out, it’s still absurdly powerful and Vincent D’Onofrio is so good.

Anyway, there are other things that happen in this episode. Turk sells a gun to one of Fisk’s henchmen, and it backfires. (Oh, Turk, so inept.) The guy then winds up beating his mark to death with a bowling ball and Matt and Foggy wind up defending him, they’re recruited by Wesley.

Before that, Matt has another conversation with his priest, who is trying to build a rapport with him. Matt is hesitant. This is tough but I love this relationship so much. Also, confidentiality is a big theme of this episode, but so is the way the world works and is changing.

Which brings us to the wonderful Ben Carson! I was overjoyed to see him. We get his whole deal, he’s an old school reporter, who’s editor, Ellison won’t let do his thing. Also, he’s dying of cancer and Karen meets him in a diner to talk about her problem.

Karen’s problem at the moment is that she’s been offered a deal to never talk about what happened to her again. It’s a lot of money, but she’s not sure that she wants to do it. She goes to see Danny’s widow and she tells her to take the money. She does but she’s still heading to meet up with Ben.

Foggy and Matt defend the murderer and get him off. Then Matt beats the snot out of him and gets Fisk’s name and that begins a whole new chapter of awesome.

Episode 4: “In the Blood”

That flashback to Anatoly and Sergei in prison is terrifying, particularly the bone shiv, but OMG, it’s just so brutal and it’s not even the most violent moment in this episode.

My favorite moment in this episode? Well, it’s not a moment, it’s more like a whole scene of shirtless Matt getting patched up by Claire and them flirting. The chemistry between these two is crazy crazy palpable. Like, insane. I love it so much. And they care so much about each other. He explains that he can tell when people are lying. And of course, when she’s nabbed by the Russians he goes after her. Which leads to another favorite moment (I have a lot of favorites this time around.) When Matt is rescuing Claire from the russians and she just starts laughing maniacally. Like, it’s so good, just amazing.

Foggy is barely in this episode, but he’s annoyed that they have no money or office equipment. Luckily, KAREN TO THE RESCUE.

Karen and Ben are meeting and he explains that everyone else who knows about Union Allied is now dead. Karen decides to track down the paper trail on the physical elements of the company, which leads her to an auction of office equipment, which she buys for Nelson & Murdock. Foggy is pleased and it is adorable. Also, Ben decides to help Karen tell her story, even though she’s not supposed to talk about what happened at all. But you know it’s Karen.

That brings me to my absolute favorite plot line in this episode. Wilson and Vanessa’s first date. I love this relationship. I love these scenes, I love Vanessa as a character, I love the way he is with her. I especially love that he smashes Anatoly’s head in a car door for embarrassing him in front of her.

Other Things

  • When Ben mentions Karen’s past I wrote in big capital letters PORN. I am glad they’ve decided to just drop that detail of Karen’s life in favor of “investigator girl”
  • Matt’s got no new powers this week, but he explains the lie detector to Claire, and while he and Foggy are in court, he hears Wesley’s watch and ID’s him.
  • Joker and Harley wish that they were Wilson and Vanessa. I’m just saying.
  • I love Claire. I love her so much. I want a show that’s just her being the best. Can we get that?
  • OK, I’m definitely giving “the cycle of violence” the win for theme. At least for season 1. Season 2 is definitely still “ninja fights” until I can officially revisit it.

Daredevil Season 2: First Impressions

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So I was away this weekend and didn’t get to watch all of Daredevil I DID get halfway through though, so I’m splitting my coverage in half, and not doing the episode by episode reviews again. Instead I’m going with characters! Let’s get started.

Guess Who’s Back?

Matt

What I like about this season so far is that Matt’s moral code is hard won. Part of this comes from the Elektra flashbacks, which, with the disticnt exception of sex in the ring at Fogwell’s, really show a darker side of him, and it’s pretty cool.

Also, it’s really only up against the juggernaut of violence (and awesome) that is The Punisher does Daredevil look like the light and fluffy one. I guess, like most good protagonists is at his best when contrasted to those around him.

We’re also seeing a lot of his arrogance and I’m overjoyed by that. Matt Murdock can be a little bit of a self righteous blowhard and it’s cool to see that being highlighted.

I’m not into the Matt and Karen relationship. I get what they’re trying to do, and I know it’s canon, but I don’t see the romantic chemistry between them. It does make a nice contrast in the Elektra flashbacks, angry Matt with girlfriend and sweet Matt with girlfriend, but I don’t buy it. (Foggy/Karen for life!!!!!)

Foggy

My sweet boy. I love him so. But what I like best about this season so far is that they’re making Foggy, kind of a bad ass. Not in the kick but, jump off rooftops kind of way that Matt is. (Obviously.) But they’re showing what a great lawyer and god damn it human being Foggy Nelson is!

He’s going up against the DA, he’s reminding everyone that they need to get their books in order, he’s being supportive of Matt and Karen even though he still has very obvious feelings for Karen. He’s worrying about Matt, he’s having little meeting with Claire and saving gang members for killing each other on her watch. He’s got it going on.

It’s fun that his ex is working for Jeri too. Every Jessica Jones connection has been done pretty naturally. I’m into it.

Karen

Oh, Karen. Karen, Karen, Karen. She’s diving headlong into investigating the Punisher stuff, which is actually a very good use of her. (By getting her and Matt together, she very easily could have been relegated to “goes on dates with Matt” and I’m glad they’re not doing that.) She’s trying to figure out what’s going on with Frank Castle and why he’s doing what he’s doing.

She’s also totally disillusioned by Daredevil, and I think she knows or at least suspects that Matt’s the guy she’s looking for. Like in terms of being Daredevil, not in terms of being her boyfriend. Seriously I’m not in on this relationship at all, and not just because it makes Foggy sad.

Although that doesn’t help.

Claire

We’ve only seen her once, but it’s epic. We learn that since her little adventure helping Jessica and Luke, she’s been stuck on ER duty almost constantly, also the gang wars sparked by The Punisher is not helping. I miss her and I hope we see her in the back end a little bit more. She does tell Foggy that she wishes things could be different with her and Matt, but she doesn’t need his complicated ass right now.

Oh Claire…I miss you.

Side Characters

Back and helpful: Marcy, Foggy’s ex and booty call. She’s working for Hogarth and warns Foggy that things are about to get bad for vigilantes. Ben’s Editor, who’s helping Karen find out stuff on The Punisher (and is played by a client of my brother’s!). Matt and Foggy’s police friend who’s been dealing with Daredevil a lot.

The New Kids In Town

Frank Castle AKA The Punisher

He’s perfect. I found myself actively squeeing everytime something happened with him. They’re pushing antihero hard. It’s working very well. He was special forces in Afghanistan, his work was classified, when his family was killed he had a bullet in his brain.

The scenes between him and Matt are incredible. Putting Karen on his case was really smart and his monologue about reading to his daughter was absolutely heartbreaking.

Elektra

She is flawless. Elodie Yung is my new queen. I’ve only really just started her storyline, but good god am I impressed and the chemistry between her and Charlie Cox is electric.

If Claire didn’t exist, she’d be my end game desire for Matt. Not Karen. Never Karen.

District Attorney Reyes

She’s a good antagonist and I like that she’s not really Matt or Daredevil’s antagonist, she’s Foggy’s. It’s cool.

Things I’m missing

There is a Wilson Fiske shaped hole in the show. There’s no getting around it. The Punisher and Elektra are both extremely compelling. But Vincent D’Onofrio brought something really, really special to the show and I miss it. While, from a story telling perspective I really appreciate that we’re moving on, I just miss him in a big way.

I also miss Ben and Claire being more integral to the story. But obviously, Ben can’t come back and I’m assuming Claire will be around more later. (And I know she’s going to be a part of Luke Cage…so that’ll be good.) But I miss her.

Things That Are Still Great

The show is still brutally and effectively violent. Stunning in some cases. There’s a particularly rough scene where an Irish Mobster is torturing Frank, but there’s blood galore if that’s something you were into in season 1, (I was) that’s all still here.

The fight choreography. If you thought they’d never top the “hallway fight” from last year, wait until you see the “stairwell fight!” Also Matt and Elektra’s ninja foreplay is really great, even if the sex scene that follows it feels tonally dissonant and kind of dull. (Seriously Marvel/Netflix, you set a sex scene standard with Jessica Jones, now we expect more from you.)

I’m looking forward to finishing. If I don’t finish tonight, I’ll probably have to wait until next week to write it up. This is a busy week. Some guys are going to be fighting each other this weekend…

Daredevil Episode by Episode

So I, like every good comics geek this weekend, binge watched Daredevil on Netflix. Below is my spoilerful episode by episode breakdown.

Episode 1:

Little Matt is super cute. And the first time we see adult Matt, he’s in confession. This means the world to me. Matt Murdock’s Catholicism is kind of my pop culture safe haven. He’s one of the few characters for whom my faith isn’t a punchline or incidental detail. That Matt is a Catholic is a big part of who he is. I could go off on that, but it wasn’t even my favorite part.

My favorite part was Foggy’s ties. And just Foggy. But my fangirl joy at Elden Henson is going nowhere my friends. I even went back and reread some of my Fulton centric Mighty Ducks fanfic, due to my sheer joy at seeing him.

Even in the first episode, my thought was “wow, really violent.” I was expecting it, but it’s intense. My breaks are going to be more frequent than I thought, I think. Oh, also, Karen Page didn’t kill that guy.

The scene closing montage, set to Matt beating the crap out of a heavy bag was also great. I’d seen the big Daredevil fight scene at Comic Con, but it was still really good.

Episode 2

I would like to go out drinking with Karen and Foggy. That’s what I took from this episode. Also I love Foggy. But I love Foggy in the comics and I love Elden, so…I should disclose that I am so on board with this cast. I have been since I saw their panel at NYCC. That panel didn’t blow me away, but they were all great. Deborah Ann Woll is also phenomenal.

Also, Rosario Dawson is the best, and while Night Nurse is a cool choice for obscurity reasons, I still wish that she was Elektra, for you know, bad ass reasons. But when she tells Matt exactly where to stab that dirty cop, that was also badass. And then Daredevil saved a little  kid and it was great.

Matt just threw a guy off a roof, which was great. And also, I applaud Charlie Cox for not adopting a gravelling Batman-esque voice, it would have been the easier choice, and it’s way better that he didn’t. (Especially given his predecessor in the role’s future.)

Little Matt is the single most adorable child ever. And John Patrick Hayden’s work as Jack Murdoch is exceptional. This is a very good episode.

Episode 3

Matt and Foggy are not great at being lawyers. Bad for business to Ninja kill your clients. But that’s mostly Matt.

Karen is very brave and is standing up to her old corrupt employers even though they offered her a lot of money. Also that guy she didn’t kill, she talked to his wife, who did take the hush money. Which is a bummer.

Matt and Foggy’s client, who Matt killed? He’s the first person to say the name, “Wilson Fiske,” which gave me goosebumps. We also met Ben Urich, who, I’m guessing is going to be the Coulson of the Defenders crowd. Or he should be. And we saw the scene of Fiske looking at art that really caught me at NYCC. Seriously, I’ve been obsessed with this scene for months.

Episode 4

I ship Matt and Claire so hard my heart hurts. When he patches her up for once, and then she places his hand on her heart, and he tells her his name? Forget it, I’m done. Move aside Karen. This is OTP. This is OTP FOR LIFE! (Or until they cast Elektra) Also, even beaten bloody and tied up, Rosario Dawson is the hottest human being to ever live.

Wilson and Vanessa are cute, even if he is a homicidal maniac gangster who doesn’t understand how to talk to people. I predicted that Vincent D’Onfrio would be the best thing about this show. I have not been wrong.

Karen and Ben are going to take down the people that are trying to kill her. Hooray! Also, she bought Foggy a fax machine and I think I might ship Foggy/Karen. Except I like them as friends also. I just think he’s adorable.

And not just because I’ve written many many scenes that involve pretty blond girls taking Elden’s shirt off and whispering that they love him. (Fulton/Tammy & Fulton/Julie have happened…) Anyway, his mom wanted him to be a butcher. Adorable.

It’s also nice to remember that the MCU is vast. I like to think that as Kingpin beat that Russian dude to death, Skye was causing an earth quake with a temper tantrum, and Loki was doing all kinds of things to disgrace Odin’s name, now that he’s pretending to be Odin, and Steve was doing some push ups, and Tony and Pepper were having dinner and she was exasperated at him.

Episode 5

It’s the shipping episode! Claire and Matt kiss! Foggy and Karen fix up an old Guatemalan lady’s apartment and then eat dinner and almost touch each other’s faces! Wilson and Vanessa go on a second date! (Supervillains need love too you guys.) Matt tells her how he sees the world and we see his firey “daredevil” vision, and the hell imagery that should be defining this show a lot more makes it’s first appearance.

Also Claire says she’s falling in love Matt, and he tells her not to because self loathing is a hallmark of Daredevil. Ugh, but I want them to be naked together! Also, he punches Vladimir in the face and says, “This is for Claire!” And I love it. I love it so much.

Also, there’s an explosion. And Fisk is you know, “cleaning up the city.” And I don’t know, I was too excited watching Foggy take down his bitchy ex girlfriend at that fancy law firm where he and Matt aren’t working. Totally with Karen on that, it was a big turn on.

Oh, and Matt’s about to be arrested, but I somehow don’t see that actually happening.

Episode 6

Oh what a shock, Matt did not get arrested, he almost did but then he ninja’d the cops while he was handcuffed.

I love Daredevil. He calls Claire to learn how to treat Vladimir so that he can question him about Fisk and Vladimir everntually, after they break out of an abandoned warehouse together, gives up Owlsley, which is going to be a whole lot of fun.

Also Fisk and Matt speak for the first time over walky talky, and it’s about as epic as you would expect.

Foggy is in the hospotal and he’s still flirting with Karen and being generally adorable.

Guys, we’re about halfway through!

Episode 7

We meet Stick! Who taught Matt how to be a blind ninja, if you’re new. I was excited because Stick is an interesting character and also, because, well, it meant we got to see Little Matt again. It had been a few episodes. I really like this kid a lot.

Anyway, Stick tries to drain Matt of emotion, because that’s what you need to be a blind ninja, but Matt is just looking for a father figure. So they part ways. In the present, he recruits Matt to help him on a mission to stop someone called “Black Sky,” which it turns out is a little kid (probably a ninja kid) and that Stick wanted to kill, they fight and it’s awesome.

Also, Karen and Ben have looped Foggy into their investigation and Elena (old lady that Karen and Foggy helped) told Karen that Foggy’s in love with her. Which is complicated since Karen likes Matt, I think? And also she’s fascinated with Daredevil. And Foggy thinks he’s a terrorist. So this’ll be fun.

And we see nuns! And one of them mentions Matt’s mom. Who, I guess we might find out was a nun. We might not.

Episode 8

Best. Episode. So. Far.

We find out more about Fisk’s backstory. How he grew up in an abusive home. How he killed his father while his father was beating his mother. How he fears becoming a monster who is “cruel for the sake of being cruel.” How everymorning, after he makes himself an omelet, and dresses in his impeccable suits, he looks in the mirror and still sees a little boy, covered in blood.

The episode itself would be good, but D’Onofrio elevates it to great. He’s phenomenal, and such an epically perfect match for this part.

Matt is also in with Foggy and Karen and Ben now, and as Daredevil, or “The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen,” as they’re calling him now, convinces Ben to write an article dragging Fisk into the public eye. But Fisk, after confessing his past to Vanessa beats him to it.

Things are getting really good.

I miss Claire.

Episode 9

“Do you believe in the devil?” I’ve spent a lot of time with that particular question, and as Matt Murdock wrestles with it, and talks to his priest here it’s hard to not think of the times that I’ve sat and wondered if I actually believed in the physical actual Satan that my faith shows as a reality.

When I was a teenager I used to sleep with a rosary under my pillow. I had nightmares like you wouldn’t believe as a kid, faces coming out of everywhere and manifesting as people that would tear me and the people I loved to shreds, while I tried to scream but no sound came out. So as a “faith focused” teen I was sure that the devil sent those dreams. I still have them sometimes, I think. I don’t remember them, but my mom has said that she’s heard me screaming in my sleep from time to time, and I still wake up sweating and and tangled in blankets. Not often, but a few times a year.

I don’t know. Thinking about the Devil really freaks me out. I try not to do it much.

That wasn’t really what this episode was about but that’s what it made me think of. Plot wise, Elena was murdered, Fisk ordered it to draw “The Devil” out. It worked. Also, Foggy found out that Matt is, well, Daredevil. Which should be excited. It was starting to be weird that Matt Murdock is the only guy in the MCU who has a secret identity.

Episode 10

My heart is broken into a million tiny pieces and Foggy Nelson has broken it. When he unmasked Matt and cross examined him, and then there were flashbacks, and, Oh God! My poor little heart. I can’t take it.

I love this episode. Also, Karen and Ben find Fisk’s mother and Gao and Owlery killed Vanessa probably.

But back to the disolution of the greatest bromance ever. Every flashback of Matt and Foggy made me want to give them all of the hugs. Katherine and I used to talk about how much we loved watching stories of male friendship, and I’m kinding loving that at it’s heart, that’s what Daredevil is becoming.

Also, in one of the flashbacks, Foggy menitioned a “Greek girl,” who it didn’t work out with when Matt dated her. Greek? Really? Guess what’s a Greek name?

Elektra. Elektra is a Greek name.

I’m just saying.

I still miss Claire, they talked about her a lot in this episode.

Episode 11

OMG Karen killed Wesley. And I think Matt is going to be getting his Daredevil costume soon. That will be nice.

But how did we get here? Well, Foggy is drunk and sleeping with his stupid bitchy ex, so I don’t like that at all. Matt talks to Claire and she said she’s leaving, and we probably won’t see her again until Jessica Jones or something, if at all. This show really should have given me a lot more Rosario Dawson for my money.

Anyway, Wesley found out about Karen and Ben going to see Fisk’s mother, which Fisk was sitting at Vanessa’s bed side. Vanessa is not dead. Which is good. I really didn’t want to see her fridged. Although, I guess she got fridged anyway. I’ve never been sure how to properly apply that term.

Matt finds that guy who makes all of Fisk’s suits, which all have body armor to make him something.

Red, I’m guessing. With horns on the mask.

Episode 12

Ben dead. Still no suit. Foggy working with Bitchy ex to get more information on Fisk.

Fisk killed Ben after finding out that he went to see his mother, and Ben was going to start a blog to tell the story. He didn’t tell Fisk that Karen was also there, which is good. But he’ll probably find out, because he’s also going to find out that she killed Wesely I’m guessing.

Gao, the head of the Chinese mob, is probably not actually, human because she punches Matt in the chest and tells Owlery that her homeland is “substantially further away” than China.

I bet she’s Kree.

Episode 13

Suit! Suit is so cool! Suit is totally badass! Suit has cool little horns as does not look like it is made out of leather. Suit is revealed with epic wide shot of Daredevil standing on a car. Suit is great. Suit is everything. Charlie Cox is God Among Men Who Play Superheroes, because he makes awesome suit somehow more awesome! The Chrises should look to Charlie Cox and say, “Damn, how do you make suit look so unreasonable cool?” Charlie Cox should give lessons to predecessor on how to wear suit to avoid predecessor looking dumb as Batman.

Also everyone is friends again. And Fisk is in jail after giving a very cool monologue about The Good Samaritan and breaking out of FBI custody. Foggy is back with bitchy ex (Booooo), and Matt and Karen hold hands.

Overall Thoughts

Daredevil might be the best thing that Marvel’s done so far. I mean, I am prone to hyberbole, but still, it’s staggeringly good. I constantly felt breathless and hurried and on the edge of my seat. I kept thinking that the Flash and Arrow staffs should be taking notes, this is how you properly use flashbacks and darkness and grit.

I had zero doubt about this cast and they absolutely exceeded my expectations. Especially Charlie Cox, who I thought was a good but uninteresting choice for Matt Murdock. The fact that I kept saying “wow,” every time he was on screen is a testament to how good he was.

If the entire Defenders series is this good, and we have no reason to doubt that it will be, we’re in for a treat for the next few years. Even if the movies fall apart, it looks like Marvel has found another way in.

I’m interested in seeing what happens next.