Presenting OTP Tuesday! Each Tuesday I will introduce you to a new One True Pairing! Tune in each week to find out which fictional couple you need to agonize/squee over next. This week’s pairing is Matt/Elektra!
Who Are Matt/Elektra?
Matt/Elektra refers to Matt Murdock and Elektra Natchios from the Marvel Netflix shows Daredevil and The Defenders. As far as I can tell, they don’t have an established ship name.
Matt Murdock is the titular protagonist of the Marvel series Daredevil. As a child, Matt was blinded in an accident which also exposed him to strange chemicals. After losing his sight, his other senses were enhanced.
When Matt’s dad, “Battlin’ Jack” Murdock, was killed by the Irish mob for defying them, Matt went to St. Agnes’ orphanage. His strange skills attracted the attention of Stick, a member of the Chaste. The Chaste were formed to combat the Hand, an age-old criminal organization. Stick trained Matt to be a soldier of the Chaste, but Matt was too sensitive and emotional, so Stick left.
Alone, Matt continued through life fairly successfully. He went to college and law school, where he met Franklin “Foggy” Nelson. Matt and Foggy became lawyers and opened their own firm, Nelson and Murdock. Matt wanted to defend the innocent and protect their community. He wasn’t just doing it from the bench, however. He was also fighting crime as the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen.
Between his enhanced senses and Stick’s training, Matt was excellent at combat. He worked to take down the criminal kingpin Wilson Fisk. Although Matt was ultimately successful in stopping Fisk, crime continued. He butted heads with the Hand, who were up to no good in New York. At the same time, he was dealing with conflicting vigilante “assistance” from Frank Castle and Elektra Natchios – Matt’s ex.
Eventually, Matt teamed up with Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Danny Rand to stop the Hand. The Hand had reanimated Elektra, who sacrificed herself for Matt. Matt was hesitant to kill Elektra, even though she didn’t remember him at first. In the end, Matt sacrificed himself to save New York and refused to leave Elektra, dying by her side. Or did he…?
Elektra Natchios pops up in season 2 of Daredevil, as a mysterious and unhealthy ex from Matt’s past. She was a rich girl, the daughter of a powerful politician, who came along when Matt was in law school. Foggy reveals that Matt nearly didn’t graduate because of Elektra. But there’s more to the story than that.
We learn that Elektra was actually trained by Stick to work for the Chaste. Stick knew that Matt was one of the most skilled soldiers they could have if they could only bring him around. So he sent Elektra to seduce Matt into accepting his darkness, thinking that that would push him over the edge. Unfortunately, Elektra fell in love with Matt and failed, for the first time ever.
In a series of flashbacks, we learn the truth about Elektra. She is actually a Black Sky, a living weapon for the Hand. Stick took her in and raised her to try and keep her from that destiny. As the Black Sky, Elektra is brutally violent and incredibly skilled. Being raised by Stick also left her ethically stunted.
When the Hand starts making moves in New York, Elektra shows up to combat them. She also reintegrates herself into Matt’s life, knowing about his time as Daredevil. They work together, albeit reluctantly on Matt’s part, and feelings are rekindled. They actually start to think about a future together, when Elektra sacrifices herself for Matt – and to keep herself from the Hand.
Sadly, the Hand brings her back to life, while wiping her memories. Now she is only the Black Sky. When she runs into Matt, however, it jars her memories. She takes over the Hand, afraid of dying again. In the end, she dies underneath New York with Matt by her side.
Why Is Matt/Elektra OTP?
I’m running high on the announcement that Daredevil season 3 is premiering next month. Daredevil has always been my favorite of the Marvel/Netflix shows, and I absolutely love Matt Murdock. More than that, I really really loved the Matt/Elektra dynamic we got. So I was shocked that I never actually wrote about Matt/Elektra.
To be fair, Matt/Elektra is a really messed up relationship. Both of these people are massively messed up themselves and their relationship is a reflection of their issues. However, it really is compelling and I loved watching them interact. Their “death” in The Defenders gets me every time.
Fun To Watch
It’s no secret that I love when a character can fight (see: half of my Bae Watch posts). But Matt/Elektra has me #blessed. Both characters are incredibly talented fighters, and watching them fight together is a new level of heaven.
One of the best parts of Daredevil is watching Matt fight. He’s somehow the perfect combination of brutal skill and super over-the-top extra. Adding Elektra into the mix ups the enjoyment factor. If Matt is brutal skill, Elektra is deadly elegance. The way she moves ought to be illegal (okay, it probably is). The sai? I’m weak.
When Matt and Elektra team up and fight together, it’s amazing. When they fight each other? Their combat styles work so well together, which makes sense since they were both trained by Stick. Trying to find each other’s weaknesses is amazing. They’re balanced, and it pushes them to achieve higher levels. Of course, this is where the “massively unhealthy” part of the ship comes in, but it’s fun to watch.
Matt/Elektra is good for more than just eye-candy and combat, however. They are fun to watch even when they’re not fighting. They have an amazing dynamic that relies on snark. Matt is massively snarky, but he usually holds back. He doesn’t with Elektra. He knows she can take it (and deserves it, honestly).
For her part, Elektra is just a fun character. She’s sarcastic, sassy, and delightfully morally gray. She pokes fun at Matt’s Catholic guilt and ethical conundrums, which he needs. He needs someone who won’t take him so seriously — who lightens him up. Elektra needs someone who will tease her and keep her grounded. She needs someone who sees her as a person, not a weapon. They need each other.
What I love most about Matt/Elektra is the strange balance in their relationship. Matt/Elektra was the first time Matt had someone who could actually stand on equal footing with him. As much as I love Claire Temple, she wasn’t right for Matt. She’s too good for him, but she’s also not on his level. And just don’t even get me started on Karen Page.
But with Elektra, Matt actually has someone on his level. Both of them are kind of ambiguous in terms of superpowers. Do Matt’s senses count as a superpower? Or did he just train a lot? Does the fact that Elektra is the “Black Sky” give her an edge? Or is she just talented at combat, and, again, train a whole lot?
Whether or not they count as superpowered though, they have something. I would hesitate to qualify either of them as a superhero (sorry, Matt) but they are both definitely vigilantes. Both were trained by the Chaste to directly combat the Hand, and Matt actively engages in vigilante justice as Daredevil.
Elektra is the only one who understands that part of Matt. That was the thing that got me most in season 2 of Daredevil. Though they are combatants and Matt is justifiably antagonistic toward Elektra, they can’t deny that they understand each other on a level no one else does.
I love Foggy to death, but he wants Matt to stop being Daredevil and go back to his “normal” life. Karen admires Daredevil for saving her life but pushes Matt to leave “him” behind. Neither of them understand that Matt is Daredevil. That is his life. That is who he is. They want to save Matt and are willing to kill Daredevil to do so. Elektra never pushes that. She understands.
What’s Next For Matt/Elektra?
I have absolutely no clue, and it’s something that I hope Daredevil season 3 will address. I’m not optimistic, however. The Defenders left things on a very “done” note. Matt and Elektra appeared to be dead after the battle at Midland Circle. The building literally collapsed on top of them. Matt is mourned.
However, the final moments revealed that Matt is not dead. Instead, he was found by a group of nuns and saved. Between this teaser and what we’ve seen of season 3, we can assume that Matt is going to go through the “Born Again” storyline, which, okay, that’s fine. But what about Elektra?
If Matt didn’t die, it’s entirely possible that Elektra didn’t die either. Perhaps the dragon skeleton in the cavern protected them. Perhaps Elektra still has some Hand-mojo keeping her alive. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that Elektra survived Midland Circle too. So she could come back and reunite with Matt.
As I said, though, I’m not hopeful. With “Born Again” seeming the likely focus, it’s not looking good for Elektra to pop up. Instead, they’ll probably keep pushing Karen on us, which I am not here for. Elektra is likely to stay dead. I’m not thrilled about this, and I hope Marvel will pleasantly surprise me. But for now, I’m assuming there is no “next.” Maybe season 3 will prove me wrong?
Is Matt/Elektra Canon?
Matt/Elektra is fairly canon, or at least as canon as any relationship involving “human disaster” Matt Murdock can be. They were together at one point in the past, though by the time Daredevil starts up, they were long over. Then they danced around each other for a while, both clearly having lingering emotions but unable to figure out how to be together.
By the time Elektra sacrifices herself for Matt, they were on the precipice of being something again. Matt realizes that Elektra is the only one who truly understands him, and promises to stay with her. They will find a way to be together. When Elektra then sacrifices herself for him, he loses that hope.
Elektra returning in The Defenders was unexpected (for Matt, at least). By this point, Matt is barely holding on to a real life. So it’s not surprising that he chooses to die with Elektra rather than live without her. He loves her, and he knows that she is the best person for him. If that means death, then so be it.
It’s not the best canon relationship I’ve seen, but it’s better than nothing. Matt and Elektra belong together, and they realize it. They are so profoundly messed up that it’s only with each other that they can truly be themselves. Season 3 is likely going to mess Matt up even further, and without Elektra by his side, he’s going to have a hard time coping.