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There are spoilers in this review. Duh.

Daredevil’s been out almost two weeks now, and everyone is talking about “that hallway fight scene.” There’s a reason why. I liked the pilot a lot, but this is the episode where it went from a good show to an incredible one. Groundbreaking, even, in the way they chose to approach this story and the action sequences that came from it. I seriously feel like I just want to keysmash about this show, and it’s hard to put into exact words what is exceptional about it. But I’m going to try to be articulate anyway. Previously on Daredevil, Matt Murdock was blinded when he was nine years old and got super senses and abilities. He and his best friend Foggy only recently got their law degree and they are starting their own business. Their first client was new friend and current secretary Karen Page. Matt is secretly starting to become a vigilante on the streets, but he’s new to it. There’s an unknown crime boss pulling strings, but we do know about a group of Russian gangsters in Hell’s Kitchen. At the end of the last episode, Matt heard a child being abducted and went to save him.

This picks up very soon afterward, and it was all a trick. They intentionally were trying to catch “the devil” and Matt got his ass handed to him. He managed to survive barely, but it was a very close thing, and he passed out in a trash can in an alley. There he’s found by a man who brings Claire Temple (the wonderful, perfect, charismatic Rosario Dawson) to him. Claire is a nurse and agrees to help save his life without bringing him to the hospital. She is an amalgam of Claire Temple from Marvel and also Night Nurse, an excellent character who often saved the lives of vigilantes when they couldn’t trust the police/doctors. It’s fitting she shows up here. Claire is the first person to see the result of Matt’s amateur street fighting, and she saves him at great risk to herself. She also helps him torture one of the Russian mobsters who tracks him down, so that was fairly intense. He very nearly kills the mobster himself, displaying a borderline murderous intent that he’ll be battling for the rest of the season. For now, Claire is safe from the Russians, but the guy did know who she was. She tries to persuade Matt to rest, but he’s insistent he has to save the kid, no matter what.

Daredevil-102In flashbacks we’re shown Matt’s father Jack Murdock struggling to take care of his newly blind son. Jack insists that Matt should make more of himself, and he wants him to study and be a success. Irish mobsters have been paying Jack to intentionally take a dive during his boxing matches, something he’s very sad and embarrassed about. Jack is set up for a really big fight and he’s supposed to throw the match, but instead he plots to beat the guy and make a lot of money by betting on himself. He puts the money toward Matt’s future, and he knows that it will lead to his death, which it does. I’m a big fan of Jack Murdock, but I’m fairly sure your son might’ve done better if he had a poor but present father for the rest of his life. Not blind and orphaned as a child. Matt says he learned how to take a beating and how to never give up from his father, and it’s what leads him to have an incredibly brutal fight at the end of episode two. There is no way to explain the epic quality of this fight, so the video is below. But what’s amazing about it is how you can see he’s barely standing. He fights and he falls and it’s amazing he’s conscious. But he keeps fighting until he saves that little kid. It’s a great representation of how skilled this show is at using choreography to show an impressive skill set AND to make an emotional plot point go through. Fantastic.

In a side plot, Foggy and Karen get drunk and have an amazing time on the town. I absolutely love them. It was sorry to see where this is probably headed right off the bat. He’s clearly into her, she’s probably going to be into Matt, sigh. Isn’t that always how it happens? I really hope not, because I would love them to try something new this time around. In any case, it’s excellent to see their chemistry together and to feel like these are real characters who you root for. It did seem like a strange thing in comparison with the seriousness of the rest of the plot, but whatever. An entire episode of just Matt’s flashbacks and Claire would end up being depressing. This was an excellent entrance of Claire Temple; please have her be in everything from now on. Matt’s already sliding to an edge here with nearly killing that guy. I did quirk an eyebrow when they had him drop a fire extinguisher on his head and he lived. I don’t think that’s reasonable. That guy would definitely have head trauma, and then he was tortured and dropped again off a building. I know that Matt’s escalating violence and difficulty walking the line will be a major part of this show, so I can let it go. It’s just odd when the rest of the episode cares a lot about making the action seem realistic. These characters really do act like they’re getting beaten up and hurt. It’s brutal to watch, and absolutely fascinating at the same time. Matt’s determination is admirable, if a little too intense.

 

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Comments
  1. portlandme77 says:

    I love the camera following him through the hall and then flipping to show the trip again in reverse, I love that great filming like that has jumped from big screen productions to Netflix/in home streaming

    Like

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