It was the ending sequence that solidified my intense captivation with Daredevil. Episode two was a hanging question mark for me because it’s where the story could easily falter the most after such an invigorating beginning, but instead it’s the one that lifted its subject matter off from the page and enlivened it with a fresh and exhilarating energy.
I’m a fan.
At the end of the last episode, Daredevil has run off into the night on the heels of men, who had kidnapped a young boy. For his efforts, he’s been beaten badly and thrown into a dumpster. It is worth noting (again) of just how often Matt Murdock is getting the shit kicked out of him. He’s a mess at the start of the episode and finds refuge when Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson), a nurse who lives in the adjoining building, takes him in.
And thus begins an episode where Dawson and Charlie Cox light up the screen with their chemistry. There’s stuff going on with Foggy and Claire in this episode, but it’s hardly the stuff that kind of stuff that matters.
If Foggy and Claire are the TWO characters for you, I suggest jumping down the page a bit, this might take awhile.
The scenes between Claire and Matt are so wonderfully paced, allowing the two characters to realistically feel the other out while being on high alert for danger, Matt in particular. Pleasantries are pushed to the side considering Matt’s wounds and inability to jump straight back into action.
These scenes are intercut with some more flashbacks of Matt’s childhood, and my feelings of looming tragedy were right. His father was making money off of throwing fights, and the one night he didn’t lose on purpose, he was shot. All he’d wanted was to make his son proud. It’s a sobering sequence and helps us along in realizing why Matt would have become the Daredevil in the first place. I’m surprised the show didn’t capitalize on the emotional manipulation factor by dragging out his father’s demise, but it’s nice to see the show be confident enough without it. It’s the present day storyline that’s of any interest to us; the flashbacks simply flesh it all out.
However, happy as I am that the flashbacks are brief, they help us in understanding Matt’s progression in “Cut Man,” where despite his injuries, his near-suffocation and near-desperation in finding the kidnapped boy, he still presses on. Claire is bothered by the idea of a blind man going out alone and trying to fight crime but puts her doubts in check when the two are attacked by a man tailing him, and he moves them out of harm’s way. This allows for one of the more interesting developments when we watch as Matt tortures the man for information on where the boy is being held. Claire even gets to help as she informs him on how to get information fast without incapacitating him.
Marvel wasn’t fooling around when they said that this would be a darker version of their universe. Daredevil doesn’t have the advantage of Tony Stark’s monetary assets, Nick Fury’s intel, or Thor’s demigod strength and instead uses the tools in his arsenal to do the very best that he can in cleaning up his streets.
Before I get to the best bit of the episode, here’s what was happening over in “Foggy and Karen” land:
They’re getting drunk because Karen is afraid to go home to her apartment and is spending way too much time in the office (that’s easily the most dated set piece on the show). Foggy takes her out, harboring a bit of a crush at first, and the two bond over the night’s events while their buddy Matt Murdock takes part in one the coolest fight scenes I’ve ever seen.
Set in the hallways of some underground drug den, Daredevil stalks the kidnappers with a keen ear, battered and bruised and ready to go. Shot with shadows imposing upon the frame, it’s seemingly done all in one take, allowing the viewer to see the full extent of the carnage from the minute he kicks down the door to the end where he walks away with the kidnapped boy in his protection. The choreography is crisp and all encompassing with the performers using all of themselves to perform the stunts. One of my favorite moments comes when an exhausted Daredevil falls over one of the fallen bodies while punching another oncoming attacked, staggering to keep himself standing. For Oldboy fans, you’ll surely notice similarities in the style of how it’s shot. Drew Goddard has an eye for stylized sequencing, and Daredevil is full of pulpy charm while bringing the intensity missing from other Marvel outputs.
When Daredevil walks away at the end of the episode, it’s a well earned victory.