Episode 13: “Daredevil” – 4/22
My initial reservations aside, this episode was a great way to not only end the origin of Daredevil, but also set up an interesting dynamic for Season 2. I expect to see not only Steel Serpent (who will no doubt cross over into Iron Fist), but also some of the more outlandish and classic Daredevil villains start cropping up (The Owl, for one, is the one character I hope makes the transition to this more grounded world). It’s no surprise saying that Bullseye and Elektra will start showing up, and this episode was a great way to wrap up the myriad threads. Yeah, I had issues with the tone, and I wish Karen was given more to do, but with the show being a success, the main plot being taken care of, and Daredevil in his familiar garb (as well as a turnover of Steven S. DeKnight as show-runner), I look forward to Season 2 just jumping right into the action. While certainly not as light and fun (while no-less-serious) than DC’s The Flash over the CW, this is a dirtier, yet no less satisfying look at Marvel’s Cinematic Universe.
What a way to end a season! With a myriad of plot threads spooling together towards the finale, only one question remained: When do we get to see the freakin’ suit?! The delay for the final reveal of the costume was completely worth the wait in that the evolutionary process was organic. The design, color scheme and functionality not only paid homage to the DD of print, but it was born out of a necessity that developed over 12 & 1/2 glorious hours. On the other side of the coin, the vast criminal network of D’Onofrio’s Fisk breached the surface, only to have the rug pulled out from under him, leading to an epic showdown of archenemies where good triumphs over evil. Moving on to critiques, this was perhaps the most mundane of fight sequences. The limited agility of E. Honda, I mean Fisk, presented a few difficulties in shooting (i.e. a missed punch and kick), but the overall framing and nods to memorable moments from the comic satisfied the characters in terms of drama more so than action. Oh, and the iconic Daredevil pose as he jumps off the building at the end? Fuhgetaboutit!
Nevertheless, the long-form story telling gratified a character in such a way that would be nowhere near as effective in a 2-hour movie. Top to bottom, from the writers desk to the lighting department, this was a brilliantly crafted series. As far as predictions, season 2, which is currently in the works, has quite a bit to build on. Fisk will be out of jail, all charges dropped, causing not only the law firm of Nelson & Murdoch to amp up their game, but push DD to new levels. Throw a couple extra villains into the mix like Gladiator (check out the Easter Egg when Matt gets his suit) and Bullseye (I swear he was the sniper in Ep. 6), plus a dangerous love interest (since Elektra was referenced in Ep. 10), while simultaneously expanding the universe (I’m talking about you, Iron Fist) and there you have it. In any case, Episode 13 did exactly what it should have: fulfilled all the promises made in the debut while leaving the viewer wanting more.
We’ve finally made it, Episode 13. Everything that’s been building up has led to this point, and all that’s left is the final confrontation between our heroes and villians. I’ll try to keep this short… It’s incredible, watch it.
Holy — bless me, father, for I have sinned — shit! Whatever little bit of lag there may have been in the last couple of episodes was erased with this amazing conclusion. Seeing Murdock truly become Daredevil was endlessly satisfying and the final fight between Fisk and he was equally epic. Season 2 can’t possibly come soon enough.
Welcome to GHG’s newest feature, 13 Days of Daredevil, where — you guessed it! — we review all 13-episodes of Marvel’s debut on Netflix, Daredevil.
Every other day, “The Sermonizer” Ryan Scott (also known as “Salvation”) will be reviewing an episode, with guest reviewers filling in between. We hope you enjoy this feature as much as we will putting it all together for ya, so be sure to favorite this page, because it will be updating every day! Remember, you can keep up with the congregation by watching, rewatching and rewatching again, each and every day on Netflix.
Episode 1: “Into the Ring” – 4/10
After what seems like forever, the Marvel loving masses finally got to begin their binge watching of the much anticipated Netflix produced series centered around The Man Without Fear, Daredevil. It did not disappoint.
The first episode opens up with a brief glimpse into Matt Murdock’s origin story, but it is truly just a glimpse, and that is all that is needed. Blinded as a child, the now attorneys heightened senses are helping him to fight the crime that is brewing in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City after the events that took place in The Avengers (never forget).
This sins of Ben Affleck’s take on the character are all but forgotten in merely 53-minutes. Charlie Cox (Boardwalk Empire) absolutely nails the performance and embodies the character. The rest of the cast filled out their roles quite nicely as well. Elden Henson (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay) does a fine job as Foggy Nelson, Murdock’s right hand man. Though the Foggy we see is a little less bumbling than his comic book self. Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood) is a perfect fit for Karen Paige, whom the episodes plot centered on.
Noticeably absent from the first episode, say for a brief moment of audio, was Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson FIsk, a.k.a The Kingpin. Soon enough, though.
That we can be sure of.
In short, Marvel has once again, at least on a first glance, absolutely nailed it. This is much more gritty, grim and dark than anything the studio has done up to this point, and it is very welcomed. 5/5 Bibles.
Episode 2: “Cut Man” – 4/11
If Episode I set the bar high (no Jar-Jar Jinxin’!), Episode II throws the bar through the ceiling. We find Matt, in costume, dying in a dumpster in Hells Kitchen only to be rescued by Claire (Rosario Dawson), a nurse and hesitant ally.
Ep-2 amps up everything tenfold from Ep-1. For the entire show, save flashbacks that further illuminate Matt’s background, Matt is in full Daredevil garb, not once reverting to his lawyer alter ego– which feels great, and really gives us a better feel of the Daredevil as a hero. And, dear God, is he a brutal one (torture scene anyone?).
One thing that’s constantly missing from other hero flicks is a real sense that our hero is in danger. In this episode, there were moments when I was genuinely frightened for DD’s safety. Not since a few scenes from the original Kick-Ass have I felt this nervous in a superhero flick.
The episode also beautifully furthers the themes present in the first episode, while adding new ones of their own, and the self-conscious nods to Catholicism had me dying with laughter. The episode ends with a gorgeously choreographed fight that would give Raid: Redemption a run for its money.
Geeks, nerds, grandmoms– you should be watching this.
Episode 3: “Rabbit in a Snowstorm” – 4/12
In Episode 2, we saw Daredevil become Daredevil. In Episode 3 we get to see Matt Murdock become Matt Murdock. Our hero only dawns his still black suit for several minutes of the run time, but that doesn’t make the episode any less spectacular.
All nerds have a slightly strange geeky thing they love. Mine is bowling. So, it was a good sign when this episode kicked off at a bowling alley, where a crazy gun-for-hire murdered some other guy with a bowling ball. Hey, Jeff Daniels: Kingpin? Murdock and Foggy are offered some serious money to defend said nutjob from some of the bad guys that our protagonist without fear has been chasing around the city. They take the money, but only so they can more closely follow the breadcrumbs that lead to the “mysterious” (not so mysterious) source.
The plot thickens on Karen Page’s end as well and we get a good healthy dose of everyone’s favorite non-picture taking Marvel journalist, Ben Urich (Vondie Curtis-Hall).
Though what really matters in episode 3 is that FINALLY, if only briefly, we get a look at Vincent D’Onofrio’s glorious Wilson “The Kingpin” Fisk, one of the most notorious and badass villains in all of Marvel lore. Hide your geek boners and hold on to your butts, cuz episode 4 is up on Netflix autoplay!
Episode 4: “In the Blood” – 4/13
If you think of the new Daredevil series as a 13-hour movie, Episode 4 wraps Act 1 in a nice little package, breaks into Act 2 with Hulk-like force, yet still maintains a delicate touch so as not to break any Easter eggs. And there are many.
Speaking of which, most come from Wesley as he talks business with the Russians. Iron Man and Thor get nods while the other “partners in crime” mentioned have roots to ninjas. Daredevil wouldn’t be Daredevil without ninjas. Even more obscure is the “Veles Taxi” service. Veles is the name an old Slavic deity who was basically Loki so there’s that… Moving on…
The action sequences once again play out beautifully as Matt Murdoch out-Batmans Bruce Wayne, starting the beginning of the end for the Russians. As for the rest of his allies, Claire begins to question her decision while Foggy was apparently supposed to be a butcher. Meanwhile, hints towards Karen’s sordid past are alluded to by journalist extraordinaire, Ben Urich, whilst the pair try to uncover the truth behind Wilson Fisk…
Wilson Fisk, holy shit! D’Onofrio better win some sort of award for his performance (The Netflix Awards, brought to you by Men’s Wearhouse?). By far the most gratifying scenes were any that he was in. From the awkwardness of a first date (with his future wife, no less) to sheer sadistic madness, D’Onofrio put so many human levels on to Fisk that it would be difficult to see anyone else in the role. Even more difficult than watching a man decapitated by a car door.
Set your viewing to binge and let Episode 5 keep that fire burning.
Episode 5: “World on Fire” – 4/14
At the start of Episode 5, the stage has been set for the primary conflict in the show, and Wilson Fisk is inching ever closer to having his first on screen confrontation with Matt “The Man Without Fear” Murdock.
We get to see Murdock and Foggy trying to be the do-good lawyers they set out to be.. when a woman comes asking for their help because her scumbag landlord is trying to kick everyone out of her building. This leads Foggy to head back to see some old friends at the lawfirm — despite the fact our not-so-dynamic-yet duo had turned down jobs there — whilst Murdock heads to the police station. Shit goes down.
Fisk is dealing with the repercussions of his ultra-violent dismembering of Vladimir’s (Nikolai Nikolaeff a.k.a. the scary Russian guy) brother. This is where we get to see Fisk begin to make his transition into becoming The Kingpin. “One less share,” as it were.
The most compelling aspect of this episode (as well as 4) is showing a vulnerable side of Fisk, much more so than the malicious and brooding side. His rendezvous with Vanessa displays weakness. Vincent D’Onofrio may very well be going home with an Emmy next year.
The episode seemed like the weakest of the serious so far, that is until the cliffhanger that would have driven us mad were it not for the Netflix autoplay feature. Daredevil continues to be a master class in what new age television can accomplish.
Oh also, how awesome/terrible was the “Foggy Bear” nickname?
Episode 6: “Condemned” – 4/15
Welcome to the stage… the “Kingpin!”
Episode 6 was a very revealing, edge-of-your seat thrill ride, which may even rival “Cut Man” as my new favorite ep so far. DD is blossoming into this weird lovechild of a Martin “Marvel” Scorsese film, and D’Onofrio’s interpretation of Fisk is pushing the envelope. In the comics Fisk is a villain that has been painted in numerous different lights, while on the show, though, Wilson is this hulking “man” boy that has glimpses of a vulnerable side. The team at Netflix/Marvel is doing a bang up job of showcasing a flip of the coin of Matt Murdock. Both are wanting to save Hell’s Kitchen.
Steven S. DeKnight’s touch is felt all over this episode from the Daredevil’s vigilante world collapsing around him, Fisk and Matt finally have a one-to-one (even if its through a walkie talkie)– and even Vladimir agreeing to stay behind and sacrifice himself so Matt can continue the good fight. Episode 6 could of been one of the best mid-season finale’s to top 2015; rarely does a show keep you coming back for more with out a cheesy, over-the-top hanger.
Fisk is starting to make Matt’s duel lives a real headache. By the end DD has been painted a cop killer and his entire mission has started to crumble. Even causing Matt to question his choices. Their conversation will have you biting at the bit for them to meet head to head, as Kingpin is already showing a knack for getting into Murdock’s head. Best line of the ep? When Fisk belittles Matt’s attempts at cleaning up the city, for Kingin is saving the city on a “scale that matters.”
Epic storytelling, my nerd-friends.
“Condemned” was an intense powerful episode. This Traveling Nerd’s favorite scene was after DD and Kingpin’s first ever “meeting”, and ‘Devil is close to being caught when Vlad helps Matt escape saying (“This is not how I die”). All to finally give Matt his next path to Fisk, The Owl.
Episode 7 – “Stick” – 4/16
I know what you are thinking: I thought the “Sermonizer” was going to cover this? And yes, the heroic Salvation that is Ryan will be back for Episode XI. Until then, you just get to contend with yours truly, the “Cardinal” Roberto de Bexar (and more clergygeeks, of course).
Look. There is a reason that — outside of one episode; Ryan just HAD to do it, didn’t he? — Daredevil has been earning 5 Bibles here on GHG– and that is because the show is able to blend wonderful storytelling/writing with stunning visuals and fantastic acting about a blind man running around. And that trend doesn’t stop here. “Stick” delves further into Matt’s background and his training by equally blind mentor, the Stick (played brilliantly by Scott Glenn).
The great aspect to this series has been the writers’ ability to spin multiple storylines in such a short manner and make everyone seem important and imperative, while at the same time keeping you on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens to your character. Whether dealing with the ramifications from the previous episode, “Condemned”, leaking into Stick, the relationship between the Nelson and Murdock, or Karen Paige’s hunt for the truth, to the introduction of an entirely new character with a whole background to introduce.
Brad Turner’s flashbacks to Murdock’s training – ranging from using his senses to the fighting style that he’ll adapt – are all done in a blue hue that bring a quiet subtlety to their relationship. I think Lance said it best in his previous write-up: This series has a very “Martin ‘Marvel’ Scorsese” feel to it. The shots of the city, the establishing shots of certain cars that make you wonder and sometimes fear for the occupants.
Stick reveals that there is something much, much larger at play, not only with Wilson Fisk but possibly larger and more supernatural events yet to play out. In order to overcome the prospect of that situation, Murdock is going to have to make a choice: try and live a “normal” life or become the warrior that he was trained to be. Murdock might have to make bigger sacrifices than he is willing to.
The show doesn’t have many bad guy scenes outside of a “The Owl” (Bob Gunton) and Nobu (Peter Shinkoda) speaking to one another in a parking garage and the fight scene between Daredevil and Nobu’s men. While this episode is seriously missing some Kingpin, Stick more than carries the weight of this episode with both his snark, cold hard truth and epic one-on-one karate. And, yes! The ending does give us just a bit of an Easter egg, which this geek-priest refuses to unleash.
Episode 8: “Shadows in the Glass” – 4/17
Origins, every hero has one. Sure there are a myriad of reasons why one dons a heroic alter-ego, but invariably, theres one main reason. Villians, as episode 8 shows, are no different. From the moment the beautiful opening credit rolls, to the crawl of the closer, this is through in and through out Fisks story. Tonally, the episode moves at a much slower pace than the rest of the series, acting as a reprise for the enlivenment the previous episodes have come to be known for. “Shadows in the Glass” does a marvelous job of portraying a young Fisk. Suffering from a dysfunctional familial background, and often ridiculed, or beaten, for his softness as a child, one can easily feel sympathy for the future reprobate.
What was also cool, was seeing how Fisks’ relationship with girlfriend Vanessa has grown and how open he is to sharing his past with her. His candor with Vanessa and her acceptance of his character speaks volumes about her own. Even though I hate/love his character from the depths of my soul, one can’t help but relate with certain aspects of his character. By the episode’s close, mouth agape at the resolution, the dark tone has been picked back up and it quickly becomes evident, that evil and darkness….might be an inherit trait.
Episode 9: “Speak of the Devil” – 4/18
Never have I been so happy to see the hero get his ass handed to him. With so much spiritual angst, or rather guilt, permeating the atmosphere, Episode 9 takes us viewers on roller coaster ride as two forces fight for the soul of Hell’s Kitchen. It’s like peeling an onion, there are so many layers.
First, let’s start with the basic plot aspects that further the comic cannon, as well as a few Easter eggs. My favorite was the subtlety of the “Steel Serpent”, or rather the symbol on the heroin. Iron Fist may have his first villain and nobody knows. Next, ninja master Nobu finally plays his “Hand”, revealing himself in traditional red fighting attire for a battle that doesn’t end well for him or Matt while Wilson Fisk gets to flaunt some of the strength and durability his comic counterpart is famous for. The lead in to the collision of nemeses, through a trial by fire of sorts, was crafted as a brilliant trap, playing on the weakness of it’s prey. And boy was the payoff worth it.
Director Nelson McCormick and writers Christos Gage (Amazing Spider-Man) and Ruth Flethcer Gage employ several different cinematic and literary techniques that are just plain cool. They emphasize Matt’s Catholic guilt without getting religious. They blur the lines of civic ethics, as well as raise questions about sacrifice for the greater good.
All of this plus some Mortal Kombat style fight scenes? I’m sold. The cliffhanger, however, was the coup de gras. With his head bloodied yet unbowed, DD reveals his secret in a hazy shade of Nelson. By playing on the weakness of nearly every major character as well as some keenly placed MCU nods, “Speak of the Devil” roars out loudly. And it sounds awesome.
Episode 10: “Nelson v. Murdock” – 4/19
Fellow congregation, I have a slight confession to make. As much as I love Daredevil (both the character, and the show), Netflix and Marvel’s (successful) experiment comes with a caveat. It is dour. Very, very dour. While references abound to the other more established characters in the MCU like Iron Man and Thor (references are made constantly to “The Incident” and “the Battle of New York”), it is very, very hard to believe that this show exists in the same continuity as the major MCU, as well Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., nor that it’d be much of a major player in the Defenders.
Does this make it bad? No, not at all. But Daredevil is much too gritty and violent to stand side by side with its lighter but-no-less-serious counterparts. It almost suffers from the same sort of Nolanization that the DC universe seems to suffer.
That being said… I love this show. The long-form storytelling has allowed every episode to build a bit more in the character moments that most 2+ hour movies tend to gloss over to get to the meaty action bits. Following up from Daredevil’s reveal to Foggy last episode, and the heavy, bloody action against Nobu, this ep takes its time exploring the origins of the Foggy/Matt relationship, as well as some of the more damning implications of Matt’s abilities (“You mean to tell me every time I lied, you knew it?” Foggy asks, knowing that he had basically been spied on for his entire relationship with Matt), and the impetus for Matt getting into the Daredevil persona, as well as more backstory on the Kingpin (Christ, what a terrifying villain!). While the action beats are excellent for a show of this scale, the relationships are what sold me on the show, and the relationship between Matt and Foggy is one of the better established in the MCU. Sure, there could be a lot more for Karen to do, and it wouldn’t hurt to have her interact with another female character, but that aside, being able to take its time really helps the characters to grow.
I am hoping the next season lightens up a bit. While the show seems to be based on Frank Miller and Ed Brubaker’s run on the comic, it wouldn’t hurt for it to be a bit looser, lighter, and embrace the universe in which it resides (see Mark Waid’s impeccable run the past few years). But I’m on board for the ride, and hoping it rides high.
Episode 11: ” The Path of the Righteous.” – 4/20
Holy layered cake of thick plot Batman…. I mean, Daredevil.
In Episode 11, we are beginning to see a climax coming. The characters in play are going through dynamic changes that are clearly going to come to a head. Fisk is being forced to the dark side (*Vader breath* cooooohhh.. cooooohhh) and Murdock is fighting not to go there with him.
After Vanessa’s poisoning, Fisk had to face losing what helps him keep a semblance of decency. Murdock is scrambling after Foggy has found out what he’s been up to. Foggy bear is dealing with it in his own way.
As great as this show is, there is a perceivable frustration in that the show is drawing a lot of Batman parallels. There is nothing wrong with Batman, but Daredevil is not Batman and Marvel doesn’t need him. Though, what is compelling from a fans perspective is how the show is continuing to bring in elements from the comics and make it its own.
In spite of that potential irritation, this episode does a great job of building the tension and stacking the deck. Much like watching the water on the stove start to bubble, just before it begins to boil over.
Karen brings this chapter to a close with the shows most significant death so far, setting the stage for an epic two part conclusion, no doubt.
Episode 12: “The Ones We Leave Behind” – 4/21
So here we are, the penultimate episode. Reeling from the conclusion of episode 11, our heroes are still in a state of disarray. Karen attempts to cope with murdering Wesley, and the guilt that comes along with it. Harry and Ron– I mean Matt and Foggy, still aren’t on speaking terms, and Fisk is picking up on the trail left behind by the now holy wesley.
Shit’s a mess, geek-churce-goers.
While I do love the character drama amongst our main three, at this point it feels a little dragged out, which bogs the episode down from reaching the heights of previous ones. A lot of this should have been resolved at least an episode ago.
But thankfully, certain revelations in Fisks’ shadowy circle keeps us on our toes, such as the culprits behind Vanessa’s poising, which isnt too terribly hard to guess ahead of time. On the action end, Matt’s confrontation with Gao (the very elderly/hilarious/horrifying Wai Ching Ho) hit most of the right marks; but more so felt as a potential set up for a future Marvel show instead of a conclusion to this arc.
But by the end of this episode, this Dynast can assure you, jaws will once more adorn the floor with a soul shattering conclusion that will rattle anyone who follows the Marvel comics continuity. Bring on the finale!