deconstructing DAREDEVIL: episode 2

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Episode 2 continues to build the world of DAREDEVIL. We are introduced to new characters, while Foggy and Karen get further established. By the end of the episode, we also have witnessed one of the craziest action sequences ever put to film!

I never expected this level of ambition in a NETFLIX series. This fight was totally mind blowing and ultimately undeniably triumphant. 

What?! Is this image a fanboy’s wet-dream or is ROSARIO destined to portray ELEKTRA here

The episode begins with a teen discovering a battered and broken Daredevil hiding in a dumpster. He’s barely breathing. Enter ROSARIO DAWSON as CLAIRE. She orders the teen to tell no one, while she brings Daredevil into her apartment to mend his wounds. Is she a doctor or something? We’ll have to wait for those answers in a future episode. She wants to bring him to a hospital but he warns her, “They’ll kill everyone to get me.” Looks like those crime families put out a bounty on our black hooded hero.

Flashback before Matt was blinded. He mends his dad’s wounds after a boxing match. This must be a regular practice, since his father simply said, “Get the Kit.” Before he stitches up the cuts, his dad tells him to swig some whiskey to help calm his nerves. See, his dad is so cool. When we see an envelope of cash we know Jack took the fall so some criminals could benefit from gambling. You can tell this chews him up. I wonder what he’ll do regarding the legendary upcoming fight?

Back to the Future… Foggy’s humour gets better this episode. He has some playful banter with Karen (DEBORAH ANN WOLL). They go out for drinks, or as they say “definitely not a date“.

We cut back to them several times throughout the episode. These two actually have good chemistry together providing several laughs to balance all the darker elements. It seems like they’d make a good couple, but I’m thinking Karen’s got eyes for Matty boy.

They drink to numb the emotional pain, but Karen let’s it slip, “I look around and I don’t see the city any more. I see all the dark corners.” Chilling. Haunting. Great dialogue.

Eventually, these two wind up outside of Murdock’s apartment banging on his door trying to wake him up so he can join the fun. They don’t know he’s out on the town himself. I loved Foggy’s joke as he begs for Murdock to join them, saying they’re “full of mighty eel strength.”

Meanwhile, across town… Murdock awakes in Claire’s apartment. She cracks a joke, “Your costume sucks.” I guess she’s used to seeing the fancy costumes of THE AVENGERS on the News. The mystery with Claire continues to build. Murdock asks her who she is and she replies, “The less you know about me the better.” Now does she have a troubled past, or is she hesitant to trust Murdock? Maybe she doesn’t want him coming after her, if he is some sort of criminal? Or maybe she’s a fellow vigilante or leather-clad vixen from Basin City… emphasis on Sin.

Eventually, after much care, Claire thinks of the risk and says, “Convince me it’s worth it.” Murdock lets her in. He tells her of the human trafficking and abduction of children. He heard a cry, he answered. He followed the plea to a warehouse. But it was a trap. He got jumped, and barely got away with his life. We don’t see this fight, it’s just a story for now.

But by the end of this episode – Oh My Frickin’ God – we’ll have one Helluva brawl.

Daredevil’s senses in action, from a different scene

But first, Murdock’s SPIDEY SENSE starts tingling. He hears someone enter the building. Knocking on every door. Climbing the stairwell. He even smells the strong offensive cologne from several floors below. Claire is confused at his warning, wondering if she should believe him or trust him. She relents, “All I know is you’re very good at taking a beating.” He badass replies, “That, I got from my dad.”

Cue Flashback… While his dad trains in the boxing ring, Matt studies Braille. Jack has a match coming up, that legendary one versus Creel posterized in Episode 1. We get more insight on that fight. Jack is asked to throw the fight again by mobsters, but this time he’s thinking more like Butch (Bruce Willis) from PULP FICTION.

That means if he ignores these guys a Marcellus Wallace clone will get “Medieval on his ass.” Wait a sec, Ving Rhames is another big bald bad dude just like Kingpin. Jack is told to “go down in the 5th” ? ! What the— That’s totally PULP FICTION. Which came first, that movie or the comic book?

Holy crap, did QUENTIN TARANTINO homage Daredevil comics? Did DAREDEVIL inspire PULP FICTION? My. Mind. Blown. WOW! I knew DD greatly inspired the original NINJA TURTLES comics, but I never knew this. Or is this show just homaging QT’s masterpiece with a wink?

End Digression… So Detective Cologne comes a knockin’. We all know he’s really a gangster. Once he leaves, Murdock springs into action. He grabs a fire extinguisher, tracks the baddie with sound as he descends the open stairwell. He hovers the red extinguisher above the Russian Thug, and lets it fall right on his head, knocking him out.

Murdock and Claire take to the rooftop, binding the man ready to interrogate him. Before the baddie awakes Murdock warns her with an awesome line, “You can’t give into fear. If you do… they win.” Words to live by from The Man Without Fear himself.

his father’s costume

Flashback time… Jack prepares for the fight, pulling out his new red robe. Young Matt quips a witty line, “Good thing about red, you can’t see the blood.” Nice. And appropriate parallel to the future whenever Murdock puts on the traditional red Daredevil suit. It’s good to know there’s a reason behind it. It stretches back to his childhood, and the emulation of his father.

There’s also another bit of dialogue that foreshadows Daredevil’s present day, “We get hit. But we always get up.” We’ll see that in full effect during this episode’s amazing finale.

from the original source material

Jack has decided he won’t throw the fight. He wants his kid to hear the crowd cheer for him. “Just once”. One final time. We can already sense the impending doom of breaking the rules. This is confirmed when Jack calls his booky, places a big bet on him winning. It was kind of emotional when he says to put the money in his son’s account. Now we know this won’t end well.

By the end of these flashbacks, Jack is shot dead. Matt hears the blast all the way from home. He rushes to his dad’s side, laying dead on the pavement in an alley. Heart-breaking.

from another scene, Daredevil “watches” the city below

Back to the Future… The rooftop interrogation. Detective Cologne awakes to Daredevil’s threats, “If you lie, trust that I will know. And I will be unhappy.” Cologne says the child is dead already. A lie. Daredevil slams him with a swift fist, “This is what unhappy looks like.”

He continues to question the man, warning him, “It’s not just for the boy. I’m doing this because I enjoy it.” That seemed to get Cologne’s attention more than being dangled over a roof. This baddie enjoys violence too, so he knows this can escalate.

He talks smack anyways, and Daredevil simply lets him fall off the building. He crashes into the same dumpster from earlier, and Murdock tosses an Arnie one-liner, “He’ll live.

The scene ends with another chilling moment. First, Claire says to Murdock, “I don’t believe what you said. I don’t believe you enjoy this.” Then he doesn’t even answer, he just walks away. Silent. We flashback for the end of Jack’s story. Then we jump back to Daredevil’s plan for revenge.

Which brings us to the final epic sequence of the episode. I’ll explain why it’s so absolutely nutso in a second.

First, we meet a gangster walking down a hallway, food-tray in hand. He opens a door while the camera stays in the long corridor. He’s bring the kidnapped child supper. He exits the room and enters another one off of the hallway. 5 or so gangsters play cards inside. The camera spins around to the empty entrance…

Cue Daredevil. He smoothly, impedes forward, an unstoppable force surveying the scene. The build up is simple, but the action is anything but.

Murdock springs into action. He fights one baddie, then enters the card room. The door swings closed, partially obscuring our view for a moment, as we hear the fight continue. Then a thrown thug erupts into the hall. And the baddies storm our hero.

The camera floats and roams around these cramped quarters as Daredevil proceeds to fight each and every one of these Foot Clan– I mean, the Hand— I mean, gangsters.

This fight sequence is all one extended uninterrupted camera shot. The camera flies around like its BIRDMAN meets THE RAID, as Murdock dispatches numerous baddies with a variety of martial arts moves.

It’s like that scene from OLDBOY, except Daredevil’s fists are the hammer.

lawyer by day, vigilante by night

Daredevil gets tired, but he just keeps on going. Once he gets hit, he’s like his ol’ man: BEZERKER RAGE time. This long balletic choreography is filled with impressive martial arts. And these aren’t like one hit and the baddie falls. It takes a multitude of punches and kicks and knock downs to defeat these foes.

Just when you think the fight is over, it just keeps going. These baddies can take a beating, but not as well as a Murdock. Those Murdocks, “they got the Devil in them” – like father like son.

side by side with the JOHN ROMITA artwork

This extended shot continues until Murdock opens the door and frees the child. If you look for it you can see where they cheated with hidden edits, but for me, this was the best action scene I’ve ever seen on television. Yes, even better than the similar sequence in TRUE DETECTIVE. While the stakes and urgency may have been better in TRUE, this DAREDEVIL stuff is much more visceral and entertaining.

This is – no joke – a 5 minute camera shot that is largely one beautifully crafted fight scene!

Watch it again, if you didn’t notice. It’s so friggin’ impressive when you think of it. From the choreography of the fighting to the balletic dance of the camerawork. 

we quickly got a glimpse of that bar-like weapon in action during episode one’s opening fight

I don’t know how DAREDEVIL will top this. It was just absolutely amazing. I’m sure some viewers will find all this story and character work to be slow and plodding, but they can’t say this show has no action.

The end of this episode was more climatic and exciting than the finales of most Hollywood Action Blockbusters.

I’m liking the deliberate pacing of this story so far. The characters are nicely rounded. The larger mystery is still building. This episode also included some good humour. And there seems to be a complex interaction between the Crime Families worth further exploration.

I’m definitely interested in watching more of DAREDEVIL. Stay tuned for the next review coming soon.


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