Daredevil "S1E2 Cut Man & S1E3 Rabbit in a Snow Storm" - Review: The Devil continues to deliver

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Daredevil "S1E2 Cut Man & S1E3 Rabbit in a Snow Storm" - Review: The Devil continue...

“Why do we fall Master Bruce? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up”. In this episode, Matt Murdock experiences a harsh reality in the very real consequences of his new night time profession. Though like any blind person, he soon discovers the venturing into the unknown is much easier with someone else to help you.

Episode 2, Cut Man – A fatal mistake leaves Matt severely wounded but a chance encounter will a local nurse, Claire (Rosario Dawson – Sin City, Trance) helps him get back on his feet for a second round against a gang of Russian child traffickers. Meanwhile, Foggy and Karen get closer acquainted with a drinking all nighter.

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So if the first episode was Matt putting the mask, this episode sees him bring critically reminded of his own mortality, his senses may be super but his blood flows as red as the rest of ours. He’s not Wolverine, he’s not The Flash and does not come with accelerated healing powers as standard and these events, framed nicely over a single night see him accepting that while still choosing to continue via his conversations with Claire. She forms the perfect voice of reason by judging him from an outside perspective. This is utilised well for a few explainer teasers of Matt’s powers “But you’re blind.... there are other ways to see” and some jokes along the way as Claire rightly points out that his outfit sucks only for Matt to agree (“it’s a work in progress”). Claire also becomes a conduit for Matt’s growing night time reputation as she reveals she only helped him because of the stories she’s encountered of him at the hospital, from those he saved and those he pummelled. This nicely establishes the city as a living entity becoming more aware of his actions so that it feels natural for criminal organisations to take more actions against him. The trap was even revealed to be the young boy seen snatched at the end of last episode. Claire further serves as a justification for Matt’s methods via the rooftop torture scene, transitioning from opposing the idea to contributing once she sees how evil the man in question is. Finally, on matt’s new medical ally, (it’s a safe bet he’ll get patched up a lot) there was a definite Easter egg dropped as she mentioned “Mike, a guy I used to date, turns out he was very good at keeping secrets too”. Most likely this will transpire as someone within the show but considering the MCU tie-ins that could be referring to Mike “Deathlok” Peterson.

For much of the episode, this feels like a slower-paced offering than the impressive action-based pilot. The fire extinguisher take down is a great little treat but otherwise the action takes a backseat until the final 5 minutes! A entirely single shot sequence (inspired by the Raid ,according to those involved) our hearts are plunged into a vice as the still-wounded Matt takes on over a dozen mobsters in tight corridors and rooms. From the brilliant build-up and establishing minute to the perpendicular corridor angles while the action is in a room of this incredible viewing! It even gets the odd little comedy gem included like the flying microwave. There’s an inescapable feel or desperation as Matt’s barely hanging on by last few opponents; a gutsy move from a fearless show for outstanding results.

The Karen & Foggy subplot adds a lighter undertone to the episode. With Karen in place as their secretary/officer manger/indentured servant it’s almost a trip down memory lane for Drew Goddard. There’s an interesting vibe of early days Angel Investigations with Matt, Foggy, and Karen being fairly comparable to the archetypes of Angel, Doyle, and Cordiella. Foggy and Karen show some great chemistry as they drink the down (and the eel) dry for what looks like a budding relationship, which is great but if that switches to a love triangle with Matt, many faces will depressingly slump into their keyboards.

Lastly, as predicted the childhood flashbacks are already starting to play a bigger role. Here, they tick the all important relevance box by relating to the main story by expanding on why where Matt learned to get back up after such a beating; “it ain’t how you hit the matt it’s how you get back up”. It’s a shame that we see matt’s fathering stepping out of the ring sooner than expected but he does get a good end off as, like in all his fights, he goes out on his feet. 

Despite only having 13 episodes, it’s good to see the series taking it’s time to establish its setting characters with these early episodes. We haven’t even seen Wilson Fisk/The Kingpin yet! This is good gritty storytelling balanced out in an entertaining fashion that packs one hell of a punch when required.

Episode 3, Rabbit in a Snow Storm – Foggy and Matt get a visit from Wesley (Wilson Thisk’s right hand man) offering them a profitable retainer for looking at one of his clients, a recent bowling alley murderer. Meanwhile, journalist Ben Urich (Vondie Curtis-Hall – Chicago Hope, Soul Food) tries to run a story about the unknown new player in town.

Although the pilot episode did see the pair active in some capacity to help Karen, this episode we get to experience Foggy and Matt more in full legal capacity including a courtroom trial. Yet this is done excellently with both single week and series week payoffs via establishing the relationship with Wesley and thus Wilson Fisk. Their opening meeting is brilliant as Matt stands suspicious and cautious over Wesley’s incomplete disclosure while Foggy practically wants to vault the table and give him the full Magic Mike routine. As the case progresses, there’s the great feeling of the pair coming to understand they’re just a smaller part of a bigger game surrounding the events of the case. Their client even appears indifferent to the outcome, from his opening surrender to the police he’s clearly operating to a known schedule of events. This all plays out with some good twists and Matt’s abilities are utilized well to discover them as his heartbeat hearing notices when someone’s nervous to the degree of influence. The events inside and out the courtroom all serve to deepen the city-wide conspiracy and launch the larger scale story arc into motion. The final payoff delivers both the name and face many knew were coming but the reaction of the name revelation is wonderfully shocking (“you should have just killed me, you coward”) and even a tad gruesome as the whistleblower takes one for the team.

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The new character of the week/episode (dam you Netflix, why can’t you be normal!) falls to the local journalist Ben Urich. In barely a scene Curtis-Hall adds more depth to the character than Joe Pantoliano ever managed (in the 2003 film). His exchange with his editor sets up him well as the last of a dying breed of believers in journalistic integrity as his ideas of crime related stories are dismissed for not being “sexy” enough to sell papers. He’s revealed to be behind the Union Allied exposure story from the pilot episode, and that even that scandal apparently did nothing for the papers readership. As his editor remarks that “it doesn’t sell papers Ben, not anymore” ,this could be a subtle MCU incorporation, implying that after such big events as aliens invading or the Shield/Hydra exposure, people just don’t care about the odd bad corporation anymore, which actually makes sense. The scenes of Ben fighting for his wife’s healthcare are a bit overcooked; they just take up too much time for what at this point is a small detail (it’s almost certain someone will try to get to him through his wife later in the series). His concluding involvement with Karen over the unfinished United Allied story sets him well for ongoing reference. It’s also great to see Karen seeking her own justice for this rather than taking the hush settlement. This will likely payoff well by having these two connect the dots between Fisk other illicit activities throughout the series.

Even if this is more a Matt Murdock episode than a Dardevil one, the reliable action still delivers. Matt’s end fight is an excellent and flowing shifting dynamic as the pair move around the car fighting in different levels of space and positions of advantage. Although a worthy supporting shout to the opening boiling alley beat down as one face certainly takes a strike. Foggy still keeps the laughs flowing; his best jibe this episode centers on getting Matt a guide dog after he walks in with a black eye. Wesley also contributes with some eerie humour as he cleans up at the bowling alley.

Another strong episode that expands the character and story base nicely, roll on the next episodes!