We started Jessica Jones and that went on a little hiatus. Now The Defenders is coming out in a month and while we most certainly can’t catch up to that, we can reset a little here by watching the Netflix Marvel stuff in chronological order. So, here we go, Daredevil.
Into the Ring
Marines: A siren wails in the distance as a man walks in slow motion through a crowded street. Time catches up and the man pushes his way through the crowd. He pauses for a moment in shock when he sees his son on the floor. He kneels at Matty’s side and tells him not to move. He yells for help and then takes a moment to gauge the chaos around him. Whatever accident happened, it involved a car, barrels of something shady and multiple pedestrians.
An old man is being lifted up by some Good Samaritans and he tells Matty’s Dad that Matty pushed him out of the way and saved his life. Meanwhile, Matty is complaining about something burning his eyes. It’s whatever substance that’s spilling from the overturned barrels of shadiness. Dad tries to wipe it away from Matty’s face, tries to tell him to close his eyes, but it’s too late. We see from a Matty POV shot that his vision is eaten up. He panics as he tells his dad that he can’t see.
Catherine: I love that they made the stuff in the barrels just random radioactive material. They didn’t try to lean away from how ridiculous the premise of Daredevil is. They were just like, yeah… green, snot-looking radioactive shit. What of it?
Annie: All great origin stories involve barrels of green goo. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, anyone? I love that it is specific, only sight-stealing radioactive shit.
Mari: I like that your one other example of great origin stories is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Jessica: I mean, it’s really just a crap-shoot which kind of radioactive goo you’re going to get. Eyesight-stealing-super-senses? Ninja powers? Alex Mack melty powers? You just never know.
Mari: Alex Mack was an A+ addition to our non-specific radioactive goo.
Cut to black and presumably the future. Matty (also presumably now known as Matt) is confessing. He says it’s been a while since he’s confessed and then talks about how his father used to be an old school boxer who lost more than he won. Apparently, the upside is that he could take a punch, which doesn’t sound like much of an upside to me. Sometimes, when he was outmatched, Papa would just let the other guy hit him until their hand broke. Again: sounds awful.
After a lot more confessing, we circle around to the point: sometimes Papa would get hit and he would snap. His Grandma used to say that you had to be careful of the Murdoch boys because they had the devil inside of them. Matt saw that sometimes when his father would snap in the ring. He didn’t understand it back then, but now he does. And now he’s also crying.
The Priest asks what exactly Matt is confessing here. Matt puts on his glasses with attitude and says he’s not confessing something he’s done, but asking for forgiveness for something he’s going to do. Priest tries to explain that that’s not how it works. What is Matt going to do, exactly?
We cut to a few woman crying out for help as some men push them toward a shipping crate. A Very Bad Man tells them to shut up because he’s getting $1,000 a head for them. If they are quiet they get a bucket. If they scream, he’ll electrocute them with what looks like a cattle prod. They scream and one of the ladies gets electrocuted. Very Bad Man keeps saying Very Bad Things in a very unnatural way, but then we see that Matt is positioned on a container nearby. He listens carefully, a mask partially covering his face.
When he’s discovered, Matt jumps from the container and starts beating up bad guys. It’s not an easy take down for him, as there are several bad guys, and they seem to be landing plenty of punches. Although they do all wait their turn to attack. (A: Very kind of the bad guys, I think.) Very Bad Man is the first to get knocked down, but by the time Matt makes it through everyone else, VBM manages to get ahold of his gun. Matt hears it click and is able to roll away from the bullets in time. He grabs the cattle prod and like spider-monkeys his way up a container.
VBM goes after him, but can’t tell where Matt has gone. Matt then throws the cattle prod, hits a corner just right causing the prod to ricochet back, and then it hits the shit out of VBM. I can already tell that my main challenge with recapping this show will be descriptions of the fighty stuff, but you know, I think I just did a decent job, whatever.
Matt takes out the final guy who was like sitting there eating a burger. (J: His commitment to break time is no joke.) He yells at the girls, telling them to run until they find a cop. VBBM tries again, grabbing his gun one more time, but Matt dodges the bullets and also starts beating VBBM’s face A LOT. Repeatedly. In a way that makes the overly long confessional scene about snapping and punching and the devil make ~*sense*~.
Catherine: This was the scene that made me realize I was gonna love this show. I’m a simple woman. I see a perfectly choreographed violent fight scene and I tune in.
Annie: I sadly had the opposite reaction and was worried that this show was going to be lots of violent scenes, bookended by plot. But definitely enough of a hook to keep me watching.
Mari: JUSTICE AND WAX! (I’m open to things we can yell to indicate the credits. The music is a bit House-esque.)
Morning. Matt sleeps until his call indicator starts saying FOGGY, FOGGY, FOGGY over and over again until he picks up. Foggy (Elden Henson, who I recognized from The Hunger Games, in which he played Pollux.) (C: Also She’s All That. If anyone else remembers–shut up, yes you do.)(A: Yeah. I was definitely going to say this is Jesse from She’s All That, the nerdy, chubby best friend. So I totally do.) tells Matt to get the heck out of bed because they have to meet a real estate agent in 45 minutes. Matt groans and Foggy immediately assumes someone is in bed with Matt instead of assuming it’s an UGH, YOU ARE ANNOYING AND ASKING ME TO WAKE UP groan. Foggy ends the call because he has to go bribe a cop. He is not kidding.
Matt and Foggy meet with the real estate agent, who immediately makes a few awkward calls, like pointing out that one of the offices has a view and extending her hand for a shake when Matt introduces himself. Agent and Foggy briefly discuss prices as the big showdown at the end of the first Avengers movie destroyed lots of this neighborhood, but Matt’s just all “we’ll take it!”
Catherine: Superhero destruction must make property values sink like a stone.
Annie: Personally, I’d love to live or have office space near Stark HQ. Bumping into Thor while buying my morning coffee? Yep.
Jessica: You can’t tell me that rubble from the Avengers battle didn’t sell for a bunch of $ on ebay.
Mari: Selling alien rubble is like partially the plot of Spider-Man: Homecoming, so legit.
Matt and Foggy starting arguing about their business. Matt says he likes to represent innocent people and Foggy’s like, “yeah huh that’s like anyone not convicted of a crime.” They can’t keep the lights on just waiting for hoards of innocent people to fall into their arms. Matt says he’d take just the one.
SEGUE MAGIC to an innocent. She is covered in blood and holding a bloody knife and next to a dead body, but when the police bust down her door, she starts yelling that she didn’t do it.
Jessica: Oh hi Jessica from True Blood! Wonder if this actress is tired of fake blood yet?
Mari: Damn, I thought she looked familiar but I quit True Blood just as her character was introduced.
Foggy gets a call from Brett about a case that definitely qualifies as strange. Next thing, we cut to Foggy, Matt and two others walking into an interrogation room where Jessica from True Blood (Karen Page) is being kept handcuffed. Matt tells the detective to kindly uncuff their client and leave the room. Once they do, Matt introduces himself and Foggy and then just like have a seat and start asking questions all casual. Karen is like, “okay, but who you?” because she certainly didn’t hire them. Matt explains that they are a young firm aggressively pursuing new clientele. And by that he means that she’d be their first client and they’ve been in business since 7 hours ago when they got desks. It’s all coming together.
Karen says she doesn’t have any money so that’s pretty much the end of the conversation for Foggy, but Matt wants to work with her because hey they don’t have any clients. Karen explains that the dead guy is Daniel, a co-worker of hers whom she asked out for drinks because he seemed like a nice guy. They met at a bar, had a few drinks, and next thing she remembers, she woke up covered in his blood. She knows that sounds real guilty, but she tearfully insists that she didn’t do this. Matt can super hear her normal heartbeat, so he believes her.
Annie: I can confirm that panic will raise your heart rate. So the writers weren’t that into researching stuff. That’s cool. Lots of writers aren’t.
Mari: And yet, TV keeps on and on.
Some guy sits at one of those outdoor chess tables eating his lunch. A guy in a suit sits down weirdly close to him. Lunch Guy points out all the other places Suit Guy can sit, but Suit Guy is actually here to threateningly remind Lunch Guy of some money he owes. He does so complete with an iPad that has threatening live-feed of his daughter. Suit Guy points out the assassin that’s in murdering distance of her. Lunch Guy promises to pay back the loan, but this is about something more. Suit Guy wants Lunch Guy to do something for him.
Office. Foggy is being very Foggy-like and saying that Karen clearly did it and they will take any plea deal offered. Matt is being very Matt-like and insisting that their client is innocent and something is weird about this case, especially because she hasn’t even been charged her yet and this should be a pretty straight-forward case. Foggy says that Matt makes stupid decisions when pretty girls are involved and, while Matt doesn’t disagree, he wants Foggy to back him up anyway. Foggy gives in but says they should talk to their client again because while she may not be guilty, she may be lying.
Jail. Lunch Guy is a cop and his shady side job? To kill Karen. It looks like he might succeed but with her last choking breaths, Karen reaches back and pokes Lunch Guy’s eye. She screams for help.
We cut to Matt and Foggy meeting with the detectives. Matt wants the DA in ASAP so their client can be released with a promise that she won’t run to the media with the story of how she was almost killed in policy custody. Foggy promises to also not make cooing sounds when he thinks about the civil suit they have on their hands. The younger, broodier detective asks how they know the ADA isn’t going to press charges. Matt says they would’ve had to do it four hours ago. Plus, it’s real fishy how the security cameras magically stopped working right before the attack. Matt firmly tells them to release his client and not to make him ask again. The older detective whispers to his partner. Detective Brood says he’ll call the ADA, but if Matt ever takes that tone with him again, he’ll beat him up, blind or not blind. Matt is a better person than me because he doesn’t not reply, “OH YEAH? TRY IT I’M A NINJA.”
Catherine: SAME. Followed by punchy kicky motions in the air.
Mari: The detectives leave and Matt still has lots of funny feelings about this case. It should’ve been a slam dunk for the DA. What if they do have evidence of someone else being in the apartment? Something they don’t want to turn over? They only way they have to is if Karen is charged. If, say, she hung herself in the her cell, the whole thing would just go away.
Catherine: Please. She’s a white woman. If she killed herself she would be immediately innocent. Duh.
Mari: Later, Karen is at the office and drinking some tea Foggy stole from the office next door. She’s shaken up, but Matt tells her that in order to keep her safe, they have to have a frank discussion. Karen agrees and says that while she doesn’t know who is trying to kill her, she knows why they are trying to kill her.
We cut to her telling the story while being recorded. Karen worked at the financial department for a firm overseeing the bulk of the government contract for the Hell’s Kitchen reconstruction. After the world watched New York get destroyed after Avengers, Union Allied swooped in and profited from every dollar to be had rebuilding. Karen was the secretary for the chief accountant and one of her jobs was to coordinate pension claims. Karen mistakenly received a file called pension master that wasn’t meant for her. She opened it and saw some very shady dealings with a very large amount of money designated as a pension but not actually a pension. She asked her boss about it and he laughed it off. Knowing that something was wrong, Karen approached Daniel who worked in the legal department and asked him out for drinks. They must’ve been watching her because while she was with Daniel, she was drugged. And then she woke up over Daniel’s dead body. Karen breaks down because Daniel died because of her. She wants to go, to get away from anyone she can endanger, but Foggy won’t let her go. Matt offers her a place to say for the night and promises to keep her safe.
Matt’s place. It’s all dark and its rainy outside and I keep expecting a murderer to jump out at me. Them. Whatever. Karen asks for a dry shirt and says she’ll be fine sleeping in the living room. That’s before she notices that there is a giant billboard screen outside the window that lights the living room up. No one wanted it but it meant Matt got the place at a huge discount and, you know, it doesn’t bother him. He hands Karen her dry shirt and she changes right in front of him and now I’m not expecting a murderer but a sex scene. I’m sorry. TV has taught me some things I can’t unlearn.
Catherine: Nah, that’s fair. The atmosphere is sexy. There’s rain. That’s like nature’s lube.
Annie: It makes me uncomfortable how thin the line is between murder-vibe and sex-vibe.
Mari: Wow, when you put it that way, I feel terrible.
Karen wants to ask Matt something personal, but he anticipates her question and answers that he hasn’t always been blind. That’s the first thing people want to know along with how he combs his hair. The answer to that one is hope for the best. They sit and Karen keeps asking questions about Matt’s accident and what it must be like to have once been able to see. Matt says that while they teach you in trauma recovery not to think of it this way, he would give anything to see the sky again.
Catherine: I don’t understand how Matt is so popular with the ladies if this is his sexy talk. Mood killer.
Mari: Well, the other option was that this was a prelude to murder so.
Union Allied. A bunch of shady business types meet with some shady mob types. They are waiting on someone else, but Suit Guy is who turns up. The Russians start to leave because they don’t deal with “lap dogs” but Suit Guy heads them off by asking why their latest cargo numbers were short. They share about the guy in the black mask. The Old Business Guy kind of scoffs, but then says it’s fine because heroes and their antics are why they have all their current opportunities.
Old Business Guy wants to move onto numbers, but Suit Guy wants to hear more about the guy in the black mask. The Russian men give the cliff notes and Suit Guy tells them this is very displeasing and it’s on them. They have to deal with it quietly. The Russian men are like, “yeah, quietly, unlike the Union Allied situation…” Suit Guy says they are handling it. The Russians are doubtful, seeing as they haven’t deal with the Mr. Prohaszka. Tensions keep rising but Suit Guy insists that it’s under control.
Night time. Karen sneaks out of Matt’s house but he hears her. (C: Damn, imagine being his kid. You’d never get away with anything.)
Karen heads to her apartment, which still has the dead man stain on the carpet. She came here to retrieve the pension master file, but of course someone was waiting for this moment to take it from her and kill her. Matt shows up in time to get into fisticuffs and it’s all very fast and punchy and what stands out to me is all the foley. Foley for days.
The fight ends when Matt and Assassin go tumbling out the window. The impact sends Matt straight into a flashback. Recently blinded, Matt is being woken up by his dad. Matt says he’s tired, but Papa tells him that he has to study so he won’t end up all beaten up. The flashback ends with Papa saying, “come on, Matty. Get to work.”
Matt rallies and the Foley continues. I meant fight. It’s going really badly for both parties until Matt hears a metal chain clinking nearby. He grabs it and manages to wrap it around Assassin’s neck. Karen’s made it downstairs and she wants to know who the f black mask guy is. Matt finds the flash drive and says he’ll get it into the right hands. Karen says he can’t go to the police because they can’t trust anyone. Matt says that they’ll have to tell everyone.
I guess this involves dropping a tied up Assassin with a little envelope on his shirt (like when you used to get notes home to your mom safety pinned on your clothes when you were like 5) on the steps of a probably newspaper. That may all be wrong, but the point is that the next day, the headlines feature the Union Allied Scandal.
Annie: Now there’s one way to be a journalist: Wait until a vigilante delivers your story to your front door.
Jessica: So like, did the reporters interrogate him in their coffee break room? Or maybe just grabbed the envelope off him and ran away? Either way, they turned around that story quick!
Mari: It was a busy morning when they all showed up to work that day.
Suit Guy reads the headline and summarizes: DNA will put Rance at the murder scene, B and E gone sideways, his records altered in support, Mr. Farnum’s bail has been arranged through the usual channels, Leland’s going to cover the exposure to their financials, and McClintock takes the fall for Union Allied. I really had no idea what any of that meant except it seems like everything is #handled. At least for these bad guys.
Turns out that Suit Guy’s boss is a voice on a phone so we’ll call him Corrupt Charlie. (C: omg) Corrupt Charlie wants to know how the Professional Assassin was subdued, but Suit Guy merely says that he’s looking into it. Suit Guy asks if they should kill Karen, but Corrupt Charlie says no because all she knows is already in the papers. Finally, Nelson and Murdock. Suit Guy calls them ambulance chasers and says they are clean. Corrupt Charlie says to start a file on them anyway, just in case.
Karen cooks for Matt and Foggy as repayment. It’s all giggles and sunshine, comparatively, especially when Karen offers to work for them for free. Obviously, she’s hired. She also makes lots of googly eyes at Matt.
Matt heads to the gym and the owner leaves him there alone after closing. Very dramatic music plays as Matt beats up a punching bag. In a montage, we see everyone involved with this case, including Lunch Guy Cop and Professional Assassin are dead. Then, the Chinese Woman (from earlier with the crime bosses) is walking through her factory where blinded workers package drugs. The Japanese Man looks over some maps very nefariously. Very Bad Man is not dead, but his nose is messed up and he buys an upgraded gun that makes him smile. The Russians beat up a man and steal his child. Things are v bad in the city.
Annie: Things are not as handled as we thought. I do appreciate the use of a montage to show us this instead of shitty dialogue or spinning newspaper headlines. A+ to them.
Mari: Matt punches and punches until we smash cut to a roof and Matt’s cheap superhero suit. He hears all sorts of scary city noises and cries for help, including the little boy crying for his daddy.
It took me a real long time to get through this pilot and I’m not entirely sure why. I’ve got a few vague ideas including: Matt and Foggy stuff is too stereotypically, “I’m the good guy yay innocents!” and “I’m the gray guy yay money!” I’m not sold on Foggy in general and his “humor” falls flat for me mostly, probably because of said tropeyness. Because of that but also secondly, it makes it hard to really attach to either of them and if you aren’t attached to them, the pacing is off. Thirdly, we got some of Matt’s backstory and we see some of his motivation as a lawyer, but I’m not sure they started to sell us WHY he’s got a cheap black suit on and is jumping around roofs. That superhero WHY is important to these stories and I think they should show us that sooner rather than later.
On the bright side, this is real dark and gritty. I mean, if you didn’t know that, they literally start the show by telling us that this will be a showdown between the Catholic Matt confessing for something he hasn’t even done yet and the Devil Matt who is going to keep beating faces repeatedly when something in him snaps.
I thought the Karen bits got a little too convoluted for its own good. When Matt was like, “but why wouldn’t they kill you?” I was like YEAH! and I don’t think they gave a good enough answer to that. Like, Professional Assassin couldn’t have gone through the vents himself? That’s a 101 hiding place. That said, I’m glad Karen is sticking around because I liked the actress and I liked her mix of, “You might be choking me, but I’m going to claw your eyes out,” and also, “this is stupid, I’m going to go to the murder apartment alone,” but also, “I ain’t afraid of no murder apartment.” If they keep her not-so-helpless, I’ll be so excited.
Catherine: If it wasn’t obvious from my flailing, I kind of fucking love this show. But I agree with a lot of this. Karen’s story line in this ep has always seemed confusing to me. I still don’t fully understand any of it or why they murdered that guy or why the didn’t just murder her (much as I love Karen, don’t get me wrong). But, that said, PUNCHY KICKY STUFF IS ON POINT.
Annie: …So I’m going to go ahead and admit that I fucking HATED this show on first watch. So much so that I quit it a lot. I was excited to see what Netflix was going to do with this, but I think they were more successful with Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. I will say this Matt Murdock is a million times better than Ben Affleck’s, but that’s really not saying much. My cat could be a better Matt Murdock than Ben Affleck.
I forgave this a lot, though, because it is a pilot and there is some stuff to establish. There is some stuff that I’m really excited for, so that outweighed my underwhelmed first impression of this show.
Jessica: I also wasn’t sold with this pilot. The kicky punchy stuff is fun, but the characters failed to grab me the way that the Jessica Jones ones did. Also, I’m kind of annoyed that Karen gets relegated to the grateful-rescued-person role and with the cooking and working for them for free – eh. It’s been done. But I’m sticking with it because I can’t wait for Defenders and I’ll give it a chance. Yay kicking and punching!
Mari: See you next time!
Next time on Daredevil: Matt tries to save the kidnapped boy in S01 E02 – Cut Man.