So I’m going to preface my review with this trivia nugget: Daredevil is the comic book that made me want to write comics for a living, so, to paraphrase Daniel Plainview, when I say I’m a Daredevil guy, you’ll know that I’m telling the truth. I’m gonna try and shut that off as much as possible during these reviews, but if you see some foam on your computer screen, that’s just me and my unbridled excitement. Episode 6 is what I’m going to casually call the mid-season finale. In a regular, broadcast television medium, this episode would be the one right before the winter break. There’s a shift in the direction of the character’s mission, where what was a fairly random search becomes a laser focus, there are some excellent fights, and public opinion of the Masked Man starts to turn.
After the last episode’s events, Daredevil has to beat up some cops (who, in fairness, are in Fisk’s pocket), and hightailed it to an abandoned warehouse with Vladimir, who is probably going to bleed out at any second. While they hole up, take a hostage, and try to wait out the police presence that gathers outside, Ben Urich does his reporterly duties and tries to get the story out of this mess. Simultaneously, Karen and Foggy get Mrs. Cardenas to the hospital, where Foggy discovers that the sharp pain in his side is not a stitch from being out-of-shape, but rather from shrapnel that is in his person.
The main thing that makes me say this episode would be the mid-season finale is the context of having seen the next episode, so I’m not sure how well that holds up, but this definitely feels like a confluence of plot threads, even down to the fact that the nurse who admits Mrs. Cardenas at the hospital is Claire. The first five episodes spend a lot of time building the web around Daredevil of Foggy, Karen, Ben, Fisk, the Cabal, and six ties them all into a neat little knot around Matt.
Having said all that, this is one of my least favorite episodes of the season, even on a second watch. Let it be known, there are great moments. There’s the first conversation between Matt and Fisk, there’s a sniper shootout to turn the public 100% against Matt. The downsides are attendant to the upsides, though; the conversation with Fisk goes on forever, and has more of that “we’re not so different, you and I,” schtick, and the sniper beat is played somewhat ambiguously, so that you’re not sure who the target is for a little bit.
But then, beneath all that, the Fisk/Matt discussion does hit on a lot of thematically relevant points for the rest of the season. For as much as they’re both damaged children grown into adult bodies, they are two sides of the same coin. Matt is going to save this city one person, one case, one building at a time; Fisk is going to destroy it, block by block, and rebuild it, for the beautiful people.
This is pretty typical of an episode of Daredevil. I start out liking it, I find things that I don’t like, and then I talk myself into ways that they make the whole show work. And for the record, I think it’s fair to review these episodes because they’re divided up that way on Netflix, but I think we all know this show is intended to be one 13-hour movie, so this feels sort of like reviewing each chapter of a book independently of the others. There may be good ones, and there may be bad ones, but they’re all building towards one end goal.
Daredevil 1.6 - Condemned Director: Guy Ferland Writer: Joe Pokaski & Marco Ramirez Distributor: Netflix, ABC Films, Marvel Studios Runtime: 60 Minutes Exclusively on Netflix