If there’s one thing you can do that will absolutely annoying me it’s begin in the third act. It’s a common device in comic books in which the first three pages are actually the beginning of the third act and then the rest of the comic is spent getting to that same point in time. Once you’re there the story usually skips head to some kind of cliffhanger/reveal for the final page. It’s so common that if you read comics you’re probably already thinking about something you read this week that started that exact way. TV shows do it all the time. In fact How To Get Away With Murder started damn near every episode that way and lost me as a viewer by the winter break. It’s not clever, it’s not interesting, and it’s a cheat. The reason it’s a cheat, is because the ending is more interesting than anything leading up to it, so it cuts in front of everything else to distract you. To make you wonder, “How will they get there?”
But it works. In fact people kind of love it. Writers are encourage to do use the device because “how else can you get the reader to come back each week/month?” My answer to that is good writing. If your story was good then we wouldn’t need the ending propping it up. If your story was good we would just be invested and willing to stick it through to the end even if we didn’t see exactly what it was building towards… though if it was good we would see it and not feel forced to wait it out.
As a former reader of the Daredevil comic book I had a slight pop for this episode as we learn that Nobu is a member of the Hand. For Daredevil comic readers this inclusion in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a pretty big deal as the Hand have had many storylines and dozens of important roles in the comic universe. It also introduces them to DD’s storyline which again adds a ton of potential for series going forward. The problem is… we see Nobu in his Hand gear in the very beginning. If you didn’t recognize that it was supposed to be him then I’m not sure what show you’ve been watching, but yes the Japanese guy turned out to be a ninja… spoiler? No.
The actual beginning of the episode has Matt talking to his Priest again and honestly the conversation was good even if it didn’t actually do anything for Matt’s character. I know you’re thinking, “But Dustin it shows his internal struggle and he’s able to reveal a face that he can’t at the office, the face of a man that’s truly burdened by his cities problems.” Yeah maybe, but if there’s one thing I haven’t felt from Charlie Cox’s acting, it’s his love of the city. I believe the Kingpin’s love, I really do. But Daredevil… he really just seems like a guy stumbling in the dark sometimes (pun intended).
Finally the different investigations (other than Matt’s personal one) come together as Ben arrives at Nelson and Murdock and the four of them have a chat and what not. It’s only good because we see how Matt is still playing both sides and that’s actually believable. After that Nobu arrives at the docks with Fisk and Wesley and is pissed. This time he’s pissed about the delay in getting his city block, you may know this block as Ms. Cardenas’ neck of the woods which sets off a pretty obvious turn of events. Wilson promises that he’ll double his efforts in clearing out Nobu’s block as long as he helps with his Masked Man problem. I guess we know where the leads.
There is one decent scene in which Matt as Matt meets both Vanessa and Fisk, but because it’s a one-sided conflict at the moment. Fisk is just being… well public figure Fisk. This did actually show Matt’s boiling hatred for the man, which was decent… I just wish I believed he loved the city to go along with this.
The fighting at this point in the series becomes pretty typical. There’s nothing as inventive as the second episode hallway scene and since most of the fight is cut up between the episode and then fast forwarded at the end… it just ends up looking and feeling like a well-choreographed fight scene in which the hero needs to be humbled. The saving grace is the first encounter of Fisk and the Masked Man, but ultimately it leads to one of the worst things about this season which is the ending of this episode and the entire next episode.
There’s a lot of SSDD going on in this episode. Karen and Ben are doing the same shit, Foggy is doing the same shit (i.e. helping Karen because she’s attractive and he thinks he’s in love), Matt’s doing a ton of the same shit and the Kingpin and his crime partners are still doing the same shit as the first episode. The criminals talk about their vague plans to rebuild Hell’s Kitchen and the good guys talk about how they need to bust Fisk somehow, some way. The only thing that was interesting was the introducing of the Hand and our “first time meetings” that took place, but there was no confidence in the episode so they lead with their big dog and frankly… it didn’t have enough bite. But hey… when it’s written by two comic book writers what do you expect? After all… that’s how they do it in comics.
Daredevil 1.9 – “Speak of the Devil” Director: Nelson McCormick Writer: Christos N. Gage & Ruth Fletcher Gage Distributor: Netflix, ABC Films, Marvel Studios Runtime: 60 Minutes Exclusively on Netflix