Sunday, April 12, 2015

Stream-And-Run: Daredevil: "Cut Man"

            Episode 2...

            This second episode flashes back and forth between the present, in which Matt is found bleeding in a dumpster by off-the-clock nurse Claire Temple, and the past, where we get a good glimpse of a young Matt and his relationship to his father. All the flashbacks are simple and effective, giving us just enough of the Murdock boys to get invested in their fate, and also provide a nice look at the inner workings of this man who practices law by day and beats criminals up at night. The fate of Battlin' Jack Murdock helps put his son's quest for justice in perspective, but there's still a good deal of mystery to the blind lawyer from Hell's Kitchen - something that's just as intriguing for we the audience as it is for the Night Nurse, Claire Temple. Judging by the character she's based on, it's safe to assume that this character played by Rosario Dawson will go on to be a major player not just here, but throughout all these Netflix Marvel series, and I think it's safe to say that the character is safe in the actress' hands. What I like most about Temple here is she's given a good reason other than just base plot motivation for choosing to help the wounded masked man, as she's seen his handiwork carried out through her job at the hospital and wants to take care of this man who's saved a lot of peoples' lives. The dynamic between these two is strong, and something I'm eager to see more of. The rest of the episode deals with Foggy and Karen having a night on the town, and it's a welcome element of levity in an otherwise heavy story, and Hanson and Woll do a terrific job of throwing around playful banter and pathos-laden personal details - some fantastic writing, all around. 
            It all culminates in the series best scene yet, a single-take fight at the end where Daredevil goes to rescue the boy who was kidnapped at the end of the previous episode and has to mow through a hallway of Russian thugs to get to him. It's a phenomenal bit of choreography, but what I like most about it is that the thugs don't stay down - Daredevil isn't able to put down his enemies with one punch like Captain America, he has to fight and keep fighting to stay alive, something we feel along with the character with each hit he both takes and dishes out in brutal fashion (perhaps too brutal - the series is leaning hard on the violence, with one torture scene involving Daredevil that I feel goes too far). It closes out with Daredevil retrieving the boy, carrying him in his arms as they walk past the human wreckage the hero's left in his wake; possibly the most powerful shot Marvel has yet achieved in live action, where the themes of the episode are perfectly realized in a simple visual metaphor, as Matt carries the young boy that's still inside him out of the darkness and into the light.

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