Monday, April 13, 2015

Stream-And-Run: Daredevil "In the Blood"

            Episode 4...

            The show seems to be playing around with flashbacks, such as the humorous bit from last week where the assassin bought the gun from Turk only to have it jam in the present day, and here with a brief scene showing a bit of backstory for the Russian brothers that Daredevil's been waging a war against. I guess this is where being a "binge-worthy" series comes into play, as the Netflix format allows the show to keep in all the bits that would ordinarily be cut for broadcast, but I'm not sure it's completely successful. The scenes are nice on their own, but they don't really add anything to the proceedings. The main story continues on at a nice clip, however, as we meet up again with the Night Nurse, Claire Temple. Matt visits her once again to get patched up after a fight, and we can slowly start to see a dynamic forming not just for this series, but for all the subsequent Defenders shows, as Claire tends to the wounds of New York's costumed vigilantes night in and night out. But it's early yet, and the green Matt and Claire find themselves in over their heads as Claire is kidnapped and Matt rushes to find her. Claire is rescued at the last minute, in yet another standout scene, where Daredevil (or, sorry, the "man in black") kills the lights in the room and takes out each gangster one-by-one. It plays out more as a horror movie, kind of like that one scene from Batman Begins, and keeps the action fresh when it could quickly wear out it's welcome. Elsewhere, we also continue the story of Karen wanting to get to the bottom of her former employers' criminal activity, and the reluctance of Ben Urich to get involved. I like the scenes between the two, but this storyline still remains the least interesting. I am still curious to see where it goes, but this strand is going to have to pick up some serious steam to justify how much narrative real estate it's getting.

            But what's at the forefront of this episode is Wilson Fisk, played with gravelly authority by Vincent D'Onofrio. I was excited to see how D'Onofrio's performance would play, but despite getting a good bit of screen-time, I can't quite get a good read on him. The bulk of his appearances here deal with him courting the art dealer played by Ayelet Zurer, where the so-called "Kingpin of Crime" is all fumbly and awkward on a first date. I can see what the showrunners are going for, in trying to humanize their main antagonist, but I'm not sure if this is the best introduction to the character. It also doesn't help that he has this constant growl in his voice, like he's some kind of alternative rock singer. I was very impressed with the sudden burst of rage at the end, but the reason for Fisk killing the Russian and thus starting a gang war - he was embarrassed in front of his new lady - well, it's a little embarrassing itself. I think I like what I'm seeing done here with the Kingpin, but it might take a few more episodes before I'm fully convinced. 

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