Thursday, April 16, 2015

Stream-And-Run: Daredevil, "Nelson v. Murdock"

            Episode 10...

            Forced conflict. It's something almost every TV show falls prey to eventually. Conflict is at the root of all story, and when you've got a story that continues for ten-plus hours and thus must have the conflict consistently renewed to keep the proceedings interesting, there's always the danger that said conflict will come up not naturally through the story, but rather from a desperate need to keep the viewers' attentions. And thus we have Foggy and Matt at each others' throats here, after the revelation to Foggy of what it is that Matt does in his after-hours activities. It's understandable that Foggy would be upset about Matt lying to him all this time, but upset enough to call off their friendship and bring the offices of Nelson & Murdock crashing down all around them? I smell a writer's room that doesn't want to put in the work of a nuanced character relationship in favor of cheap drama. It's not that I don't think Foggy and Matt shouldn't have disagreements or get into arguments, but the way it's handled here is all wrong: we know that eventually the two will reconcile, in perhaps a big, emotional way, and telegraphing those events by having them split up at the end just pushes the show into soap opera territory - essentially delaying the inevitable because "drama."

            The drama that does work in the episode revolves around Ben Urich and his ailing wife, whose condition is worsening and leaving Ben with no other option but to retire. The game he was playing at with Karen and the others was one meant for the young, not an aging relic who has no place in the new world, but there's still something to be said for good old fashioned experience. The scenes between Karen and Ben nicely deal with these issues rather well, and I'm happy that Urich is getting such a big role to play. The best Daredevil stories were often just as much about Urich as they were Matt, and special mention must be made of Vondie Curtis-Hall's role in bringing that character to life in a heart-breakingly relatable way on-screen.

            Also: the Greek girl! She gets a passing mention in one of the flashbacks to Matt's college days, and although the name Elektra Nachios is never mentioned, we know who Foggy and Matt are talking about. If Daredevil gets a second season, there is absolutely no doubt that Matt's assassin ex-girlfriend will come into play.

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