I don’t know how to talk about Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix. Not the plot. That I have no problem discussing and we’ll get into that shortly. But in this new world of streaming shows and Netflix originals and Marvel back catalogs, I don’t know how to call this show by its proper title. Is it Netflix’s Marvel’ s Daredevil? The Netflix Daredevil of Marvel? The Daredevil Show Presented By Marvel Only On Netflix? Hopefully, we’ll get answers to this cliffhanger as we binge through these thirteen episodes of season 1.
The superhero industrial complex can be frustrating at times. Mostly because it seems like every three-to-five years we have to see the same origin story happen on repeat. This is pretty much the only genre that does that. If someone is going to make a movie about New York, they don’t go back to Peter Stuyvesant bouncing around New Amsterdam to show you how it all began. You jump right into the action with some taxi cabs, a couple pigeons, and that 53%-47% female to male ratio. Simple really.
The opening minutes of Daredevil give you all of the backstory that you really need. I support this fully. There is an accident. This kid saved an old man’s life by pushing him out of the way. He shouldn’t have saved the man because the man was old. The old man probably didn’t have all that much time left anyway. But because the kid saved him, the kid got chemicals in his eyes. So the kid goes blind. We know he goes blind because the camera oozes over with some gunk and the kid says “I can’t see.” By the time this kid is a grown man, who is still very blind, that old man is definitely dead. The lesson here: don’t save old people.
Current day, grown man Matt Murdock, played by Charlie Cox with an awesome American accent, explains the idea of “losing more than you win” to a priest in a confessional. Matt’s dad was a boxer who had a record of 24-31. He wasn’t a very good fighter but he could take a punch and he was never knocked out. If he lost, he lost on his feet. But every once in a while he would get hit and his eyes would glaze over and the devil would come out of him. Matt’s grandma said the Murdock boys “had the devil in them.” I’m not sure Matt Murdock’s grandmother necessarily understood how boxing works. It’s kind of dependent on punching the other person after they punch you. Especially when all these fighters are punching Matt Murdock’s dad until they break their own fists on his face. She could have been more supportive is all I’m saying. Basically, this is another old person negatively affecting young Matt Murdock.
The session ends when Matt Murdock asks the priest for forgiveness, not for what he has done, but what he is about to do. But what he is about to do is save a bunch of women from being loaded into a container with a taser. Yes, he beats up a gang of generic thugs with some killer karate-parkour moves. He fights with a black shroud over his head because he is blind so why not, it looks super cool. Also, he can hear fists and heartbeats and bullets. It’s marvelous. But poor Matt Murdock is weighed down by some insane guilt instilled in him by the terrible elderly people of his past that allowing this “devil” side of him to take over is something to ask penance for. No way, Matt. You live in Hell’s Kitchen after this mysterious disaster that people can only describe as “death and destruction raining down from the sky.” You do you, homey. Let them damn devils out and clean this mess up. I’ve been to regular Hells Kitchen in real life and that place is like a time machine back to bankrupt 1980 New York. I went into a bar in Hells Kitchen called Smith’s Bar and Grill in the 2000’s—one side of the room was a bar and the other literally had a grill in it with a sign that spelled beans as “beens.” I needed Matt Murdock’s devils that night for sure.
The next morning, Matt Murdock gets a call from his pal, Foggy Nelson. Matt Murdock’s phone says the name of the person calling because that is how caller ID works for someone who cannot see. But also, it is really funny to hear a phone say Foggy Nelson repeatedly. If I were Matt Murdock, I’d never pick up when Foggy called. Foggy, played by Elden Henson, is Matt Murdock’s law partner. Foggy and Matt need an office for their new legal practice. Foggy is well-aware that Matt has a knack for finding all the pretty women, even though he can’t see them. So Foggy tells Matt that their real estate agent is a homely woman who does not like blind people. But, she isn’t and Matt gets her to walk him around the office holding him by the arm—that scamp. They take the office even though they have no money and no clients because Matt Murdock is an idealist and Foggy Nelson is a realist.
Foggy bribed a police officer with cigars for his mother for any potential client leads. The cop calls him when a weird case comes in. The weird case is Karen Page, played by Deborah Ann Woll, being covered in blood, holding a knife over a dead body in her apartment when the police bust in on her. But she claims she didn’t do anything. Matt and Foggy show up to the precinct even though Karen didn’t call them. At first she’s confused because what if I got arrested and two lawyers showed up that I didn’t know and one of them was a smooth-talking charismatic blind man and the other was named Foggy? But since she has no money and they have no clients, they decide they can help each other out. Karen works for United Allied Construction, a firm that is handling a lot of the rebuilding efforts from the mystery New York disaster. She saw a file called Pension Master—please from now on only refer to me by my new name, Pension Master— that listed way more money than it should have. She mentioned it to her friend at work and he ended up as the dead guy in her apartment. Matt Murdock listens to Karen’s heartbeat and realizes that she is innocent. I listened to the song Eternal Flame and realized that “Close your eyes, give me your hand, do you feel my heart beating, do you understand?” might be about the show Daredevil. I also realized that there is a chance that this show is a legal thriller disguised as a superhero show like Gotham is a Law and Order spinoff disguised as a superhero show. I am so down because I love legal thrillers. I have seen A Civil Action like ten times, Travolta is so good in it, he loses all his money but finds his soul. I would be really down to see a show that takes place in the hospital in the town that the Hulk lives in and every week they have to work on the cases of the bad guys that the Hulk beats up before the crooks are sentenced to jail.
On the other side of town, we see a real straight laced looking fellow in glasses approach a man on a bench. Glasses is a representative of a big important mystery boss who has bought out the bench man’s debt so that they can use his position as a prison guard to clean up their Karen Page mess. Karen Page was supposed to be arrested but because Matt and Foggy showed up after the cop bribe, the plan got all screwed up. So they want to use this guard to sneak into her cell and strangle her. Glasses pulls out his new Microsoft tablet to show the guard that they are watching his daughter because the Surface Pro 3 is perfect for spying on young girls in real time—solid product placement. Glasses has a man named Rance, who is in close proximity to the daughter, wave at the camera. Then Glasses makes a reference to the guard’s daughter’s Monet shirt and it is cemented that he is a lunatic because I completely lost track of any coherent point he is trying to make.
The attempt on Karen’s life fails because she gauges out one of the guard’s eyes—everyone goes for the eyes in this show—and Matt and Foggy are able to spring her out of jail because a guard blatantly tried to kill her. Matt can feel that Karen is innocent because Matt Murdock is a superhero who can hear bullets, intuit legal motions, and play pinball by sense of smell (credit to me for making it this far before a Tommy reference). Karen knows that she got her coworker killed and she’s afraid that being around anyone else will result in something bad happening to them, too. But Matt Murdock gets her to come to his place for safety. Matt Murdock’s living room has a giant billboard for Xining Airways on it and I am willing to bet that is not the last time we hear that name. But Karen needs to change her clothes because she’s wet so she takes her shirt off in front of Matt, probably as a test to see if he is really blind, which feels messed up. She should just take his word for it. She wouldn’t treat him like that if she knew he is listening to her heartbeat and knows she’s lying about keeping a copy of the Pension Master—please, I beg of you only refer to me by my new name, Pension Master. Karen sneaks out of Matt’s apartment but Matt wakes up and follows her. Good thing, too because that same creep from the park, Rance, is there and he attacks her. But then Daredevil shows up again and they fight in very dim light and flop around a whole lot. I watched this on a laptop and the scene was so dark, it was really hard to tell which guy with the dark hair and face was throwing the other guy with the dark cloth over his hair and face out of which window.
Matt hits the ground hard and flashes back to being a kid and feeling his dad’s face after a fight. Remember all that stuff from the beginning about getting knocked down but not knocked out? Matt’s dad in flashback says “it’s time to get to work.” He’s talking about young Matt studying but it translates to “get up and kick this guy around some more in the darkness, let the devil out.” So he does. He recovers the file and they pass it along to the media who print the story about Union Allied being corrupt.
There is a scene on a roof when Glasses meets up with some Chechnyan thugs (the same guys who were in charge of the women-container smuggling), a Japanese man, and a Chinese madam. Plus Bob Gunton, an actor who has never once played a good guy ever, so you know some shady stuff is going down. Basically all the crime we have seen so far in the whole episode somehow relates to every single one of these people. And Bob Gunton mentions that the failed heroics of others is how they are able to capitalize on their current situations. So we’ll have to keep our eyes on them.
In the end, Glasses ties up all the loose ends for his boss and they start a folder on Matt Murdock and Foggy. All the bad guys from the roof get away with their crimes. That Madame lady has a drug operation that only has blind people working at it and the Japanese business man has a giant blueprint plan for all of Hell’s Kitchen.
Matt hires Karen to work for them at the firm and she cooks them a meal that she is only supposed to make for her future husband, wink. Daredevil ends up on a roof again and there is more crime. That same gang from the shipping container kidnaps someone and he hears it and gets ready to go into action. I kind of hope that the whole show is just Daredevil thwarting this one mid-level gang over and over and he doesn’t stop anyone else’s crime and then also there should be a lot of courtroom scenes where Matt is giving his opening statement and listening to the jury’s twelve heartbeats to see how he is doing. That would be pretty great. Can’t wait for the next one.