TV Review: Daredevil Season 1, Episodes 7-13
I’ll be honest, the second half of Marvel’s Daredevil could’ve been 7 episodes of Matt Murdock break dancing while Kingpin beat boxes around him and I’d still give this series a glowing review. Thankfully, the second half of this series is just as good as the first, even with a few minor hiccups here and there. If the first six episodes of Daredevil serve as setting the stage for Matt Murdock and his world, the second half dismantles that world piece by piece, and uncovers secrets behind the Man Without Fear and his nemesis, Wilson Fisk. It also features two of the best episodes of the season: “Stick” and “Shadows In Glass”.
Both episodes focus on the pasts of the central characters of the show: Daredevil and Kingpin. While they may cover ground that long time Daredevil fans know (especially if they’ve read Man Without Fear), seeing a character like Stick appear on screen, and the training he gives a young Matt Murdock is stellar, and it’s made even better by having the phenomenal Scott Glenn portray the gruff, no BS martial arts master. Glenn’s Stick is both hilarious and a bit of a dick at times, and Scott Glenn walks the line of the mysterious blind warrior beautifully. He also kicks major ass in the fight scenes he’s given. But as good as he is in the fight scenes, the best moment of the episode is when he’s sitting with a young Matt in the park and telling him about the full extent of his abilities. By the end of his episode we’re left with just as many questions as we had answers, and hints at a larger world beyond Hell’s Kitchen that (hopefully) will be explored in season two or Iron Fist’s Netflix series.
“Shadows In Glass”, which comes directly after “Stick”, is the Wilson Fisk show, peeling back the curtain on Vincent D’Onofrio’s insane mastermind to reveal the tragedy behind his stern face. I’ve already mentioned the stellar job that D’Onofrio has done in this series, but this episode is the one that should hopefully nab him an Emmy nomination. His performance has made Kingpin into one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most compelling and sympathetic villains, something that I honestly wasn’t expecting when I started this series.
There are more great episodes this season as well, and plenty more surprises. However, if there’s one complaint I have about this batch of episodes, it’s that there’s a certain decision regarding a character that I don’t entirely agree with. While the scene with this character is certainly compelling and heartbreaking, it’s also a bit of a bummer to have them gone from the world of Daredevil so soon, especially when they could’ve had a lot more to do in season two. There are also some moments that seem a little rushed as the series started ramping up to the finale. If the producers were given an extra episode or took a look at the timeline a little more, they could’ve prevented this. Despite this, Daredevil absolutely sticks the landing, and the final confrontation between Daredevil (in his kick ass red suit) and Fisk is brutal, powerful, and extremely satisfying.
Marvel’s entry into the world of Netflix original programming couldn’t have gotten off to a better start, and I’m actually excited to rewatch the whole thing all over again. But as excited as I am to rewatch this series, I’m more excited that the world now knows how exciting and compelling the Man Without Fear is.