After watching dozens of trailers and scratching my head at the concept of “motion posters,” “Daredevil” has arrived on Netflix. I’ve written about my love for Daredevil — and Foggy Nelson — on CBR a number of times over the past few years. The fruits of my labor become apparent when you look at the Google Image search results for “Bretty White Foggy Nelson.” I leave a mighty legacy, truly. All that work has led up to this moment.
And here we are.
I’m going to watch “Daredevil,” all of it, as fast as I possibly can. Partly because I like the term “binge-blog,” but mostly because I need to see this show right now right now right now. I’ve finished work, Netflix is ready, and there’s pizza on my coffee table (real New Yorkers don’t get dinner and coffee tables!) and I’m hitting the play button.
1: INTO THE RING
Now that’s a first episode. This set up the entire world so well and everyone seems super well cast, all the way down to Wesley (Toby Leonard Moore) who has way more presence than I thought a Number Two could have. I love that the episode ended with a montage of all the evil in HK, set to a “Drive”-esque beat and interspersed with Murdock at the punching bag. Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) was a real surprise for me. I like that even though she’s flirting with the femme fatale/damsel trope, she got to save herself in the prison! Also justifying the neighborhood’s decline with the Battle of New York makes sense. I’m pretty sure that Foggy Nelson and his cop “friend” met on the corner across the street from one of Justin Timberlake’s restaurants. That should tell you how gritty the real Hell’s Kitchen is — pop stars open restaurants there.
Choke Up Count: 2. Those opening credits got to me. I’m very emotional when it comes to superheroes and, apparently, well done graphic art? Also Foggy comforting Karen.
Foggy Watch: I had very specific ideas regarding Foggy’s casting, but I’m enjoying Henson. I want his ties.
DD MVP: Charlie Cox. Being the lead superhero has gotta be a challenge for an actor, and Cox nailed it.
I’m also watching this with my fiance Sebastian, who offers up this: “I just Googled ‘Daredevil’ and I thought it said he was a bird lawyer, and I was like, I did not get that at all from the first episode.”
2: CUT MAN
We start off with Matt Murdock: Actual Garbage Person and end with him symbolically rescuing himself from the Russian mob. All three pairs — Matt/Claire, Foggy/Karen, and Jack/Kid Matt — were so engrossing. This episode introduces Rosario Dawson, who I was worried would be wasted in a bit role — nope. “You can smell a man on the third floor?” This is an audience surrogate character that I can get behind! This ep also established that we’re gonna play with dual narratives of Matt now and as a kid. Thanks, “Lost!” And holy one-shot, Daredevil, the last brawl in the hallway was jaw-dropping. All presented as one take, Daredevil — totally fatigued! — pushing himself against all those mobsters! Quite possibly the most gripping fight ever in a Marvel anything.
Also, Claire’s crazy mask during the rooftop interrogation was absolutely unsettling. Thanks for the nightmares!
Choke Up Count: 2. Jack putting all the money in Matt’s name and Matt’s reaction to his dad winning. Everything with these two punched me in the tear ducts.
Foggy Watch: Elden won me over with his go for broke rendition of “Pour, oh pour, the pirate sherry” from “Pirates of Penzance.” I had to look that up, because musical theater nerd isn’t my genus. I love Karen and Foggy as platonic pals but I also might “ship” them? I’m conflicted already.
Eggs: Pretty sure the song playing in Josie’s is “Swim” by Surfer Blood. Claire chooses to call Matt “Mike,” which is the name Daredevil used when he was posing as his twin brother. Don’t ask!
Gimme A GIF: Exasperated Rosario Dawson forever!
PG-15: Let’s track all the times I winced! Matt stitching up his dad’s face, the crazy eye socket torture, the most inventive use of a fire extinguisher I’ve seen.
DD MVP: Rosario Dawson. She called out all the crazy left unaddressed from the first episode.
Seb found out that I’m recording what he says. “I don’t like that one bit.”
3: RABBIT IN A SNOWSTORM
I wanted to call shenanigans on Hell’s Kitchen having a bowling alley, but Google proved me wrong. We meet Ben Urich (Voncie Curtis-Hall) in this episode; he’s the guy that published the info on Karen’s thumb-drive! I’m glad that Karen is getting independently active, but I just hope she doesn’t get Zoe Barnes’d (“House Of Cards,” y’all). In a way, Daniel was kinda fridged to motivate Karen, so that’s a cool twist? The way the Nelson & Murdock gang of underdogs responded to hearing a knock at the door was just delightful, and the following meeting with Wesley was ridiculously tense. This was the first time the show ventured into legal drama territory and I liked how Matt’s powers, which let him hear the jurors’ heartbeats, played a factor. We also got our first glimpse of Wilson Fisk in a shot that’s already been in, like, every teaser. Thanks, publicity machine!
Urich was assigned to run another “Will Hell’s Kitchen get a subway line?” piece which I, as someone that used to work in HK, would be interested in reading! Murdock’s going Full Bale with his DD voice. Also, Karen Page: Router Fonzie.
Foggy Watch: Taken directly from my notes: “FOGGY IN COOOURT SWOOON”
Gimme A GIF: Foggy and Matt fist bump!
PG-15: Bone ripping through skin and suicide by brain impalement. No thank you, “Daredevil!”
DD MVP: Vondie Curtis-Hall. Ben was instantly likeable in a Gary Oldman/Jim Gordon way.
Seb told me that the piece playing over Fisk’s debut is Chopin’s Nocturne in B-flat Minor, Op. 9 No. 1. He knows classical musical and is “so over people using classical music only for villains.” Seb also adds, “This feels like what ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ wanted to be but they couldn’t because ABC had to neuter it. Do you think that’s an astute observation? Are you writing these questions?”
4: IN THE BLOOD
Cox has great chemistry with Dawson. Between the kicked-in door and the probably lost cat, Claire’s done as a cat-sitter. I loved Matt’s Superman moment and I 100% expected him to pull open his shirt, revealing the Man In Black logo (which is just more black). But the best moment of the episode? Claire laughing as soon the lights went out in the taxi garage. “You wanna know his name? Ask him yourself.”
Wilson Fisk is so powerful he managed to erase himself from the Internet — that includes Facebook! The first plotline featuring the Kingpin is a love story. I love how vulnerable Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin is — and how disturbed by his vulnerability he is, too. Such a fascinating move! “A woman that can be bought isn’t one worth having.” Classically romantic, yet still dark and possessive.
We get more Ben/Karen time, and it’s hinted that she’s hiding something. I swear, I don’t want her to have Frank-Miller-stuff in her past. But I loved seeing Ben bust out some Batman-level detective skills in that auction. I’m ridiculously attached to Santino. I flipped out a little bit when he accidentally ran across the Russians.
Foggy Watch: “You got a new phone just for your girls. My life sucks.”
Eggs: Wesley mentions Iron Man and Thor. This is the Easter egg hidden in plain sight. Kingpin gets his suits made by Melvin Potter, the future Gladiator.
PG-15: If you need a weapon, just crack off a rib from your cellmate’s corpse! Also Fisk pops a guy’s head using a car door.
DD MVP: Vincent D’Onofrio. Great job humanizing him and then turning him into a vicious monster.
So here’s a thing — this show might be too intense to binge watch. I’m exhausted in all the best ways right now, but I’m still exhausted!
5: WORLD ON FIRE
We get an in-depth look at Matt’s abilities. His not-quite-radar-sense makes the world look like it’s on fire! That hellish imagery leads to our first lip-lock as Claire and Matt get smoochy. This episode escalated HK’s crime-war with Kingpin manipulating the Russians, via both Turk (Rob Morgan) and Wesley, who I realized dresses like an MSNBC anchor and is basically Evil C-3PO. Fisk’s demeanor throughout is so measured and anxious; he seems apologetic to the other crime bosses. The glimpse we got of Vanessa was fascinating, from carrying a gun on a date to calling Fisk out — and then being okay with him bombing Hell’s Kitchen!
I loved Karen’s line upon entering the mega-firm: “This looks like a place in a movie where you’d buy a clone.”
Choke Up Count: 3. Matt and Foggy comforting Ms. Cardenas, and Foggy rushing out to see if anyone else needed help after the explosion.
Foggy Watch: Foggy Bear! I am so relieved to see a romance on the show not involving the lead. How’d they luck out with all this chemistry? None of these relationships are going to end well!
Eggs: Mr. Nobu references “those he speaks for” which reminds me that this show is eventually going to have ninjas in it. Nelson & Murdock is across from Atlas Investments; Atlas was the name Marvel used in the ’50s. Vanessa went on a date with a prince that wore a white suit and ascot — which is what Fisk wears in the comics.
PG-15: Coulda done without seeing the bloody remains of Anatoly after Kingpin’s car door rage.
DD MVP: Elden Henson. He had so much to do in this episode, and his kick-ass speech to his ex was just heroic. And then he became a hero!
That ending, with Matt facing the NYPD, makes me so angry that I have to call it a night. Need. More. “Daredevil!”
And I’m back! I slept a whole lot in between the last paragraph and this one. That’s the magic of blogging!
Ben Urich has gone all “Homeland.” This is done all the time on shows, but it’s hard mapping a criminal empire on a desktop screen! The big reveal of this ep is that despite only punching people in the head, DD doesn’t kill people — coma’s totally fine, though. Most of this episode was a two-hander with Matt and Vladimir and I found it super tense — specifically Matt’s first walkie-talkie talk with Fisk. Once Fisk started assassinating cops, I realized that “Daredevil” is going full “Dark Knight” with all these moral dilemmas. After all that, Vladimir gives up Fisk’s accountant’s name — Leland Owlsley. Hoot hoot, time’s up Owl!
Choke Up Count: 2. Claire helps Ms. Cardenas! And Foggy saying Matt’s the closest he has to family — actually all the Karen/Foggy stuff got me. She called him a hero! We agree with each other, Karen!
Foggy Watch: I don’t know what to expect with this show, so seeing Foggy bleeding was stressful! You don’t kill Foggy!
Gimme A GIF: Matt did a very funny walk while carrying Vladimir over his shoulders, which I have dubbed the Vladimir Shuffle.
PG-15: The rebar scene made me a little squeamish, and the only trace of CG I’ve seen in this show has to be cauterizing that wound with the flare.
DD MVP: Charlie Cox, for spending a whole episode with his face covered and still emoting.
Matt’s got a new name: the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. Things have gotten awkward between Foggy and Karen, she didn’t want to hit the batting cages with him! Foggy’s anti Man in the Mask, so there is heartbreak ahead, people! Leland has a stun gun and he’s not afraid to use it, specifically on vigilantes. This episode passes the Spanish Bechdel Test — La Prueba De Bechdel? — in a scene between Karen and Elena Cardenas. Elena also noticed that Foggy looks at Karen with love, which freaked Karen out times a million. Sadface emoji.
Then we get flashbacks. The Netflix medium, void of commercial breaks, allows “Daredevil” to have meaty scenes. The bench scene, do we ever get to see that much dialogue between two people on TV anymore? Stick and Matt clashed over killing Black Sky — which was a kid! — and Stick had some crazy scarred-back dude he reported to, a guy with the most sinister neti pot ever. But this Stick storyline did a lot to set Matt up as an innately good person in my mind; he forms relationships and cares about other people, and he can’t turn that off.
Foggy Watch: Foggy’s tie clip has an “F” on it and he used the phrase “shapely Irish ass.” Ms. Cardenas thinks “Foggy es guapo!” She’s really shipping Foggy and Karen hard.
Eggs: Matt’s mother left, and that’s “another story,” one that Mark Waid and Javier Rodriguez just told a few months ago. Wild speculation, but is Stick’s war our first hint at the plotline that will culminate with “The Defenders?”
PG-15: You know, compared to what we’ve seen so far, the off-screen beheading seemed tame.
DD MVP: Scott Glenn, because of the nonchalant way he delivered vague mystical exposition and lines like “That’s because you’re stupid.”
8: SHADOWS IN THE GLASS
I cannot handle this episode. In a good way. Fisk wanted that painting because it looks like the wall he stared at after he bashed his dad’s brains in with a hammer! Fisk isn’t over his horrible childhood, as evidenced by the bloody kid he sees in the mirror every morning! We get to see Fisk’s morning routine twice; every episode of “Cooking with Kingpin” is a rerun. Then, at the end of the episode, we see Vanessa changing every aspect of his routine, embodying the change others have seen in Fisk, which leads to him establishing himself as the most terrifying philanthropist ever. The cufflinks made me freak out. They remind him that he’s not cruel for cruelty’s sake — and then Vanessa gives him a different pair of cufflinks! Vanessa, it’s fantastic that you want to see your partner fully actualized — but your partner is the damn Kingpin!
Wilson Fisk has my dream closet. Since I marathon “Property Brothers” on Netflix, I can only think about how open concept Fisk’s penthouse is.
Fisk’s backup story was fantastic. It reminded me just how badass “Brown Sugar” is. There’s a nice callback-to-the-future with mention of Rigoletto, the unseen crime boss namedropped in the first episode. “Kick him harder.” The modern story was also riveting, because “Daredevil” loves humanizing bad guys. Hoffman’s been friends with Blake for years and now he has to kill him!
Matt knows that Foggy and Karen are teaming up with Ben to take down Fisk, and Matt gets a deathbed confession from Blake. Too bad Ben can’t use any of that hearsay as evidence! #journalism
Foggy Watch: This episode was written by “Buffy” alum and “DD” showrunner Steven S. DeKnight, which explains Foggy using the line “Nancy Drewing it together.” Similarly, Foggy is basically Xander to the Man in the Mask’s Angel.
Eggs: I assume everyone knows “Brown Sugar” by the Rolling Stones, but then I remember that a lot of people thought Kanye West was giving Paul McCartney exposure. The first time we see Melvin Potter we see a buzzsaw; those are Potter’s main jam in the comics.
Gimme A GIF: Kingpin’s table flip, Matt’s laptop freakout.
PG-15: That syringe hidden in the meatball sub was disgusting.
DD MVP: Vincent D’Onofrio. Of course.
9: SPEAK OF THE DEVIL
Stop: NINJA TIME. We get a lot more info about Nobu. He wants a specific block in HK, has mysterious masters and, oh yeah, he’s a ninja. He also doesn’t quit when he gets set on fire! Wilson Fisk is going viral — he’s the new Tay Zonday! Elena shows up to say that Fisk doubled the offer to get them out of the building and Foggy told her to stand firm, and she will! Karen got Nelson & Murdock the sign! “We are small but awesome!”
“Ask him yourself.” How am I supposed to write reasonable words about this! FISK AND MURDOCK FACE TO FACE. APOLOGIES FOR THE SHOUTING. “He has someone that he loves who loves him.” Matt cannot even with killing Fisk, but he can’t think of another option. Matt throat punches his way through HK and ends up in a ninja fight!
To pull a quote from my scribbled notes, “holy crap this is so stressful”
And we also get Fisk vs. Proto-DD, and it ends with Kingpin’s plans for Hell’s Kitchen sticking to Matt’s exposed, bloody back.
Choke Up Count: 3. Fisk had Elena stabbed to death and I am starting to choke up again just typing this out! No! No, Fisk, no! Foggy feels responsible and I’m ruining my keyboard with these tears! Then Foggy discovers Matt’s identity!
Foggy Watch: Foggy Nelson: Shrug Alerter. The Karen and Foggy romance has been pretty much dropped, but look at all the big stuff happening. And we did see how freaked out Karen was by Foggy’s emotions.
Gimme A GIF: Matt gripping the crap out of his cane!
DD MVP: Everyone. Every single person!
10: NELSON V. MURDOCK
Well here it is, the episode designed specifically to wreck me — the Nelson and Murdock origin story. I don’t know, I don’t know — too much to say. Foggy looks like a Bash Brother and Matt has total Jim Halpert hair. “El Grande Avocados.” Foggy can’t handle all the from-day-one lies, and sees right through all of Matt’s bluster. “Maybe it’s about you having an excuse to hit someone!” The flashback to Josie’s where Foggy draws the sign on a napkin and he says it’s like they’re getting married and they are best friends and now things are very bad between them and this is a run on sentence. The Nelson & Murdock sign ends up in the trash. This didn’t end well.
Madame Gao’s rooftop retreat is gorgeous — and she also gave Fisk some serious insight, saying he can’t be both savior and oppressor. Get outta here, dual nature! That night at a big ol’ one-percenter hangout, a bunch of people get poisoned via champagne — including Vanessa. This isn’t going to end well.
Ben’s wife needs full-time care and he’s ready to quit work and the case to look after her — until Karen plays her ace card. She knows where Fisk’s mom is. Sneaky move, Karen, and now they know about Wilson’s dad. This cannot end well.
Choke Up Count: THE WHOLE EPISODE.
Foggy Watch: The whole episode!
Eggs: Thanks for reminding me that Train’s “Drops of Jupiter” exists. Landman & Zack represented Roxxon, Marvel’s premiere evil company. All those dinosaurs on Foggy’s desk could be a callback to Wash’s collection in “Firefly.” From my notes: ” THE GREEEKGIRLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!AAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!! AAAHHHHH!!!!!!! DIDNT WORK OUT!!!!” That Greek girl, by the way, is Elektra.
DD MVP: The whole cast! This show is so well cast.
11: THE PATH OF THE RIGHTEOUS
Bob Gunton as Owlsley is a delight every time he’s on screen, specifically him wanting to know if he needs to be checked for poison. Karen still doesn’t know Matt’s secret, which makes the talk she has with him super awkward, but she knows something is up because Karen Page is not dumb. Size-wise, Matt’s apartment makes Monica and Rachel’s look like Chandler and Joey’s. Bye-bye Claire, see you on “A.K.A. Jessica Jones” I hope. “I’ll always be there when you really need me, to patch you up. Beyond that…”
Matt has another talk with the priest about the devil that’s in him trying to claw his way out. The priest says the devil is a symbol, a warning, and Matt takes that in. This inspirational moment is much better than seeing a bunch of bats in a cave. And now Matt seeks out Kingpin’s tailor.
Fisk and Wesley are great and I see them as a reverse Matt and Foggy. Like Matt, Fisk also lets people get close to him — and that doesn’t end well for him. Look at Vanessa! Look at Wesley! Wesley talks to Fisk’s mother and finds out Karen went to see him — so he kidnaps Karen. Their one-on-one in the warehouse was so riveting and when Karen grabbed the gun I flipped out. She shoots Wesley! She kills him! She kills Wesley! She has now saved herself twice during the course of this show, and that face-off was fantastic.
Eggs: You can see the Gladiator logo Potter wears in the comics in his workshop, and also buzzsaws. Betsy is the name of his therapist in the comics.
Gimme A GIF: Matt with the monkey balloon.
DD MVP: Deborah Ann Woll. This episode felt a bit like treading water until that end scene. “You think this is the first time I’ve shot someone?” Gah!
12: THE ONES WE LEAVE BEHIND
Considering how straightforward and proactive Karen has been so far, I think I’m fine with her keeping Wesley’s murder a secret. She was totally justified, but Foggy and Matt keep saying things about souls and evil and killing — no wonder she’s weirded out. Still, how does Matt not Daredevil anything about her? Was her shower that thorough?! Matt goes on the hunt for Madame Gao’s blind heroin pushers and Tick’s his way across the rooftops of Manhattan. This is also very Daredevil and I love it.
I don’t know if I’ve ever been invested in a villain’s love story before. Wait, has a supervillain ever had a legit, two-sided love story before? All this Vanessa stuff, I love it! And Wesley! “He is my friend!” Fisk holds his dead dead hand and kisses his forehead. Also we found out hat Madame Gao and Owlsley poisoned Vanessa to clear Fisk of distractions. A-ha!
Ben suspects that Fisk has bought someone at the paper and, because he won’t give up the Fisk story, he gets fired. But that’s okay, because he can, I dunno, start a Blogspot? And then, like last episode, we have another two-person scene that stressed me out and ends with a surprise death. Death! So much death! SO MUCH DEATH!
Foggy Watch: Foggy gives Matt the longest, most epic cold shoulder I have ever seen. Foggy gets with Marcy — I do not ship this, although Foggy’s a good influence on her. And apparently Foggy’s good in bed!
Eggs: Karen becomes a heroin addict in the comics so, no, I don’t like hearing her talking about “moving on to the hard stuff.” I don’t know who Madame Gao is, but she does not seem human and now I’m wondering if she has ties to K’un-Lun, the mystical city that plays a big part in “Iron Fist.”
Gimme A GIF: Matt leaping across rooftops, yelling “SPOOOOOON,” please.
DD MVP: Vondie Curtis-Hall, I miss you already.
One more episode and the stakes, like the body count, are so high.
One second in and I am devastated. Ben’s funeral! And just as soon as we get one body in the ground, here comes Leland Owlsley and his plan to divorce Fisk. He has Hoffman! And Hoffman will go public if he doesn’t call! Fisk doesn’t care because Leland poisoned Vanessa and there goes the future Owl — one of my I-don’t-know-why favorites from the comics.
The dream team gets back together after Ben’s death and decides to take Fisk down using the law, because killing Fisk would really mess up someone “as Catholic as” Matt. Their mission? Protect Hoffman from Fisk’s goons and get him to talk — and they succeed! Cut to a montage of the FBI rounding up all our friends! Senator we met briefly, lawyer we saw in a flashback, reporter we saw in a shot once — all set to Puccini. Seb spotted that — he’s been coming and going during this marathon while I freak out.
With Fisk in custody, the Nelson & Murdock team toast the memory of Elena and Ben and — then Fisk breaks out. Dude’s still got friends in heavily-armed places! It’s time for Matt to become Daredevil.
Listen, I bent over backwards to avoid seeing the suit before watching this show. I am not down with spoiler hounds seeking spoilers as if these stories are government secrets. Let storytellers have their secrets — they’re stories. Just because they are cool with spoilers, the entire Internet has to be cool with spoilers. The way this show was set up, that suit was clearly a big reveal — and the fact that Marvel didn’t release a pic of the suit until after it leaked kinda proves that. It’s annoying. But. I remained unspoiled. And it was worth it. This is the MCU Daredevil! This is him and I love him. The Daredevil/Kingpin fight was great. Throw-laptop-to-the-side-and-take-no-notes great! And what an ending, seeing DD in his suit leaping off a building into action.
Netflix, you renewed “Bloodline” for a second season. Give us more “Daredevil.”
Choke Up Count: 4. Doris Urich at the funeral, ugh, devastating, especially her telling Karen how much Ben talked about her! Then Matt and Foggy saying they can move forward. Fisk proposing to Vanessa while getting arrested — why do I have all these emotions?! And finally, “Avocados at Law.”
Foggy Watch: Now that Foggy knows Matt’s secret, he gets to do the Mary Jane Watson-style longing looks as his friend rushes off into battle. Also, I love everything about Foggy on this show… except he could use a liiiiittle bit of a haircut.
Eggs: Melvin Potter has blueprints for a buzzsaw suit. We get it! He’s gonna be Gladiator!
Gimme A GIF: Matt flipping the table over and punching Hoffman in the face. EVERYTHING INVOLVING THE SUIT.
DD MVP: This show. This show and everyone involved is the MVP.
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