Netflix Daredevil Review Episode Four – In the Blood

Netflix’s newest original series, “Daredevil” debuted April 10, with all 13 episodes of the Marvel Comic adaptation’s first season available on the streaming service. Ed Carroll will review each episode here on Monkeys Fighting Robots without fear and let you know if the latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe meets the lofty standards of its predecessors.

The fourth episode of Netflix’s Daredevil wasn’t a bad episode, but it did make a few curious choices as we learned a lot more about Wilson Fisk’s operations (or at least how vast they are) and the seeds of the Ben Ulrich-Karen Page combo planted in episode three are starting to pay off.

It was a little odd to see the weakest parts of “In the Blood” were scenes involving Matt Murdock. Charlie Cox is still doing a good job with the character, but it was weird to see so little of him considering how the rest of Daredevil has had a laser-like focus on its leading man. Murdock began to watch the consequences of his vigilantism, as Clare Temple was kidnapped by some of Fisk’s Russian delivery drivers. Or taxi drivers.

Which brings up my biggest complaint about this episode: why would you have extended scenes of characters speaking in Russian without any subtitles? Yes, there was another (shorter) scene with Murdock and Santiago speaking in Spanish that also didn’t have subtitles, but more people speak Spanish than Russian (at least in the United States), so it’s forgivable. I know Netflix has shows that do better internationally than others, but everything about Daredevil seems to imply it’s mainly intended for American audiences. Perhaps the creators wanted to keep us in the dark, but I often felt really lost as I watched these scenes having no idea what was being discussed (for the most part). We saw this earlier in the pilot, but it was for only a couple sentences and someone even asked if anyone spoke Chinese, so none of the characters understood her either. Not enough to ruin the episode, but it did feel like an odd choice.

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Anyways, Matt saved Claire before the end of the episode, laying waste to most of the Russians in the process, but that fight scene was totally eclipsed by the final moments of the episode, which helped answer another curious choice in “In the Blood.”

We were (finally) able to see Fisk a.k.a. the Kingpin in the previous episode, but we got to see much more of Vincent D’Onofrio, and I’m certainly intrigued by this take on the character. Fisk went back to ask out the art gallery manager, named Vanessa, on a date, which was awkward at best, and then it appeared to be a quiet date at an Italian restaurant for the two, which I thought at first was a really weird way to show off the Kingpin for extended time.

But one of the Russians barged into the restaurant, ruining the date, and in the final minutes of the episode, another request I had previously made was answered. I wanted to see more of Fisk’s ruthlessness, not necessarily see more of Fisk throwing money at problems. Having Fisk murder the Russian with his own hands both allowed us to see that ruthlessness in bloody detail and gave justification for the entire date scene, as Fisk was PISSED his date was ruined. Might have been a tad over-the-top (particularly the blood dripping down the car door), but it was still effective. I do wonder if we will see Vanessa again this season.

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Similarly, the Ulrich-Page investigation really didn’t advance too much until the end, when Ben revealed he was chasing the story of United Allied, but he didn’t want to see Karen get hurt. I felt like the show was dragging its heels on some of this subplot, but it looks like the stalling was temporary. Also, now Foggy and Matt have actual communication devices for their offices, thanks to Karen’s auction bidding.

We also got references to Iron Man and Thor, with Wesley mocking the Russians for letting a “guy in a black mask” beat them up. Thankfully, these references aren’t gratuitous, but feel more natural in this Marvel version of Hell’s Kitchen.

All-in-all, “In the Blood” was a solid episode, but it did feel like a bit of let down after the excellent third episode, “Rabbit in a Snowstorm.” But Daredevil needed to move some pieces on its figurative chess board anyways, and it looks like things are about to get nuts in Hell’s Kitchen soon enough. Nine more episodes to go, but so far, it looks like Netflix AND Marvel have another winner on their hands.

Watching Daredevil on Netflix, too? Leave a comment and let us know what you think and feel free to tweet Ed –@EdTheRevelator
You can find his review of episode one here.
Click here for his review of episode two.
Read my thoughts on the jaw-dropping episode three here.

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Ed Carroll
Ed Carroll is a television and entertainment writer at Monkeys Fighting Robots, and also writes about Major League Baseball and other entertainment things at EverybodyHatesCleveland.com. Ed lives in Cleveland and enjoys watching the Indians and Cavs, in addition to playing video games and binging on television.
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