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. Previous Daredevil review links are at the bottom of the post.
It seems like Netflix’s Daredevil is making sure it avoids the early-season mistakes of ABC’s first Marvel Cinematic Universe show, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., of which its chief mistake was stalling. It took about 16-episodes (and a game-changing twist I won’t dare spoil here) for S.H.I.E.L.D. to get any sort of consistency, and the show didn’t become truly great until season two. Admittedly, that show had about 24 hour-long episodes in its first season, where Daredevil has a little more than half that, with 13, so Netflix’s show had to have a faster pace anyways (much like ABC’s second MCU show, Agent Carter).
But it’s still impressive to see what Daredevil is accomplishing, and it’s truly taken advantage of the freedom of being a Netflix original. Unlike network (and even a lot of cable) shows, Netflix doesn’t need to account for commercials or commercial breaks. Netflix originals also don’t have any set requirements on episode length; Daredevil episodes have ranged from 48 to 59 minutes. It’s not a massive deal, but it’s nice that the creators can keep an episode short if they feel it paces better, or in the case of this ninth episode, “Speak of the Devil,” some more time to fit in some pretty big plot developments. Very few of the scenes feel wasted, which helps keep the show riveting.
Karen and Foggy brought Matt into their plans with Ulrich, which seemed like the smart play from the start. A lot of the beginning of this episode was chasing dead ends, and some disorienting flash-forwards that made more sense as the episode progressed.
Things picked up when Murdock went to meet Vanessa and met the woman who loved Wilson Fisk, and then an unexpected and unsettling meeting between Fisk and Murdock. Murdock controlled his emotions and left, but I wonder if Fisk realized who he was speaking with (or made the connection later). This was a scene that started out light and fun, with Murdock asking Vanessa for help picking out art for his apartment, but quickly spiraled into suspense and tension.
But the first true shocker was the murder of poor Ms. Cardenas, who was the unfortunate bait to lure Murdock out of the shadows into attacking Fisk. I was surprised at the empathy I felt for a character I didn’t particularly like, but I did feel for Foggy and Karen, who were the most shaken. Murdock took the bait, and was lured into a fight with Nobu (Peter Shinkoda). After roughing up some goons and junkies, Daredevil showed some vulnerability today, as he got knocked around first by Nobu, and then later by Fisk himself.
That fight with Nobu was fun; it was one of the more elaborate fights, and Daredevil was really close to being down for the count a few times against Nobu, who was more than a worthy opponent. I’m curious to see how much guilt Murdock carries with him since he basically murdered Nobu.
I was slightly disappointed by the first in-person meeting between Fisk and Daredevil. I’m not certain Fisk made the connection between Murdock and Daredevil yet, but I could be wrong. Still, it was slightly disappointing to only see the two go toe-to-toe but have Daredevil be really beaten up already. Still, it’s always fun to see Kingpin in action, and I absolutely love Vincent D’orofrio’s portrayal of Fisk. Still, a pretty big moment, and smart planning by Fisk.
Murdock of course got away to his apartment, but only after a drunken Foggy had stumbled over to his place, too. Foggy heard a non-sexual crash and investigated, only to discover the identity of the man in the mask. I’m really glad the show didn’t delay on this inevitable development, and this was a great way to do it. I don’t think Foggy should really be so upset with Murdock that he’d end the friendship, and this might be another way Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple re-enters the picture.
This was another showcase episode of Daredevil, with a great extended fight and loads of juicy plot developments. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it much here, but even the credits sequence is absolutely brilliant (a weird niche that Netflix absolutely NAILS, with standouts such as House of Cards and BoJack Horseman). “Speak of the Devil” also pushed Daredevil closer to its inevitable season finale (maybe series finale?), with several big reveals, and nearly every actor or actress is owning their characters. This has been brilliant television, and I’m kind of sad there are only four episodes left, but I can’t wait to see what’s next. Links to every one Daredevil review of each episode are at the bottom, and feel free to let me know what you think in the comments!
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 his thoughts on the jaw-dropping episode three here.
Ed’s review of the fourth episode is here.
Click here for Ed’s review of the explosive fifth episode.
Episode six was dripping with suspense, Ed’s review is here.
A familiar face from the comics debuted in episode seven, read Ed’s thoughts here.
Ed’s thoughts on episode eight are right here.