With the whole series of Daredevil now available on Netflix, the race is on to reach the ending before someone spoils it for you. But that presents us with a problem. How do we approach reviews? It’s not much use speculating about the future of the series when it’s available at a moment’s notice, but watching the whole thing in one go for a single review is impractical for anyone with a day job and personal relationships to maintain – to say nothing of how difficult it is to critically appraise 12 hours of television if you don’t savour the instalments properly.
That’s why, instead of traditional reviews, we’re trying something new. An episode-by-episode unpicking of the show, looking at its techniques, characters and use of the source material. Call them annotations, call them show notes, call them whatever you like – but hopefully it’ll offer you a kind of Daredevil coverage you can’t get anywhere else. All we ask is that if you’ve seen future episodes that confirm, contradict or otherwise twist things we talk about in this piece, please don’t put spoilers anywhere in the comments!
The episode opens with Fisk delivering the poisoned Vanessa to hospital. She’s still unconscious after being poisoned at the benefit, and it doesn’t look good. Three other men have died after ingesting the same substance. Fisk thanks Wesley for standing by him through all this. Throughout the episode, Karen takes her information about Fisk’s past to Foggy, Ben and Matt, and they all tell her it’s not enough. Although his injuries are still severe, Matt follows up his observation that the Kingpin was wearing a custom-made protective suit and ends up meeting Melvin Potter. After fighting with Potter they realise that they both want to bring down the Kingpin, and Potter agrees to make him a suit that’ll protect him. Meanwhile, Wesley later receives a call from Fisk’s mother indicating that Karen and Ben went to meet with her. Not wanting to disturb Fisk, Wesley takes one of Fisk’s guards’ gun and leaves without telling them. He kidnaps Karen and tries to blackmail her. She manages to take his gun and although he thinks she won’t shoot she FULL ON SHOOTS HIM LIKE SIX TIMES IN THE CHEST. WHAT THE HELL. DID NOT SEE THAT COMING.
I may have said this before, it’s a testament to this show’s greatness that even though Fisk is a total monster, you really can’t help but feel bad for him. Wesley existed purely to be the guy looking after the rage-filled manchild that is Fisk, so when he died you don’t feel bad for Wesley, you feel REALLY bad for Fisk. Like you would for Mr. Burns if Smithers died.
And Karen! Handy with a weapon! Who would’ve thought? “You think this is the first time I’ve shot someone?” Man, Karen’s past gets crazier ever time it’s brought up. I would not want to be her when the Kingpin finds out about this. Although given that Wesley didn’t tell anyone where he was going… will they? I’m guessing even the gun-toting badass version of Karen Page isn’t going to drag Wesley to the river and chuck him in, so I guess Fisk will find out about them going to his mother and put 2 & 2 together. But man. What a moment. What a twist.
Oh, and the irony is not lost on me that after so long spent wondering if heroes should kill, Karen blows Wesley away the first chance she gets, largely to protect the people she loves. You know how sometimes you’re looking at the TV and shouting “Just pull the trigger and this is all over!”? Well, I’m guessing the end of this season might show us why that’s not exactly the case.
Now, what about the rest of the episode? Owlsley made a lot of noises in this episode which lead me to believe he’s probably responsible for poisoning Fisk – not only does he make a big show about how they almost got him, but he claims he’s gone for a meeting with Gao which we don’t see, so he might just be lying. That said, I think Fisk is jumping to a conclusion in thinking he was the target. I think it’s relatively clear to viewers that Vanessa was the one he was aiming for in an attempt to get Fisk’s head back in the game.
I have to say, I think the people telling Karen that her investigation is on the wrong track are probably right. So Fisk lied about his past. Big whoop. She’s got nothing on Fisk that’ll get him arrested, and that’s all that matters at this point. This kind of story could actually work to his advantage. All it’s going to do is make him angrier.
The Matt & Foggy split is being handled really well, too. Those guys fall out a lot in the comics, but it’s never permanent. I’m surprised Marci came back into it, though. Foggy sure got over Karen fast. And I guess that was Matt and Claire getting the closure they were denied last episode. I really hope Claire turns up in the other Netflix shows. She’s exactly the sort of character who can and should cross over into other properties.
At this point in the series it feels like the Easter Eggs are thinning out a bit. Obviously the Gladiator is going to make Matt’s Daredevil suit, and while the comics version of the Gladiator doesn’t have the diminished capacity of the TV version, he does have a relationship with a “Betsy” – that’d be Betsy Beatty, his therapist and later wife. (Er, malpractice much?) Like virtually everything else in this series she’s from Frank Miller’s run and you’ll find her first appearance in Daredevil (1963) #166.
But anyway. A cliffhanger like that makes me glad for Netflix. A week’s wait between this and the next episode? I’d never have made it.
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