Daredevil Recap And Review – S01E01 – Into The Ring


It’s now Thursday night on April 9, 2015 at 11:55 PM in Emeryville, CA, and I’m already incessantly refreshing my browser pointed at Netflix’s Daredevil page.  Maybe Netflix will sort of mess up and release it a few minutes early.  Maybe my computer clock is slow by five minutes.  It’s only 11:56 PM … time to refresh again!  YES!  Daredevil has been released and ready for viewing!  I guess I’ll need to update my clock on my operating system.  As I sit back and scroll down the page, I take in the beautifully listed library of all thirteen episodes — ready to be watched, dissected, scrutinized, and rewatched again.

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After a full two years of waiting since its announcement by Marvel godfather Kevin Feige, Daredevil has been brought to life by Marvel/Netflix.  With all thirteen episodes released in one fell swoop, the series satisfies the needs of a current generation of instant-gratification-viewers.  Oh Marvel/Netflix, why did you do that?  The pilot’s amazing introduction to Matt Murdock and his superhero journey will put the casual viewer into binge mode.  Aren’t you happy that Marvel/Netflix released Daredevil on a Friday (a day when things start to taper down anyways)?  If they really conspired to get us fired from our jobs, they could’ve released this on a Sunday night.

A Daring Recap

Matt Murdock, as a child, is blinded by toxic waste after pushing an elderly man out of the way of an impending car accident.  Years later we see how he spends his nights in one of his escapades — saving young women from traffickers and fighting crime via a lithe display of agility and brutality.  By day, Matt and his friend Foggy Nelson are fledgling defense attorneys trying to get their practice started.  Foggy tries his best to get new clients, with one method being the bribing of a cop to get contact information on people requiring their services.

Matt and Foggy soon get a call about a woman named Karen Page, who was found in her apartment with a murdered man.  Even with all the evidence pointing to her being the perpetrator, Karen claims that she was framed.  As Karen spends the night in a holding cell, an attempt on her life is made by a guard whose daughter is being used as leverage.  Karen is able to fight back, and due to the bad press the police department will be getting, Matt and Foggy find a way to get Karen released.

At their office, Matt and Foggy ask Karen why she thinks people are targeting her.  Karen tells them about information she stumbled upon in the financial department at Union Allied – a company that is overseeing government contracts for reconstruction.  After Karen had discovered evidence implicating Union Allied’s corruption, she brings it to the attention of Danny Fisher (the man found murdered in Karen’s apartment).  Karen and Danny then met for drinks to discuss the evidence.  However, the next thing Karen remembered was waking up in her apartment with a murdered Danny in front of her.

To protect Karen from further danger, Matt has her stay with him at his apartment.  Giving the case some thought, Matt thinks that Karen was left alive initially because she had something the perpetrators wanted.  Karen claims that she doesn’t know anything more, but Matt — with his superhuman-level hearing abilities — can tell that she’s lying from the intense beating of her heart.

Later that night, Karen sneaks out to her apartment to retrieve the files.  An attempt on her life is made, but Matt, dressed as Daredevil in his all-black vigilante uniform, saves her and fights the knife-wielding assailant.  Matt and the assailant fall through a window and end up on the rain-soaked streets of Hell’s Kitchen.  After a brief knockout where Matt gains motivation from a flashback of his loving father, he regains consciousness and defeats his enemy.  Taking the file, Matt anonymously delivers the evidence to all media outlets where they soon make it public.

Celebrating their first victory, Karen cooks Matt and Foggy a meal.  Unable to monetarily pay them back for their help, Karen suggests working free of charge as their secretary.  Both Matt and Foggy happily agree.

As Matt trains alone in a boxing gym, multiple scenes of corruption are shown throughout Hell’s Kitchen.  Wilson Fisk, a.k.a. The Kingpin, makes his first appearance via voice as the main villain pulling the strings.  Because Matt and Foggy are now both on Fisk’s radar, a file is started on them.  The closing scene shows a young boy being kidnapped after his father is beaten by multiple assailants.  However, Daredevil hears the child’s cry for help.

Moments That Blind You with Awesomeness

  • Matt Murdock’s confession booth monologue.  Charlie Cox deserves an Emmy just for that scene.
  • Daredevil’s elegantly brutal beating of multiple human traffickers.
  • Daredevil’s fight with the knife-wielding assailant.

Final Thoughts

Viceral.  Poignant.  Brutal.  Atmospheric.  Thrilling.  I can’t say enough good things about Daredevil‘s pilot, Into the Ring.  Marvel and Netflix have hit a home run with this first episode.  All players are perfect for their roles.  Charlie Cox is spot-on as Matt Murdock / Daredevil.  The intensity of his acting convinces the audience that this man has the drive to ferociously beat criminals to a pulp.  But at the same time, function as an intelligent attorney able to win in a duel of words with wise-ass cops.  Eldon Henson’s Foggy Nelson lifts the term “sidekick” to new heights.  Yes, the man is not as cool as our main protagonist, but he certainly holds his own.  If viewers are expecting a bungling comedic character, look somewhere else.  This Foggy is someone you laugh with, not at.  Deborah Ann Woll may be a damsel in distress, but she’s written and played like a real person.

To say that Daredevil is gritty or dark is not doing it justice.  It’s more than that.  The story and atmosphere are very real.  People may argue that Hell’s Kitchen doesn’ t even look like that anymore.  I’ll give you that.  However, the show is real in terms of what it has created.  It stays true without going over-the-top.  The term that best sums up my thoughts would be “lean and mean.”  Every scene is crucial, and like its main character, the overall episode was devoid of any discernible fat.  This was storytelling and writing at its finest.  Steven S. DeKnight and the writers really got to the essence of this Marvel character.

Look, I have a pretty crappy sound system when I watch TV, but I could feel each punch Daredevil was dishing out.  Each crunch and flesh-on-flesh hit was crisp and raw.  I loved every second of our hero in action.  I found myself clenching my own fists when he was facing off with each enemy.  The key to any great writing is having your audience empathize and sympathize with your main character.  Daredevil did this with flying colors.

It’s well into the early morning hours of Friday, and I’m having a personal dilemma.  Should I risk getting yelled at by my boss for getting into work late because I watched too many episodes?  Or should I risk getting yelled at by my boss for watching the episodes at work?  What would Matt Murdock do?  Maybe I should be a Comic Nerd Without Fear and be my own daredevil and see what happens.

Next: Check out Daredevil's inevitable wardrobe change

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