Daredevil Recap And Review – S01E10 – Nelson V. Murdock


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This is the most emotional Daredevil episode yet.  Nelson v. Murdock is the Foggy-centric story fans have been waiting for.  After this episode, you will love Foggy even more.  And I didn’t even know that was even possible.  Through key flashbacks and confrontations with Matt’s current nighttime occupation as Daredevil, we see Foggy’s attempt at processing all the lies told to him.

This whole episode is Daredevil-less, but it’s a superb installment — completely enthralling with emotion and tension.  Again, props to the writers, director, and actors for creating a mesmerizing story.  The understanding of character in this series is amazing!

A Daring Recap

The morning after his near-death experience in Speak of the Devil, Matt wakes up in excruciating pain.  His body is littered with stitches and bandages.  A visibly angry and hurt Foggy tells Matt that he called Claire after Matt took a swing at him for wanting to get him to the hospital.  Foggy’s final question is simple, but heartbreaking in the that their friendship teeters on it: “are you even blind?”

Flashback: A long-haired scruffy Foggy meets Matt for the first time in college.  The two hit it off as roommates, and Foggy automatically ordains himself as Matt’s wingman.  Foggy’s plans for them are grand: use Matt’s good looks and seeming disability to attract girls.

The Present: Matt explains his ability to Foggy, but it still doesn’t quell Foggy’s anger at Matt’s betrayal.  In Foggy’s mind, Matt has the ability to “see” which makes his blindness still a lie.  Matt explains that his situation was hard to explain, so he kept it from people.  Foggy directly confronts Matt about the explosions and attacks.  Matt tearfully reiterates his position that it was all Fisk’s doing.  Foggy learns that it was Fisk and Nobu who severely injured Matt.  Disappointed, Foggy explains to Matt that lawyers are people who play by the rules, and Matt is a vigilante — someone who doesn’t.

Karen calls Matt, but Foggy quickly takes the phone from him.  Matt implores Foggy not to tell Karen.  Karen finally tries Foggy’s phone.  When Foggy answers, he lies and says that Matt was in an auto accident — hit while being passenger in a car.  Matt thanks Foggy for helping him, but Foggy is angered that he had to lie to someone he cared about.  He forces Matt to reveal everything to him.

Fisk meets with Madame Gao where she uses a folktale to bring to light Fisk’s dangerous ambitions — a quality that got Nobu killed.  She goes on to explain that Nobu’s clan is well-prepared for what’s to come.  But her true meeting agenda was to question when Fisk will be planning to eliminate her in his quest for power.  Madame Gao wants Fisk to choose his path — savior or oppressor.  If he doesn’t choose, others will make that choice for him.

Ben visits his wife at the hospital.  He explains his frustrations in his current story.  Doris recollects his younger days and helps him regain his confidence.  As they kiss, Doris’s demeanor changes.  She seemingly forgets the last few minutes of their conversation and greets Ben again.  Shirley interrupts them to speak to Ben.  She gives him the bad news that the insurance has denied his request for an extension.

Foggy rummages through Matt’s green trunk and finds his black Daredevil gear.  Matt reveals the origins of his training and gives Foggy a rundown of his abilities by dissecting every facet of Foggy’s life for the past few days.  Foggy is amazed, yet disturbed.  He wants to know if anything was ever true with Matt.

Flashback: Matt and Foggy goof around on campus the day before graduation, celebrating their soon-to-be issued respective summa cum laude and cum laude honors.  Foggy mentions a “hot” Greek girl in one of their classes (Elektra Natchios reference) who Matt stopped seeing after a few dates.  The two sit and recollect about their upbringings and dream of a bright future.  Foggy wants to call their law firm “Murdock and Nelson”, but Matt thinks “Nelson and Murdock” sounds much better.

Back to the Present: As Ben looks into hospice care for his wife, Ellison enters to speak with him.  Another editor is retiring and Ellison wants Ben to take the job which includes better pay and benefits — something Ben needs.  Ben ponders it for a moment and tells Ellison that he’ll think about it.

Karen enters the office and finds a mysterious shoe box on her desk.  As she’s about to open it, Ben comes out of the kitchen, surprising her.  The box is from Ben and it contains all the research into Union Allied.  Ben wants to hand the investigation to her because he has more important matters.  He reveals to Karen that his wife’s extension at the hospital didn’t come through.  He now wants to care for her personally.  Karen has Ben go with her to visit a nursing home that might be able to serve Doris’s needs.

Fisk wants Leland to speak with Madame Gao on his behalf.  Leland is concerned that Fisk is being distracted by Vanessa.  Fisk tells Leland that various things change, including relationships.  Leland finally gives in and agrees to speak with Madame Gao.

Foggy gets off the phone and tells Matt that the junkie who murdered Elena jumped off a building and died.  He asks Matt if it was his doing.  Matt denies this and blames Fisk.  He tells Foggy that he’s never killed anyone, but he’s wanted to.  Foggy admonishes Matt for being a hypocrite in telling him and Karen that they need to follow the legal system yet he’s Daredevil.  Matt states that sometimes the law is not enough.

Flashback: Matt and Foggy are interns at Landman and Zack where they’re working on a case of a large corporation suing an elderly ill man for damages after revealing his medical condition to his doctor.  In their tiny office, Foggy gives Matt the good news that the firm will be offering them jobs.  Matt doesn’t want to join an unethical firm helping large corporations.  Though Foggy had his heart set on this job, he willingly follows Matt, believing in Matt’s vision to help people in need.  Matt and Foggy happily pack up their things and quit.

Back to the Present: On their way to the nursing home, Karen and Ben have a heart-to-heart about secrets in their lives.  Ben tells Karen that sooner or later, someone will always find out.  When they arrive, Ben thinks it’s a waste of time due to the expensive appearance of the facility.  Karen convinces Ben to take a quick tour.

Foggy wants to know how it all started.  Matt explains that when he was a child, before the accident, he would hear sirens and put stories to them.  After the accident, he heard even more sirens and could hear people in need.  The night they quit Landman and Zack, Matt heard a little girl in another building being molested by her father.  His calls to child services ended up being useless.

Flashback: After learning the father’s routine, Matt set out to teach him a lesson.  Though his fighting skills weren’t as refined, Matt was able to beat the man into a bloody pulp.  He then warned the father to never touch his daughter again.

Back to the Present: Foggy tries to put reasons behind Matt’s actions and thinks that Matt has an addiction.  However, Matt admits that he doesn’t want to stop.

Karen leads Ben into a room under the guise that they should ask a resident how they like their stay.  The woman, Mrs. Vistain, has dimentia and talks about having three husbands.  Karen focuses on the first and Mrs. Vistain tells them that he was an abusive drunk.  She then talks about a kind son who visits her often.  It’s revealed that this is Marlene — mother of Wilson Fisk.  She rambles on and reveals Fisk’s murder of his father as a defensive action in protecting her.

Fisk is at a charity event giving a speech about his grand vision for Hell’s Kitchen.  Fisk rubs elbows with high-powered politicians and wealthy citizens.  Soon, people start to collapse while foaming at the mouth.  Fisk sees Vanessa also collapse, and catches her before she hits the ground.

Foggy tells Matt that it’s not just him who’s at risk of being hurt.  His friends have also been dragged into this situation.  Foggy compares Matt’s logic to that of Fisk’s — doing whatever it takes to improve the city.  Matt, in tears, tells Foggy that the city needs him.  Foggy tells Matt that he never needed him in that capacity.  He only needed Matt to be his friend.  Foggy leaves, also in tears.

Flashback: Matt and Foggy are at Josie’s, celebrating their leaving of Landman and Zack.  Foggy draws a concept of their Nelson and Murdock office plaque and give Matt his vision of their partnership.  Matt and Foggy raise their glasses in celebration of their new venture together.

Back to the Present: Foggy holds the Nelson and Murdock plaque, eventually tossing it into the trash bin.  He takes a box of his belongings and leaves.

Moments That Blind You with Awesomeness

  • There is no one moment for this.  Every Foggy moment is an awesome moment!  Elden Henson deserves a Supporting Actor Emmy for his performance.  The range of emotions he shows is spectacular.
  • Matt’s first night out as a pseudo-Daredevil.  I loved how they made him a bit unrefined.  No acrobatics here.  Just a straight no-frills butt-kicking.

Final Thoughts

This is Daredevil at its finest.  Character, character, and … Oh, did I forget to mention this? … CHARACTER!  This episode cements Foggy as one of the greatest live-action comic book sidekicks to ever grace the screen.  Truly brought to life with emotion, the writers fleshed out a real person here.

From the first flashback, you can see how Matt and Foggy are more than just friends — they’re more akin to brothers.  They shared victories and defeats, and, of course, grand dreams about their future.  So it’s no doubt that Foggy felt like he was injured worse than Matt.

However, you can also see Matt’s side of the story.  He’s a protector.  He never thought how not telling the truth would hurt Foggy more than actually being physically hurt.  Matt’s reasoning makes just as much sense as Foggy’s.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the change in pairings.  The writers made it interesting and allowed Karen to spend more time with Ben.  Karen is really coming into her own.  A smart, determined person who has certainly risen out of the ashes of being a victim in the pilot episode.

On a closing note, I want each viewer to try this little experiment: watch the Foggy flashbacks first and then watch his present-day confrontation with Matt.  You may have understood where Foggy was coming from, but watching the flashbacks first allows you to feel his heartbreak.

Nelson v. Murdock changes the dynamic of the two best friends, and introduces another wrinkle to Daredevil’s moral quest.  Matt will certainly have his hands full in the final three episodes when he needs to patch up the city and his friendship.

Next: Check out our previous recap of Episode 9 - Speak of the Devil

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