DAREDEVIL 1.13 ‘Daredevil’ Review

Daredevil 113

DAREDEVIL Season 1 Episode 13

Episode Title: “Daredevil”

Writer: Steven S. DeKnight

Director: Steven S. DeKnight

Previously on Daredevil:

Episode 1.12 “The Ones We Leave Behind”

 

Here comes the Man Without Fear…

It took 13 episodes for Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) to get a costume similar to the iconic red Daredevil outfit he wears in the comics. I just wish we could have seen Matt as “this” Daredevil for more than just the last 13 minutes of the season.

Steven S. DeKnight and the rest of the creative team even held the name “Daredevil” until one of the very last scenes. Essentially, the entire first season has been Daredevil’s origin story. And I want more.

From this point on, there are full spoilers ahead for the Daredevil season finale! You’ve been warned!

In case anyone was hoping that Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) got sloppy and left Ben Urich (Vondie Curtis-Hall) alive, the finale dashed those hopes by opening with Ben’s funeral. It was a devastating scene, especially when Ben’s widow refused to let Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) shoulder the blame for Ben’s demise.

Losing Ben may hurt the Daredevil series in the long term, but for this season, it was probably necessary. Ben’s death may have been the best way to get Matt and Karen back on the same page with Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson). Once Foggy and Matt made their peace with each other, we finally got to see some of the fun dynamic from the comic in which Foggy is in on the secret and helping to cover for Matt.

After watching this episode, I went back to see the Daredevil pilot again. I’m impressed by how many of the minor characters from the first episode played bigger roles in the finale. Foggy’s friend, Brett Mahoney (Royce Johnson) was basically the face of all honest cops and the man who may have named Daredevil for the press. The corrupt police Detective Carl Hoffman (Daryl Edwards) resurfaced at just the right time to become the key witness to bring down Fisk.

But first, Wilson figured out that Gao (Wai Ching Ho) and Leland Owlsley (Bob Gunton) were the ones responsible for poisoning Vanessa Marianna (Ayelet Zurer). Rather than give into Leland’s attempts to blackmail Fisk with the threat of Hoffman testifying against him, Fisk simply killed Leland on the spot. That Owl is never going to fly… but Leland said several times that he had a son. If Daredevil gets a second season, we may see The Owl after all.

It was satisfying to see the FBI move in and arrest Fisk and his associates after Hoffman’s statement to the Feds. Even as Fisk was being led away, he proposed to Vanessa. I found that love story to be very interesting, as Vanessa not only accepted the proposal, but she may have even played a hand in helping Fisk escape from custody. Being with Vanessa didn’t make Fisk any less of a monster, it just gave him someone to guide him towards becoming a more effective monster.

I can’t say enough about Vincent D’Onofrio on this show. Fisk was more than just the adversary, he was essentially the co-lead of this story and D’Onofrio made him compelling every step of the way. D’Onofrio even got a chance to really chew the scenery during Fisk’s Biblical speech in the back of an armored vehicle.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Daredevil without one last battle between Fisk and Matt. This time, Matt was finally in a real superhero costume “as a symbol” that was long overdue. Cox and D’Onofrio only had three face-to-face scenes in the entire season (not counting the Walkie-talkie sequence). Consequently, the stakes seemed more personal for Matt in the last battle even though Fisk irrationally blamed him.

I don’t see how Fisk can come back from this and become the Kingpin from the comics. But if Daredevil were to only run for a single season, it’s a fitting wrap up for Fisk’s story. He wound up in a jail cell staring at a wall that reminded him of both his childhood home and the ridiculously overpriced painting that he purchased from Vanessa. I loved that callback.

However, I was less enamored that the Karen and Foggy relationship never really went anywhere. It was implied by the late Mrs. Cardenas that Foggy was in love with Karen, and Karen’s response to that indicated that she wasn’t necessarily in love with him. But rather than deal with that in any way, the season finale implies that Foggy may be getting back together with his ex-girlfriend, Marci (Amy Rutberg), who actually helped them bring down Fisk. I think the series missed an emotional beat by not letting Karen and Foggy have a scene where they acknowledged that they weren’t going to be romantic.

The last scene between Matt and Karen worked towards creating the bond that wasn’t really there all season. Matt seemed to realize that Karen was holding back and he may even know that she shot someone (if not why shot him). In turn, there was also a moment where the camera focused on Karen’s face as if she may have figured out Matt’s secret as well. However, neither of them called each other out for holding back and they simply joined hands before returning to work.

I marked out when the episode ended with Matt in costume and striking some classic Daredevil poses while jumping off of rooftops. I’ve waited most of my life to see that.

The season finale didn’t quite have the blowout finish that I was hoping for. But this show does so much right that it’s hard to complain. Daredevil is the new high water mark for live action superhero TV shows.

Netflix and Marvel, bring on Daredevil Season 2!

 

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