DAREDEVIL 1.09 ‘Speak of the Devil’ Review
DAREDEVIL Season 1 Episode 8
Episode Title: “Speak of the Devil”
Writers: Christos Gage & Ruth Fletcher Gage
Director: Nelson McCormick
Previously on Daredevil:
There’s so much happening in Daredevil episode 9 that it practically overflows with major, series-changing events… any of which an episode could have been built around. But it really only took one thing to win me over from the start:
Episode 7 hinted that The Hand may be in Daredevil’s future. But in the present, Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) had much more than he could handle in Nobu (Peter Shinkoda), the Yakuza leader who was apparently a ninja on the side. At the very beginning of “Speak of the Devil,” it’s clear that Matt is in for an epic ass-kicking. And it only gets worse for him from there.
There are full spoilers ahead for Daredevil episode 9! You’ve been warned!
Comic scribe Christos Gage and his wife, Ruth Fletcher Gage collaborated on the script for “Speak of The Devil,” and it’s easily the best episode of the season to date. There’s not a moment wasted, and it was electrifying to watch.
With Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) now operating in the public eye, there’s not much that Matt, Foggy (Elden Henson) or Karen (Deborah Ann Woll) can do to slow down his plans for Hell’s Kitchen. Matt seems to strike a defeated tone when he suggests that their one and only client, Mrs. Cardenas (Judith Delgado) take the increased buyout to move out of her home.
Matt even comes face-to-face with Fisk for the first time while attempting to get inside of Fisk’s head via Vanessa Marianna (Ayelet Zurer). The “why don’t you ask him yourself’ moment seemed to deliberately recall Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) when she mocked the Russians a few episodes ago.
If Fisk recognized Matt, it wasn’t obvious from their interaction. But Matt was clearly uncomfortable around his nemesis. It was an amazing moment that was topped later in the episode when Fisk came across a badly wounded Matt in costume and he proceeded to hurt Matt even more.
The murder of Mrs. Cardenas sends Foggy and Karen into a tailspin, and Matt on a quest for revenge. Unfortunately for Matt, the entire thing was a set up to place him in a room with Nobu, who kicks the shit out of him.
All of the action sequences on Daredevil have been top notch, but Matt’s bloody fight with Nobu was on a new level for this show. Matt’s obvious vulnerability during the battle made it even more intense. Matt was simply outclassed and it made the sequence very difficult to predict.
Even when Matt barely survived (and a burning Nobu tried to keep the fight going), Fisk’s arrival made things even bleaker. I kept expecting Fisk to tear off Matt’s mask, but instead, he settled for beating Matt into the floor and even through a desk.
Sure, it’s a little cliché for the hero to jump out of a window into a convenient body of water that covers his escape. But I don’t think that there was any other way to get Matt out of that scene alive.
All of this led to the fantastic cliffhanger moment as a despondent Foggy stumbled across the badly injured masked man in Matt’s apartment and he realized that it was his best friend. Foggy has been the most anti-Devil of Hell’s Kitchen of any of the heroic leading characters. It’s a huge gut punch for Foggy that’s bound to change the series going forward. There’s just no way for Matt to get the genie back in the bottle. His secret is out.
The forward motion of this episode was incredible and I immediately rewatched some of the pivotal scenes to fully absorb what was happening. This is the kind of story that I was hoping that the Daredevil series could deliver… and it did.
It’s hard to imagine the subsequent episodes topping this high water mark, but I’m eager to see what’s next. Daredevil has been a very, very good show to this point. But this might be the episode where Daredevil became great.