Sunday, August 23, 2015

Summer TV Rewind: Marvel's Daredevil 1.09: "Speak of the Devil"

“Few things are absolute, Matthew. Even Lucifer was once an angel. It’s why judgment and vengeance are best left to God. Especially when murder is not in your heart.”
-Father Lantom

The ninth episode of “Daredevil” is unmatched thus far in intensity and big reveals. There was a lot going on in this one. Matt struggled mightily between his religion and what he feels he might have to do to end the threat of Fisk for good. Tragedy again befalls the Nelson and Murdock family. Matt has an epic, epic fight with Nobu. Matt and Fisk meet for the first time, both with Matt as himself and Matt as the vigilante in black. And somebody incredibly important to Matt discovers his true identity at the end of the episode. It’s quite a lot to pack into one episode, and I suppose it is emblematic of the non-network TV short season model. Such shows try to make every episode all emotion and action, although sometimes I’d rather slow down and breathe.

This episode uses the very common storytelling structure of in media res , starting with a big event, and then backing up to show viewers how the characters got there. The starting point of this episode is quite the doozy. Matt is in a very intense fight with someone dressed in red ninja gear. That someone is none other than Nobu. I saw an article the other day about how this fight required some CGI in addition to the work of a stuntman. It is definitely more complicated than other fights we have seen on the show thus far (and there have been some impressive fights). As we backtrack to the beginning of this series of events, we see Matt sitting outside his church. Father Lantom sees him sitting there and asks him if he’d like to go for coffee. Over coffee, Matt asks Father Lantom if he believes the devil walks among us. Father Lantom answers Matt’s question by telling a story about being in Rwanda during the genocide and seeing a respected community leader hacked to death with a machete.

Back at the office, Foggy, Karen, and Ben are kind of spinning their wheels after Fisk’s big coming out party. Because he has become such a public do-gooder, they are going to have an even more difficult time pinning all of Hell’s Kitchen’s recent troubles on him. Matt joins in on the conversation and reiterates his opinion that they need to try and use the legal system to defeat Fisk. Eventually, the rest of the group agrees. There is just one problem, as we will discover as the episode progresses. Everybody the team has encountered who is connected to Fisk keeps dying, disappearing, or going on long vacations to countries without extradition treaties with the United States.

We also see a very intense meeting between Nobu and Fisk. Nobu is extremely pissed off at Fisk because Fisk had promised him a particular city block for his participation in Fisk’s crime empire.and so far, Fisk hasn’t been able to deliver. The problem is that one of the buildings on that block is the tenement where Mrs. Cardenas lives, and a good portion of the residents are still putting up a fight. Fisk owns the building now (his company just bought it from Tully), so he says he’ll increase the pressure on the tenants if Nobu helps him with the masked vigilante problem.

At the office, Matt, Karen, and Foggy are continuing to work on the Fisk problem. They have found a legitimate connection between Confederated Global, Fisk’s company, and Tully, but they can’t make anything stick. Tully is the Fisk connection who is taking a long vacation on an island with no extradition treaty. Just as things are getting grim, Mrs. Cardenas stops by for a visit. She seems about ready to give up on staying in her apartment because Fisk wants to double the rent. Foggy, however, convinces her to keep fighting the good fight. Meanwhile, Matt goes to the art gallery to talk with Vanessa, in the hopes that he can learn more about what makes Fisk tick, and maybe work himself up to killing him. He uses a rather awesome, charming ruse about wanting art to impress the ladies who come back to his apartment. He then asks her what her significant other would buy, since he’s sure he’s a man of good taste. Fisk walks in at just that moment, and he and Matt have a bit of a confrontation, because Fisk does a bit too much of a hard sell about how he wants to change Hell’s Kitchen.

After his visit with Vanessa, Matt goes to church and talks to Father Lantom some more. He’s having trouble with the idea of killing “the Devil” now that he knows Fisk has someone (Vanessa) who truly cares about him. Father Lantom says he doesn’t think Nick is a killer. When Matt returns to the office, Foggy and Karen have had a breakthrough, although it doesn’t ultimately amount to much. They made a connection between the guys who attacked them in the previous episode and Fisk, but those guys have disappeared, too. In a brief moment of joy, though, Foggy opens a package that contains their shiny new office sign. The celebration doesn’t last long, though, because Karen gets a call from their police officer friend. At the morgue, we learn that Mrs. Cardenas has been stabbed to death. We then get another quick cut to Matt and Nobu fighting, and Matt is losing badly. Nobu had been using this blade on a chain thing, and Matt has taken some pretty bad lacerations. Nobu then drags him across the room with the chain.

After leaving the morgue, the gang has a wake for Mrs. Cardenas at their usual watering hole. Of course, the television news turns to Fisk giving a press conference about her murder, acting all sanctimonious about how he wants to clean up Hell’s Kitchen so more people don’t get hurt. Matt suspects that, while the police say a random junkie attacked Mrs. Cardenas, the whole thing was orchestrated by Fisk as a catalyst to tear down the tenement. And he would be right. Matt excuses himself, saying he needs to go home. Instead of going home, he gets into his vigilante outfit and starts beating on people, as per usual. This time he wants to find the junkie who killed Mrs. Cardenas. Eventually he finds the person he is looking for, and after being properly threatened, the junkie gives Matt the address of a warehouse.

I’m guessing Matt probably hoped he would find Fisk at that warehouse, but instead he finds Nobu. That’s when the epic ninja fight starts. The whole thing is really painful to watch, because Matt just keeps taking hit after hit. There has been some violent stuff on “Daredevil,” but this is the first time I actually had to look away from the screen. Eventually, despite all of his wounds, Matt manages to get the better of Nobu. Or, I guess it’s more accurate to say that Nobu gets the best of himself. He accidentally burns himself to death with some leaking chemicals. As soon as Nobu is dead, Fisk and some henchmen enter the room. Fisk just starts wailing on Matt, as he is wont to do, but Matt manages to escape and throw himself through a window. Meanwhile, Foggy is at Matt’s apartment, trying to check on him. He gets concerned when he hears a noise and opens the door. He finds the masked vigilante on the floor and immediately dials 911. He can’t resist taking a peek behind the mask, though, and he is shocked to discover it is Matt.

No comments:

Post a Comment