Monday, February 1, 2016

(After) Summer TV Rewind: Marvel's Daredevil 1.13: "Daredevil"

“It means that I am not the Samaritan. That I'm not the priest, or the Levite. That I am the ill intent who set upon the traveler on a road that he should not have been on.”
-Wilson Fisk

The finale of the first season of “Daredevil” was certainly intense, and it was a very fitting end to a strong season overall. Attention was paid to characters who have died in the fight against Wilson Fisk, Matt Murdock truly became Daredevil, Wilson Fisk was defeated (for now, at least!), and our trio of main characters were finally reunited. The episode pretty much hit all the points it needed to hit. The plots for Marvel TV shows can be a bit simplistic, and the dialogue can sometimes be heavy-handed, but I always enjoy Marvel shows for the characters. While everything was pretty much wrapped up neatly in a bow in this episode, it was emotionally satisfying because I was very invested in the characters. I was very happy to see Matt, Foggy, and Karen getting along and working together for the greater good again.

The episode opens with Ben’s funeral, and two things about it struck me as rather odd. First, there were hardly any African Americans among the mourners. I tried to rationalize this as most of the mourners being Ben’s coworkers, but you would think that an African American in New York City would have a funeral that was well attended by other African Americans. The second thing that was odd was that Matt’s priest was the officiant. It struck me as unusual that Ben would be Catholic. I’m guessing the true reason behind all of this is that the show was running on a fairly small budget, and that budget wasn’t going to be used on Ben’s funeral, but I thought the funeral was an especially sharp example of the show not really accurately depicting what New York City looks like. Karen talks to Ben’s wife, who tries to absolve Karen of all responsibility for Ben’s death, saying Ben would have gone after the story regardless of Karen’s prodding. She says that if she and Ben had a daughter, she would have been like Karen. I’m not so sure Karen is completely blameless, but the talk certainly makes her feel better.

Karen is upset that Foggy didn’t come to the funeral, and Foggy addresses this later in a conversation with Matt. Matt is at his father’s old boxing ring letting out some stress on a punching bad when Foggy stops by. Foggy is upset to learn that Karen is angry he didn’t go to the funeral, but he didn’t think he had a choice. He couldn’t stand to be around Matt. He’s also not happy Matt is training. He used to think it was to honor his dad, now he knows it’s just so he can beat the shit out of people. This whole conversation is really ridiculous. I still don’t quite understand why Foggy was so offended that Matt was the vigilante. He acted as if Matt was a spouse who cheated on him or something. Anyway, the two agree that while they can’t go back to how their friendship was before Foggy learned that Matt was the vigilante, they can try to move forward. And they’re going to move forward by trying to use their awesome lawyer powers to stop Fisk instead of Matt’s fists.

Foggy and Matt begin Operation: Lawyer Fisk Into Oblivion by going to speak with their cop friend, Brett. They want to know all about the investigation into Ben’s murder and what Brett knows about Wilson Fisk. Brett gets nervous when they tell him they go to him all the time because they know he’s clean. Things don’t usually end well for the clean cop in a corrupt department, after all. While meeting with Brett, Matt uses his super hearing to overhear somebody say that Detective Hoffman, the detective who killed his partner on Fisk’s order, is still alive. In a scene where Owlsley and Fisk have a very tense meeting, we learn that Owlsley stashed Hoffman away to use as leverage against Fisk. If Owlsley doesn’t visit every 24 hours, Hoffman is going to be taken to the FBI to tell all. Fisk, however, has gone off the deep end and thrown all caution to the wind.

Karen’s been hitting the books, and she figures out that there’s an odd record in the files Foggy’s ex provided them from Owlsley’s company, and that odd address just happens to be in Hell’s Kitchen. While Karen was doing her research, Fisk had ordered the police under his control to sweep Hell’s Kitchen looking for Hoffman. The police and Matt make it to the address in question at about the same time. Matt, of course, completely dominates the police. Matt orders Hoffman to turn himself in, and Brett’s face when Hoffman enters the station and walks up to him is darn priceless. Hoffman is represented by none other than Nelson and Murdock, of course, and he offers to give up the names of many of Fisk’s business partners, including a Senator. There’s a pretty epic montage as all these folks are gathered up by the FBI.

Fisk and Vanessa watch the raids on television, and they know the FBI will be coming for Fisk, too. He asks Vanessa to do something for him (we don’t know what exactly, although I’m sure we’ll find out eventually), and to seal the deal, he gives her a massive engagement ring. Even though her boyfriend is a frightening psychopath, Vanessa takes the damn ring anyway. I’d like to hope most women would not make that same choice, but who knows. As Fisk is being transported by the FBI, we realize in a rather creepy scene that he has paid off one of the FBI agents who are supposed to be guarding him. A huge collision and gun battle ensue, and our trio watch in horror as this plays out on television. They realize they started celebrating way too soon.

Foggy puts Karen in a car, then he gives Matt his blessing to go be a hero. Matt’s got an errand to run first, though. He picks up his new body armor enforced outfit, which is the traditional Daredevil get-up. I liked the black outfit better, to be honest, although if this one keeps Matt alive, I’ll deal, I suppose. An epic fight between Matt and Fisk ensues, and I think the suit is what keeps Matt alive. Things aren’t looking good, but Matt eventually gets the best of Fisk and knocks him unconscious. At that moment, Brett arrives on the scene, and Matt has him take it from there. The newspaper headline the next day calls Matt “Daredevil” instead of the “Devil of Hell’s Kitchen,” which pleases Matt a great deal. Foggy goes to help his ex with job searching (her law firm went under when people associated with Fisk started getting indicted), and Matt and Karen take the opportunity to talk. Matt thinks Karen is still hiding something, even though Fisk is no longer a threat. Karen deflects, and they hold hands.

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