Daredevil Episode 1: Into the Ring
It’s here, it’s here! Daredevil is finally here! Scott and I have been breaking down the trailers for you, and so we figured why stop there. We broke down episode one (and only episode one, so those who haven’t quite made it through the series don’t have to worry!) for you guys as the first in a series of posts about our favorite angsty, bad decision making Hell’s Kitchen resident.
Introduction to the Character
Scott: Alright, so right off the bat let’s talk about Matt Murdock.
Preeti: Charlie Cox is a great Matt Murdoch. He can turn that charm on, but also be totally and 100% terrifying.
Scott: Charlie Cox did not have me sold in any of the trailers or images they put out ahead of time and then his first three scenes completely sell me on everything.
Preeti: No?? I was pretty on board.
Scott: I don’t know how they did that
Preeti: Hahaha yeah! I mean I love that we get him sitting in confessional because, oh man, how Matt Murdock is that?
Scott: Absolutely. Between that, his first scenes with Foggy, and the scene at the dock, I was completely sold on him as Matt.
Preeti: Yeah, and writing-wise… so strong!
Scott: Absolutely. I’m a big fan of Drew Goddard and I really think he created a phenomenal show with these first two episodes.
Preeti: Yes, Drew Goddard really knocked it out of the park.
Scott: I’m so excited at the prospect of Goddard getting Spider-Man, especially after this.
Preeti: Yeah, I think it’ll be interesting though to see how the fights will be. Because Matt fights down and dirty. Spidey’s a little more slick with his fights. Although that’s also much more in the Marvel movie universe than TV, turns out.
Scott: Very true.
Preeti: I’m rewatching a little while we chat. THAT DOCK SCENE is so, so good.
Scott: Oh yeah
Preeti: The perfect introduction to Matt as someone who takes no nonsense.
Scott: And exactly the kind of fight style I imaged for Daredevil
Preeti: Yeah, like not perfect.
Scott: That rough and tumble bullfighter style.
Preeti: Yes, exactly. But then we still get a hint of the billy club. Oh god I loved that. Knocking Turk out with a strong throw.
Scott: I also love that random guy just sitting there eating a sandwich and supervising.
Preeti: hahaha and how Matt’s like SCREW YOU, TOO. YOU’RE GOIN’ IN THE HUDSON
Scott: Haha yes. DON’T THINK I DIDN”T SEE YOU. Which I guess brings us to Matt’s powers which are kept SUPER vague for what? Six episodes? and even then…
Preeti: Well not to give any spoilers since this is a first episode recap, but yeah, for a whileeeee… but I love that we get a little bit in the room with Karen
Where the camera goes soft focus and her heart beat gets really loud.
Scott: Right and then the call back later when she’s lying about that file.
Preeti: Oh yeah, which is so great
Scott: The sound design on this show is just incredible, which is good because it should be on a Daredevil show. I bought a new sound system for binge watching this show and I was not disappointed AT ALL.
Preeti: Hahaha, that’s amazing! It was outstanding. I was hoping we’d get to see how he saw.
Scott: Yeah not in this episode.
Preeti: (I really thought it was going to happen in that weird/skeevy moment where he clearly watches Karen change her shirt…)
Scott: Yeah, that was a weird moment for anyone who knows how Matt’s powers work.
Preeti: Weird bit of writing that I think this episode could have done without.
Scott: Definitely. Because at that point, if you’re just establishing that Matt is blind it’s like, “YEAH WE GET IT THANK YOU” But for viewers like you and me it’s just like “UM WAIT WHAT GROSS WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”
Preeti: Exactly!! It’s a terrible setup (but also good setup because sort of accurate?) for his character. I wish they’d cut that, egh. So skeevy.
Scott: Absolutely. So we don’t see how he “sees” but we do see his POV as he goes blind… And that scene. I mean…what an opening.
Preeti: Oh so, so good. And the kid screeching. …Just cut my heart out why don’t you.
Scott: The way it’s all done through context clues, too. Just Jack looking around the scene and trying to figure out what happened. Amazingly done.
Preeti: Yeah, nice and subtle.
Scott: They could do something like that with the new Spider-Man movie (not to bring it back to a Spider-Man place again).
Preeti: Hey, I will always talk about Spidey.
Scott: A quick in and out origin.
Preeti: Yeah, we don’t need origin story v. 2007809.
Scott: Just a boom! Get it? Got it? Good. Let’s move on.
The Bromance! Matt and Foggy
Preeti: Oh but speaking of introductions: FOGGY NELSON EVERYBODY. I love love love a good bromance. And that phone call is so good.
Scott: So perfectly Matt/Foggy. Goddard nailed their friendship, and their chemistry is so good.
Preeti: Yeah, Matt’s like “Foggy!” after the bribe a cop line. And Foggy’s whole countenance through the whole thing…
Scott: Plus, Foggy is written with that perfect level of nervous excitement. He seems perpetually worried, but also kind of chill about it?
Preeti: And weirdly confident.
Scott: It’s a really weird balance for a character to have. Foggy is really specific.
Preeti: I don’t love how he talks about / to the women, but I’ll save that for the Women of Daredevil post haha.
Scott: Yeah, we’ll have a lot to say about that stuff for sure. All of the scenes with Foggy and Matt going full lawyer in this episode are just my favorite thing.
Preeti: OH YES. I love when they’re lawyering. I want it all the time.
Scott: They’re so good in those scenes, and it’s also when I think Matt is at his most iconic-looking.
Preeti: Yes, in the suit and with his glasses and cane and with the look on his face.
Scott: Charlie Cox as Matt in those scenes looks like he stepped right out of the comics.
Preeti: It is uncanny.
Marvel Movies versus Marvel Television
Scott: Marvel Studios is so good at casting it’s stupid.
Preeti: Seriously, every bit of casting in this episode is spot-on. And it’s so interesting that Marvel is going the direction they’re going with this tv show. The movies are so slick and happy and fun even when they’re serious and dark, they never go lower than a certain level of darkness. But this show… oh man, SO DARK.
Scott: Right! And you’d think it wouldn’t work, but it totally does, and even manages to fit into the MCU.
Preeti: Oh, yeah, totally.
Scott: The way they link the dilapidation of Hell’s Kitchen to the Battle of New York from Avengers? I mean, stroke of genius.
Preeti: Definitely, and the throw away lines… I loved it.
Scott: perfect world building
Preeti: And it’s a great way to drill down the superhero movie conceit of mass destruction and how it affects the real world in a tangible way.
Scott: Yes! Exactly! Just brilliant. That scene where the crime families all meet in the construction yard was so fun felt like something right out of the Bendis/Maleev run.
Preeti: Oh yeah, seriously, it felt SO comic book. I loved it. And I still love the Lord Voldemort//Fisk DON’T SAY HIS NAME thing.
Scott: Haha yes. So fun. And the guy playing The Owl is so fun to watch because he looks like the human being equivalent of Mr. Owl from Winnie the Pooh.
Preeti: hahahaha yessss! Casting!
Scott: spectacular casting!
Preeti: And just the amount of blood and violence, the like of which we’ve never seen from Marvel on screen. It made the stakes feel that much higher, which works in the narrative arc. With the movies, it always sort of feels like that everything will be fine… but with this show, you don’t have that level of comfort. They push you off kilter very quickly.
Scott: Yeah, and I think it actually improves the MCU because it suddenly feels so much more real than it ever did before. Which has always been an important part of Marvel Comics. The reality factor.
Preeti: Yeah, agreed. That it is set in OUR world.
Scott: You can’t really imagine stuff like human trafficking being a thing in the Marvel movies, but now we have this gritty corner where that’s a reality and it just works so so well.
Preeti: And that’s so great for Daredevil because the series feels like the gritty reality in Marvel comics any way.
Scott: Yes. Daredevil is a perfect stepping stone for this world. Because AKA Jessica Jones is just going to get even darker.
Preeti: Oh, totally.
Scott: That should could, theoretically, be the darkest of these Netflix series.
Preeti: I think it will be, if they keep it canon. And with the way this show is going, I doubt they’ll sterilize it.
Scott: Right, exactly.
Narrative Arcs! Cinematography!
Preeti: Oh man that second fight with Matt and the dirty cop… Where you can see he clearly hasn’t honed his skills completely yet?
Scott: Yeah that’s a good one. I really love watching him struggle. It’s very satisfying.
Preeti: Yeah, because he turns into the underdog
Scott: The fight choreographers on this show are bananas good
Preeti: Yes!! I love the fight scenes. They seem so down and dirty and actual fights, rather than wire work. And the hits feel real.
Scott: And they’re all so different and specific to the characters in the fight and the stakes of the story at that point.
Preeti: Yeah, and they do a great job in altering our perceptions of each fight with the camera work and lighting.
Scott: It’s a gorgeous show. I was afraid they would overdo certain stylistic things like slow motion and whatnot but it’s all really tastefully done.
Preeti: Yeah agreed.
Scott: And I just love the pacing
Preeti: Yeah I was a little worried about if it’d feel like one long movie, would I want to watch certain episodes? But I do.
Scott: Shows like Arrow or Flash or even Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have to have a mile a minute pacing because they’re on network TV and they all work at varying degrees in varying episodes, but Daredevil gets to be so deliberate with everything. It suits the show really well.
Preeti: Yeah, the writing is really strong because of it, I think.
Scott: Definitely. The fact that our introduction to “he who shall not be named” is only as a voice on a car phone is pretty great.I kind of love that they’re totally fine with him not being in this episode really at all. Just the promise of his presence.
Preeti: Yeah and speaking of which, I love his Lackey (who I called Lackey throughout all of my notes even though I know his name is Wesley).
Scott: I couldn’t call him Wesley! It was confusing because Daredevil looked like the Dread Pirate Roberts!
Preeti: Oh TOTALLY! He was great though. So creepy.
Scott: Oh yeah. Although, I couldn’t shake the feeling I was watching Patrick Wilson. Even though I knew I wasn’t. He looks like his evil twin.
Preeti: Oh yeah I see that.
Scott: So there’s a lot to be said about Karen in this episode but I’m assuming we’ll save that for the Women of Daredevil post?
Preeti: Yeah, I think we should save it, suffice to say I like the actress and I actually really loved her intro because it felt so intense and dramatic
It sets her story up really well because we know she’s important
Scott: Yes, I like how quickly they’re able to connect her to them. And I also love that she can work for them for free because of that payout she gets.
Preeti: Yeah, like, way to cover all the details!
Scott: Right! I just hope she becomes more than just a secretary as the show progresses
Preeti: I think she will, well she better, because otherwise I will be so mad.
Scott: Yeah, I mean, Karen Page is such an unwritten book of a character in the comics, so I hope they end up using that to their advantage rather than getting bogged down in iconography.
Preeti: Yeah, we’ll have to see where they take her, because right now I’m not sure if they know how to write a character like her or not long-term.
Scott: She obviously has some sort of a past that they hint at, but I have no idea what they’re planning to do with it.
Preeti: The arc of this season is going to be exciting for all the characters though, and ideally they’ll use her to her fullest potential (because you know they’ll do that with Foggy & Matt)
Scott: Alright, overall thoughts?
Preeti: Loved this first episode, it was so perfectly tied to the comics and brought to real life. And the casting is so spot on, that I really feel like I’m seeing my Matt Murdock on screen.
Scott: Agreed completely. The tone, the characters, and the story were all top notch. Even little touches like Matt’s workout clothes (sweat pants, hoodie, and throwback sneakers) were all straight from or heavily inspired by the comics.
Preeti: Yes! I loved it because he’s such a dork in real life.
Scott: It’s perfect
Preeti: And it’s fine that we didn’t get the Dark Lord in this episode. Just the hints of his presence was enough to inspire fear/anxiety.
Scott: Right. An oncoming storm. But this is only just the beginning. Lots more to talk about in our Daredevil coverage over the next couple of weeks!
Preeti: Yes! So many ideas! So many things! SO MUCH MATT MURDOCK MAKING BAD DECISIONS.
Scott: ALL OF THE BAD DECISIONS
Preeti: SO MUCH MATT GETTING BEAT UP BECAUSE OF BAD DECISIONS
Scott: CAN’T WAIT
We’ll be back over the next couple of weeks with more Daredevil posts covering our favorite episodes, the finale, drilling down into the best fights and so much more! But right now, we want to hear from you. Tell us what you thought of episode one in the comments below!
Please use spoiler warnings if you’re going to talk about plot points that happen later on in the series. Thanks!
Comics in your inbox? With our newsletter The Stack, you can receive a roundup of the best and brightest posts on Panels. Subscribe now!