Daredevil Favorite Episode Breakdowns: “Shadows in the Glass” and “Speak of the Devil”
After looking at the first episode and the women of the show, Preeti and I continue our Daredevil coverage with a look at our favorite episodes from season one! There were a lot of episodes with truly great moments throughout the season, but we narrowed our focus and chose episodes 8 and 9 as the subject of our breakdown (clearly, spoilers for these two episodes ahead!). So without further ado, let’s get started with…
Episode 8 – “Shadows in the Glass”
Written by Steven S. DeKnight, Directed by Stephen Surjik
Scott: So this one was my favorite episode, with episode 10 a really close second. (I love college buddy Matt & Foggy flashbacks)
Preeti: Yeah you do love a good meet-cute 😀
Scott: *sigh* I really do.
Preeti: Oh my god I LOVE the opening cooking scene w/ the classical music playing and Wilson being so methodical
Scott: VERY Hannibal
Preeti: SO HANNIBAL
Scott: That scene is great. I love seeing him pick out his clothes and going with black. The poetic use of color in this episode is really great
Preeti: Oh yes, and I love that he’s wears the Japanese robe in a subtle nod to his story in the comics.
Scott: Right! That just goes back to what we talked about with the first episode
all of the little bits of iconography this show bothers to use is really great.
Preeti: Ooh and our first view of himself through his own eyes is so impactful.
Scott: And sets up where this episode is leading toward. Because we’ve also seen Wilson as an art lover. Specifically with this white painting he keeps staring at. And I think it had everyone collectively rolling our eyes because why would anyone want a white painting?
Preeti: Hahaha! Yeah, but we get that shot of him as he wakes up and just stares at it after the nightmare, but to an unsettling degree. Maybe I’m coloring my own memories of watching this scene w/ how I know the rest of the episode goes but I love that little moment. I think it’s so quiet and wonderfully creepy.
Scott: Absolutely. But then the explanation of it in this episode is SO GOOD.
Preeti: OH MY GOD THE REVEAL IS OUTSTANDING.
Scott: We have all of these flashbacks with Wilson’s father Bill Fisk and honestly, I went through a lot of emotions between these flashback scenes. Because at first, you meet Bill and he’s really disrespectful to Wilson’s mother and you think “well that’s gross.” But then you see the bruises on her arms and I was actually impressed with the show for portraying an abusive marriage without feeling the need to show off the physical abuse.
Preeti: Yeah, I found that to be really refreshing.
Scott: But then they do show it later and it kind of bummed me out.
Scott: BUT THEN.
Preeti: I mean then. Thennnn…
Scott: Wilson MURDERS HIS DAD!
Preeti: Ok so that scene. That kid who plays young Wilson KNOCKS IT OUT OF THE PARK. He was so scary and you can totally see how he grows up to be Kingpin.
Scott: Absolutely. He was so good. And then his mom is like “get the saw.”
Preeti: Favorite line! FAVORITE LINE OF THE EP! It gives me chills.
Scott: I absolutely loved it. Those flashbacks could have easily been really cheesy, but they played them really carefully. Just when you think they’re going to screw it up, they take a left turn you’re not expecting. Totally blown away by how that all turned out.
Preeti: Which is great. I mean, I think we knew there were going to major daddy issues.
Scott: Oh yeah, but I’ve never seen daddy issues played out like they are in this episode.
Preeti: Exactly. They handled it in a really dark, but narratively impactful way. I think what I loved so much about this episode is you can see so clearly the line from the child WIlson was to the man that he became. Which just symbolizes great writing.
Scott: You know what else I liked about Bill Fisk? They sort of played him like a nega-Jack Murdock.
Preeti: Ooh yeah! They totally did!
Scott: Like, in an alternate universe, I could see Bill and Jack as Kingpin and Daredevil.
Preeti: Oh totally, bc Jack definitely made questionable moral decisions until Matt pointed him in the right direction.
Scott: “Look at that wall and think about what kind of man you want to be.” And Wilson decides he wants to be the opposite of his father. Nega-Matt Murdock.
Scott: So Wilson’s been courting/dating Vanessa and just treating her with an amazing amount of care and respect. And it all comes down to his father being this low life scumbag and Wilson looking at that wall and knowing he doesn’t want that and now he starts everyday looking at that painting!
Preeti: Oh my god, I mean you know I love their relationship. This show has me wanting happiness for evil men!
Scott: UGH. TOO GOOD!
Preeti: SO GOOD! Um also shout out to Wesley for surprising me in this episode by apparently being the kind of guy who turns a chair around and sits backwards in it which I did not see coming. He did that while Fisk is talking to what’s his name, Holden? The detective? And it took me out of the scene. I was like, Do I even know you, Wesley? Who are you? Hahaha
Scott: Hahahaha! Such a strange character choice.
Preeti: It gave it a moment of levity, which I appreciated haha
Scott: But yeah, I’m a massive MASSIVE “Wilnessa” shipper so this episode was everything. Getting the callback to the opening scene only now Vanessa is a part of his routine? Amazing.
Preeti: So, so great. And it shows us how she’s going to be good for him. Well, “good”.
Scott: Plus, he’s wearing black the whole episode and she’s wearing white, and then in that last scene she picks out a grey suit for him to wear. Perfect.
Preeti: So perfect. And another part of this ep that I thought was great was that we got some solid Matt/Fisk parallels. More of blurring the lines between good and bad black and white. By showing us how our hero isn’t all that far off from the villain.
(which I know they state overtly several times)
Preeti: Exactly! But so my favorite bit of parallelism between Matt & Fisk is that we get the aftermath of Fisk’s meeting with Madame Gao (which I LOVEDDDD) and he just loses it and tosses the table over and disrupts everything. And then at the end when Matt realizes he doesn’t have anything, he just starts throwing shit in his apartment
It’s just like, these boys who can’t handle their emotions and react so violently. I loved it.
Scott: This was also the first episode where Ben and Matt shared a scene.
Preeti: Ooh yeah! And Ben gets to do that great narration towards the end of the episode.
Scott: That Ben Urich guy is hands down one of my favorite parts of this show. He’s so good.
Preeti: Yeah, he really is. I love the actor and how he’s playing him.
Scott: I don’t know who designed the costumes on this show, but Ben Urich’s clothes are perfect. They’re really stylish but never cross a line into making it seem like he actually cared. It’s a really weird balance. I don’t know how they did that.
Preeti: The costume design in this show is pretty spot-on in general.
Scott: Very true. Although, I demand to know where Fisk’s ascot is.
Scott: WHERE IS THE ASCOT, MARVEL?
Preeti: I SENSE A CONSPIRACY. MARVEL IS CLEARLY ANTI-ASCOT.
Preeti: Oh man, I wish I’d paid attention but does Fisk’s father ever say his name?
Scott: uh…. I don’t know? I don’t remember.
Preeti: Like, does he ever call him Wilson? I feel like he doesn’t, but maybe that’s because I want that to tie in so badly. Because how awesome is that? NO ONE SAYS HIS NAME.
Scott: Oh wow! That’s so cool!
Preeti: Someone should tell us if we’re right. Soooo someone in the comments, tell us!
Episode 9 – “Speak of the Devil”
Written by Christos Gage & Ruth Fletcher Gage, Directed by Nelson McCormick
Scott: So let’s talk about your favorite!
Preeti: Conveniently, my favorite episode was episode 9! I’m a sucker for a nonlinear narrative and I am ALL ABOUT a great fight scene. This episode has BOTH! I love that we get these crazy bouts of action spliced with important conversations and important moments.
Scott: Absolutely. I loved the theme of this episode, too.
Scott: Hubris is definitely part of it. Like in that conversation Matt has with his priest about believing in the devil.
Preeti: Oh yeah!
Scott: This was another great episode for sure. episodes 8-10 were the cream of the crop for me.
Preeti: I mean we get our first Matt Fisk in real life meeting in this episode and it’s everything but part of what I loved so much is that you could see Vanessa being all Lady Macbeth while it was happening.
Scott: So nerve wracking!
Preeti: I was on pins & needles! Would Fisk recognize the voice? I had no idea how they’d play it!
Scott: Matt just can’t help himself from flirting with Vanessa either. Because he’s all about those bad decisions.
Scott: There it is again!
Preeti: This whole episode is Matt being blind figuratively to the fact that he is playing right into Fisk’s hands because Fisk already knows how to manipulate him.
Scott: Oh yeah. I love how they portray Fisk. Because it would be one thing for him to just be this criminal mastermind, but they add that extra layer of eccentricity that makes him really interesting.
Preeti: Also his deliberateness in the way he speaks, and it’s at odds with his emotional side which just explodes and rampages. D’onofrio plays it SO WELL. I can’t get over it.
Scott: I find it so interesting that both D’onofrio and Cox chose to give their characters such interesting speech patterns.
Preeti: Oh yeah totally. And part of it is (I’m guessing) because sound is so important.
Scott: Because Charlie’s Matt Murdock has this way of speaking that’s quick and confident but soft. Almost a whisper. Like the verbal equivalent of a ninja.
Preeti: Hahaha! Yes! He never yells, but he doesn’t quite get to that irritating batman growl which I really appreciate because I could not handle 13 episodes of that.
Preeti: And OH MAN after that truly excellent fight with Nobu (I mean, THE HOOK IN THE BELLY, SCOTT, THE HOOK. IN. THE. BELLY.) and Matt & Fisk have their second meeting. And Fisk starts out with his takedown of Matt’s character “You for instance, you demonstrated an emotional weakness for children, women.” I don’t even care that he’s monologuing, which I usually hate, because I could listen to Vincent D’Onofrio do his Wilson Fisk voice forever.
Scott: ohhh yeah. Me too. Without a doubt.
Preeti: Oof and the whole “My options, they were limited by necessity. I took no pleasure in her passing.” So cold! He’s a sociopath and Matt finally get to see it up close and it’s so scary.
Scott: Great scene. I do have one complaint about it however. But it’s minor, and probably dumb.
Preeti: Hit me with it.
Scott: There’s a shot when Kingpin is basically beating Matt to death where it seems to be coming from Matt’s POV and well… I don’t know. He’s blind. He doesn’t have a point of view. And if he does, it certainly doesn’t look like that.
Preeti: Hahahahaha oh my god. Well, I saw it as we were seeing Kingpin from the comics with those huge scary hands and the way he fills up the panel.
Scott: I just wish they had put Matt at the bottom of the frame or something. So we KNOW it’s not a POV you know?
Preeti: I totally see what you’re saying. I didn’t even think of that but you’re right.
Scott: They do it again in the next episode when Matt is on the couch and looks down at something. It’s super weird. Like they forgot their main character is blind.
Preeti: Well, they’ve definitely made weird writing/directorial decisions throughout the series. Where you’re like, I’m not sure why this is the way you’re choosing to tell me this part of the story.
Scott: Yeah. I still think they’re missing the boat on showing us how Matt sees in 360 degrees.
Preeti: I agree. I hate that we only get that one shot of Claire. I want to see a fight from his perspective because oh man, imagine the end of the Fisk altercation in this episode. when he JUMPS OUT THE WINDOW INTO THE HUDSON. IT WOULD BE AMAZING!
Scott: That would be SO COOL. I hope they design a fight like that next season.
Preeti: Oh man, me, too. I have a lot of faith in them as far as fights are concerned.
Scott: Well, the fight in this episode was BRUTAL.
Preeti: oh my god. I loved it. It felt so high stakes in a way that the others haven’t
and I love that it’s a taste of what The Hand will be.
Scott: And Nobu!
Preeti: NOBU! We hardly knew ye but you were badass as HELL. Though, I didn’t love the almost accidental way in which he was beat/killed. I wanted a little more.
Scott: I gotta be honest. It was kind of hard to watch the subsequent Kingpin scene
because Nobu is just burning alive behind Matt the whole time.
Preeti: Hahaha I KNOW!
Scott: The scene is literally LIT BY THE LIGHT OF NOBU ON FIRE.
Preeti: Aaaahaha and I’m sorry. It’s like Denethor Disease. I will laugh EVERY TIME a flaming Denethor throws himself off the cliffs of Gondor in Lord of the Rings. There’s something inherently funny about it and so I was like, I feel like Nobu’s death could have been way coolerbecause the fight leading up to it was so awesome! I would have even preferred an accidental beheading.
Scott: Yeah. I think it being an accident, where Matt lucks into a win, was necessary.
Preeti: Totally. But not like that. It just wasn’t dignified enough.
Scott: It was really anti-climactic. But not in a fun way.
Preeti: Yeah, agreed. It needed to be something clean and abrupt I think.
Preeti: Oh man but then, the end of this episode WHEN FOGGY FINDS OUT. I loved it.
I LOVED EVERYTHING ABOUT IT.
Scott: I was NOT expecting that!
Preeti: Same! It was such a great way to keep the adrenaline going. (the viewer’s adrenaline I mean) (Matt probably has negative adrenaline at this point)
Scott: Hahaha, yes! It was perfect. Because then we get episode 10 with all the meet-cute/origin flashbacks as Matt explains everything to Foggy and it’s just the best thing.
Preeti: Ok so there we have them! Our favorite episodes!
They’re both so freakin’ good!
Scott: Absolutely! I can’t believe we have a Daredevil show this good!
Preeti: Like, we know it’s not perfect. Definitely has room for improvement. But man, when it’s on, it’s SO ON.
Scott: OH yeah!
Preeti: And it has me SO PSYCHED for other shows coming from this universe!
Scott: Those first Jessica Jones photos couldn’t be more perfect.
Preeti: Seriously. LOVE SO HARD. What are we calling this universe btw, bc there’s the Marvel Cinematic one and then this is… television universe? That doesn’t sound good.
Scott: MGU? Marvel Ground-level Universe?
Preeti: Marvel Street Level Universe? MSU?
Scott: MSU is Michigan State University.
Preeti: Marvel YES LET’S SHOW A MAN’S HEAD EXPLODING BY WAY OF CAR DOOR Universe?
Scott: There it is!
Next week we’ll be back with a look at the season finale “Daredevil” and a rundown of the best fights throughout season one!
Until then, what were your favorite episodes of Daredevil? Tell us in the comments below!
Follow us on Twitter for more comics goodness!