“I’ve been preoccupied with questions of morality.”
I think this is when things began to slip into high gear. Maybe it was due to delirious binge watching, but by the end of episode three I was so entirely hooked that I could hardly wait for the next episode. Even sleep seemed like it was getting in the way. Like any good binge-watching show, Daredevil builds a slow, effortless momentum through its episodes that manages to keep you on your toes.
In typical Daredevil fashion, the episode begins with violence. A man walks into a bowling alley, wreaks havoc on one man’s face with the bowling ball, and then sits and waits to be arrested. This is not a fun world that our characters populate. The attacker brings our other characters into view by requesting the services of Nelso and Murdock–Foggy and Matt’s law practice.
Despite some reservations the two take him on as a client and we begin to learn more about the strings being pulled behind the scenes. Up until this point we still haven’t seen Kingpin, but his presence is strongly felt here. It’s also a nice sequence because the crime procedural roots are flexed and the show works not just on an action packed stage but equally as well as one that is also a slow burning drama.
Karen (Deborah Ann-Woll) also gets a lot more to do when she realizes that she’s been screwed over by the company she used to work for. Even though she was nearly killed, the company still wants her to sign a non-disclosure agreement to silence her from exposing any of their nefarious on goings. This ties in nicely to Foggy and Matt’s work, where the law is murky–and in these dark times, trying to be honorable and good isn’t always an easy task. The court case that follows later in the episode is shot in a way that distances us in gray tones. I will be beating you over the head with the amount of times that I say this, but boy is the utilization of color significant in Daredevil. Think about how the day scenes in this episode were nearly jarring, like we were seeing the world as the characters were, stepping into the light after being inside for a while, adjusting our eyes to the brightness. It’s important! So is seeing the blood on Daredevil after a fight, so red again the shadowy backdrop or even the grayness of the court case, where all color has been sucked out of such proceedings.
The court ruling ends and the idea of good man vs. bad has no place in the court of law–only the facts remain.
Episode three is when we meet the character of Ben Urich (Vondie Curtis-Hall), essentially Marvel Universe’s Commissioner Gordon. He’s a reporter who, like our hero, is sick and tired of the crime happening in the city and is trying to put a dent in it as much as he can in the position he is in. We also learn he has a family member in the hospital. He’s a good character and Hall brings a sense of gravitas to the role, behaving like a man who’s been around this sort of business for a while and is at the point where he can’t just observe anymore. A generous portion of the plot is dedicated to his characterization in episode three and it’s well earned by the end. This is where the instant availability of an entire season afforded by the Netflix model is taken advantaged of; knowing that you can instantly breeze to the next episode and not worry about slowing down the momentum lets large portions of episodes be dedicated to introductions and expositions that would normally rushed through on a normal show, letting us get far more invested in characters like Ben right out of the gate in their first episode.
His inclusion into the world also helps broaden the already expanding universe of the show. Sure the show is called Daredevil and primarily about said character but it’s also a show about Hell’s Kitchen and about what happens to a city after aliens have attacked and superheroes faced difficulties in containing the destruction. After complaining for so long about the absolute distress that most action/superhero movies cause on cities (Man of Steel anyone) it’s appreciated to see a show acknowledge that even when the day is saved, there is pick up in the aftermath. Ben helps us as viewers see more and more of the world that was affected beyond the heroes and villains.
His plot all builds up to when Karen goes to him to share her story and to get him to write the expose, neatly tying up two of the storylines of the episode.
We also get our first reveal of Kingpin who, as we learn moments before, is more threatening than what his appearance and activities may suggest. Daredevil is tracking down someone who would know the whereabouts of Kingpin and after revealing his name (Wilson Fisk) he kills himself, rather facing death on his own than by the hands of Fisk.
That’s certainly ominous.