I have never read a single Daredevil, Elektra or Punisher comic book. I’ve only seen the Ben Affleck Daredevil movie once, sadly in theaters on opening weekend. I’ve never seen Jennifer Garner’s Elektra. I have no recollection of ever seeing any of the Punisher movies, although it’s entirely possible the 1989 Dolph Lundgren version somehow found its way to my childhood TV screen at some point.
In short, these characters mean nothing to me outside of this TV show. I have no cherished memories of well-worn old Frank Miller comics. It’s cool if you do. For example, I’m going into Suicide Squad with a wealth of first hand Harley Quinn comic book knowledge. The same isn’t true for me and Daredevil.
But I’m watching because I like Batman, I was raised Catholic and Daredevil is Marvel’s Catholic Batman. Seems like a no-brainer. Plus, the first season of Daredevil often caused me to think, “So this is what Arrow could look like if it wasn’t a CW show,” and I’m curious to see if they’ll be able to top Wilson Fisk.
So here’s how this is going to work: After every episode I’m going to stop to post a 5-point reaction, and then move on. Every one of these posts will include a brief plot recap at the top, and a link to the next episode at the bottom. For these early episodes, I will keep things relatively brief, but as the season progresses I’ll gravitate more toward full-on reviews.
Let’s get started.
Which One Is “Bang”?: Murdock and pals take on a new client who turns them onto a run of gangland killings. They think they’re dealing with an army of vigilantes, but it’s just one particularly [wait for the bad pun] punishing dude. Also, Foggy goes to a biker bar and finds a new BFF after almost being killed since everyone knows that bikers and lawyers are mortal enemies. Matt and Karen flirt over a game of pool. The law firm is broke. Ruh-oh! They’ll make it through somehow, says Matt with a smile. Oh, Charlie Cox, you make financial ruin seem so charming.
1.Yep, Still Catholic
Within the first 3 minutes, Daredevil chases a hostage-taking street thug into a church. Advantage? Daredevil, obviously. After the cops storm in to see the thug unconscious at the feet of his hostage, the camera cuts to an overhead shot outside, slowly panning up to see neon cross adorning the church’s wall before ending on a hero shot of Daredevil atop the roof. Daredevil, re-introduced to us practically standing on a cross because of course he is. They know what this show is.
2. Foggy, You Have Been Missed
“One and done. At the end of the night, she hugged me like a cousin, and said, ‘I’ll call you,'” is how Foggy describes the tragic ending of his dance date with a limber barrista. In this same walk-and-talk recounting of his date for Matt’s amusement, Foggy confidently describes his “moves” and pays no attention to a woman who yells at him for accidentally bumping into her. Before Foggy can even finish his pitch for Matt to go out with him to be his wingman he notices blood at the base of Matt’s skull, a potent reminder that Matt’s night card is already spoken for.
This show’s central relationship is not Matt and his love interest of the moment, but Matt and Foggy. Seeing them jokingly tease each other about girls is a reminder of their bromance just as seeing them agreeing to not discuss the details Matt’s life as Daredevil reminds us of the hurdles they’ve yet overcome. More than anything else, it’s just refreshing to see them together again.
3. Were You Expecting the Joker to Show Up?
A clandestine gathering of the city’s scared criminals, scrambling to re-assert some semblance of order in a city overrun by a vigilante whose biggest bust inevitably created a power vacuum in the underworld.
In The Dark Knight, that’s when the Joker walked into the room and showed his disappearing pencil act. In Daredevil, it’s when the Punisher uses a machine gun to massacre everyone in the room. To quote True Lies, “Yeah, but they were all bad.” They were into dog fighting! They had to go.
4. The Punisher Is Basically the Terminator, Right?
The episode treats the Punisher like a slasher villain, glimpsed in shadow and always pursuing his prey at a slow and steady pace. However, he’s a slasher villain who has a bit of Terminator in him, perfectly willing to calmly and methodically open fire in a hospital despite the possibility of somebody other than his intended target getting hurt.
This whole episode is about setting him up as the new antagonist or vigilante counterpoint to Daredevil, but it does so without properly introducing him until the very end, which is when we first see his face. We know we should be scared of him because the bad guys Daredevil and Karen encounter are terrified of him. Well done, Daredevil writers.
5. Imagine how much we’d be talking about that ending if we had to wait a week in-between episodes
Punisher defeats Daredevil in hand-to-hand combat, says the word “bang” and shoots him. End of episode. That’s one hell of a cliffhanger. In fact, why am I still writing about this?
On to the next episode: “Dogs to a Gunfight”