TV Reviews

5 Reactions to Daredevil’s “The Man in the Box” (S2:E10) – Flailing Here

The Great Daredevil Season 2 Binge Is Here, and I’m Reviewing Every Episode. Head Here to Keep Up.

Which One Is “The Man in the Box”?: The one where we think the Punisher has gone on a killing spree until we find out he’s being framed. Sure, he probably did want D.A. Reyes dead, but he didn’t pull the trigger. If he had, Foggy wouldn’t have been shot as well. Frank Castle is too good of a shot to screw up like that. Also, something’s seriously not right about those people Matt saved from the cages. Stick sent an assassin to kill Elektra because that’s exactly the kind of thing Stick would do. The assassin failed, of course, and Elektra is super pissed. Matt and Fisk have a nice chat in prison, real up close and personal. So up close, in fact, that Fisk ends the episode alarmingly close to realizing Matt is Daredevil. Ruh-roh.

1. Goodbye Reyes

Daredevil Dead ReyesAt the very end of her run in this show, District Attorney Reyes was finally granted some actual shading. She’s not just a career-minded lawyer consistently put in her place by Foggy and Matt, scrambling to cover her tracks and failing to make much of an impression in the actual courtroom. Nope, she’s a mother, and once her baby girl is threatened her humanity comes pouring out. She’s genuinely concerned about saving lives and couldn’t care less about her career anymore.

So of course that’s exactly when she gets shot. However, at least she departs this world finally showcasing another side to what had previously been a one-note personality. There was a human being under the facade, and now she’s dead. Perhaps such a reveal came too late to make us actually care about her death, but the way they held the shot on her corpse sure felt like they believed they were dealing with powerful, shocking imagery.

2. Maybe Don’t Mention Vanessa Around Fisk Anymore, Okay Matt

Daredevil Box Fisk WaitWho is the villain this season? What exactly are Matt, Foggy and Karen fighting against? How are they saving Hell’s Kitchen? How do Elektra, Stick, The Hand, resurrected villains and psychotic science experiments who simply look human factor into this? Who is Blacksmith? What’s become of all that talk about Daredevil’s form of vigilante justice versus Frank Castle’s massacres? Will Matt ever be able to repair the damage he’s done to his relationships with Karen and Foggy? Does he even want to?

All of those questions and concerns seemed to float away for the several minutes in “Man in the Box” when Matt visited Fisk in prison and using legal threats against Vanessa as an intimidation tactic. Big mistake there, man without fear. Everyone knows threatening Vanessa is a one-way ticket to meeting the completely barbaric version of Fisk. His parting words of “…just wait” after thoroughly putting Matt in his place are haunting, but also serve to undercut everything else that’s happening. The promise of a rematch between these two is infinitely more interesting than anything else Daredevil is contending with at the moment.

3. Get Down Off That Cross, Matt

Part of the benefit of being a Netflix show for Daredevil is its episodes can go on as long as they need to. Monologues about tragic back stories can stretch out and breath [see Punisher in “Penny and Dime”]. Rooftop conversations about ethics can span entire episodes [see Punisher and Daredevil in “New York’s Finest”]. Sometimes Daredevil  overindulges on this freedom just as it does with its lengthy fight scenes. However, it was used to considerable effect in “Man in the Box” for Matt first proper heart-to-heart with the Night Nurse this season.

“I am flailing,” he tells her before listing all the ways he has failed recently. The D.A. is dead. His best friend is shot. The monster he put in prison last season has simply consolidated his power and will soon be out and more dangerous than before. Everyone he loves get hurt because of him, and it might all be for naught because evil doesn’t sleep. It’s always coming, and as long as he keeps trying to be both Matt Murdock and Daredevil he’ll always be two steps behind the next big bad.

Matt has come to a superhero crossroad, disheartened by the endless loop of catch-and-release he has fallen into. Moreover, his Catholic guilt continues to gnaw away out at him, whispering in his ear about the things he could or should have done to save more people sooner.

That’s just who Matt Murdock is, forever driven forward by his guilt, but occasionally in need of someone to stop him from drowning in it. That’s what the Night Nurse attempts to do, pointing to her experience stitching up the same crackheads over and over again as evidence of her empathy for his despair over maybe not making a real difference. However, she cautions him against doing the one thing he now deems necessary, which is to completely isolate himself from everyone. The moment he does that is the moment he loses himself.

Though he doesn’t take her advice it did him as well us a service to hear it. He can be so self-rigtheous and self-flagellating, and no one tempers that quite like the “Again with this shit?” shade thrown his way by Claire Temple.

4. Is this The X-Files?

Daredevil Box KidsThese kids had their blood methodically drained over months, at which point they were pumped full of multiple mysterious organic agents which turned them into human petri dishes. Now they walk in unsion and stare creepily at the Night Nurse as shadows drape over them, hiding their gaunt features. When a ninja attack begins afoot outside their window, they greet it with the same curiosity displayed by Michael Meyers every time he paused to cock his head in Halloween.

I don’t know if any of this actually belongs in Daredevil. I half expect Mulder and Scully to show up, Mulder having obviously found his way there after one of his expository mushroom trips. I am generally weary of this season’s business with The Hand, Nobu and now these kids. However, I can’t deny that it resulted in some effectively creepy imagery in “Man in the Box.”

5. The Best Cliffhanger of the Season?

Punisher shooting Daredevil in the head at the end of “Bang” was a great start to the season cliffhangers. The respective introductions of Elektra and Fisk at the end of “Penny and Dime” and “Guilty As Sin” certainly warranted automatic clicking of “Watch Next Episode Now” on the Netflix menu. However, “Man in the Box” goes out with an army of ninjas ascending a hospital housing Foggy and Claire along with five creepy, remarkably dangerous kids, and Daredevil pounds his fist on the roof, ready for the rumble. Granted, I am weary of more fight scenes after binging all the episodes these past two days, but this has the makings of something awesome.

On to the next episode: “.380”

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