Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Daredevil Season 1, Episodes 5 - 7

Score Technician: Joe Hemmerling

In case you missed our coverage of the first four episodes of Netflix's Daredevil, allow me to summarize: Daredevil is fucking awesome, and if you're not watching it, then you are throwing your life away. Blind, super-powered lawyer Matt Murdock has finally acquired his target: Wilson Fisk, a mysterious millionaire with a love for art (and art gallery curators) and a violent temper. After close-call involving one of Matt's allies, Claire, Matt is angling at getting to Fisk through the Russian mob. The first four episode have painted a pretty clear picture of Hell's Kitchen and the masked vigilante who protects it, and in doing so, they have met and exceeded our wildest expectations for what this show could be. But good first impressions are easy. Can Daredevil sustain that level of intensity through the middle of its run?

Episode 5
  • Matt keeps Claire at his place until it's safe for her to go back to her life. A shocking twist occurs to us: What if Daredevil is actually the story of a controlling, super-powered boyfriend holding a kind-hearted nurse hostage? = -8pts
  • Acting all surprised when the guy whose head your boss lubricated his car door with shows up decapitated in his brother's office. = +6pts
  • Hosing head-cheese off the running board of your SUV. = +3pts
  • Madame Gao's delight at watching you hose head-cheese off the running board of your SUV. = +9pts
  • Here's hoping that "those the Japanese guy speaks for" are The Hand. = +12pts
  • That awesome 360 degree camera rotation from inside the cab. = +22pts
  • Stunning a goon with the clip from a pistol... = +4pts
  • ...and then beaning another one with the pistol itself. = +7pts
  • Mrs. Cardenas arrives at Nelson & Murdoch with a complaint against her landlord for trying to force her out of her rent controlled apartment, reminding you that, yes, the main character is actually supposed to earn his living as a lawyer. = +2pts
  • Two detectives murder an unarmed white suspect in custody. The Marvel universe truly is a utopian land of equal opportunity. = +13pts
  • Foggy Nelson lawyers it up at Landman and Zack. = +4pts
  • Matt Murdoch giving compound fractures to dirty cops. = +5pts
  • Part 2 of Kingpin in Love. = +10pts
  • Turk interrupts Vladimir's inefficient efforts to sponge clean his brother's body with a single blood-soaked rag to tell him that Fisk and the masked vigilante are working together. = +3pts
  • Our sudden realization that Matt can't read a cellphone screen. = +1pts
  • "I need to be the man this city needs." Okay, Harvey Dent. = -10pts
  • Wilson Fisk making fun of a guy in a white suit and ascot. = +2pts
  • "Wesley is more than an assistant..." How much time do you think it took for Kingpin/Wesley slash to show up online? = +7pts
  • For a guy who doesn't go in for grand gestures, Fisk made sure Vanessa had a great view of Vladimir's strongholds as he demolished them. = +9pts
Episode 6
  • Watching Matt beat up a bunch of cops. = +25pts
  • Fisk's obvious remorse over how disappointed Madame Gao is going to be that Matt got away with Vladimir before his cops could finish him off. = +4pts
  • Vladimir's counter-proposal. =+9pts

  • Claire informs Matt that stabilizing someone with a gunshot wound isn't as easy as it seems in the movies; Matt's response: "I don't really go to the movies." = +2pts
  • Cauterizing a bullet wound with a road flare. = +3pts
  • Matt manages to run into the one honest cop in all Hell's Kitchen. = +6pts
  • The Daredevil show runners cop from Frank Miller's other most famous work. = +14pts (If you're gonna steal, steal from the best.)
  • Despite his super-powered lie-detector/early warning sense, Matt falls for the obvious "pretend-to-be-passing-out-then-hit-him-with-a-2x4" bit. = -7pts
  • ...Then pile-drives Vladimir through two floors. = +6pts
  • Matt re-enacts our favorite scene from TheAbyss with Vladimir. = +4pts
  • The conversation between Matt and Fisk. = +20pts
  • Ben Urich saving a douche-bag cop's life. = +3pts
  • Vladimir probably ripping open everything inside himself helping Matt lift that drain cover. = +5pts
  • Vladimir's suicide by cop. = +6pts
Episode 7
  • Matt getting tazed by a 60-something-year-old-man. = +6pts
  • If the old accountant dude had just decided to back his car over Matt while he was laying on the pavement convulsing, that probably would have been the end of the show. = -9pts
  • Scott Glenn as Stick. = + 15pts
  • Hey, Stick, Mike Ehrmantraut has a speech on half-measures that you might find useful in this situation. = +2pts
  • Foggy rescues Karen from a pair of Kingpin's thugs... = +5pts
  • ...because he was stalking her. = -5pts (A wash.)
  • The first MacGuffin of the series is a kid with undefined abilities. =+7pts
  • Things get too serious for Flashback Stick. = -11pts
  • Final scene between Stick and Stone hints toward possible Defenders storyline. = Score pending till we see whether this screws up the good thing we got going here.
Episodes Score = +211pts
Season Score = +427pts

This show, you guys. Daredevil maintains its relentless pacing for episodes 5 and 6, only pausing to take a stroll down memory lane and open up some new avenues in the seventh installment. We're not totally sure what Stick's involvement, or his war with The Hand will ultimately amount to, but it's safe to say that it will probably have broader implications for the universe Netflix is trying to build.

The PCS Daredevil Summer Reading List

Full disclosure: This technician has not ventured very far outside Frank Miller's character-defining work with ol' hornhead. Even so, between his initial run on the series, Born Again, and Man Without Fear, there's an embarrassment of riches there. If I had to pick a favorite, it'd be Daredevil 181.

The issue is most famous for being the one where Bullseye kills Elektra, a shocking moment in its own right, but frankly, the whole issue is a sterling example of what super hero comics could and should be. The story begins with Bullseye staging a daring breakout from Rykers and follows  him as he kills Elektra to reclaim his role as Kingpin's chief assassin, deduces Daredevil's secret identity, and engages in an epic confrontation with his nemesis. The afore-mentioned Elektra death sequence is everything it's been cracked up to be, emotionally resonant and a visual tour de force. Miller's fight scenes are a rare and wonderful thing: kinetic, brutal, and high-stakes, but most of all, very clear in their sequencing and easy to follow. The first-person narration by Bullseye provides a chilling window into the master-assassin's psyche. Plus, there's so many wonderful little moments, like the meeting between Bullseye and Punisher in the prison yard, or the splash page where Bullseye has his first inkling of Matt Murdoch's double life.

Publishers spent so much effort over the last four decades trying to reproduce the "grim and gritty" tone of Miller's work, but one wishes they would have paid closer attention to his remarkable page layouts, his sense of pacing, and his judicious use of character.

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