Monday, July 13, 2015

Daredevil S01 E13: Daredevil

We open this final episode of the first season of "Marvel's Daredevil" with the funeral of Ben Urich. His death last episode makes the bloody credits sequence all the more poignant. This was a shocking death as Ben is still alive and well in the comics. And if you don't cry when Karen meets Ben's wife, I just can't help you.

Later in this finale written and directed by Steven S. DeKnight, Fisk confronts Owlsley over recent events. He knows he was behind the poisoning. The Owl thinks he has leverage but Kingpin doesn't care, and throws him down an elevator shaft. I guess I was right about Owlsley's son quite possibly being the real Owl. And Fisk, wow, between Urich, Owlsley, and Vanessa, he's got quite a mommy complex.

On the positive side, it's good to see Charlie Cox and Elden Henson bringing that great chemistry they have back to Nelson and Murdock, and Deborah Ann Woll's Karen just completes that triangle. This works, I wish it didn't have to break before it works again. With most of the cops on the take, the FBI is brought into the equation, and in that way, the good guys win the way Matt wanted it - through the law. Even Senator Cherryh is brought in. Only Fisk remains, and thirty minutes in, they have him too.

It's nice that the good guys win, but where is the superhero action, and especially the kind of action that has highlighted this series from the beginning? DeKnight knows this kind of action even when he doesn't show it. One of the more intense fight scenes is shown only in the subtle reactions on the blood-spattered face of actor Daryl Edwards as crooked cop Hoffman. We see nothing, but we feel everything.

After Wilson Fisk, in custody, on his way to confinement, tells his two guards the story of The Good Samaritan, all hell breaks loose. Vincent D'Onofrio, channeling Samuel L. Jackson from Pulp Fiction, speculates on which character from the tale he is. He used to think he was The Good Samaritan, but now he feels he is the ill intent that befell the man. That's when the NYPD ambushes the FBI... and we find that the Kingpin owns people everywhere.

With a showdown approaching and armed men in the streets, Matt goes to retrieve his body armor finally from Melvin Potter. In payment, he promised to keep Melvin's Betsy safe from Fisk. I've a feeling this might not be a promise Matt can keep and we'll be seeing Gladiator in the future especially after getting a glimpse circular saw blueprints. Either way, finally, it's our hero as he's most recognizable.

I don't like the costume. After seeing the lycra outfit that is so flexible and easily movable in, this plated body armor looks bulky, fake, and distracting. I had trouble believing he could move well in it. I don't believe leather and metal can bend like that. And I would have liked some explanation of the billy club, what it does… and how he got so good with it. I know I'm the guy who always wants the superhero trappings, but here, after a dozen episodes in simpler more believable garb, I just don't buy it. I should like it, but I don't.

Fisk has an escape plan, and a countdown to a meetup with Vanessa where they'll leave the city together. I don't think Daredevil will let him get away that easily. The combat is intense, but I have to say I was distracted by the costume for much of it. Besides Fisk, there are happy endings all around yet no explanations of how the police force was cleaned up, if it was, or any of that mess. I guess we'll have to wait for season two, and perhaps Fisk's trial.

At this point all we really know about season two is that there is one, sometime in 2016, and that Elodie Yung will be playing Elektra, and Jon Bernthal, formerly of "The Walking Dead," will be playing the Punisher. As someone likes the Punisher even less than Daredevil, I don't care much about that last one. There have been rumors of Bullseye too, but I already saw that in the Ben Affleck film. Personally, if I get Gladiator and the Stilt-Man, as teased in this series, I'll be happy.

If the rest of these Netflix series are as good as "Daredevil," I will be very happy. I really really dug this. Highly recommended.

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