REVIEW: Daredevil: Episode 11-The Path of the Righteous
To put it bluntly very little actually happens in “Path of the Righteous”. It seems we’ve entered the section of the series where the finale is being built up and storylines are being more frequently tied up than started.
This isn’t to say that the episode didn’t have the usual high points of the series merely that a large portion of it felt like filler, dragging you along rather than enticing you. A scene in which Claire (Rosario Dawson) patches up Matt (Charlie Cox) before informing him she’ll be leaving soon, merely felt like the writers informing the viewers why she wouldn’t be appearing for the rest of the series, rather than having any significant narrative impact. It lets us know that if Matt does get beaten close to death again he won’t have her to rely on, but Matt’s main problem in these penultimate episodes is unlikely to be recovering from injury, more surviving it in the first place.
One of the scenes that did stand out, but may have been overlooked, is the first scene of the episode in which we see Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) attempting to see his art dealing girlfriend Vanessa (Ayelet Zurer), receive the best care possible. The scene isn’t particularly dramatic, but it’s the subtle undertones included that really prove the show’s willingness to go above and beyond that of other dramas. It’s yet another of the show’s involving looks into the class struggles of today, with Fisk yelling: “Don’t you know who I am?” to simply be told “it doesn’t matter” by a female doctor half his height that reminds us that at the end of the day, we are all basically the same, some of us just have criminal organisations to run.
Although Fisk, as always is a great character to watch, he’s not given all that much material, so we must look elsewhere for our on screen entertainment. Never fear, however as Deborah Ann Woll pulls off her best performances of perhaps the whole series. The episode proves that when she’s given material that she can sink her teeth into (pardon the True Blood pun), she can truly flourish. Her writing is interesting enough that it continues to keep Karen on the fence between tough femme fatale, and damsel in distress, which is always a difficult balance to keep. Her femme fatale role being focused on last episode when she paid Fisk’s mother a visit, which in hindsight, might not have been the best idea.
It was clear this was going to have repercussions, however instead of us seeing an enraged Fisk, angered by the apparent threat to his family, we see his right hand man, Wesley stepping up instead. Toby Moore’s character gets more fleshed out in the final shocking scene of the episode than he has for the entire series. Both his and Deborah Ann Woll’s characters are perfectly lit and shot through their conversation and we even get another hint at Karen’s murky past. It’s a brilliant scene all round that pulls the episode out of the jaws of potential boredom.
Other than this final scene, however and a short fight scene between Daredevil and Fisk’s tailor, we don’t get a whole lot from this episode when it comes to big, open mouthed moments. The episode is, however incredibly well shot, so much so that it might take a couple of viewings to pick up on. A key attraction is the framing of a number of the conversations between two characters, for example keep an eye on the way Karen and Matt are on opposite sides of the screen throughout their scenes, even the set is designed to make them seem further away from each other. It’s smart filmmaking like this that allows Daredevil to get away with these slower episodes; making the slightly mundane narrative seem visually entertaining is a smart move on their part.
Daredevil’s slow episodes are still amazing TV, however it’s another question as to whether they actually fit into the superhero genre. Sure it’s all based around Matt’s alter-ego’s battle to “save the city”, but this episode is a prime example of where Daredevil might be injecting too much dialogue led drama, rather than making sure it ticks the superhero tick boxes we’ve come to expect. Is it too much to expect drama and action from our superhero TV shows? It all depends on what you want from your superhero genre.
Did you think this episode was too slow for a Marvel TV show, or is this the superhero genre naturally evolving under the guidance of a talented cast and crew? Let us know at @45_magazine or at my Twitter @holmesblogs