REVIEW: Daredevil: Episode 2- Cut Man
Following Daredevil‘s epic debut, Cut Man had a lot to live up to. Fans may have worried that the incredibly dark tone would slowly make way for the typical bright and colourful vibe Marvel have become known for, both on the pages of the comics, and in their film and TV creations. If anything “Cut Man” actually gets darker, it’s definitely more gruesome and even better than the last instalment.
The episode is split more or less into two halves, Matt Murdock (Daredevil played by Charlie Cox) is discovered by nurse, Claire (Rosario Dawson), in a dumpster, following the conclusion of the first episode. Claire helps Daredevil recover from his vicious fight, and throughout his recovery we get another demonstration of the way that the show is addressing Matt’s powers. There is one particular scene in which his sense of smell is used, something that other renditions of Daredevil have refrained from, the power being one of the less “cool” aspects of super senses. The scene manages to make super smelling just as cool and interesting as they’ve made Murdock’s character.
Meanwhile, Matt’s partner, Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) and their new secretary, Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), continue to delve into the emotional repercussions of her attempted murder, naturally, with a pub crawl. The two work well together on screen, having some amusing drunken amusement on the streets of gritty streets and bars of Hell’s Kitchen, however the dialogue is occasionally awkward, especially when Foggy attempts to flirt, coming off as more creepy than classy.
The episode also features a number of flashbacks to a young Matt Murdock being forced to come to terms with his blindness, as well as showing the fate of his father. In certain TV dramas the flashbacks can become the show’s downfall, Lost being a prime example of how not to work them into the show. Daredevil’s flashbacks manage to integrate brilliantly into the story and have, so far, been some of the most emotion wrenching moments in the show. The portrayal of the relationship between Matt and his father, Jack is one that makes Jack’s story all the more heart breaking.
The real jewels of the episode, however come towards its end. First off we get a genuine torture scene that moves Daredevil so far away from the Marvel child friendly territory we’re used to, it’s barely recognisable as the Marvel cinematic universe at all. The scene not only involves the criminal being strung up on top of roof where “there’s less chance of someone in the building hearing him scream”, but Matt proceeding to drive a screwdriver into his eye nerve until he tells Murdock what he wants to know. Being topped off by the criminal then being thrown from the building into the same pile of rubbish that Daredevil was originally discovered at the start of the episode. How’s that for a circular narrative? The scene is so shocking it’s impossible to turn away, bad scripting could have turned Matt Murdock into the real villain of the episode, but the location of the boy he’s trying to save seems to be constantly at the forefront of Matt’s mind throughout the interrogation and therefore makes the entire act seem strangely acceptable.
In the last episode review, I did note the similarities between this series’ Daredevil and Christopher Nolan’s portrayal of Batman, and this scene is as close as the series has so far shown its willingness to mimic the Batman trilogy. The throwing of the criminal off the roof is almost exactly the same as the interrogation in Batman Begins, as well as the interrogation in The Dark Knight Rises, in which Batman also drops the man from a ledge, again not killing him. The similarities aren’t enough to put you off during the scene; it’s simply something that might linger in the back of your mind when you think “I’ve seen this before.” A possible Easter egg of the scene could be the costumes Claire and Matt wear, Matt in full black and Claire in all white, it’s a push but another of Hells Kitchen’s familiar super hero duos is Cloak and Dagger, perhaps this was simply a nod to the duo, or perhaps it’s simply coincidental, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the two made an appearance in at least one of the Netflix series.
As with the previous episode, Cut Man ends with a bang. It’s the most perfect scene of the show so far, and to have such an impressive scene be one involving nothing but fighting is impressive to the show’s behind the camera talent. It features Daredevil confronting the Russian mobsters responsible for the abduction of a young boy in the previous episode, who’s location Matt has learned from his victim on the roof of Claire’s apartment. The fight is shot in what appears to be a single shot, if you concentrate on it then the cuts can be spotted but it doesn’t distract from the sheer choreographed beauty we’re shown. Daredevil’s fighting style mimicking his father’s boxing moves is also a nice touch and keeps the character true to his origins. But it’s his very human exhaustion that most captivates, it’s clear that Matt is in pain, that he could easily fall to the floor and allow them to win, but in true superhero style continues to fight on. This idea of “getting back up” when all seems lost, is used in almost every superhero film going, Spiderman films reuse it at every opportunity, but this is one of the first scenes in which the act of having to continue fighting against impossible odds seems genuine. He has no guns or explosive powers or super strength to fall back on and the audience will believe that in this scene.
So it’s another almost entirely positive episode for Marvel’s very own TV antihero. The focus on a very human superhero with a guilty conscious is something the Marvel universe sorely needs, let’s hope they can flesh Hawkeye out in the same way. Marvel are showing what they’re more than capable of doing to their human superheroes in Avengers Age of Ultron next week.