REVIEW: Daredevil: Episode 3- Rabbit in a Snowstorm
The third instalment of Marvel’s Daredevil series gets off to a slightly slower start then the two previous episodes. In the first 30 minutes we don’t get all that many emotional moments and Matt Murdock’s (Charlie Cox) black masked alter ego is nowhere to be seen. This is, however, an amazingly grounded piece of television and continues to play to one of Daredevil’s gritty strengths, the believable superhero.
The realism is offered up with a variety of developments in existing storylines, but the main theme of this episode, is a murder. A cold blooded killing, showing off some of the skull crushing violence that the show is already notorious for. Murdock and Foggy (Elden Henson) take a huge amount of money from the murderer’s employer and take on the task of defending a man who they both know is clearly guilty. It’s a depiction of reality we rarely see, yet we all know it happens every day. If a man has enough money, he has the power to pay to get away with doing the things he wants. It’s this aspect of the villains in Daredevil that continues to make them so easily detestable and enjoyable to watch. We genuinely want this man to see justice because there are so many in his place in the real world who don’t.
The case leads to another nearly perfect speech from Murdock, as we finally see him in a courtroom setting. The speech’s point is that whether his client sees justice inside the courtroom, in the long run he will get what’s coming to him. It’s messages such as this that show the show’s producers understand the principles of Daredevil exactly, how he can justify beating a man half to death and then go to church the next day. In his mind he is justice and, as the comics are so fond of stating, “Justice is blind”.
A new character is also introduced in the form of comic fan favourite, Ben Urich (Vondie Curtis-Hall), interestingly as an African American, rather than the Caucasian of the comics, more proof of Marvel’s desire to stay modern. A reporter, long past his prime being forced to write mediocre stories on topics he doesn’t even find interesting himself. His introduction does take time however and, although we feel we get to really know the reporter, the persona building does take time away from characters that’ve already proved their worth in the series so far. Having said that, the idea that Urich is struggling to pay his wife’s hospital bills, combined with his struggle with his health insurance company, is a work of genius. An American audience won’t find much more current or relatable material in a back story on TV anywhere else.
Not content with the amount of violence shown in the opening scene, in which the victim is depicted having his head crushed with a bowling ball, Daredevil appears to teach his ex-client, that even though the judge may have ruled not guilty, he certainly hasn’t. The fight scene is kept brutally realistic, keeping with the theme of real world good guys, bad guys and fight scenes. However, it finishes with the murderer giving up a name that shouldn’t really have shocked any fans when it was revealed, “Wilson Fisk”. This would have been a truly amazing moment, had the trailers and advertising for the show not focused so heavily on him already. But the teasing of Fisk is quickly overshadowed by probably the goriest moment of the show so far, as the man turns and (SPOILER) slams his head into a metal pole, driving straight through his skull. The scene is unbelievably gory, however, in hindsight; there weren’t many ways of resolving the scene realistically without the murderer committing suicide in such gory fashion. He couldn’t have shot himself in the head, because he would have previously tried to use the gun to shoot Daredevil, hanging is out of the question as Murdock would have stopped him. It’s one scene that required gore, although perhaps the audience didn’t need to see quite so much of this particular gruesome occurrence.
The final scene of the episode then is one which particularly caught my attention. Having had Fisk teased to us through both the show and trailers, I was excited to see him finally become a part of the show. In the fleeting few minutes D’Onofrio is on screen shots rarely depict him clearly, instead focusing on the art salesman speaking to him. Yet his voice alone holds a terrifying weight, saying less than two sentences and yet instilling such authority is a good sign for the big bad of any show. His physique is both realistic and yet fits with the comic books. Whether the Wilson Fisk of Daredevil will be the 99% muscled beast he was in the comics remains to be seen however.
Overall, the episode does well to place some well needed building blocks in the world building of Hell’s Kitchen, as well as its characters. We finally feel like we understand the people and places and it seems that it’s all just in time for D’onofrio’s Fisk to make his terrifying appearance as the real danger facing Hell’s Kitchen, and Daredevil himself.