REVIEW: Daredevil: Episode 9- Speak of the Devil
If I had to choose one episode so far that has completely met all my high expectations of what a Daredevil TV series should be it would be this one. It has everything, which I know I have said before, but you don’t know what perfect is until you see it. For now, this is the standard that all future Daredevil episodes will be held to, in my mind at least.
It opens with a fight scene that instantly had me squealing with joyful glee as, for the first time, we got to see a hand ninja on screen, and having a brutal fight with Daredevil as well. Not only is the fight an amazing way to begin the episode, but we begin to see that Daredevil is actually losing, and not just by a little, blood is pouring out of him, before the episode cuts in those amazing opening titles. You know an episode’s off to a solid start when your heart’s pounding in the first five minutes.
After the titles we realise, however that what we saw was actually the destination of the episode, rather than the start of a story. It makes the entire episode a tension filled affair as we know with each step Matt (Charlie Cox) takes; he’s one step closer to a fight it genuinely seems he won’t be able to win. The fight is shown again partway through the episode and Matt is depicted as losing even worse than before, keeping up the fear throughout the entire episode. It’s the first time that this kind of time manipulation has been used in the plot of an episode and because of this it really pays off. In shows such as Hannibal, where it became an almost regular occurrence, it started to lose its effect; Speak of the Devil makes it work perfectly.
Although the episode focuses on Matt’s inner torment at the idea of killing Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) being the only way to stop him, the episode has a number of other high points. Murdock following a lead on Fisk’s right hand lady Vanessa (Ayelet Zurer) offers a brilliant scene. As Murdock pretends to play the poor struggling blind man, he accidentally comes face to face with the man himself, Mr Wilson Fisk. It’s the first time we’ve seen them face to face and the chemistry is clearly apparent, both the self-titled saviours of Hell’s Kitchen, both trying to hold back their passions.
The episode goes into overdrive with the death of the poor Spanish client, Mrs Cardenas (Judith Delgado). Murdock, Foggy (Elden Henson) and Karen (Deborah Ann Woll) know that it’s Fisk trying to remove the residents from the building, but of course, he’s covered his tracks. Following a TV interview in which Fisk actively calls Daredevil out, Matt loses it and resorts to punching as many street level thugs as he can for information. Except, as we all knew would be the case, it all leads to a trap in a warehouse, with none other than Nobu (Peter Shinkoda) of the Japanese “Yakuza”. It feels false to still refer to them as Yakuza now, and it would’ve been nice for someone to use his organisation’s actual name, considering he ambushes Daredevil in full costume. Nobu is a member of the Japanese ninja clan, “The Hand”, who’ve been hinted at a lot in the second half of this season, which means he’s easily as skilled as Daredevil. In the fight we see, it actually seems like he’s a lot more skilled, possibly meaning Nobu is more than a simple hand soldier, but more likely that Daredevil has some more training to do.
We see Daredevil cut and slashed so many times, we’re just looking for what trick it will be that allows our hero to escape. Yet the more I looked, the more empty the warehouse seemed, and it wasn’t until Nobu falls back into barrels of oil, that Matt is able to ignite it and leave him to burn. The question of why there was oil in an abandoned warehouse did cross my mind, but before having time to doubt the storyline, the real twist of the episode appears.
Fisk and two armed men walk up to a clearly bleeding out Daredevil. If I’d had to guess I would’ve expected Fisk to command Daredevils’ capture, however this is no Bond film, and an escape that easy is out of the question. As Matt rushes at Fisk he commands his men not to shoot and proceeds to beat Murdock even closer to death. Matt may be a skilled martial artist, but it’s as if punches simply don’t even phase this huge brute of a man, who seems to look even bigger beside Daredevil. When Fisk has had his fun he commands his men to kill him, although a well-placed billy club throw saves Daredevil, however as he jumps through a window and manages to swim to safety.
Yet the twists and turns of the episode never cease, as we find Foggy waiting at Matt’s apartment, checking up on his friend. When he hears noise from inside he breaks in to help and instead discovers a badly bleeding masked man, who proceeds to collapse onto the floor. He begins to dial 911 but before finishing, removes the mask and discovers his friend since college is actually the vigilante, the devil of Hell’s Kitchen. It’s just so much to happen in the space of 15 minutes of show, it’s amazing they managed to fit it all in.
We’re treated to so many revelations and developments that it’s hard to know where to start. The dialogue focuses on duality throughout the episode, and we see so many characters with opposing views the title of the episode seems fitting. There’s so much content that it could’ve seemed very crowded, but because a number of the episode’s events needed less dialogue and simply needed to be shown and shot well, it doesn’t feel at all rushed. Now all that’s left is watch the next episode, and see how Foggy reacts to his friend being a wanted criminal.