The cinematic Marvel Multiverse has taken the nerd world by storm and shows no signs of slowing down. Movies, television, miniseries — Marvel jumped in headfirst. The Netflix Original “Daredevil” is the first in a well-built and well-executed four series mash-up (“The Defenders”), and the show is relentless. We are not talking about Ben Affleck in red leather here.
“Daredevil” is a dark, gritty series that wholly encompasses the realities of what a vigilante would face in a city sinking into crime. However, season one show runner Steven S. DeKnight manages to tell the tale of Matt Murdock, portrayed by British actor Charlie Cox, without losing the beauty of the comic book characters.
The show wastes no time drawing viewers in. The very first scene in episode one is a gripping flashback that reveals how Matt lost his sight in an accident. His father, boxer Jack Murdock (John Patrick Hayden), happens upon the scene of a crash and is horrified to see his son lying in the street among open barrels of chemicals.
Young Matt (Skylar Gaertner) saved a man by pushing him out of the way, presumably of a vehicle, but the chemicals blind him as a result. The flashback ends with Matt’s father clutching him as Matt screams that he can’t see.
The show then jumps to a now adult Matt talking to a priest in a confessional. He recounts stories of how his father was knocked down but never out despite his low winning streak. He says that he understands what his father felt while in the boxing ring. Then he asks the priest to forgive him for what he is about to do.
The show jumps again. Viewers see several burly men forcing four young women along a pier at night. They are muscling the protesting women into a shipping container. Another man, the leader of the operation, tells the women that they are worth a thousand dollars a piece and threatens the women with violence if they don’t comply. He shocks one of them with a Taser, unaware that he is being observed. A figure dressed in black crouches on top of one of the shipping containers. The upper part of his face is obscured by a plain black mask, but viewers will no doubt recognize that jawline. Matt Murdock has been a busy boy.
When an opportunity arises, Matt jumps down to the ground and delivers a brutal beating to the thugs, who are clearly outmatched. When the ringleader grabs a gun, Matt hears the sound of the weapon being cocked and takes off, dodging the bullets fired like … well, a ninja. He scampers back to the tops of the shipping containers and uses the darkness to his advantage. The armed leader shoots blindly into the night until Matt, back on the ground, knocks him out via ricochet by throwing the same Taser he’d used to threaten the women. With their kidnappers mostly incapacitated, Matt roars at the kidnapped women to run and find a police officer. Once they’re gone, he proceeds to finish what he started and beat the stuffing out of the leader after the man tries to shoot him again.
Lawyer by day, vigilante by night? Try explaining that in confession. Unfortunately for Matt, getting into fights and bounding around shipping containers does not come without a price. He is in bed the next morning, looking a little worse for wear, and he has a little difficulty answering a phone call from his best friend and business partner, Foggy Nelson (Elden Hansen).
The two men meet up to take a tour of the less than desirable office space they’re considering for the firm they want to open. Foggy isn’t thrilled with their prospects. The realtor showing the office explains that property prices in Hell’s Kitchen are at an all-time low thanks to the “incident” two years earlier, referring to the events of the first “Avengers” movie, during which an alien army invaded the city. Much to Foggy’s dismay, Matt says that they will take the space.
Perhaps sooner than either man anticipated, they also have their first client. The show jumps to a living room where a red-haired woman kneels next to a dead man. She is holding a bloody knife and there is blood all over her hands, the carpet and his body. She looks horrified and confused. Before she can even get up from the floor, a police force bursts in. The woman begins to sob and insist she “didn’t do this.”
That woman is Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), Matt and Foggy’s first client. They are alerted to her case by a policeman and “friend” of Foggy’s (we see him bribing the officer earlier in the episode). It looks like an open-and-shut case. However, Matt wants to hear her side of the story. He can hear her steady heartbeat, and he knows she is not lying to them. Karen tells Foggy and Matt that she only met the murdered man, her coworker, at a bar for a drink. The next thing she knew, she was waking up next to his dead body.
Karen isn’t the only one with problems. The show cuts to a man enjoying his lunch in a park. Another man, wearing a smug smile and a sharp suit, approaches him. The second man, who we later discover is Wesley (Toby Leonard Moore), casually brings up the money that the first man owes, presumably to a crime boss. Wesley goes on to explain that his boss has acquired that debt, but he is not interested in getting the money. He is more interested in the man’s position and how it may be of use. To ensure his cooperation, Wesley shows the man a live video of his teenage daughter. There is a man near her who will, apparently, do the daughter harm if Wesley commands it. The now concerned father quickly agrees and asks what Wesley and his boss want him to do.
Later on, viewers see Foggy and Matt disagreeing over which direction to take with Karen’s case. Foggy wants to take whatever deal they can get. Matt insists that something is not right. If the case against Karen is solid, why hasn’t she been charged with murder?
Someone wants to make Karen go away quietly. The scene cuts to Karen in her cell. A guard walks in — it is the father from the park. He attacks Karen and attempts to strangle her with her own bed sheet. He nearly succeeds, but Karen manages to scratch his face, get free and scream for help.
The next day, Foggy and Matt negotiate Karen’s release. The ADA has run out of time to charge her, and the suspicious circumstances of her attack, such as the security cameras going out, have clouded the evidence. Matt is a ruthless negotiator, and the prosecutors reluctantly agree. Once the prosecutors are gone, Matt tells Foggy that something still does not make sense. He speculates that perhaps too much evidence was collected at the murder scene. Instead of turning it in, which would be required in the event of a trial, someone might have planned to stage Karen’s suicide so that the whole case would go away.
The two lawyers take Karen back to their office. She has no one else to talk to and nowhere to go. Matt tells her that her apartment isn’t safe and questions her about who might want to kill her and why. Karen doesn’t know who wants to kill her, but she may know why. She explains that she used to work for a company called Union Allied. Her job was to coordinate the pension claims for the company. One day, she received an odd email with a file entitled “Master Pension.” Karen opened the file and inside, she found a wealth of financial information pertaining to the company that simply didn’t add up. Karen thought that her boss was simply embezzling. She mentioned the file to him (for some foolish reason) and he laughed her off. Then Karen went to a friend in the legal department of Union Allied and asked him to meet her for a drink. She began to tell him about what she found. That was when she woke up next to his body.
Karen tells Matt and Foggy that she blames herself for her coworker’s death. She tries to leave, insisting that Foggy and Matt are either “with them” or “not with them” and worries that they will be killed because of her. Karen begins to cry, and Foggy does his best to comfort her. Matt says that Karen can stay with him, just for one night, until she figures something out. Then Matt says that he will protect her.
Will Matt truly be able to protect Karen, or is he only inviting danger into his home? Keep an eye out for part two and be sure to check out season one on Netflix.