Week of September 18, 2022:

Speak of the Devil (Daredevil s1 e9) released April 10, 2015 (where to watch)
Nelson v. Murdock (Daredevil s1 e10) released April 10, 2015
Scott Hardie | September 5, 2022

Speak of the Devil: To me, this material is the heart of the series: Matt's struggle to weigh the immorality of his actions against the consequences of his inaction, dramatized in his conversations with Father Lantom and Karen and in the way that he conducts himself both as attorney and as vigilante in this hour. It's a really good performance by Charlie Cox, and it's what elevates the show beyond its genre. I really like this material, and I want more of it, certainly more than I want additional scenes of poorly-lit stuntman fights and Fisk scheming with his dwindling coterie.

I don't buy that Matt, Foggy, and Karen would be so slow to realize that Fisk will kill to get his way (Karen has survived multiple murder attempts!), and I especially don't buy that Fisk wouldn't rip Matt's mask off the moment he could lay hands on him. But otherwise this was a superb hour, easily the best of the series yet. Do you all feel the same way that I do about the philosophical material being the best part of the series? (9/10)

Nelson v. Murdock: I've seen this before and knew about the impending collapse of Foggy and Matt's friendship, so Erik, when you predicted back in the third episode that their partnership wouldn't last, I was pleased that you called it so early. Foggy comes across here as whiny about his feelings being hurt when Matt is clearly suffering much more for a noble cause, but what saves Foggy here is that everything he says is right. Matt has been lying to his friends and more importantly to himself, and he's not going to be able to repair things unless he starts telling the truth to all parties.

…And yet, I don't feel fully convinced by either of them. Charlie Cox plays Matt as soft-spoken and attentive and cautious, not like a man driven by a deep-seated compulsion to save his beloved city at risk of life and limb, nor an adrenaline junkie nor a glory hound nor any other viable interpretation of the character. The way that this show's Matt Murdock is written and acted just doesn't line up with his violent vigilantism. And Elden Henson's anger never quite convinces me either. He comes across a bit like a petulant teenager with simple accusations like "you lied to me!" There are any number of more grounded reasons for Foggy to be furious about this, like "you started a war with organized crime that could get me and my family murdered" or "by becoming involved illegally this way in our cases together, you put me in ethical jeopardy with you; I could be disbarred or even go to prison." The show fares better in the flashbacks with their clever dialogue ("we're gonna be the best damn avocados this city has ever seen") but those scenes have lower stakes.

Was it me or did Karen keep up the ruse for way too long to lure Urich to meet Fisk's mother? That felt done for the audience's benefit more than the characters'. And if you want an MCU connection, check out the back wall of Urich's newspaper office, which references The Incredible Hulk and The Avengers. (6/10)

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