This one’s amazing. Holy shit. Wow!
Okay, I think we can break it down into three acts: Matt and Claire, Battlin’ Jack, and the beat down at the end. I guess there’s also the Karen and Foggy bender that’s cute and light. Enough on that? Okay, good. Ding, ding, there’s the bell. Let’s get in to episode two of Daredevil, “Cut Man.”
To begin, let me state this: when D’Onofrio was cast, that seemed to rev up a lot of attention for the show (for good reason). However, for me, I kind of lost it when they cast Rosario Dawson. If you haven’t seen her prior to Daredevil, you may want to check your pulse. Besides being beautiful, she has acting chops. I’m thinking the list was very, very short on actresses that could play Dolores Huerta. As in, Cesar Chavez director Diego Luna talking to his casting director like: “Can she do it? Cause if not, I quit.”
NOCs: we have a lead of color in the series, and how cool is it that she happens to be a POC that loves doing nerdy work from Tarantino’s Death Proof to Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s Sin City films. Hmm… speaking of that Frank Miller connection… Rosario is the Night Nurse. She just is.
“I’m the lucky girl that pulled you out of a dumpster.”
This is the Rosario episode. She completely and absolutely steals the show as Claire Temple, aka Night Nurse. We learn that Mr. Matt Murdock Esq. got himself into a trap and got the living shit kicked out of him. Again. Luckily, a local lad finds him, we get some brief diálogo en español, and it leads to him being patched up by Claire. Naturally, and realistically, before his extensive treatment starts, Daredevil’s mask is removed. She also discovers he’s blind in the process. This sets up a unique relationship.
The banter between these two is very entertaining. At this point it’s my favorite relationship in the series and all credit is due to Drew Goddard’s writing. The super senses meeting the fire extinguisher is a great little bonus. Loved it. This version of Night Nurse is kind of the amalgamation of three different characters in the comics plus the Temple character. Interestingly, two were drawn white, two were drawn black, and Dawson’s background balances all with her diverse roots. It doesn’t really matter, because Rosario Dawson just rules.
Claire Temple also has connections to the other Defenders, especially Luke Cage, who was a love interest in the comics. This could potentially set up a love triangle — or at least some tension — with Jessica Jones in either her series or down the road. Not that The Defenders needs any kind of Nick Fury position, but it’s been hinted that the Night Nurse may be doing more than just stitching and disinfecting between the future show’s power quartet.
The takeaway is this: the more Rosario, the better! So as Claire is thrown into this role as Matt’s cut person, we get flashbacks throughout of little Matt being his dad’s cut man outside of the boxing ring.
Phil Abraham is directing again, and we get the hospital scene shortly after the boy’s accident with Matt freaking out with his new powers and sensory overload, while his dad tries to comfort him. Then there’s young Matty (played well by Skylar Gaetner) listening to the ring announcer describe how Battlin’ Jack is getting mauled and eventually loses the fight. The uneducated brute literally taking beatings so he can give his boy the life he’ll never have. These flashbacks pull at the heartstrings. The comics built one of the most detailed father-son relationships in the Marvel universe and we get to see it play out in these flashbacks as Matt cleans and stitches up his old man.
This of course leads to the inevitable Creel fight that the local mobsters give to Jack and the gym. The catch: he needs to throw the fight in the fifth for the big pay day. He resists, but they get him with: “Think of the kid.” Matty or course hears all this across the gym… as he’s teaching himself Braille. Nice touch. See what I did there?
For those of us that know what’s coming, it doesn’t change the fact that the way it’s filmed, it’s still terribly sad. We see the consequence of Battlin’ Jack’s decision in the ring as the overflowing happiness and pride are coming out of the boy at home knowing his father just won the fight of his life. I’ll put this one into the “it feels different this time around now that I’m a dad” category.
A lot is being written about the dreaded “torture scene.” Okay, let’s do it. First of all, this happens in the comics. Maybe not exactly like this, but Daredevil does some pretty nasty and questionable shit.
Second, while I get that it’s graphic, I don’t think it’s that shocking compared to other things that have been filmed. Key word: filmed. Relax. It’s cinema, or TV, or whatever the new hybrid is; it’s fiction. If this really bothers certain people, yet they support troops with guns and badges in the Middle East to the Middle West daily torturing and killing people of color FOR REAL, they need to check their journalistic integrity along with their humanity at the door.
Also, nobody but me was out on the collapsed lung scene? Really? I don’t have a problem receiving needles from a medical professional, but I’m not a fan watching others and needles. That was way harder for me. And yes, that Pulp Fiction scene fucked me up. Finally, I understand why Claire wants to disguise herself, but with all the attention on the torture act, has anyone pointed out that a woman of color is standing there in a white mask with a white hood?
And now, the cherry on top of this deliciousness: the final fight. Once the torture is over, he has his info, and must be feeling a superb 50% from his last wounds so Daredevil tracks down the Russians and the boy they kidnapped that he tracked into the trap in the first place. Abraham and fight choreographer Philip Silvera impressed in “Into The Ring,” and while we have to be more patient for it, they totally out do themselves at the end of this episode.
Once again, the single camera, single shot is used with multiple threats. The difference is the action is happening in a tight hallway space while moving in and out of rooms. I mentioned those three movies in the last recap: Oldboy, Repo Men, and The Raid. This is truly where that style dances like a regal waltz.
With the single shot, when they’re tackling in and out of rooms, we’re missing a few pieces of the action. But the audio makes up for it and the realistic feel is only accentuated. The fight is vicious and brutal and a gorgeous work of art. The other word I would use to describe it is “exhausting.” Before he even starts, we can sense Matt’s physical pain. Once it’s on, that realism kicks in and we believe that mere hours ago, he was near death in Claire’s apartment. Whether it’s going his way or not, he can barely stand let alone block a punch. I was on the edge of my seat partially for the moves, partially thinking “You can’t even keep your guard up, just get the hell out!”
Keeping it 100. The last shot with the boy: superhero.
It’s not that the style of filming meeting the choreography is original. It’s the way they keep pushing it to unexplored heights. I believe pretty soon we’ll be hearing things like: “Well, that was good, but remember in Daredevil when…”
We’re talking about a new standard here. The crew behind Daredevil has revolutionized both fight choreography and the comic-to-screen adaptation. And we get to come along for the ride.
Devils in the Details, aka Easter Eggs:
- Foggy and Karen get plastered at Josie’s, the bar that’s been in the comics since the 70s and where Turk is usually found in or thrown out of by Daredevil.
- The gangsters setting up the fight at the gym in the Battlin’ Jack’s flashback are Sweeney “The Fixer” and his lackey Silke.
- In the Bendis run, Silke reveals Daredevil’s secret identity.
- “Crusher” Creel, who Battlin’ Jack defeats in the main event, becomes the Absorbing Man and was featured in the season two premiere of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.