NOC Recaps Daredevil: aka Law & Order Hell’s Kitchen

I brought this up in my recap for “Into the Ring,” but “Rabbit in a Snowstorm” is where we really get the Law & Order: Hell’s Kitchen portion of the show. We can break this one down into three parts too: bowling alley/back alley; Karen, Ben, and the devious corporation formerly known as Prince Union Allied; and the murder trial. There’s an up, then down, then back up wave feel in terms of rhythm in this one.

This being an outstanding ensemble drama, the writing and acting sparks get passed around nicely. I’m going to start giving out (drum roll…) “The Golden Broken Arm for Best Performance per Episode.” Appropriate, right? The best performance from “Into the Ring” goes to Charlie Cox, and “Cut Man” is all Rosario Dawson. This episode, though, is actually tougher, but I’m going to go out on a limb. (Ha, “limb” — more on that later).

Let’s begin though, with Sason Jathom. Who?

Okay, the character’s name is John Healy as played by Alex Morf, but his martial arts skills and look remind you of Jason Statham, don’t they? Come on, they do. See?

So he’s Sason Jathom. Jathom seems a very polite gentleman before knocking fools out, breaking bones here and there, taking some punishment from the bossman before giving dude a facial massage with a bowling ball. Ouch. By the way, how awesome is it that the series doesn’t rely on the stereotypical action hero body types, but gives the everyman some moves? Call it the Kung Fu Hustle effect. The flashback with Turk that sets all this up felt like a slice of Tarantino.

Jathom is arrested, which leads to smooth talking Wesley walking into a make-shift Murdock and Nelson law office looking for lawyers on behalf of a “consortium,” but Matt can sense Wesley is up to no good. They play a little cat and mouse game until Wesley writes a huge check, and Foggy’s ready to take the case. Matt is still uneasy about the money, and tails Wesley as he leaves the office. Matt’s super hearing locks on to Wesley’s watch so he can ID him for the future.

While Foggy heads to the police station to meet Sason Jathom, Matt follows Wesley’s watch and hears the voice of “the employer” for the first time when Wesley gets in his car. There’s a lot of tension between the lawyers and Jathom at the station, and Foggy tries to back out of representation. Matt deduces that Jathom is somehow connected to Wesley, and to get more info on the shady Wesley, he convinces Foggy they should represent him. Not to mention all that cash they need for their little office with the cardboard door sign.

I try to not talk much about the 2003 Beniffer movie. It’s too easy to destroy. One thing I thought was brave from that crew was casting Michael Clark Duncan as the iconically very white and very bald Kingpin from the comics. His performance was crap, but it was a bold move. No disrespect MCD. R.I.P. grandão.

Back to (the only true) Daredevil. A similar thing has happened with reporter Ben Urich, who works for the Daily Bugle in the comics but writes for the New York Bulletin on the show (the Sony/Spidey deal hadn’t happened before filming. Fucking Sony.) The character has always been drawn white in the comics.

Vondie Curtis-Hall takes the role on the series and gives off a vibe that he’s tired and that something has been keeping him up at night. We get to see him working a source from the underworld (a scene straight out of The Wire), and we learn he got Karen’s flash drive and wrote the article that ultimately brought down Union Allied. We also get a glimpse at some medical drama in his life with his wife ill in the hospital. He wants to dig deeper into the Union Allied scandal, but his editor is kind of a jerk and makes him cover local transit or something. Luckily for him, Karen walks into his office.

By the way, can I talk about how much POC casting like this makes me and the NOCs smile? Another good move Marvel, or casting people, or whoever. Now make us all lose our shit and cast Cung Le or any other Asian American as Iron Fist.

Back to the recap. Karen has an awkward meeting back at the former Union Allied with a grimy businessman that throws a NDA her way and basically tells her to sign it, shut the hell up, and she’ll be set with all this back pay from the (former) company. We later learn that the same thing happened to the wife of her murdered co-worker. This leads her to Urich’s office at the paper, and we leave with the assumption she’s going to dish on the meeting and get Urich rolling on the story again.

The courtroom drama is a nice change of pace and it’s not bad since I watch The Good Wife and really enjoy it. (TGW may be the best legal drama out there, btw). Daredevil is not up to that level, but I was into that aspect of this episode. Cox as Matt is great in his closing argument. What was most enjoyable was watching Henson as Foggy get some dramatic meat instead of the light comic fluff of the first couple  episodes. Therefore, I present the Golden Broken Arm Award to Elden Henson for his performance in “Rabbit in a Snowstorm.”

We also get to see Matt’s super ears kick in again and track Wesley’s watch as he enters court and the effect that has on the jury. Murdock processes the jurors’ heart rates and is able to figure out who is under Wesley’s thumb. He gets one to recuse herself, but the second juror happens too quickly for him to do anything about it. Sason Jathom is acquitted in the court of law, but not in the court of the street.

So at the beginning you were probably, like me, thinking: “Man I hope DD and this Sason Jathom go at it.” Happy Birthdays to us. The first move the sets it off is one of the highlights. In what may be a nod to Tony Jaa, DD jumps in with a flying knee and misses, but lands on a car shattering the windshield. Nice. From there, it’s mostly a close quarter JKD trapping, blocking, some getting through type fight as again, we see Daredevil struggle some with a guy with combat experience.

DD gets spun around and almost goes head first into a sharp blade-like edge of a fence. Other highlights include Jathom showing some nice Muay Thai skill, there’s a sweet flying spinning double kick by DD, and he throws in a nice suplex on Jathom. They do go to ground, and for the amount of broken bones shown and heard in the series, I’ve lost count. I’m surprised there hasn’t been a classic armbar from mount… yet.

Jathom finds a piece of broken glass in the melee and attacks, but messes up. Matt in black controls the arm and has him stab himself and gets him to give up a name: Fisk, Wilson Fisk. They break it up and DD presses him more, but Jathom is clearly more freaked out about what he’s said than the beating he just received. Ok, then comes that moment. Rather than face the wrath of Fisk, he glances at that aforementioned sharp edge. At this point I’m thinking: “he’s not gonna… wait is he… I mean… maybe…” And then it happens. “OH SHIT!!!”

Our outro is actually our intro and first glance at Mr. Fisk in an art gallery looking at an all-white piece that we learn is called “Rabbit in a Snowstorm.” Fisk has some flirty banter with Vanessa, played by Ayelet Zurer, who previously played Lara (aka Superman’s mom) in Man of Steel.

Vanessa asks Wilson how the painting makes him feel.

Creeper. Who can’t wait for more Fisky Kingpin?!

Devils in the Details:

  • Daredevil is definitely part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There’s a paper with the headline “Battle of NY” and another showing The Hulk’s rampage in Harlem from his solo movie behind Urich’s desk.

7 thoughts on “NOC Recaps Daredevil: aka Law & Order Hell’s Kitchen

  1. OMG! When you mentioned Prince, I totally flashbacked to the 1989 Batman movie. Does this show not remind you of that movie?

    And yeah, that guy does look like Jason Statham, but then you’re talking to a woman who keeps seeing Josh Brolin, in places where he’s not, so I just thought it was me being weird again.

    Also, I’d watch the f**** out of Law & Order: Hells Kitchen, especially if all the characters were vigilantes, like in Heroes for Hire.

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