Review by Logan
Superheroes are supposed to be invincible. They take down the world’s villains, through much pain and turmoil, and they always come out of it in one piece. The truly great pieces of the genre, whether in the original comic book form or through films and TV shows, always come when the writers manage to make us as the audience truly worried that maybe, just maybe, our hero isn’t going to make it out okay after all.
In Daredevil, that happens as early as the second episode. It opens with a teenager finding Daredevil bleeding out in a dumpster. Luckily, he knows a nurse, and so Claire begins treating a blind vigilante in her apartment. The crux of the episode surrounds Matt Murdock’s battle to stay alive, and his tenacity to continue the fight in spite of his condition. In that way it’s a high-stakes episode, but it’s also one that slows down a little bit from the high-action pace of the previous episode to provide time for some critical character-development, before closing out with one of my personal favorite action scenes in the whole series.
The development of Matt’s interaction with Claire does a couple of things that really make this a compelling series with compelling characters. Most importantly, it gives us some insight into the psyche of Matt’s character. We get some flashbacks to his childhood, filling out this gross feeling of injustice that he feels all the time. The dialogue with Claire gives us an idea of what really motivates him, as well as a particularly intense scene that gives some insight into whether or not he actually enjoys what he does. A simultaneous subplot involving Foggy and Karen also provides character development, although it also detracts somewhat from the episode’s main events.
This is all really great stuff from a storytelling perspective. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t possible moral issues with the episode. We must question, for example, whether it was good for Jack Murdock, who’s generally portrayed as a good father, to give his young son alcohol to steady his hand while patching his father up. We’re also forced to question Daredevil’s torture tactics, especially in light of his mentioned faith (he makes a passing reference to being Catholic, an aspect of his character which will be expounded upon later in the series). Sure, it’s easy to justify violence when you’re beating up bad guys to save a kidnapped kid or a civilian from a mugger, but what about stabbing someone to reveal a fugitive’s location? If there is a line – and we assume there is – when is it crossed?
Were this an unanswered question, I would bring it up as significant cause for concern. The show will confront some of these questions later on, but for the moment, it does pose some significant moral problems. I would rather have seen some doubt played into Daredevil’s decisions from the beginning, especially given his aforementioned faith. It would seem that Christian morality and Christian ethics would give him at least some pause, and certainly more than he’s showing in this episode.
With that said, it’s a good episode that serves as a great introduction to Claire’s character, and gives us more insight into Matt with a good use of flashbacks rarely seen in these kinds of TV shows.