Martin Carr reviews the second episode of Daredevil season 2…
With Mexican cartels hanging from meat hooks, Irish mob gangs shredded like sushi and one surviving witness under the wing of Nelson and Murdock we open on episode two. Matt is missing, district attorney Reyes is playing hard ball and we still know nothing about our mystery gunman.
What made and continues making Daredevil are those singularly perfect casting calls. Charlie Cox, Elden Henson and Deborah Ann Woll fit these characters like a glove, which meant it stopped being about the fighting a long time ago for me. Cox plays Murdock with measured understatement instilling him with integrity, whilst never resorting to showboating or scene stealing tactics. While Henson’s Foggy convinces in those serious moments but still manages to be an important comedic foil where necessary.
Elsewhere Woll’s Karen is proving resourceful, fearless and an intriguing assert to the all but bankrupted law firm. She is the one that comes through under fire when ‘that’ gunman comes calling. And it is Karen’s subterfuge that gets their witness into the hospital after that initial meeting at Josie’s. Beyond that she no longer feels like an afterthought when it comes to character progression or narrative involvement. Simply put without all three actors working in tandem Daredevil is dead in the water. John Bernthal’s involvement is another discussion entirely.
What we get at this point are glimpses of our guy, whether that is the side, back or reflection of his head. Daredevil works hard to keep his face hidden until those final seconds of episode one. Because right now Bernthal is an unknown quantity lumped in with the vigilante copycat theory, which Murdock’s heroics against Fisk supposedly created. He is merely one person with a shed load of artillery and an agenda from hell. Both precise, remorseless and seemingly unstoppable this man has taken matters into his own hands for reasons unknown. All the police are sure of is that he leaves no loose ends and never compromises his identity. That Nelson and Murdock possess the only thing likely to draw him out provides the drive for most of episode two. One very small yet important thread amongst many which Daredevil weaves whilst maintaining momentum and keeping it the right side of real.
I like that there is a tangible sense of consequence to the actions of these characters and they are fallible, separating it from the remaining Netflix sponsored Marvel mayhem. As well as an absolute certainty this has been thought out to the last detail and designed with an audience in mind. For me Daredevil made something abundantly clear a longer time ago; there are no demographics only passion driving this project. But you knew that already.