Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Review - 'Daredevil', S01E03 - 'Rabbit in a Snowstorm'

The pace is slowed once more in the third episode of Daredevil, as Matt and Foggy find themselves drawn into a case that neither of them really wants anything to do with. Following on from a brief, though impressive, black-comedy tinged action sequence set in a bowling alley, John Healy (Alex Morf), a hired hitman, announces his intention to plead 'self-defence' - in spite of the fact that his confrontation ended with him beating his target to death with a bowling ball. As a result, Matt and Foggy are receive a visit from Wesley (Tony Leonard Moore), the public representative of the mysterious figure behind so much of the crime currently plaguing Hell's Kitchen. With the promise of a significant pay-off, Wesley's intent is to gently coerce the two into representing Healy - in what is, clearly, intended as a form of test for the two unproven, and unknown, lawyers.

So, Matt and Foggy find themselves forced to defend a man who each would prefer to see convicted for his crimes. Also, at the same time, Matt becomes aware of the fact that Healy's employers seem to be engaging in a bit of jury tampering, in order to ensure the verdict that they want.

Karen, meanwhile, finds herself drawn into a complex conspiracy as representatives of her former employers attempt to coerce her into signing a non-disclosure agreement which would legally prevent her from revealing any details of the shady business dealings she had uncovered. Honestly, the fact that this all came after her attempted murder gave the whole situation an odd, and darkly comic, twist to me (though, it was clearly one that Karen, herself, didn't seem to appreciate - for obvious reasons). Had this offer come before the attempted murder, it might even have worked to ensure her silence. Instead, though, Karen responds by allying herself with investigative journalist Ben Ulrich (Vondie Curtis-Hall), as she begins her own private mission to expose the ones who had tried to frame, then murder, her.

Also, after three episodes of gradual build-up, we finally get our first look at the man behind it all - Wilson Fisk (Vincent D'Onofrio). What we see, though, is clearly intended to draw a deliberately stark contrast with what we had been led to expect - a quiet and reserved man with an appreciation for fine art. It is only a brief glimpse, for the moment - but, it is enough to suggest that this interpretation of the well-known Marvel character should, hopefully, prove to be more than simply a straight-forward villainous figure.

While it may have felt like a bit of a shame to see the pace slowed so drastically, after such a tense and exciting previous episode, this episode also felt important in that it attempted to show that Daredevil does not need to focus solely on action in order to be compelling. And, it was mostly successful. The moral dilemma that Matt and Foggy found themselves in was fascinating - and, the 'court-room drama' scenes were well-done. Also, Healy made for an oddly entertaining villain - coming across as confident and capable, and entirely convinced that he had the two lawyers at his disposal (his presence did, also, allow for a couple of short, though intense, action scenes throughout the episode, too - but, they weren't really the episode's focus). Karen's side-plot did, unfortunately, feel like more of a distraction than it did an independent and equally important story-line - though, hopefully, it is building toward something interesting in the future.

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