Thursday, 19 November 2015

Review - 'Daredevil', S01E10 - 'Nelson v Murdock'

This first season of Daredevil hasn't been an easy one for Matt Murdock. For the second time, an episode opens with him severely injured and in desperate need of medical treatment. Much like the last time, too, Matt's desperate need for help ultimately results in someone else learning his secret, as Foggy finds his closest friend still wearing the blood-stained outfit of the masked vigilante who had become so infamous in Hell's Kitchen.

Naturally, the revelation that his closest friend has been lying to him for, basically, as long as they have actually known each other does not sit well with Foggy. It's not just Matt's recent activities as the masked vigilante that bothers him, after all - but, also, the fact that Matt's enhanced sense mean that he never needed the help and support that Foggy had always tried to provide.
Elden Henson has been great as a source of light, tension breaking, humour throughout the season - but, this is arguably the first time he has truly been placed in the spot-light. Flash-back scenes showing us Matt and Foggy's first meeting, their days working as interns at a prestigious law firm, and their decision to toss all of that aside in order to start their own small firm in Hell's Kitchen reveal the growth of a very genuine friendship between the two men which contrasts strongly with the clear sense of hurt and betrayal that Foggy feels in the present. Every scene between the two in this episode is fantastic - with both the light and humorous moments revealed through flash-backs, and the tense character drama of the present day scenes, being play very well by both Elden Henson and Charlie Cox. The focus on the emotional fall-out of Foggy's discovery may make this the slowest paced episode of the season, sure - but, after the tense action of the previous episode, a probably felt appropriate to slow things down for a little while.

While Matt and Foggy, obviously, receive most of the attention in this episode, the season's other plot-threads aren't entirely forgotten. Fisk attends a formal charity event in which he seeks to further establish himself as a genuine force for good in Hell's Kitchen - but, finds himself caught up in a surprise attack as the people around him, including Vanessa, succumb to the poison that has been slipped into the wine. Also, Karen takes Urich to an extremely luxurious hospice, ostensibly to suggest it as a place where he could admit his own ailing wife - but, of course, the truth turns out to be more complicated, as she has learned that one of the residents may have an important piece of information. While each plot-thread offers interesting developments, they don't really add anything essential to this episode, in particular - feeling, once again, more like something that could have been left for later, so that we could focus on the more important thread. They just felt a little out of place next to the drama between Matt and Foggy - it felt as though that should have been this episode's sole focus.

One major issue with this episode, though, concerns who doesn't actually appear - with Claire being conspicuously absent, despite being called in to treat Matt's injuries off camera. Obviously, she is the only one who could have been called to treat Matt's injuries, but it seems strange that she would not actually appear - especially when you consider that, unlike the other character's plot-threads, the tension that her last meeting with Matt ended on was actually something that could have been addressed in a way that would have added to the episode.

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