Marvel’s Daredevil debuted on Netflix on April 10 and has been a great entry into the Marvel universe. The first four episodes, which I reviewed last week, were fun and full of promise, but episodes 5 through 8 really saw the show hitting a stride.
Episode 5, titled “World on Fire”, is especially strong and interesting because of its focus on relationships. Early in the episode, Matt and Claire have a moment and kiss. Their relationship is complicated throughout the episode, as she questions his actions as the masked vigilante. Wilson Fisk (aka Kingpin) continues his relationship with Vanessa, which provides an interesting contrast to the Matt/Claire relationship as well of being a highlight of the show in its own right. Meanwhile, Foggy and Karen have their first official date. This relationship provides more of a sweet innocence than the more tension-filled relationships and has the nice quality of feeling like a genuine friendship turning romantic. Many relationships in the superhero genre feel formulaic or one dimensional and it would feel impressive and refreshing for this show to have even one of these interesting, developed relationships. Having all three is awesome.
Episode 8, titled “Shadows in the Glass” is another standout episode. Through a series of flashbacks, it shows us Fisk’s backstory. The reveal of how he ended up killing his own father is fantastic. At the end of the episode, he holds a press conference about his plans for Hell’s Kitchen.
It continues to benefit from a realistic, down-to-earth tone that makes it stand out from the rest of the Marvel universe. It’s a little reminiscent of Arrow, but even that is much more heightened than this show feels. Sure, there are fight scenes where we’re reminded this is a superhero show about a vigilante with super-senses, but a lot of what makes the show interesting is the struggle of Matt Murdock, idealistic lawyer. As a result, the scenes about “regular people”, like Karen and or Ben Urich, pop much more than equivalent scenes in other superhero shows. Often the scenes of ordinary people can feel like a break in the action or like they have lower stakes. On this show everyone is just a person trying to do their best and they’ve found a way to fill the series with drama without out-of-this-world stakes.