Grumpy Bird Reviews: Daredevil s01e12: Daredevil

Let’s talk a little about that final episode and about the series as a whole. I’m not going to lie. I watched the final episodes almost a week ago. A key event from episode was spoiled for me and that hurt some of the enthusiasm I was feeling for the series. Still, these were some quality episodes.

km6safhgb9btzm4azw9mDaredevil s01e12: Daredevil

Writer: Steven S. DeKnight

Director: Steven S. DeKnight

Netflix

Quick Review: Wham! Bang! Biff! Can you say there are fights coming and everything is coming to a head? Of course! But there is also a needless funeral to go to first. Other than that, we are dealing with a lot of awesome sauce.

Analysis: I don’t have too much to say about the final episode itself. There was some great stuff here. Overall it was a satisfying episode. I certainly left this series wanting more Daredevil. Bu tI do have some thoughts about the series as a whole.

First off, there was a lot of awesome here. I’m about to get to the whinging so don’t let that take away from all the good that was done. Everyone performed with their A game. The acting was superb. The fighting and stunts were tight, even if they were front loaded. (Nothing rose to the level of the hallway fight from episode 2.) You could feel the stage being set for other upcoming series. (Does anyone not expect to see Madam Gao in Iron Fist?) The sound and music and light was great and made this feel like a movie not just a genre TV show. But I go into a lot of those with more detail in earlier reviews. So, I’m going to cease the applauding for all that was awesome and say a few words of criticism.

1) Kingpin? – There was some incredible character work done with Wilson Fisk. Vincent D’Onofrio did a great job bringing humanity and terror to Fisk. There was always a since of power and rage just below the surface even when he was at his most sympathetic. I don’t think I have any real complaints with D’Onofrio. (Okay, at times I kept thinking of him as Private Pyle crossed with the baddy from Men in Black, but that isn’t his fault. Not really.) My only real complaint is that I don’t feel we were adequately shown Fisk as a mastermind. He was a threat. He was a menace. But was he a believable planner? The few moments where he was shown as such felt very much tacked on, almost a third rank characteristic. It felt more likely that perhaps Wesley was the true brains and Wilson was just the power through which those brains were wielded. There was so much effort put into making Wilson human, or an angry child, that we never truly saw him as the planner.

2) Why did he die? – This goes both for Leland Owlsley and for Ben Urich, but for different reasons. Leland was just such  great character to see on screen. I love that actor and there was so much life added whenever he was featured on the bad guys side. Losing him saddens me. But it is Ben that feels like the real waste. I have heard it said that in ongoing fiction killing a character needs to be weighed by how many stories a death brings versus how many stories a life has. With Leland, their is still potential. Perhaps an Offspring will come and fill the role of the Owl, perhaps more in line with the comics. But with Ben… What is there? A major Marvel universe supporting character was killed just as we were starting to get a glimpse into the world he inhabited. Was it done simply for the shock of his loss? If so, I don’t think the shock was worth it. I honestly can’t think of any gains for Ben’s death in a narrative sense. Honestly, this my be what I think is the biggest misstep of this series.

3) Secret past? – Karen has a dark secret. If we go by the comics it could be heroin, pornography, or both. The show suggests, or bluffs, that it might be a murder. (I doubt this, but it could be possible.) Part of me wonders if in the current climate Marvel can risk tainting the only star female character? I hate thinking like this, but with the death of Ben (and Nobu) and no guarantee on how involved Claire (Rosario Dawson) will be in future episodes, we are basically left with Karen and a bunch a white guys as regular returning cast. Part of me wonders if the possible backlash from labeling Karen as a former drug addict pornstar would put the squelch on such a story. Making her a murderer might be the safer option. Or finding something completely different.

4) Love threads? – What happened with Matt and Claire? What happened with Foggy and Karen? Both of these situations were resolved/non-resolved in fairly uninspired ways. I suppose I should be glad that Claire at least had a few lines to say goodbye before she disappeared from the show. But Foggy and Karen? I must have blinked. There was the repetitive irked Matt and Foggy, to which Karen was in the crossfire. And then Foggy is with his ex clearing the way for a Matt Karen pairing. And I am left feeling we wasted a lot of time showing the building friendship/relationship between Foggy and Karen to just see it shoved aside artlessly. Oh well.

Those are my four big problems with season 1. Overall this has been a great series. Much better than any other comic show I’ve watched. But it does have its flaws.

Although, yeah, the wait for season 2 might be the most difficult aspect of the show to deal with. Maybe I’ll watch it again. After I re-watch the Wire. Again.


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