‘Daredevil’ Shows Why Murdocks Always Get Up in Episode Two

The Man Without Fear finds himself on the ropes in the second installment of Netflix’s super series.

The first season of Netflix’s Daredevil opened with an absolutely perfect first chapter.  Seriously – there was not one thing I would changed about “Into the Ring.”

With that kind of opening, I was a little nervous about episode two, “Cut Man.”  Was there any chance in Hell’s Kitchen that the second episode could be as good as the first?

Does this tell you anything?

Here’s what we learned in episode two.

1. Murdocks always get up.

At one point, Jack Murdock (known as Battlin’ Jack) is given the chance of a lifetime: a fight against a marquee opponent.  Of course, given the fact that Battlin’ Jack is an older fighter with more losses than wins in his career, we all know he’s going to be asked to take a dive.  At first he refuses – now we know where Matt gets his strong sense of right and wrong from -but eventually he accepts, due to the fact that he wants to be able to provide for his son. 

Then he has this exchange with his son:

Young Matt: Good thing about red – you can’t tell how much you’re bleeding.

Jack: Who says I’m even gonna get hit?

Young Matt: We’re Murdocks; we get hit a lot.

Jack: Yeah.  Guess we do.

Young Matt: We get up.  Right dad?  We always get up.

Boom.  Right there, in that short little exchange between a father who has compromised his values in order to give his son a future, and a young boy who doesn’t know what his future holds for him, the writers have established the iron will that will carry Murdock through the death of his father, the trials that surely accompanied being blind, and his blood-soaked efforts to clean up Hell’s Kitchen. 

And they threw in some foreshadowing about the color of Murdock’s soon-to-be revealed suit, as well!  Nice touch.

2. This Daredevil is really embracing the devil in him.

One of my favorite graphic novels is Watchmen (and the film ranks right up there on my list, as well), in large part because that story does a wonderful job of showing the sort of personality types that would REALLY don masks and costumes and fight crime at night.  Hint: no one normal!

I was fully expecting Murdock to pummel the criminal he had captured (via the old “drop the fire extinguisher from above” trick that I enjoy so much!) . . . and he did . . . but when Claire Temple (played by the wonderful Rosario Dawson) suggested Murdock “try stabbing him in the trigeminal nerve,” which is located right above the eye . . . and he does . . . I was impressed.  Murdock stopped short of killing the man, but I love how the show is really embracing the gritty side of crime-fighting.  

Let’s face it – as much as we love to think super heroes could all be like the boyscout Superman, the bottom line is that super heroes are supposed to be able to get results when regular law enforcement cannot.   This show gets that, and while it’s not going to have Murdock go to the extremes that my favorite character from Watchmen, Rorschach, is willing to go, it doesn’t shy away from having Murdock earn the devil half of his eventually moniker.

3. This show has some of the best fight scenes, uh, ever.

“Cut Man” is a textbook example of how you build tension and deliver a payoff.  Murdock spends almost the entire episode injured, exhausted, and racing against the clock to find the boy who was kidnapped at the end of episode one.  There really is no action to speak of – not a complaint, given how much we learned about all of the primary characters we have met so far – until Murdock finally gets the answer to his question: where is the boy?

Then, it’s game time!  

This Tweet sums up the climax of the episode better than anything I could write:

It’s hard to back up such a bold claim – there’s been an awful lot of good fights in the history of the boob tube! – but it’s also really damn hard to argue against it.  Perhaps the best thing about the episode’s awe-inspiring climax is how sloppy and exhausted Murdock looks as the fight drags on – such an amazing touch.  The fights in this show are choreographed so well that it will be tough to go back to watching the Avengers zip around the screen in full-on video game mode come May – seriously.

Pardon me for coming across like a total fan boy, but this is one of the few shows on Netflix that I could justify spending 13 straight hours watching . . . and the $$$ I would have to spend on a babysitter for the kids during that time span.  It would be so worth the money spent!

My score:

Cut Man

A