Daredevil why do you confuse me so much as to whether you understand how to pace a show or not. “Shadows in The Glass” was pretty worthless, but “Speak of The Devil” manages to live up to it’s potential a display why it is an overall strong series. This episode manages to effectively use non linear story telling as well as a great emotional core for the build up to our final confrontation. All of the pieces on the board manage to move at exactly the right pace and end at a conclusion that I honestly did not think we would get to see yet. With the episode not moving along a straight narrative pace we were able to see the highs and lows of Matt’s search for justice. Add on that this was some if not the best action we have seen all season as Matt took on one of his oldest comic book foes, ninjas.
First off I love the framing of the episode and revolving around how Matt ended up in his death duel with Nobu. Seeing Matt hunt for Ms. Cardenas’ killer and the shock that it had not only on him but also Karen and Foggy worked perfectly to put us in Matt’s mindset. Matt is driven by the idea that the law can’t always solve everyone’s problems and that his costumed persona is a necessary evil. However in this case it was not so much about correcting the wrongs as Matt needing an outlet to take his rage out on. He knows how much Ms. Cardenas meant to Foggy and Karen, so his hunt for answers was his disturbing way of giving his friends closure of some sort, it just so happens it ended horribly for Matt. Matt’s struggle is that unlike Fisk he constantly sees the darkness of the city and is trying to find a light to hold on to, where as Fisk only sees the darkness and believes you have to tear it down entirely to find the light.
That is what made both of Matt’s interactions with Fisk so impressive as it allowed both of his personalities to come face to face with their enemy. Although it was relatively short I really enjoyed the scene between Matt, Vanessa, and Fisk as it felt like Vanessa was able to perfectly read Matt’s intentions. I loved how she was able to perfectly pick out Matt’s “anger” painting and basically peg the actual reason why he was there, combining it with Fisk trying to politician Matt into understanding his position in the tenement dispute was just icing on the cake. Similarly when Fisk and Matt face off after the Nobu fight Fisk tries to maintain that although it was not ideal that he needed to kill Ms. Cardenas in order to achieve his goals. It’s a perfect moment as both Matt and Fisk drop their facades and allow their true characters to be at the forefront. Matt and Fisk’s anger drives them to bee who they are, this time however Matt is driven by blind rage as opposed to being in control of the fight. This episode manages to tell us much more about Fisk than the flashbacks ever did.
The centerpiece of the episode however was that brutal Nobu fight and watching Matt fight and claw to stay alive. It was a beautiful and horrifying in it’s execution as Matt went toe to toe with the deadly ninja and really only survived by the skin of his teeth as Nobu was constantly over powering him and inflicting more and more damage. At a certain point I wasn’t just surprised that Matt was even still conscious, but it helps to show just how amazing the fight choreography was for the entire episode, and just how much Charlie Cox sold the shit out of that fight. I loved that in the end Nobu respected Matt’s conviction and ability, and Nobu did indeed go out like a champ. Burning a ninja to the ground may be one of the coolest deaths I have seen in a long time.
The big moment however came after the entire brouhaha when Foggy stumbled upon an incredibly injured Matt in his own apartment. I have to say this was a huge move and greatly appreciated considering the lack of Claire for a lot of the season. I can’t wait to see the fallout of this discovery and how it can possibly affect the seemingly rock solid relationship between Foggy and Matt.
Overall I loved this episode it was nearly flawless in it’s execution and worth every damn minute of it.
Final Grade A-
+Matt and Fisk face to face
+Matt’s rage on display
+Nice emotional beats
-Pacing was occasionally jarring
-I know Matt wanted to kill Fisk, but when you are bleeding that badly it would have been smarter to cut and run.
-The color contrast between Nobu and Matt was perfect. I want more ninjas in season two.