Two episodes in and Marvel’s Daredevil is already something that’s really exciting in terms of what it’s doing with the modern superhero story. This second episode illustrates that point particularly well by working closely to two very fairly standard features of the genre in its current state—an origin story and a dark, gritty aesthetic—and tweaking them just enough to make both service Matt Murdock’s story specifically.
The story picks back up what we can assume is a few hours after the last episode ended. Matt has gone after the Russians who kidnapped the boy from his father’s car and ends up in the dumpster outside Claire Temple’s apartment. Rosario Dawson, naturally, is a welcome addition to the cast, and her character’s arc in this episode is definitely a surprising one. Inside her apartment, Claire begins to treat Matt for his various cuts and broken bones, and he wakes up just long enough to stop her from calling 911.
Flashing back to Matt’s pre-accident childhood, we see the future hero take similar measures to patch up his father after another loss in the ring. It’s not apparent to the boy yet, but considering the beating Jack Murdock took in his latest fight, during which he drops his gloves, it sure seems like dear old dad is throwing these bouts for the money. There’s a good reversal when Matt informs his dad that he’ll need some stitches, and his father tells him to get the Scotch. Not for the bruised boxer, but for his son, to steady the boy’s hand during the suture. (That’s parenting, folks!) Some credit is due to the effects team during this scene. They certainly don’t pull their punches with the stitches, which are sufficiently gross and kind of awesome. As we’re cringing on Jack’s behalf, his son drops some classic Murdock wisdom on him. “It doesn’t matter how you fight,” Matt says. “It’s how you get up.” The boy’s right. Let’s move on.
At the office, Foggy and Karen are having a late night that makes for a surprisingly sweet C story line. After everything she had been through in the previous episode, Karen doesn’t exactly feel up to spending the night in her intruder-friendly apartment. I’m glad that the show is giving some real time to these characters’ emotions, even if it’s not directly related to Daredevil or the crime-fighting central story line. Karen’s fears feel very grounded and honest, considering what she’s been through. Luckily, Foggy has just the cure for such fears: binge drinking!
The atmosphere is unsurprisingly less light over at Claire’s, when Matt finally wakes up on the couch much more lucid than the last time. He realizes that his mask is off, leaving his face in full view of Claire, who comments that his costume kind of sucks. I mean, I kind of dig it, but Matt admits what we all know. It’s a work in progress. Even with his face revealed, Matt keeps his identity from Claire, so she decides to call him Mike, after a guy she used to date. (Cue geeks everywhere trying figure out who her ex might be.) Matt is, however, polite enough to thank her for everything, which is pretty good timing, considering that she fixes his collapsed lung in the next scene.
The moment is somewhat of a tipping point for Claire, who demands to know what’s going on. Though Matt won’t give up his name, he doesn’t have a problem telling her that he had gone after the kidnapped boy, only to fall into a trap set by the Russians. The boy wasn’t at the warehouse he had tracked the Russians to, but an ambush was waiting for him. Matt barely made it out, and he wasn’t able to hide his trail, since someone wearing a serious amount of cologne is downstairs, going door to door.
NEXT: A quick pause to talk about those flashbacks