I’m betting that everyone is hyper-aware of the eyeballs in their head right. Those of us lucky enough to not have our heads impaled by spikes were treated to an intriguing third episode of Daredevil, one that—for the most part—eskewed the normal punchy-kicky routine for more legal drama, which makes sense. Matt Murdock is a lawyer after all. It’s about time we saw some lawyering.
Aside from a few extraneous plotlines, the third hour of Daredevil was structurally not unlike a solid episode of Law & Order, kicking things off with the case that the firm of Nelson & Murdock would eventually take on. In this instance, we see a man named Healy, an apparent bowling enthusiast, try to join in on the game currently underway by a well protected bowler named Prohaszka. Turns out that Healy is also a fan of martial arts, giving people compound fractures, and smashing heads in with bowling balls, because that’s what he does to Prohaszka, before stashing his faulty gun in a nearby pinball machine and proclaiming, “I want a lawyer.”
One of the lawyers he’s lucky enough to get, Matt, is currently struggling with his morality. While sitting outside a church, he’s approached by Father Lantom, the priest he confessed to in the first episode. Lantom would like to talk about Matt’s recent struggles over a latte, but the lawyer needs to get back to his office and avoid tough questions about the morals of what he does at night.
Someone who is happy to ask questions about what Matt is up to, however, is Ben Urich, a newspaper reporter with a long history in the Marvel Universe. Ben has called in a favor from a source, a man named Silvio with vague ties to the criminal world and a name that has also been in the comics for a while. Someone is snapping up all of the power in town, and it has Silvio spooked. Rigaletto, the man who previously held Mr. Farnum’s debt, is no more, and Silvio isn’t sticking around New York to sort the matter out. Urich suspects it’s the Russians, but Silvio has a different kind of tip for him: don’t go poking around.
Unfortunately for the law offices of Nelson & Murdock, that mysterious criminal force comes knocking on their door in the former of Wesley. Having opened a file on them at his employer’s command, he would like to offer to keep the practice on retainer for a large sum of money. The zeroes on the check have Foggy convinced, but Matt has too many questions about Wesley, his employer, and why he happens to know so much about Karen’s past with Union Allied, even though the police never filed charges. Just as a way to get acquainted as potential business partners, Wesley gives them Healy’s case to take as a dry run. Matt, more than a little suspicious, follows his potential employer outside by the sound of his watch—which is really cool. The suit gets into one of three awaiting SUVs and makes a call exclaiming, “It’s been taken care of.” Wesley’s shady exit combined with the blood soaking through Matt’s shirt is more than enough to make him worried that his Daredevil antics are catching up to him.
At the police precinct, Matt enters the interrogation room a little while after Foggy has started talking to Healy. The guy couldn’t seem any sketchier, asking questions about which version of his story will sound better to a jury, but even after Foggy expresses some hesitance about representing the thug, Matt is on board. He needs to learn more about Healy and why a business conglomerate is representing him. The whole interview turns into an interrogation of sorts, something that the defendant picks up on. Healy, sensing that the tide has turned, informs his lawyers that they’ll go to trial, he won’t testify and very self-assuredly puts his fate in the hands of the jury.
NEXT: Art appreciation with Wilson Fisk
Karen, meanwhile, is having some morality questions of her own. After receiving a letter from what remains of Union Allied, the former employee meets with a lawyer. The company is willing to offer her six months of salary, if she agrees to never again discuss the corruption she uncovered while working there. It would effectively mean that Danny Fisher’s death would be swept under the rug, never to be resolved, which doesn’t sit right with Karen. Hoping to find an ally, she tracks down Fisher’s wife, who is in the process of moving her family. According to Mrs. Fisher, her late husband—who she knew to be completely faithful—had the same impulse that Karen had for justice, and it cost him everything. The encounter undoubtedly leaves Karen questioning her role in an unjust society, the very issue that Matt is currently wrestling with.
In court for Healy’s trial, Foggy explains to the jury that the law in New York requires the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that his client went beyond protecting himself when he killed Prohaszka. During the statement, Matt listens closely to the heartbeats of the jury, and he finds what he’s looking for. One of the jurors has an accelerated heart rate, which Matt interprets as anxiety coming from some outside source, and he’s right because he’s Daredevil. As the juror is walking home, some lacky reminds her that the whole ordeal will be over soon. A few punches later, the thug explains to Matt that his employer—whoever that might be—is blackmailing the juror with an inappropriate video she made a while ago, one she’s afraid her kids will see. Always a supporter of sexual freedom and youthful self-expression, Matt tells the thug that the juror has to get herself dismissed, which she does.
While the expertly choreographed fight scenes have been a highlight of the series thus far, I’m glad three episodes in, Daredevil is willing to take a minor timeout to give us a much more philosophy-centric hour. As both a lawyer and a vigilante, Matt’s strict ties to morality brings up interesting questions for the series to answer, and not only are we beginning to see the story address those in relation to Daredevil, almost everyone around him struggles with the issue as well. Karen’s narrative, in particular, is interesting because it’s not one you’d immediately expect from a superhero show, and yet we’re treated this smart, complex female character that has her own motivations and desires. Bringing Ben Urich in as a more central figure will only help push that story forward.
That being said, we are treated to a badass fight scene after a hung jury sets Healy free. Matt wants to, once and for all, find out what his deal is, so he decides to dress up like a ninja and punch him a bunch of times in the alley. Since Healy is no pushover, the fight scene, naturally, is brutal, with Matt essentially torturing his former client with a glass shard. The pain is too much for Healy, and he gives up the one name that he really should have kept to himself: Wilson Fisk, his employer.
What happens next is super gross (too graphic, I think, for the show) and pretty definitely states that, no, Daredevil really isn’t for kids. Since Matt wouldn’t kill Healy, the thug has to take matters into his own hands—or should I say, directly into his own eye? If the show’s writers were looking to drive home the point (no pun intended) that, yes, Wilson Fisk is not a man to be trifled with, they’ve done it, and I also really appreciate how they handle Vincent D’Onofrio’s first and rather opaque appearance as the Kingpin, in which he explains that the painting he’s examining in a gallery makes him feel “alone.” He could have literally said anything at that point, but “alone” really ends the episode leaving us wondering what makes this uber-powerful dude tick.