Recap of Daredevil Season 1 – Beware!! Major Spoilers Ahead!
Ok, before we get into the meat and potatoes of my recap, I will warn you. This presumes you have watched all 13 episodes. I will discuss things that happen in every episode. So if you don’t want to be spoiled, stop reading now, come back after watching. This is your last warning.
So to be honest, I never saw the movie, and have only read a handful of Daredevil comics. So this was all fairly new material for me. I knew who Daredevil was and the juxtaposition of his vigilantism vs. Catholicism. I like the idea and there is an amazing scene where Matt Murdock is asked (during confessional) if he doesn’t want to kill Fisk (Wilson Fisk, the big bad this season and in most DD storylines) and is afraid he will have to, or if he wants to and that there is another way to stop him. Amazing dichotomy.
The show begins after the destruction in The Avengers. If you are tired of origin stories, great! This show gets it out of the way in one quick flashback. Toxic chemicals in young Matt’s eyes. I will say this show is more about the origin of Wilson Fisk, aka Kingpin. I have always viewed the main character of a storyline as one who begins one way, goes through some trial or tribulation, and exits changed in some way. Fisk begins as a man in the shadows, where no one can even say his same. In episode 8, Fisk reveals himself to the world, going from “guy no one knows about” to “guy no one will ever believe is the bad guy.” By the end of the season finale, Fisk is implicated and is well on his way to becoming Kingpin. He also had the love interest and conflict in this season (more to be discussed later). This character change makes him the center point of the season.
Speaking of Fisk, Vincent D’Onofrio was the absolute best part of this series. His portrayal of Wilson Fisk was outstanding. Going from a violent murderer who decapitates a man with a car door, to a nervous adolescent-like boy trying to ask a girl out made me simultaneously fear and be feared for this character. While at dinner with Vanessa (his love interest), she mentions that she slept with a man, and D’Onofrio’s Fisk gets visibly uncomfortable, to the point where I leaned forward from my seat on the couch and thought, “Whoa, is the Kingpin a virgin??” Virginity, a sign of boyhood, a sign that society says, “you’re not a grownup until you lose this.” And I’m wondering if Kingpin is a virgin, based solely on D’Onofrio’s character. I cannot speak highly enough of this performance. Other questions arise given his loyalty to Madame Gao. He shows her such respect that his moral code has to have some semblance of existence. My only worry is that a Kingpin villain every season may run thin after a while. However, the season introduced enough backstory and subplots to provide for many more seasons.
The most obvious future story is that of Stick and his “master.” At the end of episode 7, “Stick,” Stick, Matt’s mentor and teacher, Stick is seen having a meeting with some scarred individual that we can only see from behind. So many questions arise from this scene. What is “Black Sky” and what does it do? I can’t wait for this to be more fully developed. One of the easiest future/flashback stories, is who killed Matt’s father?
While the writers could have beaten this story to death, they didn’t. With very few flashbacks, we get a taste of Matt’s past and his father and how his father died (Episode 2). Yet, they never show us who killed him. I’m excited for Matt to dive deeper into this. Gonna make for some good backstory.
And speaking of backstory, going into Karen’s (played by the former True Blood Vampire – Deborah Ann Woll. And yes, I purposely chose a sexy photo.) is going to be super fun! She kills a guy and immediately knows what to do with the weapon and wiping prints. There is way more of her story to tell and we are only getting little glimpses now. As for the character, I think DAW did a great job, although I see the part as very similar to Jessica from True Blood sans the vampire evilness. Karen is very similar to Jessica before transformation. I’m excited to see her stretch her acting chops.
By far one of my favorite aspects of this show is the willingness to kill great characters…and if you didn’t believe me before…believe me now….here come some spoilers. Wesley, Fisk’s assistant and friend, his death caught me completely off guard and I was actually saddened because his character was so great! In Episode 3, Wesley goes to a bowling alley to retrieve a gun hidden inside a pinball machine. As a testament to his character, the writers and everyone involved, this was brilliant. Some asshat is playing the machine and gives Wesley some grief. Wesley takes out a quarter, places it on the machine, slides it down and says, ever so slyly, “I got next.” Any kid who grew up in an arcade realizes how cool this was. It’s the 80s/90s kids’ version of “Dibs.”
Wesley only got cooler from there. In such a dark show, he was a glimmer of dry, sarcastic humor. Many of his scenes were just incredibly dark and yet filled with dry wit. In episode 4 he shows his disappointment that Fisk’s partners are getting beat by Murdock by saying, “We would understand if he was in an iron suit or had a magic hammer.” In episode 11, when he has Karen (I told you spoilers), he says, “you were supposed to go away, Ms. Paige, fade away to wherever people like you fade.” He then pulls out a gun, and says “Do I have your attention?” after no response, says “Hello?? Could you like nod or something??” and then continues!
Honestly, by the way Wesley speaks and holds himself, while it may be stereotypical, I would not be surprised if this iteration of Wesley was gay. His unquestionable loyalty to Kingpin screams of a man in love. His desire to save Fisk’s reputation by having Karen try to undue the problems she has started, all without backup or checking with Fisk, says, to me, that he has more than just feelings of friendship for Fisk. It’s a shame that was never given an opportunity to be explored. Agree or disagree? Send us an email or comment!
The other death that surprised me so soon was that of Ben Urich. He was a great character and played a big part in the comics of not just Daredevil, but Spider-man and the rest of the Marvel Universe. I thought it would come, just not so soon into the series! During the entire fight scene, I was waiting for the tide to turn. Never happened.
Let’s get to Daredevil himself, Matt Murdock. Charlie Cox is amazing. I was heartbroken when his character was killed on Boardwalk Empire. Glad to see it was upwards and onwards for him. Whatever his workout is for this show, I want to mimic it. If only I could have a job where I can work out 8 hours a day. There is a scene where Claire is patching up Matt and he is bent over in the most unflattering position and his abs still look incredible. The GIF isn’t the scene, but impressive nonetheless (just click the image). This dude can rival Stephan Amell for best superhero body. AmIRight?
Catholicism was present briefly in the first episode, but doesn’t really come into the story until the latter half of the season, when Matt really has to decide whether or not he is willing to kill. At one point in episode two he threatens a man and says that he does it “because (he) enjoys it.” Claire doubts that he does and his answer is less than satisfying.
I could go on for quite a long time about what was great or what I would have changed. The perfect casting of Elden Henson for Foggy Nelson could be a post of its own. DUCKS FLY TOGETHER. Bob Gunton is the perfect “That Guy” for Leland Owlsley. I think an interesting twist would be for Fisk to have been killed by a man hired by Vanessa and her taken up the role as, errr…. Queenpin! Anyways, the show is great, dark and gritty, quite a different feel from Agents of Shield and the movies. I hope you enjoyed.
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