The second episode of Marvel’s Daredevil dives straight into the aftermath of where the first episode left off, with Matt seriously injured after walking straight into a trap laid out by a Russian human trafficking ring. Lucky for him, the dumpster that he is left to die in just happens to be in the alleyway next to the apartment of Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) who becomes only the second person to learn of Matt’s secret identity (the first being her kid neighbour who finds him). The two bond as Claire goes out of the way to risk her life protecting Matt, and it is clear she is going to be a useful ally for him as the series progresses.
Whilst the tale of Matt and Claire (and how this plays into Matt’s burgeoning career as Daredevil) is the driving force of “Cut Man”, the emotional heart of the episode lies in the backstory. Flashbacks to Matt’s childhood both before and after his accident fleshes out the relationship between him and his dad, showing just how strong their relationship was and how it shaped Matt in to the man and vigilante he has become in the present day. John Patrick Hayden is perfect in the role of Battlin’ Jack Murdock, and it is disappointing that he (presumably) won’t be making any more appearances in the show.
His death is the first major emotional wallop to be delivered on Marvel’s Daredevil, gunned down when he refuses to throw a fight at the behest of local gangsters. The fact that he does this to please his son knowing the likely repercussions (and also places a large bet on himself to win in order to set up Matt’s financial future) highlights the strong relationship between the pair. In a film such a plot point would likely be brushed over in the first ten minutes to get to the action, so it is great to see almost a whole episode dedicated to this. It greatly fleshes out the character of Daredevil as more than just a man behind a mask, as the audience is allowed to develop a real understanding of the events that led Matt to this.
Foggy Nelson and Karen Page are more filler characters in “Cut Man” than the driving narrative forces they were in the premiere episode, as they head out on a night on the town while Matt is fighting for his life on Claire’s couch. I must admit there isn’t too much to this subplot other than Foggy attempting to distract Karen from the trauma of the events that led her to becoming his and Matt’s secretary. However it does lay the groundwork for a seemingly developing crush on Foggy’s behalf, whilst laying hints Karen may be interested in Matt. The love triangle between the three has been a major plot point of the comics, and it seems like the show is going down the same route.
“Cut Man” is very much a ‘Daredevil’ centred episode rather than focusing on his everyday identity of Matt Murdock, culminating in a hugely impressive action scene as he infiltrates a Russian stronghold to rescue a kidnapped child. The action is another thing that hugely sets the world of Marvel’s Daredevil apart from the more family friendly MCU films, with realistic violence being the order of the day. Bones break, shots are fired and blood (lots of blood) is spilt, putting the show more in league with television series such as The Wire over Iron Man or Thor.
In short, the episode delivers on many of the promises made in season opener “Into The Ring”, building on the relationships of Matt both in the past and present.
— Rosario Dawson is great in every role she plays, and her inclusion in the cast is a promising sign. Her character is actually an amalgamation of two Marvel characters, Night Nurse and Claire Temple (a love interest of hero Luke Cage, who is also set to star in his own Netflix series)
— “You haven’t lived until you’ve argued with a 90-year old Okinawa survivor about sturgeon meat!”
— The close-up of Matt stabbing the Russian gangster in the eye is absolutely brutal. It’s hard to believe this is the same universe where you have a baby tree alien dancing to The Jackson 5
EPISODE REVIEW: FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Read Simon’s review of Season 1 Episode 1 “Into The Ring” here.
Marvel’s Daredevil is available to stream all 13 episodes of Season One via Netflix Australia