“Rabbit In A Snow Storm” is another strong world-building entry for Marvel’s Daredevil, which downplays the role of ‘Daredevil’ to instead give Matt and Foggy plenty of action in the courtroom. It also introduces two of the most significant characters from the comic book, investigative journalist Ben Urich (Vondie Curtis-Hall), and The Kingpin himself, Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio). It may have only been a short scene in the closing moments of the episode, but the interaction between Fisk and gallery curator Vanessa (Ayelet Zurer) shows that D’Onofrio is perfect for the role of Daredevil’s archenemy.
A lot came before this moment, with the main plot focusing on Fisk’s associate Wesley hiring the fledgling firm of Nelson and Murdock on retainer. Fisk wants to keep tabs on the duo following their interactions with Page, so he hires a low level criminal to murder a fellow crook and become their client. The opening scene in which the hired assassin John Healy (Alex Morf) takes out his victim with a bowling ball to the head is both brutal and brilliantly executed, and is further proof this show is not kid-friendly fare like its film counterparts.
What follows creates a bit of a Law & Order vibe, as we finally get to see Matt and Foggy in action. Before the show premiered, show runner Steven DeKnight promised that the courtroom procedural format would be a big part of the series, and I certainly hope we get more scenes like this in the episodes to come. They build on the mythos of Matt Murdock working under the eyes of the law by day whilst delivering his own brand of vigilante justice by night, which is a huge part of what makes the character so interesting. Whilst he makes sure Healy is acquitted under the eyes of the law, this is only so he can confront him as Daredevil in order to find out more about Healy and Wesley’s employer, who is apparently so dangerous that Healy would rather die than live and face the repercussions of revealing his name.
Elsewhere, the storylines of Urich and Karen converged as they do their own investigations into the corrupt (and now defunct) Union Allied Construction. Karen smells something fishy when she is offered a large sum of money to sign a non-disclosure agreement about what happened to her, refusing it in order to uncover the truth for the sake of both her and the memory of Daniel Fisher. Meanwhile, Urich is revealed as the journalist who wrote the expose based on the files that Karen stole during the events of the first episode. With nobody else to turn to, Karen approaches Urich by the end of this episode for help, which can only mean trouble for the unlikely duo.
I said this about the flashbacks to Matt’s dad in the second episode of Marvel’s Daredevil “Cut Man”, but the best thing about creating a television series over a movie is the fleshing out of what otherwise might be minor or brushed aside characters. If this were a film we would never know about Ben Urich’s money problems and hospitalised wife, but it is details like this that really highlight the motivations of the character to the audience. As we see here, he is a veteran of the journalism game who is sick of writing puff pieces, instead he is after what he sees as real news, even if as he is told, going down that rabbit hole ultimately puts his life at risk. It was also great to see Karen take on a meatier role than the ‘damsel in distress’ stereotype, especially after her largely pointless filler subplot with Foggy in the second episode.
“Rabbit In A Snowstorm” is another solid hour of television, an episode full of twists and turns that ultimately leads to the reveal of the series Big Bad. Waiting until this point to put Fisk on camera is a smart move, as by focusing on the minor criminals who work for him you get a real sense that he is a true force to be reckoned with. DeKnight and his creative team is clearly taking the time to build the world of Daredevil, and it’s a choice that is proving this to already be one of the best shows of 2015.
— Alex Morf was suitably twisted in the role of the murderous thug John Healy. It’s a shame we won’t see him again in the show but his choice to commit suicide rather than face the wrath of Wilson Fisk is great foreshadowing for what’s to come
— The action scenes were brief in this episode, as it chose to focus more on Matt’s crime fighting in the courts. However the scene where he took on Healy was a standout, especially that brutal end
— In the comics, Vanessa is the wife of Wilson Fisk. Their romance is said to be a major plot point in the series, and I can’t wait to see where the head of a major crime syndicate takes a lady out on a first date
EPISODE REVIEW: FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Read Simon’s review of Season 1 Episode 2 “Cut Man” here.
Marvel’s Daredevil is available to stream all 13 episodes of Season One via Netflix Australia.