“Speak Of The Devil” is an hour of television that really had it all. It dug deep into the vaults of Daredevil lore to spin a narrative that would make diehard fans more than happy, whilst also setting up major repercussions for the remainder of Marvel’s Daredevil’s first season. There were two major highlights to this episode, with Matt taking on Japanese businessman (and ninja!) Nobu, as well as encountering Wilson Fisk in the flesh not once but twice! And boy, you sure could have cut the air with a knife in both of those scenes.
With Wilson Fisk now out in the open and already being declared as the new saviour of Hell’s Kitchen, Matt pays a visit to the art gallery to meet the woman by Fisk’s side, Vanessa. But the encounter between the two quickly goes pear shaped when interrupted by Vanessa’s criminal squeeze. The tension in this scene has nothing on their later encounter though, as the two finally have a round of fisticuffs following Matt’s fight with Nobu. After narrowly defeating Nobu, Matt is no match for the indomitable Fisk, only surviving the night by jumping from a window into the water below.
Nobu isn’t the only casualty of this episode, with Nelson and Murdock now back to zero clients after Mrs. Cardenas is murdered by a heroin junkie hired by Fisk. This murder is easily the most callous act the villain has committed on the series so far, especially as the elderly woman’s death was meant only as a trap to lead Matt to Nobu. I swear the fight scenes get better with every episode, and “Speak Of The Devil” is no exception. Nobu and Fisk are the first foes who are more than a match to Matt’s fighting skills, and though I knew as the titular hero he couldn’t die (especially with four episodes to go), I still found myself yelling at the screen.
It was a smart move to intersperse scenes of Matt and Nobu’s fight throughout the episode, and I must say it was beautifully choreographed. I’m not sure who is in charge of the fight choreography for this series, but they deserve all of the awards for this one. It almost felt like a bit of a cop out when the fight ended with Nobu lighting aflame, but the brawl against Fisk quickly made up with this. As was seen in the previous episodes, it is clear the organisation Nobu has ties with are a force to be reckoned with, and whoever they cast the blame against for his death should be clearly worried.
I also loved this episode for setting up a far meatier role for Foggy Nelson in the third act of the series, with his cliffhanger discovery that Matt Murdock is the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. As I’ve said earlier, one of the few characteristics exhibited by Foggy is his hatred and distrust for the masked vigilante, so I look forward to seeing how these feelings play out now he knows the man in the mask is actually his best friend.
- Nobu’s ninja regalia is bright red, the same costume used by members of The Hand in the comics. Though it is never explicitly stated on-screen, it is pretty obvious at this point they are the organisation Nobu is working for, meaning that other members can’t be too far away
- When Matt masquerades as an art buyer at the gallery, Vanessa recommends a similar painting to the one purchased by Fisk, though red not white. Both an excellent bit of foreshadowing to Matt’s eventual costume and the parallels between Matt and Fisk
- Fisk being out in the open creates a great new dynamic for the crusade to take him down being led by Ben Urich and Karen. One of my biggest gripes with this show was how Fisk could be a completely unknown identity in the Internet era (especially given his seemingly bottomless wealth), so I feel much more satisfied with his arc now his a public figure
REVIEW SCORE: FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Read the rest of Simon’s Marvel’s Daredevil reviews here.
Marvel’s Daredevil is available to stream all 13 episodes of Season One on Netflix Australia.