Monday, 16 November 2015

Review - 'Daredevil', S01E06 - 'Condemned'

The previous episode's focus on putting the pieces in place for this one may have resulted in it being the weakest, so far - but, it also significantly raises the expectations for the sixth episode of Daredevil. After all, all of that time spent setting the scene would have to have some sort of pay-off, right?

Barely escaping from police who have clearly been paid off by Wilson Fisk, and weighed down by a severely injured Vladimir, Matt finds himself trapped as the episode begins. He is caught up in an unwanted hostage situation - with police officers, of both the corrupt and legitimate variety, moving in on him. And, to complicate matters even further, his only chance for survival might involve working with Vladimir - but, Vladimir is not quite willing to let go of his belief that Matt is responsible for this brother's death. In terms of both theme and tone, this is probably the darkest point in the series, so far - as Matt finds himself constantly being out-manoeuvred by an opponent that he still barely understands. Wilson Fisk, meanwhile, is finally given the opportunity to become the dangerous and clever criminal master-mind we were led to believe he would be when he takes the opportunity to finally speak to the masked vigilante who has been causing him so much trouble.

That brief moment of interaction is probably the high-light of the entire episode, for me. In that moment, Vincent D'Onofrio is able to show that he is just as capable of portraying that aspect of Wilson Fisk's personality as he has been with the character's more fragile, and sympathetic, side. Charlie Cox, meanwhile, continues to be impressive as Matt Murdock - this time, showing us a character whose calm confidence is slowly starting to fray at the edges as he, finally, seems to find himself in over his head.

Karen and Foggy, unfortunately, did not do quite as well, here - with their own sub-plot being the weakest element of the episode. This is not because it was bad, by any stretch - but, simply because it felt like an unnecessary distraction. Finding themselves in a hospital overwhelmed by the results of Fisk's large-scale attack on the Russians, Karen and Foggy have a chance encounter with Claire, who is there doing whatever she can to help - and, together, the three of them achieve little more than taking screen-time away from the more important, and much more interesting, main plot. Given the situation that they found themselves in at the end of the previous episode, it was important to check in with them, of course - but, beyond assuring the audience that they were alright, they didn't really have ever much to contribute. Considering the stakes of the dangerous situation that Matt was caught up in, it might have been better to keep the action focused on him - and, to leave Karen and Foggy's side-plot until the next episode.

Despite that, though, this was still a great episode. Any lingering issues with the pacing of the previous episode can, probably, be forgiven once we are able to see how it all plays out, here. The sixth episode of Daredevil provides an epic, and very violent, conclusion to what could be thought of as the season's first story-arc - and, it definitely left me anticipating what is still to come in the future episodes, as we move into the next.

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