Awaiting the lady of the night.
DAREDEVIL’s tenth episode ended on such a great high-note, but I guess episode eleven did not get the memo. Save for a few redeeming scenes, overall I give it three out of five stars. Lets jump in. The tenth episode left Foggy and the gang licking their wounds, trying to regain some feeling of control after the baddies starting hitting hard and fast keeping a firm grip on Hell’s Kitchen, and our boy, Daredevil, was running on his last fumes to keep solo vigilance over the hospital where Foggy was recovering. The last few seconds were gasp-invoking as the fire-alarm is tripped by scores of ninja assassins creeping up the outside of the hospital building with lethal intent, and it left me wanting more, but I think its following episode, .380, stumbled out the gate.
The first half of the episode seemed rushed and uncoordinated with keeping up the pace from previous entry. The assail on the hospital started with elements that were obviously counterintuitive and unnecessary; it added in some poorly executed stunt work, and topped it off with over-the-top conflicts I can only assume were exaggerated simply to give Nurse Claire (Rosario Dawson) a platform for direction.
The second half of the game seemed like an exercise in exposition. There didn’t seem to be much use of subtext, just characters expressing their base moral conflict with the given situation, as well as their vulnerability to it. Maybe its the Grinch in me, but the Who-Hash the writers were slingin’ with DD’s mid-rampage dialogue with the Punisher, but I wasn’t about to eat it.
Lastly, a pajama’d Matt Murdock hears a car crash outside his apartment, and he calls for help while looking as helpless as…well, a blind person. Didn’t I see him sewing up Elektra’s wounded shoulder just a few episodes ago? Critical continuity error, or overly critical critic?
What were some of the saving points of .380? I’m glad you asked. When Karen steps into the passenger seat of her car we see Frank Castle in the driver’s seat listening to Earth Wind and Fire’s “Shining Star” on the car’s 8-track; Frank has a genuine human moment joking about the absurdity of him singing along to the jam. Singing with the car stereo is one of life’s most simple pleasures, something we’ve all done and think nothing special of. But to a man like Frank Castle, music doesn’t exist anymore, much less the idea of enjoying it. This moment, for me, carried metric tonnage of character and made up a few paces with the episode.
Another field goal happens twenty minutes in, at a diner where a heartfelt dialogue resonates between Frank Castle and Karen Page over a late night cup of fugitive-from-the-law coffee. I do love Jon Bernthal’s gritty, road-rashed voice, and he disarms Karen with some profound truths about love. The scene picks up later when two goons try to get the drop on Castle, emphasis on the word “try.” The visual and audio effects of Frank’s wrath can be described as visceral; the aftermath of which sits on you like the weight of a bodybag.
This was a glimmer of the DAREDEVIL I loved. Lets hope episode twelve can bring us into the home stretch with a bit better poise.