Previously on Daredevil, ‘Into the Ring’
A young man named Santino finds Matt Murdock bleeding out in a dumpster and calls his neighbor, an off-duty nurse named Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson), to treat his wounds. We learn the Russian mobsters kidnapped that boy at the end of the pilot episode to lure Matt into a trap. Although the fight occurs before the episode begins, the severity of his wounds allow the audience to imagine how terribly things had gone for the blind vigilante.
Santino and Claire haul Matt into her apartment urgently chatting away in Español. Isn’t it refreshing to have Spanish-speakers in the show? This is New York City in 2015 after all, and I appreciate the show’s attention to real-world demographics.
Matt and Claire’s interactions are pretty wonderful in this episode. Claire, though a well-intentioned Good Samaritan, also serves as an audience stand-in when she voices her disbelief at Matt’s extraordinary abilities (sensing another person’s presence, smelling the cologne worn by someone on another floor, and flawlessly dropping a fire extinguisher on a target several floors below) despite being blind. She soon joins Matt on the rooftop of her apartment wearing her own rudimentary costume to conceal her identity. She even gives Matt pointers on how to torture a crooked cop (stab him in his trigeminal nerve!) before he throws the goon off the roof.
Sins of the Father, Guilt of the Son
While an unconscious Matt recovers in Claire’s apartment the episode cuts back to the past, recalling the events leading up to the death of Matt’s father. After his accident, “Battlin’ Jack” Murdock (John Patrick Hayden) decides to sever ties with the mob in the hopes of being a better father to his recently blinded son. His next match, however, involves him intentionally losing a fight with Crusher Creel (the same man who becomes the villain named The Absorbing Man in the comics). Tired of watching his son see him lose over and over again, Jack places a large bet on himself thus ensuring Matt a sizable inheritance if he wins the match. It’s a calculated risk that ultimately leads to his death. A young Matt wakes up in the middle of the night after his dad’s victory to the sound of gunshots and rushes outside to find his father dead on the street. Although Jack leaves Matt with a lot of money, we do wonder if it was worth the price of leaving him without a father. Jack Murdock definitely has his flaws and it is what sets him apart from other comic book parents like Thomas and Martha Wayne, who always seemed so one-dimensional as if they exist only as plot devices in their child’s origin story.
Here comes the pain
Still recovering from the damage he sustained in his previous scuffle with the Russians, Matt finds out where they’ve been hiding the kidnapped boy. What follows are five minutes of pure mayhem. The beatdowns that occur offscreen are just as impactful as the ones we see. We hear the punches that go unseen and they sound painful. Soon Matt is throwing people out into the hallway, relentlessly wailing away at them with increasing intensity. He even hurls a microwave at someone! I would hazard to state that this scene steals the show and is worth the price of admission for this groundbreaking series.
Quote of the Episode: “Your outfit kinda sucks by the way,” said Claire referencing the poor defensive capabilities of a dishing out vigilante justice in a black sweater and a pair of jeans.
What were Karen and Foggy doing in this episode? Oh. Not much. Just working late then bonding over drinks at Josie’s where they absolutely do not get to drink for free and are definitely not on a date.
So who’s Claire Temple in the comics? Daredevil’s Claire Temple is an amalgamation of two distinct women in Marvel: Claire Temple and The Night Nurse. The comic book Claire Temple was a nurse who once dated Luke Cage while The Night Nurse (named Linda Carter, interestingly enough) was a night-shift nurse who secretly treated the wounds of Marvel’s street-level heroes: Daredevil, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage (who are all getting Netflix-exclusive shows). Will Rosario Dawson reprise her role once Netflix releases the Luke Cage show? Time will tell. Either way, Marvel has effectively adapted this character to the small screen in a very compelling manner.