Daredevil Recap: Lies and Friendship

Marvel's Daredevil. Photo: Barry Wetcher/Netflix
Episode Title
Nelson v. Murdock
Editor’s Rating

In the aftermath of the last episode, Daredevil dwells on the idea of relationships. Is it good to let people in, to form lasting connections and make ourselves vulnerable to being known? We flicker between Matt and Wilson in trying to answer this essential question. The show, to its credit, gives a bit of a nuanced answer: It’s good for good people to let people in, but maybe not so much for bad people who sell drugs and people.

First, as the episode says: Nelson v. Murdock. Matt wakes up to find himself stitched up, but still in a lot of pain. Foggy, who has already grabbed a beer for some day-drinking, tells Matt that Claire apparently refused to tell him anything, but Matt has a ton of stitches from all that slicing and dicing he got from Nobu’s knife whip, so … did she and Foggy just sit in confused, angry silence for hours while she stitched Matt up? Kinda wish we’d seen even a bit of that scene.

Foggy is angry at Matt for a lot of things, and asks him if he’s even blind — which is actually pretty hard for Matt to prove at first — and Matt finally explains his powers to him, including the fact that he can hear his heartbeats. This is the first lie Foggy tries to untangle, pointing out that he doesn’t have anyone’s consent to do that, and also it means that Matt can tell when he’s lying and pretends not to notice. Foggy says he’s also been pitying him, and Matt counters that he never asked for that pity — but then we see in flashbacks Matt would tell Foggy he would get his cuts and scrapes from doing something as simple as throwing out the trash.

Those flashbacks are great: We see Matt and Foggy right when they meet, Matt floppy-haired, and Foggy with really very unfortunate facial hair, and Train (TRAIN!!) in the background. Foggy compares them to Maverick and Goose from Top Gun, but they remind me more of Ron Weasley and Harry Potter, what with Matt eagerly asking if Foggy’s whole family brood is coming to graduation. Foggy knows all about Matt’s dad, all about the girls he’s dating (or not dating), all about how he still gets the spins despite being blind — but Matt stops short of telling him about his extra sensitivity.

Although, if Foggy and Matt both grew up in Hell’s Kitchen, would they really have never met until they became roommates in college? And that gets a little fuzzy, timeline-wise, though: Were they roommates in undergraduate or in law school? It looks like undergrad, but even seven or eight years ago — law school is three years, according to Google — it was only 2007/2008. Would they still be listening to Train?! I’m basing those seven or eight years on the fact that they turned down the Landman and Zack jobs after interning there, which would’ve been right after law school or between summers, right? And they had just started their practice when Karen came along. If you commenters have a better idea, I’d love to hear it.

He now tells Foggy everything, including about Stick, but also why he started fighting in the first place. Turns out he could sense a little girl’s father coming into her room every night, and when he tried to do the right thing, legal-wise, nothing happened. So he went forward by bashing the guy into the dirt himself. Even though Matt was always the idealist in their friendship — he’s the one who decided they should leave Landman & Zack — Foggy can’t handle that even as a lawyer, Matt’s more Chaotic Good than Lawful Good. He leaves Matt’s apartment still confused, both of them sobbing.

Meanwhile, Wilson Fisk is scolded instead for having a relationship. All his (still living!) villain buddies are acting like he’s a teenager in his first serious relationship and has now forgotten all about them and basic reason. Considering how he speaks to Leland — that he must know how he feels, even a little, as he has a son — this might be a little bit true; he did say he didn’t date that much. But Madame Gao, BAMF that she is, points out how she’s worried about becoming the next villain to be killed off in this bloody reality show that Fisk has placed them in, and that he’s being dragged in two directions. I’m not really a fan of these super-hypothetical, theoretical, parable-laden discussions — can’t help but think Madame Gao has better things to do.

But was one of those things poisoning the Champagne at his benefit? Between this and the military wedding reception on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., it’s probably better to stay away from Champagne at these fancy Marvel events. Vanessa is one of the ones poisoned, which feels like a colossal waste — I was hoping she would at least have some arch, uncomfortable dialogue with Leland, who can’t stop fussing about everything.

Finally, Urich has a change of heart regarding pursuing the Wilson Fisk story — his editor is offering him a job with better benefits, and his wife didn’t get the extension he needed for her to keep her private room. In a brief bit of lucidity, she tells him he’s wiser now, that the young whippersnapper he was then was kind of stupid and not worth romanticizing. (Ha!) She slips out again, and that’s enough for him to decide that he wants out of the whole Wilson Fisk shebang, giving Karen all his information on the story. She gets upset about it even as he explains he has more important things on his mind. I’m more on Urich’s side of this, simply because they don’t have a real plan, but also because it never seems like Karen has an idea of the risk involved. She had personal experience with that risk — waking up next to a dead body — but she seems to think that Elena’s death means going harder on all this information instead of pulling back and maybe thinking about what you’re doing in more careful terms.

The dialogue between Urich and Karen can be more than a little grating sometimes. The way they posture and discuss politics in such grandiose terms, without really bringing actionable items into it, feels like small talk that’s trying to be big talk. “This is happening! That is happening!” “We gotta hold back. We have to strategize.”

Anyway, Karen is adamant that Urich come with her to a nursing home upstate. They sign in and walk straight into an old woman’s home (yes, Karen knocked, but it still feels like a violation) and ask her about her son — who, Karen has found out, is Wilson Fisk. To their surprise (and mine — usually a villain’s backstory is just … backstory), Marlene reveals that Fisk killed his father.

Some notes:

• I can’t tell if Vincent D’Onofrio is having trouble with Mandarin or if it’s just general Wilson Fisk voice.
• “Hello, gorgeous.” “Hello, handsome.” is the new “I love you and I like you.”
• Why would Foggy take Punjabi as his foreign language?? Apparently, for a girl, which Foggy lies about at first, and Matt calls him out on it. But even if Punjabi is spoken by millions of people, it’s not usually used in diplomacy or business outside of India that I’ve heard of. Hindi would’ve been better …