I’m trying to start more of my Daredevil recaps with what I enjoyed most about whatever episode I’m discussing, so I would be remiss if I didn’t touch upon the outstanding cinematography to be found in “The Path of the Righteous Man.” Each of the shots laid out here are gorgeous, which is an accomplishment certainly when the basis of the episode revolved mostly around heart-to-hearts, and not action sequences such as the hallway scene in the second episode. In fact, the action — which is few and far between in this one — is probably the weakest aspect, but we’ll delve into that a bit later. The backdrops to each of the scenes are something to behold, especially when in Matt’s apartment or the church, when Murdock is doing his best soul searching.
On the topic of Matt Murdock, probably more so that any other comic book character in existence, Daredevil is mired in tragedy. Granted, Matt may act carefree, but the things he goes through in his life, and what he will go through, are staggering in how hard they affect him. In this latest installment, we see that more than ever, with Murdock pushing nearly everyone away in his nightly endeavors as a masked vigilante. Karen walks into Matt’s apartment in one of the first scenes to make sure that he’s ok, only to find him beaten up once again, and limping around. Karen is of course surprised by the fact that this is about the third time that Matt is in need of stitches and practically passing out mid-conversation, but I’m glad she didn’t just immediately buy that he had fallen once again. Matt downing a beer in the early morning shows how badly these beatings take a toll on him, just as much as the scars on his chest. Murdock is damaged, both physically and mentally from his encounters, and the scene of Karen leaving a balloon with him in his empty homestead is perhaps the saddest in the series, albeit quick.
Aside from the tragedy that Matt deals with, he also has the distinction of being the Marvel universe’s biggest “ladies’ man,” rivaling Tony Stark even. The relationship between Claire and Murdock was a strong one, but its dubiousness was somewhat refreshing. Claire realizes the danger that Matt brings, and I don’t know if Matt is capable of even recognizing what a serious relationship is. As Claire explains to him that she’s going to be taking a “vacation” from the city for a while, you can see the pain and confusion in Matt, portrayed well by Charlie Cox here, as he just assumed that this wasn’t even an option. Their relationship was the definition of “give and take” but Matt was playing both sides, merely calling for Claire whenever he needed a bandage or to forget whatever was troubling him in his life. It makes for an interesting dynamic, though, and it’s great to hear that Rosario Dawson is returning for the second season when it drops in 2016.
Meanwhile, Fisk continues to worry over Vanessa’s condition, as she barely clings to life after drinking the poisonous champagne from last episode’s benefit party. Vincent D’Onofrio continues to be a force here, showing some of the strongest character performance to date, ironically in front of a woman who can’t hear anything he is saying. Smiling through a speech about making those responsible for Vanessa’s coma pay, Fisk doesn’t display any of the shakiness or discomfort that he had when talking with Vanessa — or anyone for that matter — in episodes past. It’s an interesting approach, and it works, especially when he barked at Wesley earlier about “salting the earth with their blood.” Yikes. There has been rumors and speculation about D’Onofrio’s Kingpin entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies at some point in the future, and I’d be more than happy to see that.
On the weaker side of things, Karen has yet another chat with Ben about how she’s in over her head, how she needs to let things go, and so the dance continues. While the almost father/daughter relationship between Urich and Page can sometimes be charming, here it felt like spinning wheels. That is, of course, until Karen is kidnapped by Fisk’s right hand man, Wesley. The back and forth between Karen and Wesley does go on for a bit too long in my mind, but the payoff is well worth the wait, as Karen unloads into Wesley with a gun he mistakenly leaves in front of her on the table. It’s a huge shock to not only lose Wesley, but also have Karen be the perpetrator, and once again alludes to her extremely troubled past. Layers within layers here.
As I mentioned earlier, the action scene with Matt deciding to don the Daredevil outfit, while looking like a pin cushion underneath it, doesn’t hold up anywhere near as well as the character moments throughout. Matt follows a lead about Kingpin’s light body armor he was wearing in an earlier episode, meets Melvin Potter (Fisk’s mentally troubled “tailor”) and proceeds to wail on him, leading into a scene where Murdock asks Melvin to make him a suit of his own, or rather, a symbol. Obviously, this is laying the foundation for Matt to FINALLY get the proper red Daredevil suit.
Overall, another strong episode, though not perfect. With two episodes to go, I hope to see the momentum reach the heights of the earliest episodes of the series.
Episode Rating: ★★★★ Very good
The Collider Offices of Nelson and Murdock
– I can’t believe how long it took for Matt to realize he needed a better suit/costume. The sheer amount of times he had to patch himself up in the series was staggering, and even if he wasn’t wearing the horns, you would think he’d be wearing something like chainmail under the black shirt and pants. Superhero 101, Murdock!
– Melvin Potter’s workshop is bursting with references. A design for the Gladiator symbol is on Melvin’s drawing board and you can see the stilt legs for Stilt Man in the background (Stilt Man is a terrible Daredevil villain who has the power to get really tall using stilts)
– Karen: “Little early for beer isn’t it?”
Matt: “Depends on the kind of day you’re having.”
– Karen: “It’s a balloon … it’s got a monkey on it.”
– Owlsley: “Such a sedative to hide the bare knuckle truth!”
– Claire: “I think you’re the man this city created.”
– Father Lantom: “Confession? Latte?”