The second episode of Daredevil is titled “Cut Man.” In fighting, a cut man is someone who takes care of a fighter between rounds and after a fight. This works on a few levels for this episode.
The show opens on a kid going to a dumpster. This is never a good thing in any city crime drama. In this case, what sends the kid running off is finding someone, barely alive, still in the dumpster– Matt in his black Daredevil costume. The kid returns with a woman, and between them, they get Matt to her apartment, where she grabs a medical kit. She’s about to call 911 when Matt wakes up enough to stop her. He’s lucky she chooses to listen, since at this point about all he’s going to do is bleed on her.
In a flashback, we see young Matt watching his father’s fight on tv. Later, when Battlin’ Jack gets home, Matt helps patch him up. It’s an ugly little scene. Matt is worried about his father, but also about the rent, which a kid his age shouldn’t be concerned with. Jack reassures Matt they have it this month. After Matt goes off to do his homework, Jack looks disgusted at throwing the fight for the money.
There’s a really entertaining scene of Karen setting up the office for Foggy and Matt. She’s doing so trying her best to ignore Foggy, who pretty clearly thinks he’s alone. She finally calls out to him, letting him know she’s still there. Mutual embarrassment ensues.
The woman who rescued Matt from the dumpster is a nurse named Claire. In the process of treating him, and trying to get him to not bleed to death on her couch, she’s taken his mask off. He’s not happy when he wakes up enough to notice that. She makes fun of his outfit, which he defends as a “work in progress.” This gives hope to the fans like me that are eagerly awaiting Daredevil’s usual red costume. When he won’t tell her his name, she dubs him “Mike,” after an ex-boyfriend.
Matt dreams about the aftermath of the accident that cost him his sight, and his trouble adjusting to his new senses. He wakes up with new problems, as she takes desperate measures to keep him alive without going to the hospital. She’s also very believably not happy about not going to the hospital, but he’s insistent that people will die if that happens. He tells her he blundered into a trap trying to save the boy that was grabbed at the end of the first episode. They have some more banter about what he does and his apparent lack of skill. The humorous moment ends quickly when he hears someone searching the building for him.
Back in flashback land, Jack is sparring while Matt does homework, trying to learn Braille. Matt winces at the bell that ends the round– those enhanced senses take a lot of adjusting to. A couple of guys in suits come in and offer Jack a fixed fight. They want him to fight “Crusher” Creel. Creel later goes on to become the Absorbing Man, as seen on Agents of SHIELD. There’s also a poster for another fighter named Barton. The only Barton in Marvel Comics I know of is Clint Barton, Hawkeye. I wonder if this is some kind of relation. Jack turns them down.
Back in the present, Matt gets a knife from the kitchen. Claire wants to talk their way out of it, asking Matt to hide. The man at the door claims to be a cop, looking for a man in black who committed a robbery in a store nearby. Claire claims ignorance, and the man leaves. Claire, triumphantly, turns to Matt and says, “See? No need to get all stabby.” Matt, however, can hear the man reporting in to his gang, in Russian. Not exactly standard procedure for a cop.
While Matt is off dealing with Russian gangsters, Foggy and Karen go bar hopping. They talk about her recent problems, and the reasons she has been avoiding going home. She says that all she sees now are dark corners and threats, which is understandable given what she’s been through.
The next scene is another really ugly one. Matt takes the fake cop to the roof, ties him to a scaffold, and decides he’s going to get answers. While Matt’s a hero, he’s not exactly saint material. Claire is taken aback by Matt’s viciousness, but ends up helping him. She mentions that she works in an ER, and she’s heard stories over the last few weeks about people saved, and criminals punished, by a man in black. His legend is growing already.
In the past, Jack double crosses the fight fixers. He makes them think he’s going to do what they want, and then bets on himself and arranges to have the money deposited in an account for Matt. His new gear for the big fight is red, which I suspect later influences Matt’s costume. This ends up going as badly as you’d expect for Jack. He does make a phone call to someone, apparently trying to look out for Matt, that has me very curious.
All of this has been good, but it’s the final sequence that is just so amazing, and puts this show over the top. The badly wounded Matt gets back in costume and goes to save the boy. The Russians are holed up someplace with narrow hallways and a few rooms off the corridor. The fight of Matt taking them out, down the hall, into the side rooms and back, is just spectacular. It’s ugly, and gritty, and Matt looks like he’s falling off his feet by the end of it, but he keeps going. It’s a long, drawn out, desperate battle. I’m not sure I’ve seen a fight sequence like it before. I’d argue Matt’s dead on his feet final stagger to save the kid comes across more heroic then the more effortless fighting we usually see Captain American and Black Widow do.
What I liked: Pretty much everything. The Matt/Claire scenes were nicely done, and showed how far from perfect Matt is at the hero game. The fights, especially the last one, were brilliantly done. And the Karen/Foggy scenes, while they could have been annoying distractions from the main plot, were actually nice balance moments for characterization and humor.
What I didn’t: Ok, my one minor quibble. In the huge fight near the end, when it veers out of the hallway into some of the side rooms, the camera doesn’t follow. While it made for some good visuals with bodies suddenly flying through the doorway, it left me sitting there going, “Cool stuff is happening in there and I can’t see it!” It was a good artistic choice, it just got frustrating at times.
I’m giving this episode a 4.5 out of 5. This has been an amazing series so far.