Episode 3 of Daredevil, “Rabbit In A Snowstorm,” focuses a lot more on Matt Murdock, attorney, than Daredevil the vigilante not that he’s been called that yet. A lot of the action this time around is in the courtroom, and, oddly, an art gallery. We both see how clever Matt can be when he’s using his brain instead of his fists, and get some depth to Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin, who also hasn’t gotten his better known alias yet.
The episode opens with another brutal fight, although Daredevil has nothing to do with it. It’s set, of all places, in a bowling alley. It’s an ugly piece of work that ends in a death by a very unusual weapon. Even that makes sense when they show what happened. The killer surrenders as soon as he hears the sirens, waiting on his knees, hands behind his head, reminding me of one of the first scenes on Blacklist.
There’s a scene with the priest Matt visited back in the first episode. They talk about the seal of Confessional, and how anything Matt says is protected. The priest knows who Matt is, not by name, but as the son of Jack Murdock, the boxer. The priest is offering Matt someone to talk to, clearly sensing the weight he’s carrying, but Matt leaves.
I think one of the best scenes of the episode is at Nelson and Murdock’s office. After some banter between Matt, Foggy, and Karen, about their lack of clients and Matt needing a dog, there’s a knock on the door. The reactions to that are hysterical and a really neat bit of writing.
The man in the suit has come to hire Matt and Foggy to defend the bowling alley killer. Matt and Foggy are not sure about his offer, but the very large retainer he’s offering is a major temptation. They are not reassured any by the fact that the suited man seems to know all about them, and Karen as well. Something clearly seems amiss here.
Down by the river, two people we’ve not seen before have a meeting. Eventually, we learn that one of the men in Ben Urich, a reporter who has a long history with Daredevil in the comics. The one major difference here is that he doesn’t work for the Daily Bugle. I suspect the rights for that are tied up with the Spider-Man characters over at Sony. Well, that and he’s now a black man instead of a bitter old white guy. But he has the potential to be a very compelling character. The meeting is about a lot of unrest in the Hell’s Kitchen gangs.
The scenes with Foggy and Matt and their client, who is eventually given the name Healy, are exercises in tension. Healy is creepy and apparently utterly sociopathic. He unnerves Foggy in the conference room, but Matt argues they should go ahead with the case. Healy doesn’t help them feel any better about representing him by being very familiar with various criminal statutes, and pushing for an early trial. He also advises them to not worry about the nameless man who hired them.
There is some great writing in this episode, especially during the trial. Matt gets a speech that manages to play both sides. He takes his job as a lawyer seriously, and believes that everyone deserves a good defense. On the other hand, he clearly doesn’t like this guy a lot. Matt’s speech is a great piece of work.
There are some interesting developments with both Karen and Ben Urich, which I suspect will play parts in episodes to come. There’s some jury tampering that Daredevil breaks up neatly, and then they eventually get to a verdict.
Daredevil gets a really nasty surprise after the trial. He manages to track down one of the Kingpin’s men, and they have an impressive fight. Daredevil wins, barely, and won’t let up on the guy until he gives Daredevil a name. The thug is so afraid of his employer that as soon as he names Fisk, he takes some drastic action that stuns Daredevil.
The end of the show is when we finally see Kingpin. He’s in an art gallery, talking with the woman who runs it. They discuss art, the name of the piece he’s been staring at, and the feelings it evokes. Somehow now what you expect from a ruthless criminal mastermind, but it’s a very interesting scene.
What I liked: The writing on this show continues to impress me. It’s amazingly well done. There’s humor, action, and characterization, all weaving into a bigger picture. The fighting is harsher than you usually see with a comic book adaptation, but it’s very effective. It was a bold choice to show very little of the masked hero in a series with a limited run, but it worked. And Matt’s scene in court was a really deft touch.
What I didn’t: I get building a mystique, but the lack of character names is getting annoying, not to mention harder to write these reviews. I knew who Kingpin/Fisk was going to be, but so many of these others, I don’t. I get the legal complications, but I wish Urich was still at the Bugle. It’s the big newspaper you always hear about in Marvel, like the Daily Planet at DC. And I’m not wild about changing Ben’s race. If you want a more diverse cast, I personally favor creating new characters, not changing existing ones. But that’s me.
I’ll give this episode a 4 out of 5. The series is continuing to impress me, and, in this day and age with so much comic book based material out there, that’s not always easy to do.