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TV Review: Marvel's Daredevil - Season 1 Episode 3 "Rabbit in a Snow Storm"

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EPISODE 3: "Rabbit in a Snow Storm"

SYNOPSIS:  Murdock and Foggy take on a mysterious wealthy client, but Murdock is convinced that there's more to the case than just the facts.

BREAKDOWN: (The following column contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so I don't recommend reading this if you haven't watched this episode).  

It typically takes an episode or two for a series to really get rolling but with two excellent ones down, my only concern for this series is the format of each episode. After the Drew Goddard penned first episodes, I was expecting there to be a slight shift in how the episodes were laid out, but not as much as this. Gone are any flashbacks or origin story elements for Matt Murdock, replaced instead by a more linear story focused on introducing Wilson Fisk to this universe.

So far, Daredevil has been the equivalent of a PG-13 movie. The profanity has been limited to the word shit and the violence has been bloody but kept in the shadows. This episode opens with what could be the most violent death scene in any Marvel property to date involving exposed broken bones and a bowling ball caving in a human skull. Daredevil is dark, there is no doubt about that, but I still expected there to be limits since this is a Disney property. I am glad they are not holding back.

This episode presents no background on Matt Murdock's training or how he became the masked vigilante but rather spends time showing just how young and raw the law practice of Nelson and Murdock is. They have no clients and virtually no income, but along comes Wesley, the right hand man of the Kingpin. He offers the lawyers a large sum of money to keep quiet while presenting them the defense of Mr. Healy, the man responsible for the bowling ball murder. Foggy is hesitant to take the case, but Matt wants it after following Wesley based on the ticking of his watch. Murdock wants to know who is behind the crime in his city and will win this case to figure it out.

After some courtroom proceedings, we see Healy exonorated which gives Murdock the opportunity to don his mask and fight the thug. There are very few actual action sequences in this episode outside of the opening scene, Matt getting a juror excused after beating on the thug extorting her, and this closing fight. Even against a low level criminal like Healy, Matt Murdock has his hands full. There is no repulsor beam or vibranium shield here. Daredevil is a master martial artist with enhanced senses but he still gets winded and bleeds like the rest of us. Once he gets the name of Healy's employer, none other than Wilson Fisk, we see the most disturbing scene in any MCU film or series to date.

Healy clearly fears Fisk. Matt Murdock tries to give him his "leave my city" speech, but Healy cuts him off, saying that he is already dead and his entire family will suffer for revealing who Fisk is. There is only one option: Healy whips his head full force onto a metal spike, killing himself. The action is jarring, even for Murdock who has seen his fair share of violence, and that speaks volumes about what he is about to face. The episode closes with our introduction to Fisk who we see in an art gallery. The curator explains about the importance of what the piece makes the viewer feel and asks Fisk what he feels. His answer is simply that he feels alone.

There is an uneasy quiet to Vincent D'Onofrio in this scene that gave me chills. Overall, this was a nicely assembled episode but it feels somewhat out of balance. We get an additional story arc through the episode introducing reporter and future Daredevil confidant Ben Urich. Vondie Curtis-Hall plays him as a relic of the fading newspaper industry who has a sick wife whom he tries to scrape together medical care for. Karen Page also gets an offer of money from her former employer to keep quiet about the underhanded dealings that almost got her killed in the first episode. Karen and Urich meet and the smile on the reporter's face tells us this will be an important relationship.

Another solid outing but one that feels at odds with the pacing and format of the first two episodes. Daredevil has a lot going on and with only ten episodes remaining in the first season, we still have a lot of setup going on. I am bought into this world and these characters, but the momentum needs to pick up a bit if the show wants to remain as intriguing as it can potentially be.

MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES: There are no overt references this week.

NEXT ON DAREDEVIL: Episode 4 "In The Blood" - Two vicious Russian brothers working for Fisk strike back against Daredevil. Fisk moves to further consolidate his power in the criminal underworld.

Source: JoBlo.com

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