“Some fights just get you bloody.”
This quote, muttered by our friendly neighborhood stock mob character, seems to ring true across Hell’s Kitchen throughout “Rabbit in a Snow Storm” as Matt, Foggy, newly arrived reporter Ben Urich and Karen all seem to go out in search of fights they seem to want now but might regret once the other side starts throwing punches.
After two episodes that were heavy on Matt’s nocturnal activities, “Daredevil’s” third offering gives us our first lengthy glance at Murdock and Nelson, Esq., blending Foggy’s desperate pursuit of paying clients with Matt’s hunt for more information about the man who's been filling Hell’s Kitchen with hit men and Russian human traffickers.
The whole situation leaves both Foggy and Matt in an interesting lurch. Fog obviously sees dollar signs when Wesley, with his three-piece suit and need for discretion, stumbles into the ramshackle offices of Nelson & Murdock. This is the clientele he’s been looking for, the kind of pay he gave up to form a two-man, morally above board law firm with Matt.
Matt, meanwhile, looks at Wesley like he’s something he’d wipe off his shoe. He, of course, has no idea this is the closest he’s ever been to the shadowy criminal elite of Hell’s Kitchen, he just knows graft when he sees it.
Of course, by the middle of the episode, they’ve reversed roles. Foggy, upon meeting the hit man Fisk sent to kill Prohaska (and don’t feel bad if you were confused; the motivation for this execution doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense until the next episode anyway), wants nothing to do with this case. Matt, meanwhile, has sensed a way into the chaos that’s consumed his neighborhood and is willing to defend Healy in court for that access.
It’s an interesting juxtaposition, and I’m not quite sure I understood Matt’s motives throughout. He pops into Daredevil mode for a few seconds in order to exterminate the blackmailer trying to ensure one juror causes a mistrial, but then he pieces together a well-rounded self-defense argument, one that logically could have gotten Healy off even if Wesley hadn’t (seemingly) bribed the jury forewoman again before that closing scene.
The courtroom scenes and the earlier pit stop outside a Roman Catholic church were both nice touches in a crowded episode like this one. Matt’s devotion to the law is a critical component of his character from the comics, one that is often complicated by the fact that his powers make him immediately aware of their guilt or innocence. So seeing Matt provide a legitimate defense for Healy, even when he knows he’s a murderer, is a nice conflict.
Once the case is over and Healy skates despite Matt’s best efforts, it’s time for him to meet Murdock’s better half. The fight between Daredevil and Healy is the latest excellent action scene in a series that seems to have already mastered the art of ugly, brutal action scenes. Yes, the “Arrow” problem still exists (Matt’s early Daredevil costume makes it near impossible to tell who is punching who), but this is another great brawl between hero and hit man.
Matt finally gets Fisk’s name, only to realize he’s now fighting on an entirely different playing field. Healy, who had been supremely sure of himself even when staring down a life sentence, immediately commits suicide upon diming Fisk out to our hero, and Matt is horrified.
It’s a pattern that seems to play out throughout the episode. Foggy got his wealthy guilty clientele and immediately regretted it. Ben Urich (Vondie Curtis-Hall) makes his debut as the New York Bulletin’s star investigative reporter and is immediately warned by an old foe/source that hunting for Fisk will only get him hurt. Karen wants to make war on her old bosses at Union Allied, only to find out the woman who has the most reason to want to bring them down has already waived a white flag.
They say it’s better to die on your feet than live on your knees … but, hey, at least you get to live?
Random Thoughts Without Fear:
--I’d like to apologize to Foggy. After meandering around for two episodes, we get to see Nelson and Murdock actually function as Nelson and Murdock, and the character is worth his weight as long as he has something to do.
--Ben Urich has always been one of my favorite Marvel characters (I was a crime reporter for five years, so … yeah) and Vondie Curtis-Hall does an admirable job filling his shoes. We’re a long way from rooftop meetings between Ben and Daredevil, but I’m interested to see how close his inevitable investigation leads him to Fisk. Outside of superhero girlfriends, Urich might be the most common civilian target of Marvel supervillains. He’s good at his job and tends to tick them off mightily.
--This version of Leland Owlsy is 1,000 times superior to the comic book version. Bob Gunter is cracking me up as the sort of disappointed dad amongst Fisk’s underworld cabal. "He's ... decorating?"
--Speaking of which, Hi, Wilson! Vincent D’Onofrio finally pops up as a fledgling version of the Kingpin. He figures much more prominently in the next three episodes.
--P.S.: Don’t start the next three episodes unless you don’t plan on getting off your couch for the next three hours.
--(Failed?) Comic Book Reference You May Not Have Noticed: Ben Urich normally works for the Daily Bugle. Which is run by J. Jonah Jameson. Unfortunately, this ain’t the Bugle, but I would pay good money for J.K. Simmons’ version of the bombastic newspaper editor to turn up here.
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