Warning: Spoiler Alert
Daredevil wakes up bloody and bruised inside a dumpster in an alley. A young man finds him and brings help in the form of Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson). In her apartment she carefully removes what is necessary to tend to his wounds, including his black mask. Matt wakes up in time to prevent Claire from calling an ambulance.
In a flashback sequence we find young Matt Murdock listening to the broadcast of one of his father’s fights. A particularly ugly and bloody fight. When Jack returns home, his young Matt Murdock plays ‘cut man’ tending to his father’s wounds.
Back in the present, Karen does whatever she can do at the office to avoid going home. She overhears Foggy singing as if he were alone in a shower. This fun exchange ultimately leads to the two of them going out on the town.
Matt wakes up again. He and Claire play twenty questions. The answers to which are not satisfactory to either party. Matt asks why she would pull him out of a dumpster, her answer is vague and almost feels like she’s hiding something. Nothing sinister, but something nonetheless. Matt drifts off to sleep again. While all seems alright as he sleeps, he lunges awake and cannot breath. Claire quickly pulls the empty syringe to the chest move restoring his breathing. There’s even a nod to a future costume/suit, a change I don’t believe they need any time soon.
Claire: You’re suit kinda sucks…
Matt: It’s a work in progress.
Claire then asks Matt (she calls him Mike) to give her one reason why all of this is worth the risk of her potentially ending up in handcuffs if he dies in her apartment. He tells her about a human trafficking ring ran by the Russians. That there was a young boy forced to watch the men beat up his father, then get kidnapped. He tracked the Russians to a warehouse, where they were waiting for him. In the middle of this, Matt’s attention is drawn to something. He can smell a man on the third floor going door to door.
In another flashback sequence young Matt studies at the gym while his Dad spars in the ring. After a little small talk about what it’s like learning to read braille, Jack Murdock is called over. A bittersweet moment as Jack is presented with the fight of a lifetime, then asked to take a dive. Something he has an objection to.
The man with an affection for too much discount cologne is finally at Claire’s door. Matt attempts to take care of it using essentially a paring knife. Claire convinces him to let her try a more socially acceptable approach. Claire feels like a crisis got averted. Matt does not agree. He walks out her front door and grabs a fire extinguisher. He stands at the handrail holding the fire extinguisher out. Waiting for just the right moment. Then he drops the fire extinguisher and lands perfectly colliding with the man’s head knocking him out cold.
Foggy strongly suggests Karen accompany him to “Josie’s”, their local dive bar of choice. Foggy keeps calling Matt but he is, well, indisposed. Foggy eventually puts aside the flirty banter and presses for why Karen is always at the office. The answer is obvious to us. Home is a reminder. A literal reminder of what has happened to her recently. Blood stains in the carpet, dented walls, broken fixtures reminding her of the attempts to have her framed and then murdered. In addition to the state of her apartment, Hell’s Kitchen doesn’t resemble a city anymore. It’s a series of dark corners. Then Foggy suggests they just stay out all night.
Claire is having significant morality issues with tying up what looks like a cop on the roof of her building to interrogate and maybe hurt once he wakes up. She wants answers but she’s not going to get satisfactory ones. Just like that, she makes the first move towards trust. He asks why she fished him out of the dumpster and she tells a few stories of cases that came through the E.R. where a man in black mask was responsible for making a difference.
In a flashback, Matt and Jack Murdock have a nice conversation about Murdocks always getting hit, but then also always getting back up. Shortly thereafter, Jack makes a phone call from the gym. The assumption being that it’s a bookie. He changes his bet. Instead of putting it on Creel, he puts it on himself to win. Then directs the bookie that all of the winnings are to be deposited into an account under the name Matthew Murdock. The next phone call we have to believe is to Matt’s mother. Jack is about to do something stupid and if it goes south, Matt’s going to need her more than ever.
The Russian parading around as a NY City Cop finally wakes up. Daredevil starts in on him immediately. “I’m going to ask you some questions. You’re going to answer them. If you’re lying, trust that I will know. And that will make me unhappy.” The Russian gives up nothing of consequence at first. Kidnapping the boy was a ploy to draw him out. Funny how Claire’s morality flies out the window when she realizes the man with the badge is a bad man. She instructs Matt on exactly where to stab the man in order to create enough pain that the man with cave. Then surprisingly, Matt cuts the man down, walks him over to the ledge and says something that is sure to peak interest and gets Matt the address of the boy.
Daredevil: Sssshhhhh. I need you to know why I’m hurting you. It’s not just the boy. I’m doing this because I enjoy it.
He pulls up the Russian who taunts him again. “They’ll be waiting for you.” As the man tries to continue creating the imagery of what they will do to him and what a shame it would be for the boy to witness that. As the man says “boy”, Matt shoves him over the edge with Claire screaming as he falls. He’ll live.
Flashback to the Murdock/Creel fight. Young Matt listens to the broadcast at home. While young Matt celebrates the win, his father frantically tries to get out of his gear and make his escape. Jack mentioned on the phone to the woman we assume is Matt’s mother, that just once his son should hear the crowd chanting his name for the right reason. Jack turns to bathe in what that sounds like as the crowd pulses with the sounds of a ‘Murdock’ chant. Jack slowly closes his eyes. The next camera shot is the sound of a single gunshot waking young Matt Murdock.
Then comes the rather epic scene anyone familiar with the Daredevil story has been waiting for. A blind, frantic, young Matt Murdock feeling around Jack’s bloody face to identify that the dead man in the street is indeed his father.
This next scene may now and forever be referred to as, “the sequence”. I’ve watched a lot of television. I’ve seen a lot of fights, both verbal and physical play out on a television screen. None I have ever seen can equal the final scene in Daredevil episode 2: Cut Man. As I have expressed many times before, my words will not accurately convey what your eyes and mind will get from actually watching this fight sequence. It’s also very important to see the parallels. Understand the motivation, because it all plays a part.
This entire episode has essentially been about saving a young boy. A young boy who was forced to watch his father get a beating before being kidnapped. A scared and helpless boy. This is all about Matt Murdock the man, identifying with the position the boy is in. Knowing that if he could have reunited with his own father on that night or any night after, he would have done anything to do just that. The motivation is apparent quickly.
We all have seen some hero face off against many bad guys at once. I assure you this sequence is not that. Yes, a wounded Daredevil faces off against many men at once. The difference here is, one punch doesn’t take a guy out for good. Guys go down, then get back up. There is visual evidence of fatigue and struggle. Daredevil doesn’t just walk in there and take the guys out. This is a real fight. Daredevil gets hit and knocked down. However, the realism of this fight is remarkable. If you can accept a sense of realism applied to a fake fight sequence where a comic book hero takes on many bad guys, then this will prove to be the best most compelling fight sequence you have ever seen. Period, end of discussion.
Daredevil does not neutralize the situation with ease. This is a difficult fight. A wounded and fatigued Daredevil takes on somewhere between 8-10 men. None of which go down easy. And definitely don’t stay down. Also the fight takes place in a hallway. At times it feels like Neo fighting the sea of Agent Smith’s in the third Matrix movie, only not anywhere near as fake. There are even times when it looks like Daredevil is done for. Then he summons just enough strength to deliver the final blow. Ultimately allowing Matt Murdock as the Man in the Black Mask to find the door. Open the door. Remove his mask. Then tell the boy, “I know you’re scared. I’m here to help you. You don’t have to be scared. Let’s get you home to your Dad.” And why go through all of this punishment? To deliver a scared boy back into the arms of his father. Whether it’s a young Matt Murdock reliving the tragic events that took his father from him or the boy behind the locked door at the end of the hallway, it has always been about the boy.