A tense hostage situation. A city-wide disaster zone. The situation has escalated from a series of single strikes against thugs into an all out war. But in a show that’s concerned with depicting events in a reasonable and realistic manner, is Daredevil going too far over the top at this point?
Episode Title: Condemned
Original Airdate: 4/10/2015
The plot for this one is pretty straightforward. After five city blocks go up in flames, Daredevil gets framed for the deed, as Fisk moves to discredit his opponent. Meanwhile, DD’s trying to get information out of Vladmir, while getting out of his current situation alive.
Let’s get the tertiary cast out of the way first. Foggy and Karen have a few easily disposable scenes, where they fret about what’s going on. Ben pokes around the mystery the audience has already solved; I’m still iffy on the idea of someone’s character arc being to re-confirm known information. All three are merely wrinkles in the stories of others, rather than stories in their own right. If you can accept that they’re not particularly important, I suppose it works, but it still feels like wasted potential.
The meat of the story is a tale of consequence. I’ve praised Daredevil for having realistic consequences and risks before; Fisk doesn’t completely own the police department, so which officers respond to which events determines how easy or hard it is for him to manage the situation. That continues here, although things definitely tilt in Fisk’s favor, as he’s able to easily execute multiple witnesses and control an entire crime scene through his pawns. The show does re-use a few corrupt cops, to keep it from looking like his power is all-consuming, but it is coming close to unrealistic.
And then we have the elephant in the room… terrorism. It doesn’t get mentioned once, not even once, not even by the mainstream media covering this. Five city blocks just exploded in the middle of New York! Did 9/11 not happen in the MCU? Because it seems completely implausible that the entire area wouldn’t be locked down and swarming with FBI, with chaos on the ground and firefighters everywhere. And surely someone somewhere would be speculating about what overseas organization was involved.
No, instead, ordinary beat cops are casually patrolling and things are quiet enough that they can hear one guy groaning in pain from three stories up. The media immediately swallows the idea that the ‘man in the mask’ was responsible for everything. And nobody seems particularly panicked, aside from the hospitals dealing with those hit by debris.
Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t completely ruin the episode. It feels a bit too convenient, and I’m deducting points from House Daredevil for it (maybe they can recover some at the Quidditch match against House Gotham) but once you swallow the implausibility, the episode’s okay. The centerpiece of Daredevil finally getting to talk to Fisk, as the two are compared and contrasted, really makes this work in the end — Fisk sees himself as a hero and respects Daredevil for also being the sort to dive in and try to sort out the world with his own two hands. It’s one of the better “more alike than disalike” speeches you’ll hear.
Still, I’m hoping a third of Hell’s Kitchen exploding doesn’t get swept under the rug in episodes to come. This is a larger scale problem than anything we’ve seen in the show so far, and if it’s not the defining cataclysm of the entire season, something’s amiss. I’ve faith they’ll hit the target.