And right after they finally got everybody on the same page, they’re split up again. The timing couldn’t be worse; the series was JUST starting to click, bringing the subpar daytime plot up to the superior nighttime plot’s level. Oh, well… these conflicts are inevitable. And since Netflix’s episode preview images spoil that they do get back together in the end, we’ll ride it out…Episode Title: Nelson v. Murdock
Original Airdate: 4/10/2015
So Foggy now knows the truth about Matt, and it’s got him angry and freaked out. (And he rightfully points out all the wacky genre tropes of his origin story, right down to “taught kung fu by a blind master.”) Ben’s looking to pull out of the investigation. And the Kingpin is once again dealing with his bickering partners.
In each case, someone’s hiding the unpleasant truth from someone they care about. This episode is all about the lies of omission that we use to protect us and protect the people in our lives. Very thematic, very lovely, but… the actual implementation of the story is super awkward.
Foggy and Matt’s tale is told through entirely-too-lengthy flashbacks, which consist of 90% fluffy banter and 10% substance. (Also for some reason Foggy’s listening to 90s music and dresses like a grunge rock star despite it taking place in 2010.) These are amusing but really just eat up time, going on and on like a SNL sketch that’s overstayed its welcome.
Karen, meanwhile, drags Ben around to visit a nursing home where she can further her investigation into the Kingpin… but doesn’t say a word about her true intent, making the whole thing feel creepy and strange, like she decided to randomly poke old people with a stick. Ben going along with this weirdness is straight up author convenience, something the series has been avoiding until now.
Finally, Kingpin gets backstabbed in a way he REALLY should’ve seen coming, given how patently obvious Leland was about the whole thing. It feels like bad writing for him not to notice or even suspect it… yes, he’s “blinded by love” and so on, but it doesn’t feel like a blind spot. It’s more like the plot moving forward despite the natural inclinations of its characters.
The revelation of Matt’s night time antics to Foggy SHOULD have been a massive turning point for the series, but sloppy writing and sloppy pacing really drag this episode down to the ground just as it was finding its feet. They could’ve done for a few more episodes of the whole team working together before splitting up, rather than a single episode. The series is by no means ruined forever, but this is a black eye, to be sure.