Sunday, October 21, 2018

REVIEW: 'Daredevil' - Karen Has an Intense and Unexpected Interview with Fisk in 'Upstairs/Downstairs'

Netflix's Daredevil - Episode 3.08 "Upstairs/Downstairs"

A desperate Dex reaches out for help. Matt forms an uneasy alliance with Agent Nadeem. Karen concocts a dangerous plan to provoke Fisk.

In 2018, it makes no sense to provide full-length reviews of each individual episode for shows released all at once on the streaming services. Sure, there are some shows out there that value the power of the episode. They do make a point in differentiating each episode to ensure it's not just one big slog to the finish. However, the ability to watch the entire season at one's own viewing pace has largely changed the way we consume and discuss these shows. So, some brief summary thoughts are really all that's actually necessary with these seasons. As such, here are my latest thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's Daredevil.

"Upstairs/Downstairs" was written by Dara Resnik and directed by Alex Zakrzweski

There are some incredibly tense and powerful scenes on display throughout this hour. And yet, there are some really goofy and awkward ones as well. The show already featured Dex hitting his emotional low point when Julie rejected him. That was his motivation to put on the new Daredevil suit and murder a bunch of innocent people. As such, it really does no good to see him once again reaching out to her hoping to have that solid and morally good influence in his life. Moreover, it just leads to the show killing her off in a lame and unnecessary way to keep Dex on this villainous path. It's all building to that moment where he lets out a primal scream with Fisk. And yet, that's not rewarding. It informs the audience of nothing new about Dex. It just features him struggling to survive because Ray and Matt now know what he did. That still allows for a cool action sequence. Dex really is just as capable a fighter as Matt. In fact, he may be even more skilled when it comes to guns and bullets. He can ricochet them off walls and still hit a perfect target. The season really hasn't explained how he developed this skill. It was mostly always present with him. It highlights the importance of having good influences in one's life. The narrative points out that Matt, Dex and Fisk were all young boys abandoned by their parents and forced to grow up in a violent-prone world in order to survive. Dex's problems have been blamed on psychological diseases. Meanwhile, things have been more complex with Fisk and Matt as they lock in this ever-changing conflict with each other. However, it's just much more satisfying to see Matt and Ray break into Dex's apartment and argue over the right way to handle things. Sure, Ray's desire to do things the somewhat legal way are bound to lead to even more consequences which could end up with more people dying. He is walking around with a target on his back now because Fisk and Dex know the truth about him. Matt can see the danger of doing things that way too. He fears that it will just create more opportunities for Fisk and Dex to hurt the world. But then, he immediately gets distracted with the reveal that Sister Maggie is actually his mother. That's a huge development! It means that one of his parents is still alive and actually has a meaningful relationship with him. It's just presented in such an awkward and stunted way. It doesn't come out of natural conversation. Instead, she is praying out loud and Matt just happens to overhear her. It occurs seemingly because the show needed a twist at this point in the season in order to keep the plot spinning for a couple more episodes. And yes, it does have the potential to lead to some juicy drama as well. Meanwhile, the high point of this hour comes when Karen sits down with Fisk. She doesn't care to play things according to Foggy's plan. She would much rather put her own life in danger in the hopes that Fisk attacks her and will be sent back to prison because of it. She trusts that the FBI is monitoring this meeting between them. It's a very intense dance of words that they do as well. They are both sizing each other up in the hopes of getting the other to have an emotional reaction. Fisk gets what he wants from Karen with the confirmation that Matt is Daredevil. Meanwhile, it takes awhile for Karen to get under Fisk's skin. But she ultimately succeeds in doing so. She mentions some embarrassing childhood stories, the murder of his father and finally the fact that she killed James Wesley. It's such a risk to share the details of that murder in a room being recorded by the FBI. But it's so exciting and intense as well. She doesn't get what she wants but this twist proves just how far she is willing to go because she feels like she has nothing left to loss.