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Recap / Daredevil S1 E2 "Cut Man"

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"Cut Man" is the second episode of Marvel's Daredevil.


In the dumpster outside his apartment building, a young man named Santino finds Matt beaten to within an inch of his life. He fetches Claire Temple, a nurse who lives in the building, and together they carry Matt up to Claire's apartment so she can tend to his wounds. Matt comes to long enough to stop Claire from calling an ambulance, claiming his attackers will kill innocent people in order to get to him.

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In a flashback, a young pre-accident Matt watches his father fight on TV, and despite being the favorite, Battlin' Jack is TKO'd by his opponent. Matt waits up for his father and helps patch up his wounds, even having his first drink of whiskey to keep his hands steady while he works. Jack produces an envelope full of cash to cover the rent, but when Matt asks where it came from, he simply says "sometimes, even when you get knocked down you can still win."

At Nelson & Murdock, both Foggy and Karen are working late to get the office organized, with Karen trying and failing to hide her amusement at Foggy's terrible singing. Foggy wonders why Karen is staying at the office rather than having a life, and when she reluctantly admits that she doesn't want to return to her apartment, Foggy suggests they go out drinking instead, and they call Matt to see if he wants to join them.

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When Matt wakes, he avoids questions about who he is and how he ended up in the dumpster. Claire christens him "Mike" and explains that she's patched a stab wound, but there are still broken ribs and a concussion that need tending to. Minutes later, one of the broken ribs collapses a lung, but Claire is able to help him. When pressed for answers, Matt explains that while tracking the boy that the Russians kidnapped, he walked into a trap and barely escaped with his life. As they talk, Matt's senses tip him off to a Russian searching the building.

In flashback, Matt wakes up in the hospital after his accident, and promptly freaks over about the fact that he is both blind and all of his other senses are going into overload, but Jack is there to help him. Some time later, Matt is learning braille at Fogwell's gym while Jack trains. He overhears a gangster named Roscoe Sweeney telling Jack that he'll get a chance to fight Carl "the Crusher" Creel, but as part of the deal, Jack must have his ass go down in the fifth round. Jack initially turns the fight down, but Roscoe reminds him that he's got a blind son to take care of, and eventually Jack agrees to throw the fight.

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In the present, the Russian comes to Claire's door claiming to be a detective. He sees through her lies and leaves to inform his superiors, but Matt knocks him out with a fire extinguisher. Meanwhile, Foggy and Karen wind up at Josie's, a Hell's Kitchen bar where the customers look a lot meaner than they really are. After some good-natured banter, Karen admits that between Daniel Fisher's bloodstains and memories of almost being murdered, she can't return to her apartment, and fears for her life wherever she is. Foggy resolves to stay up all night with her.

On the roof of Claire's building, Matt ties up the Russian and prepares to interrogate him, though Claire is still skeptical about the whole situation. When asked why she helped Matt, Claire admits that during her shifts in the ER, she's heard stories about a vigilante in a black mask who's been running around Hell's Kitchen saving people from gangs and violence, and while she wants to believe Matt is a force for good, his treatment of "Foster" suggests otherwise.

Matt: I know you're afraid. You can't give in to the fear. If you do, men like this win.

Young Matt's braille reading is coming along, and Jack has new gear for his fight against Creel, including a red robe inscribed with "Battlin' Jack Murdock." Matt's comments about how Murdocks "always get back up" inspire Jack to contact his bookie friend and change the bet he made on the fight to a knockout win instead of a loss, and he orders that as soon as the fight's over, all the winnings should be placed in a trust for Matt. After, Jack calls an unnamed woman and leaves her a voicemail message, asking her to take care of Matt if something happens to him.

In the present, Foggy and Karen's drunken night continues, including a stop at Matt's apartment to try and drag him along, and Karen wholeheartedly thanks Foggy for his efforts. On Claire's rooftop, the Russian wakes and is interrogated. Claire's disapproval evaporates when he admits the Russians only kidnapped the boy to lure out the masked vigilante. When Matt dangles him off the edge of the roof – supposedly because he "enjoys it" – the Russian cracks and gives the boy's location, but Matt drops him off the rooftop anyway ... right into the dumpster. Claire freaks about this, but after a quick listen, Matt ensures her that mobster is still alive, albeit heavily injured. After encouraging Claire to leave her apartment for a while in case the Russians come for her, and finding out how to get in touch in case he needs medical help in the future, Matt sets off.

In a final flashback, Jack gives his all in the fight against Creel and, with Matt listening on the TV at their apartment, wins by knockout. Afterwards, Jack hurriedly tries to escape the boxing arena, pausing only to listen as the crowd cheers his name, but later Matt hears a gunshot with his super-senses and races to a nearby alley, cordoned off by the cops, in which lies Jack's body, shot in the head.

In the present, Matt finds the Russian hideout and, despite his injuries, defeats all ten of the Russian gangsters present in a protracted fight. Barely able to stand, he takes off his mask before freeing the boy and carrying him out.

Matt: I know you're scared, but I'm here to help. You don't have to be scared anymore.


Tropes:

  • Artistic License: In the flashbacks, Matt claims that the French alphabet has no W while talking about braille. Matt's halfway there on this: the French language does have a 'w'. It just rarely makes use of it (and always for words coming from other languages). French did not have one at the time when braille was invented, and the W in braille was indeed added later.
  • Artistic License – Sports: No boxer of any repute has a losing record. "Battlin' Jack" Murdock is said to have a losing record, yet posters on gym walls show that he's headlined events, and he's still fighting televised matches against notable boxers, even being paid to take a dive to Creel. Real journeymen boxers, the kind with losing records, fight in obscurity, matched against other no-names or young prospects looking for easy victories before becoming a name.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Matt employs this on the Russian while trying to gain info on the missing boy.
  • Combat Breakdown: You really feel Matt's building exhaustion in the closing fight scene, likely aided by the fight being shot entirely in one take. Especially his pitiful attempt at a wall jump.
  • Continuity Nod: In a flashback, Battlin' Jack is asked to throw a fight against Carl "Crusher" Creel, who appeared on Season 2 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Jack simply smiles as he's gunned down after winning the fight with Creel, having known full well it would happen and having set up a sizable trust fund for Matt.
  • Fake American: In-Universe, Semyon poses as an NYPD detective to search Claire's building (by coincidence, the guy who plays him actually is an American).
  • Foreshadowing: Before the match with Creel, Jack makes two phone calls from the payphone at Fogwell's, one to his bookie, and then one to Sister Maggie (who we will meet in season 3) telling her to look after Matt.
  • Flashback: The episode cuts back to when a young Matt was adapting to his blindness, and concerns his father, who is asked take a dive in a fight against Carl "Crusher" Creel.
  • Hallway Fight: The start of a Defenders tradition. Daredevil fights his way through a hallway full of Russian mobsters.
  • Hollywood Healing: Claire gives Matt a needle chest decompression for the pneumothorax his three broken ribs gave him. He gets on pretty well with beating people up afterwards. He would actually need a lot more hospital treatment before he could go back to bruising baddies.
  • In Medias Res: We catch up with Matt after he's already fallen prey to the Russians' trap.
  • Impersonating an Officer: The Russian henchman poses as an NYPD detective investigating an armed robbery when searching Claire's building
  • Improbable Weapon User: One gangster checking in on Matt's fight with his buddies sticks his head into their room only to get clocked in the face by a microwave flying out of the room.
  • Karma Houdini: The gangsters who tried to bribe Jack Murdock to throw the fight, and later killed him when he didn't. There's nothing to indicate they ever faced justice.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • When Roscoe Sweeney and Silke visit Jack, Roscoe says that at Jack's age, he's got plenty of time to have more kids to compensate for Matt being blind.
    • The Russian who takes the kid some food at the end of the episode, the start of the oner. The kid's crying, asks for his dad. The Russian tells him, in Russian, to shut up and steals his apple.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Jack Murdock getting a fight against Carl Creel references the fight that they had in the Daredevil comics.
    • On a funnier note, the comments by Foggy and Karen about the eel in their drink, including about drinking it to get "mighty eel strength" brings to mind the Eel, a villain of Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, all of whom are to show up in the Netflix shows.
    • Because Matt refuses to tell Claire his name, she refers to him as Mike. An early Daredevil story arc had Matt masquerade as his own twin brother, Mike Murdock, to keep his secret identity intact. 'Michael' also is Matt's legal middle name in the show.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: We don't see their fight, but Jack Murdock TKO'd Creel, who is not only a boxer with a much better record than him, but also has literal fists of steel.
  • The Oner: The climactic fight. Parts of it take place offscreen to allow Charlie Cox and his stunt double to switch places.
  • Reality Ensues: After battling the Russian thugs, Matt can barely stand to rescue the boy who was being held hostage. Moreover, during the fight, nobody goes down and stays down after a single hit, they keep getting back up again, but with the strength, stability, and accuracy of their punches suffering significantly each time.
  • Shame If Something Happened: Roscoe Sweeney invokes this when strong-arming Jack into fighting Creel.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Jack Murdock is instructed, when told to throw the fight, to have his ass "go down in the fifth" and repeat the instruction in his fight against Carl Creel.
    • More noticeably, the final fight sequence is an homage to Oldboy (2003).
    • As the corrupt cop makes his way down the stairwell, Matt tracks him with a fire extinguisher and drops it just right in order to catch his prey. This is almost identical to the chainsaw scene in American Psycho.
    • At the office, Karen overhears Foggy horribly singing "Pour, Oh Pour The Pirate Sherry" from The Pirates of Penzance.
  • Throwing the Fight: What Jack is asked to do in his fight against "Crusher" Creel, and when he doesn't, he's shot for it. It's implied that he threw the fight from the first flashback too.
  • Tranquil Fury: After realizing that Matt is right that the officer he is using a Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique on is a Corrupt Cop (or is lying about being a cop), Claire goes from being too scared to speak to very calmly telling Matt where the trigeminal nerve is.
  • You Can Barely Stand: Claire tells Matt this as he goes out to fight while just barely limping.

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