If ever there was a way for Daredevil to bounce back from its lackluster previous episode “Dogs to a Gunfight”, this episode four “New York’s Finest” was certainly the way.
In truth, the entire episode could have just been an exchange between Daredevil (Charlie Cox) and The Punisher (Jon Bernthal) and that would have been perfectly fine. No complaints, no arguments, just forty-odd minutes of a philosophical and moral debate between these two characters. It goes for more than that, but that simplicity would have been superb. That’s not to say we didn’t get that conversation in spades. The series stands still for a moment in this episode and we get to see these separate ideologies verbally battle it out and, honestly, it was wonderful.
It was everything one could hope for. Occasionally weighed down by hackneyed and cliched dialogue, it was a genuine and engaging back-and-forth of differing world views and perspectives on the human condition. Do you allow a chance for redemption or do you kill a criminal so he doesn’t have a chance to do more harm in the future? Again, the dialogue isn’t always there, but Cox and Bernthal’s performances elevate it to this outstanding sparring of words. Perhaps the strangest thing is that you get where both of these men are coming from. You certainly don’t condone what The Punisher is doing, but you get his point of view. Daredevil arrests a criminal and, if you’re lucky, he’s gone for a couple years. He’ll get out again, though, and probably do the same type of thing all over again. The Punisher ends the cycle. It’s not right, but, in his eyes, it’s necessary. The Punisher calls Daredevil a “half measure”, and maybe that’s correct, but as we in the hospital with Foggy (Elden Henson) and Claire AKA The Night Nurse (Rosario Dawson), he’s not helping the problem. The Punisher is just helping to set the city on fire faster. People are still dying and innocents are still being hurt.
The debate escalates naturally to the point that we all expect, which ends with them fighting, because of course, which in turn leads to the the best fight sequence of the series since the one-take hallway in season one’s “Cut Man”. Everything from the choreography to the direction to the editing is executed so magnificently and is nearly flawless. It feels like someone watched The Raid every day for a year and figured out how to do something on that level. Every move of the camera is precise and carries the momentum of the fight so wonderfully,
All in all, this was a great episode for Daredevil. It was nice to see Rosario Dawson back on the show, all the while teasing her appearance on the upcoming series Luke Cage. We got to see Foggy be the loud lawyer we all know he can be. Again, the only weak link is Karen (Deborah Ann Woll), who is off threatening a District Attorney, by herself, for some godforsaken reason. Even she can’t take away from the overall greatness of this episode, though.