Since this post was originally published, I have also written a follow-up piece featuring details from season two and The Defenders.
I did not set out to write a manifesto, but I don’t really know what else to call this post. A plea perhaps? I suppose what makes it a “manifesto” is the amount of heartfelt emotion that I’ve put into this post. For as long as I’ve been a Daredevil fan, I’ve always been very protective of his “blind side.” Regular readers of this blog (which passed 800 posts just last week) know this. I know quite a few of you agree with me. Others are probably tired of my occasional rants on the subject, but thanks for sticking around anyway.
This is me pouring my heart out. Again. And my end goal is this: I want to elevate the way “we” (fans, creators, and critics) speak about this character so that it truly reflects his full complexity. Most people have no trouble doing this when it comes to his “lawyer who breaks the law” state of moral shadiness. But when it comes to his physiology, far too many people accept the creed of “my other senses more than compensate” (see, for instance, Daredevil #168, by Frank Miller, below) without a second thought. The problem is that this has always been, and always will be, a logical fallacy. It’s a tagline, a shorthand for describing the character’s powers in one brief statement. And, it’s inaccurate. We can do better.
This post is the result of the copious amounts of notes I took on various trends and patterns during season one, which is why I’ve been able to throw something this lengthy together in one evening. Most of what you’ll read below has been living in an Excel sheet that I put together two years ago. This is the reason it only covers season one, though much of this obviously holds true for season two as well. The reason I’m getting this out now has to do with some of the ways Daredevil actor Charlie Cox has been talking about the character he plays so well in several recent interviews, where Matt Murdock is described as a lie, Daredevil is the true identity, and Matt is only pretending to be blind (in some cases, “blind” is even exchanged for the much broader term “visually impaired” which makes the statement even more questionable).
But there’s also a reason I’ve been hesitant to put this down in writing as boldly as I’m doing here, and that boils down to the fact that I don’t wish to “shame” anyone, least of all someone who seems as genuinely nice and caring as Charlie Cox. Who, I should add, does a fantastic job in the role, and who I know has shown an incredible amount of dedication to making all aspects of Matt Murdock’s life as real as anyone could hope for (and he’s also said plenty of things that actually run completely counter to the bits I’m giving him a hard time about here). I’m actually quite dismayed by the current “outrage culture” that sees people being shamed for using slightly outdated terms, not expressing themselves “just right,” or for not being “woke” enough. I think it’s sad when we expect the worst of each other, scrutinize every word someone says and don’t give people the benefit of the doubt. I am not going to be a part of that. In fact, I even suspect that some of the wording that I’m reacting to may actually have come about as a result of not wanting to offend.
Stan Lee has talked about how worried he was, back when Daredevil made his debut, that blind people would find him offensive, that they would say “We can’t do that!” And I’m sure there are droves of blind and visually impaired people who do find the mere concept of Daredevil offensive, just as there are many that feel just the opposite. (What people actually find offensive obviously varies greatly from person to person.) Still, I would imagine that people associated with this show may actually feel that underscoring that Matt only “pretends” to be blind is the best way to shield Daredevil from criticism. Add to this that Cox’s description of Matt hasn’t surfaced in a vacuum but actually reflects how many of Daredevil’s fans and past creators would talk about him as well. I happen to disagree with this decision, and feel that a chance is being missed to highlight the fact that, for many people, vision impairment is more complicated than the simple blind-sighted dichotomy suggests, and that Daredevil is actually an interesting example of this.
So, what gives? What is this “more elevated” way of talking about Daredevil that I’m suggesting gives a better and more complete understanding of the character? Certainly, I can’t be suggesting that Matt doesn’t live a life where there isn’t a lot of pretense? And no, I’m not suggesting that. I quite agree with Cox and many others who would point to the many ways in which Matt Murdock’s civilian life is a façade. It very obviously is, and I agree that Matt likely feels very conflicted about this. But I wouldn’t call “Matt Murdock” a lie. I would call him a necessary half-truth. Matt’s heightened senses allow him to be Daredevil, and to do a number of other things that you would not expect of someone who is totally blind, but they don’t – and here’s the kicker – actually make him sighted. Part of the irony of Matt’s peculiar condition is that if his senses actually did compensate for his blindness in any and all situations, he wouldn’t have to “pretend to be blind” in the first place. The reason I’m saying that “my other senses more than compensate” is a logical fallacy is that it is true in some situations, not quite true in others, and not even a little bit true in others still.
There is a reason that Matt Murdock the college student, if he wishes to keep his heightened senses hidden, has no choice but to go “full blind guy.” His advantages over any other blind student in a setting like a college classroom is pretty much nil. He can’t see the blackboard (whiteboard these days), the slides, or whatever movie is being shown. He may know what the professor ate last night, but that’s probably not particularly relevant to next week’s homework. If he wants to type up a paper, he needs to use a computer with a screenreader. (This bit, almost all fans seem to get intuitively, just going by the number of rather inane “how are you tweeting this?!” comments directed at the official Daredevil Twitter account. Sadly, these people seem to have missed the part where Matt owns and operates a computer on the actual show…).
Even Matt Murdock, the lawyer, would find himself in a situation where he, if he were to unwisely try to use his heightened senses to pass for sighted, would find himself severely limited. Many pieces of evidence are highly visual in nature. If he didn’t exercise his right to have photographic or video evidence described and transcribed to him, he would be less effective at his job.
The civilian identity places physical and behavioral restrictions on Matt, there’s no doubt about that. It makes sense that Matt would, at times, find these restrictions limiting and tiresome. And yes, they would often make him feel like a phony. I would point out though, that the Daredevil identity also comes with restrictions. I understand and empathize with Matt’s need to be Daredevil, I understand the immense freedom it gives him. But the thing is, Daredevil can only exist in Daredevil’s world, where the need to be able to see and interpret strictly visual information is minimal, and most situations can be solved by doing exactly those things Daredevil does best.
The mundane truth, however, is that “Daredevil” has to eat, make a living, find a place to live, go to the store, and transport himself over greater distances than his billy club can take him. He has to interact with regular people he is not beating up for information, and generally exist in a society where there is a truckload of incidental visual information that he is not able to see and that his other senses really don’t make up for. The reason people rarely think of these situations is because they are generally not something you would see featured in the comic. You see more of them in the show, but even then we have to live with the fact that following Matt to Barney’s so he can shop for a new suit does not make for riveting entertainment. This means that there is a natural bias in most Daredevil stories against featuring the more mundane situations where his blindness might be an issue.
So far in the Netflix show, Daredevil has rarely found himself in situations where he awkwardly has to pretend to be able to see in the traditional fashion – his meetings with Melvin Potter are an interesting exception – but these situations do exist in the comic (see a couple of my favorites here, and here). Where Matt can really be his true self is around people who know about his senses, but these situations too do not suggest that he can see in the traditional sense. He does have his own unique way of interacting with the world that is unlike that of a (totally) blind person, but also unlike that of a sighted person. Even something as simple as communicating with the eyes, through eye contact and almost imperceptible glances, is a big part of how (sighted) people communicate. Matt conducts himself differently. Having to pretend to be more functionally blind than he is, is not Matt’s natural state of being, but neither is having to pretend to see things he cannot or conduct himself in ways identical to someone who can see. Perhaps Frank Miller put it best: “The hidden identity can be a relief, Bullseye. When I’m Murdock, I don’t have to use my amplified senses to pretend I’m not blind.” (From Daredevil #191, Roulette)
In many ways, Matt is more typical of a visually impaired person – in the broader sense of the world – than most people realize. Of all the people who find themselves in this category, the totally blind (or nearly so) are the minority. Most exist in a gray area and are perhaps best described as partially sighted. Someone with retinitis pigmentosa, who has lost most of his peripheral vision, might need a cane but can read a regular book with his sharp central vision. Someone with macular degeneration might have a fuzzy central blindspot and need screenreader software, but be able to get around quite easily without a cane, reach for objects with no trouble and not be pegged as blind by the casual observer, even when classified as legally blind. They can see some things, but not others. Kind of like a certain someone we know. To deny this is to sell him short.
With this longish preamble out of the way, let’s get to the many ways that the Netflix show actually proves my point. Overall, the show really does an excellent job of handling Matt Murdock’s strange blend of blindness and heightened senses. In fact, all things taken together, I can’t think of a single run of the comic – with the possible exception of the recent Waid/Samnee/Rivera/Martín run – that has been more successful in this regard. Which is why it’s ironic that these things aren’t talked about more accurately by the people who do everything right to make this work on screen.
Episode 1 (at 08:45) – The phone swipe
Matt’s phone announces that he’s receiving an incoming call from Foggy. He responds by using gestures on his smart phone. Pretty much exactly as any other totally blind person would, and in this particular situation, his heightened senses completely fail to compensate in any way.
Episode 1 (at 10:45) – The view
“You can flip a coin with your partner for it,” says the real estate agent. “He can have the view,” Matt responds when he and Foggy are looking at offices for their firm. It makes sense that Matt would offer Foggy the room with the view, if he wants to hide his senses. It also makes sense because he legitimately can’t see the view or derive any esthetic pleasure from it. Does not being able to see the view detract from his crime fighting? Not in the least. But, enjoying the view of the Hudson river is clearly something Foggy can do that Matt can’t. Because he cannot visually detect any light. It’s that simple.
Episode 1 (at 15:05) – The braille watch
Matt and Foggy check the time while interrogating Karen, this in response to her asking how long they’ve been practicing law. Matt has a braille watch. Which makes perfect sense since he wouldn’t be able to see the face of a regular watch. Because he’s blind. Incidentally, the braille watch is perhaps the earliest adaptive device featured consistently in the Daredevil comic.
Episode 1 (at 15:45) – The notepad
Matt subtly indicates to Foggy to take down what Karen is saying on his notepad. Matt could write if he wanted to, as can many other blind people, though he would be subject to the same difficulties in that he can’t monitor what he’s writing while he’s doing it (in a way that is analogous to how a deaf person can’t hear his or her own speech). He could use a notetaker device for the blind. Either way, the act of taking handwritten notes would not be something he would approach much differently than any other blind person. As for reading them, he’s got a leg up, if we’re going by traditional canon.
Episode 1 (at 19:45) – The dictaphone
Matt is double-checking the dictaphone on his table by running his hand over it, possibly to verify that the braille labels that are revealed on a later close-up are still there. I will absolutely go along with his playing up the blind guy bit here, but the case I’m making is that it’s completely logical that he would label buttons on various things, either by using braille labels or little plastic “bumpers”. If he had a TV, one such item would be the remote control (I challenge anyone with a semi-complicated remote to know what all the buttons are without looking at the often tiny numbers and symbols on or near them). Another such item would the microwave or oven in his house. It just makes sense. This information is simply less accessible to him than it is to someone who sees with visible light.
Episode 1 (at 25:15) – The signs around town
“I’ve seen their signs all over Hell’s Kitchen,” Foggy says when Karen tells them about Union Allied leading the reconstructions of the city. Included here simply because Matt wouldn’t have. Because he can’t see signs.
Episode 1 (at 29:30) – The billboard
Matt talks about how he got the apartment cheap because he’s not bothered by the giant billboard outside. Which he wouldn’t be because he can’t see it (for the same reason that he usually leaves the lights off in his apartment). This is certainly a good thing in this situation (hey, cheap NYC apartment!), but logic dictates that this isn’t the only billboard in town which the vast majority of people can draw information from that he can’t.
Episode 1 (at 30:20) – The styling of hair
Karen asks if she can ask a personal question. Matt quickly responds with how he hasn’t always been blind. Karen realizes that that’s probably what everyone wants to know and Matt jokingly answers: “That, and how do you comb your hair?” This is, of course, a silly question to ask a blind person as we can assume that the vast majority have no problems combing their hair. It’s included here for the simple reason that while Matt obviously can comb his hair, he would be no better at it than anyone else who is blind since he can’t use mirrors. By extension, anything that falls into the category of personal grooming of the kind that sighted people would do by sight – aided by a mirror – are things that Matt would have to approach the same as any other person with little to no sight.
Episode 1 (at 31:30) – The sky
“It doesn’t change the fact that I’d give anything to see the sky one more time.” While I question the sincerity in what Matt is saying here (see my review of episode one), there’s no denying that he, in fact, used to be able to see the sky and no longer can. Because he’s blind. Are there other esthetic pleasures of a visual nature that he cannot appreciate that other people can and that he might miss, ever so occasionally? Of course. This doesn’t affect his ninja moves at all, but does point to there being a legitimate sensory deficit.
Episode 1 (at 47:50) – The folding of bills
Matt hands a folded bill over to the guy at Fogwell’s gym. This is something that regular blind people often do. There is no reason to assume that Matt wouldn’t do the same for reasons that have nothing to do with keeping up appearances. Even if we make allowances for the print reading of the comics, it would be more efficient for him to have a folding system when quickly trying to go through his wallet.
Episode 2 (at 03:20) – The unresponsive pupils
Claire checks Matt’s pupils for a reaction. They are unresponsive to light. As they should be.
Episode 2 (at 04:10) – The missed light
Matt gets up to leave and heads straight for Claire’s brightly lit kitchen instead. True, he’s very disoriented, but the sheepish look on his face pretty much confirms that this is not a mistake that a sighted person would have made quite as readily.
Episode 2 (at 11:20) – The missing mask
Matt wakes on Claire’s couch, disoriented. His first question is: “Where am I?” Not “Who are you?”, that comes next. The order of the questions Matt asks, along with not readily realizing that he’s not wearing his mask (he actually tries to feel for it on his face) clearly indicate that he’s not taking in the scene in the same way and with the same priorities as he probably would if he were sighted. Yes, there’s a massive amount of disorientation involved here, but the subtle differences remain. I’m not suggesting that Matt is necessarily at a disadvantage compared to a sighted person in this scenario, only that his behavior overall is not what we would expect from a sighted person.
Episode 2 (at 18:15) – The facial expression
Matt to Claire: “You’re looking at me like I’m crazy, right?” Matt has never really been able to detect subtle – or even not-so-subte – facial expressions in the comic, and the same seems to be true here.
Episode 2 (at 22:20) – The searching hand
Matt finds a knife in Claire’s drawer. How quickly he finds it is certainly impressive for a blind guy, but he does actually briefly explore the drawer with his hand.
Episode 2 (at 29:25) – The inaccessible phone
Up on Claire’s roof, Matt is hoisting the fake Detective Foster up by a rope, asking Claire – who has the man’s phone – whether she found anything on it. The reason he has to ask? He legitimately can’t see what’s on it and has no way of operating it. Because he’s blind.
Episode 2 (at 32:55) – The feeling of silk robes
Young Matt runs his hands over his father’s new robe. While this is a young Matt who has yet to learn how to use his senses fully, it would make sense that this kind of exploration would have to happen by tactile means even as he grows up. As a general rule, I can see no reason why Matt would approach something like shopping for clothes or getting the sense of a fabric any differently from anyone else who has a pretty severe visual impairment.
Episode 2 (at 39:40) – The trigeminal nerve
Claire suggests that Matt try stabbing their captive Russian in his trigeminal nerve, and she shows Matt where it’s located by tracing its path on Matt’s face, near the eye. I’m sure Matt could have made sense out of her gesture even if she had shown him by pointing to her own face, but there’s not doubt in my mind that he would get a less detailed sense of it that way.
Episode 3 (at 12:30) – The big check
Wesley slides a piece of paper over to Foggy, with an monetary offer printed on it. Later, after Wesley has left, Foggy says of Matt’s doubts that if he could see the number of zeroes on his offer he wouldn’t care. This situation is a minor one, but highlights the fact that Matt can’t casually glance at any kinds of documents strewn about on a table, or posted on a wall, the way a sighted person could. In fact, Matt’s lack of access to incidental and potentially useful visual information (in writing or presented as a graphic), is perhaps the most significant issue not addressed by his heightened senses. With the way the character works, in and out of the comics, he could miss an enormous amount of information available to other people, and never even know it. The reverse is, of course, also true. Matt detects things others don’t, but the two don’t automatically cancel or balance each other out.
Episode 3 (at 14:40) – The sound of a watch
Matt follows Wesley by the sound of his watch, then stops at the curb and follows the latter’s moves. By listening to them. This is clearly a case of Matt putting his heightened senses to great use, but let’s not pretend that a sighted person couldn’t have visually tracked Wesley’s movements just as easily, and possibly even more so. This is a classic case of Matt’s senses just compensating, by means that are mostly non-visual in nature, but quite honestly do little more. Matt’s ability to sense the shapes of things in a way that resembles vision also has a limited range.
Episode 3 (at 30:30) – The screenreader
This scene shows the first real look at Matt’s computer set-up, which includes a braille display. It’s on Foggy to look up the right section of the penal law and read it to Matt, in this particular scene. As a general rule, this is clearly the area of Matt’s life where his heightened senses benefit him the least. As has been comic lore for at least some twenty-five years (I’m counting back to those weird couple of issues in the early nineties where Matt could read computer screens by touch), Matt cannot access screens. He would need to use the same kind of assistive technology as any other person with little to no useful vision. This is not pretense – not part of “the act.”
Episode 4 (at 05:05) – The voice
Matt to Claire: “Maybe I just like the sound of your voice.” This is probably meant to indicate that non-visual qualities are particularly important to him. As they would be.
Episode 4 (at 05:30) – The burner phone
Matt hands Claire a burner phone. He asks her to enter her number into it. Which makes sense. And, if this is just a regular phone with no special features on it, he might run into some problems doing it himself. Though dialing shouldn’t be a problem if there’s only one or a few phone book listings as the right sequence of key presses could be learned easily.
Episode 4 (at 28:30) – The Veles taxi cab
Matt asks Santino if he heard or saw anything that can help him locate Claire. Santino mentions that he saw them get into a cab, Veles Taxi. Incidentally, this specific nugget of information is one that Matt could never have come by on his own, save for someone mentioning it in passing.
Episode 5 (at 00:50) – The breakfast
Matt is cooking. Which is not at all strange. There is absolutely nothing that says that even completely blind people cannot be great cooks, and I’d like to think that Matt’s heightened sense of smell, in particular, might make him quite adept at it. This scene is included here for the simple reason that Matt’s approach to cooking would probably have more in common with that of a blind person than that of a sighted person. He would determine whether the food is properly cooked by smell or by how it responds to being poked with kitchen utensils. Also, some kitchen equipment, to the extent that he uses it, would probably be of the talking variety.
Episode 5 (at 02:50) – The “world on fire”
“I can’t see. Not like everyone else, but I can feel. Things like balance and direction, micro-changes in the air density, vibrations, blankets of temperature variations. Mix all that with what I hear, subtle smells… All the fragments form sort of an impressionistic painting.” I take issue with some of Matt is saying here, in particular the bits about balance and direction being quite so high on the list. These are things that clearly help with the acrobatics and the ninja fighting, as they have to do with body awareness, but these are not the kinds of impressions that are vital to the detection of objects in space. With a radarless interpretation of the senses, the hearing of echoes should account for the overwhelming majority of what feeds into Matt’s awareness of space. However, that’s a topic covered elsewhere. The reason I include this scene here, is that at least Matt is clearly stating that he can’t see like everyone else. Which should be obvious to everyone.
Episode 5 (at 03:45) – The actual “world on fire”
Matt’s world on fire, while a far from ideal way of picturing Matt’s senses, at least brings home the point that he does not “see” particularly well. Well enough to move about freely and make out decent-sized objects? Certainly. As he should. 20/20 color vision? Nope, not even close.
Episode 5 (at 06:00) – The crooked tie
Matt’s tie is adorably askew. Maybe if he could actually use a mirror, it wouldn’t be… 😉
Episode 5 (at 36:35) – The inaccessible phone, part two
Matt found Detective Blake’s phone while he was roughing him up. Back in his apartment, Claire is going through it to look for clues. She finds a text message that gives the addresses to the locations which will be bombed later. Matt could not have gotten this information on his own. Clearly one of many situations where he doesn’t “operate better than a sighted person”.
Episode 6 (at 12:20) – The movies
“It’s not as easy as it looks in the movies, you know.” “I don’t really go to the movies. I like records though.” I saw this scene referenced a couple of times in the push to get Netflix to add audio descriptions, because it hightlighted the irony of a show that the main protagonist, if he were a real person, would not be able to access fully. When it comes to visual entertainment, and visual arts in general, Matt is in the same boat as every other totally blind person. This tends to get handwaved away by some fans as inconsequential, and it certainly doesn’t affect Matt’s prowess as a crime fighter (much), but movies and television are not only a major source of information but are a big part of popular culture. It does surprise me that he doesn’t have a TV though. There’s the news, which he might legitimately be interested in, and many shows can be enjoyed by blind people even without audio description.
Episode 7 (at 03:40) – The braille
Matt is reading braille. Kind of like a blind person who can’t read print. Of course, in the comics, Matt can read print (though this ability has been somewhat downplayed over the years), but regardless of whether this is a real ability in the Netflix show or not – it appears to have been scrapped, for which I’m grateful (though Charlie Cox has mentioned that they did tape a scene for the first season, that was later cut, of him reading newsprint) – I could never find any good reason why Matt would actively choose to read anything but braille when given the option. Preferring print would be like saying “Oh, I’m fine reading six point faded type under poor lighting, in fact I prefer it to reading things comfortably!” In the Born Again story arc, by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli, Matt actually talks about reading print as an occasional strain.
Episode 7 (at 47:10) – The clean up
Matt is cleaning up his floor after his fight with Stick, lightly brushing his fingers over the carpet in a way that looks remarkably like what we’d expect from someone with impaired vision. How about that? He then finds the ice cream wrapper bracelet that he made for Stick as a child. It’s his fingers, not his other senses, that recognize it. He knows it by touch.
Episode 8 (at 04:40) – The talking alarm clock
Matt wakes up to his talking alarm clock. Which makes sense since he can’t see digital displays. Not part of “the act.” (Interestingly, there was another alarm clock on his night stand at the beginning of the series. I guess someone figured that this made more sense.)
Episode 8 (at 16:40) – The screenreader, part two
Matt is reading something from his computer on a braille display. He’s also got an earpiece for the audio output. Part of his regular blind guy cover or actually useful thing because he really can’t see the screen? Well, both. No pretense involved. Matt would realistically have to “blind guy” his way through the vast majority of his office work, which anyone who has spent more than five seconds thinking about this knows, including everyone involved in this project.
Episode 8 (at 49:50) – The Fisk speech
Matt is listening to Wilson Fisk give his speech over his computer at home. Emphasis on listening.
Episode 9 (at 19:30) – The newspaper
Karen shoves the newspaper in Matt’s face, and Foggy says “You know he can’t see that.” As Foggy is about to learn, there’s a lot he didn’t know about Matt Murdock, but on this point, he is absolutely right. Matt is not pretending he can’t see what’s printed on the front page of the newspapers, because he really can’t see what’s on the front page of the newspaper.
Episode 9 (at 22:10) – The art gallery
Matt meets Vanessa at the art gallery. Where he really literally can’t see any of the paintings. When Vanessa says that “You don’t need sight to appreciate art,” Matt replies that “sight helps.” If we’re talking strictly about visual art, then he’s certainly right. And he would know.
Episode 9 (at 21:00) – The painting
Vanessa shows Matt one of her “favorite pieces” and, in a rather humorous misstep, seems to have completely forgotten that her customer can’t see the painting in question. Matt asks her to describe it to him, which she does. There is a lot of pretense going on here: Matt pretends to be a customer, and he pretends to need to use a white cane. There is no doubt about this. He does not, however, have to pretend to not be able to see the painting.
Episode 9 (at 27:05) – The caller ID
Foggy calls, and Matt dismisses the call, though not before the talking caller ID has announced to both Matt and Father Lantom who the call is from. Clearly, Matt would have no other way of knowing who the caller is.
Episode 9 (at 29:50) – The task better handled by the sighted staff
Karen tells Matt about how she and Foggy identified the men who attacked her from the photos on their contractor’s licences. Incidentally something Matt would not be able to do. With his being blind and all that.
Episode 9 (at 30:45) – The Nelson & Murdock sign
Foggy gives Matt their new sign to “look at” and he runs his fingers over it. Despite the embossing and large features, it is unlikely that Matt can get any detailed sense of the sign using his other senses, so it makes sense to examine it by touch. Kind of like a blind guy.
Episode 9 (at 35:25) – The muted TV
Foggy draws everyone’s attention to Wilson Fisk on the muted television screen behind them. Matt asks Josie to turn up the volume, something he would not have known to do if it were not for the sighted people in his company.
Episode 9 (at 43:35) – The limited “view”
Matt enters the warehouse down at the docks and examines the large prints on the table next to him. He takes his glove off and runs his hand over the building plans. It is unclear how much information he’s getting from this, going by the comic book version of Matt’s powers, he should be able to feel the printed lines under his fingertips, provided the layer of ink is thick enough. However, a sighted person could take in the entire “scene” of what’s on the table in the fraction of a second. There has never been an incarnation of the character that can match or compensate for the effeciency that ordinary vision provides for cases like this.
Episode 10 (at 07:35) – The caller ID, part two
Karen calls while Matt and Foggy are having their big confrontation. Again, the talking caller ID lets us know it’s from her.
Episode 10 (at 17:50) – The unseen footage
Foggy mentions “that news footage of you, in the alley after bombings” and then adds – perhaps because he feels the need to elaborate – “the way you were flipping around…” Which is apt because while Matt obviously experienced the scene first hand, he can’t know anything about how he appears in the footage.
Episode 11 (at 05:30) – The task better handled by the sighted staff, part two
Karen talks about the misfiled piece of papers she found at the county clerk’s office. Incidentally, not the kind of investigation Matt could undertake unassisted with any kind of efficiency.
Episode 11 (at 07:55) – The balloon
Karen gives Matt a balloon. She tells him there’s a monkey on it. Which he really wouldn’t know if she didn’t tell him.
Episode 11 (at 34:10) – The workshop
Matt examines the materials in Melvin’s workshop. It’s all very hands on.
Episode 12 (at 37:50) – The blind workers
Matt discovers the blind workers. His different way of taking things in is clearly on display in this scene, and here it takes him quite a bit longer to figure out that the workers are blind than it probably would for a sighted person. This is one of those situations where an inability to monitor subtle eye movements comes into play.
Episode 13 (at 05:55) – The people known from their photos
Karen talks about Ellison being at the funeral, hinting at his disposition. It is unclear whether Karen has ever met him before (probably not), but she could have recognized him from a picture, his byline in the paper, etc. Matt couldn’t have. Matt can, of course, recognize someone’s voice from a previously heard audio feed though.
Episode 13 (at 20:00) – The screenreader, part three
More office work for Matt. In this scene, we even see him use the computer keyboard, searching for the right key with his fingers. As he would since he can’t see the symbols on them. Meanwhile, Foggy and Karen are searching through a bunch of printed documents that Matt presumably can’t read (though he could potentially scan them and have them transcribed with OCR software). Even though comic book Matt can read print (to varying degrees), the task of scanning entire pages and looking for irregularities is much better suited for vision.
Episode 13 (at 39:50) – The costume
Matt goes to pick up his new costume and gets an explanation from Melvin what the different colored pieces are for (I guess he’s going to have to find out about which are the better protected areas some other way), and then touches the garment to examine it.
Episode 13 (at 49:55) – The newspaper, part two
Karen reads about Daredevil in the newspaper. Which, by the way, Matt can’t see. Too bad, ’cause that is one cool first page!
Episode 13 (at 50:35) – The Nelson & Murdock sign, part two
For the second time this season, Matt feels the Nelson and Murdock sign. It’s impossible to know what is other senses might tell him about that sign (something sqaure and metallic with a surface irregularity where the letters are?), but his sense of touch is still his best bet for getting the detail that others can get visually.
Okay, that’s it. I’ve made my case. Please share this with anyone who needs to read it. At this point, I don’t care if I ruffle a few feathers.