The 50+ additional ways in which Daredevil and Defenders remind you that Matt is blind (for real)

In August of last year, I wrote my longest posts yet (now second longest since this one is even more of a monster), detailing scenes and details from the first season of Daredevil in which the viewer is reminded, directly or in more subtle ways, of Matt’s de facto blindness. I’d already prepared the background notes for that post when certain events prompted me to put them out there. I won’t rehash everything here, but I invite anyone who is interested to read that post again for my longish preamble on the topic. Since that post was published, I’ve had quite a few people ask me to do a follow-up with scenes from the second season, as well as the Defenders. I’m obviously happy to oblige, which is why I spent a lot of time over last weekend revisiting a massive amount of televised footage (though I must admit to skipping most of the scenes that didn’t have Matt – in and out of costume – in them) and taking plenty of notes.

A couple of things are interesting to point out, before I get into the details. Daredevil season two contained less of some of the kinds of things I found noteworthy during the first season. Between season two and Defenders, I was still able to reach and exceed fifty things that qualify for this list, but when comparing the two seasons of Daredevil, there’s a slight difference in both number and quality of the cases I was able to spot. I think this might be due in part to the greater need for season one to establish the character and his power set. It probably also has to do with Matt doing considerably less office work in season two than he did in season one. Defenders, meanwhile, contains quite a few pretty explicit examples of Matt’s occasional limitations. In the Defenders, the writers and directors had to introduce the Daredevil character to people who may not have watched his solo show, which may account for the difference.

Matt and Foggy have a talk on their way to work, as seen in episode one of Daredevil, season two

Also, what makes both season two of Daredevil and the Defenders show different from Daredevil’s first outing, is that he’s spending much more time around people who know him both as Matt, and as Daredevil. This makes it much easier to pin down the difference between Matt asking about something as part of a kind of performance to hide his powers, and his doing so because he’s genuinely suspecting that he might be missing something. There are a few instances where this is quite enlightening.

Matt’s interactions with Elektra in season two also show how easily the two fall into a very natural division of labor, along these lines. He casually and unapologetically passes on the vision-heavy work to her while focusing his attention on the things that he does best. I’m personally quite pleased with this as it proves the point I’ve always tried to make with regard to this character: There are things he can do that makes him truly one of a kind and a very strong player for anybody’s “super team,” but there are also perceptual “holes” for him to work around.

I’ll have more to say about this when we get to the specifics, so let’s move on to the actual list. There’s much less snark this time. On the other hand, there’s also more going off on tangents. My bad.

Daredevil season 2

  1. Episode 1 (at 06:10) – The walk and talk

    Matt and Foggy are walking down the street, chatting about Foggy’s failed romantic adventure from the night before. This includes the following exchange.

    Foggy: “You know what my problem is?”
    Matt: “Well, it ain’t the moves.”
    Foggy: “You know I got the moves. That’s the tragedy of you being blind, you’ve never seen me dance.”
    Matt: “Yeah, but I can cite the legends I heard in law school.”

    To anyone who is even the least bit interested in what Matt does and doesn’t perceive – and how – the above exchange is quite interesting. We know that some time has passed since last season, and that Matt and Foggy have likely talked more about what exactly Matt “sees” or otherwise perceives. Obvious signs of this are the many subtle examples throughout the season (more on that below), where Foggy will supply just the right amount and kind of information that you would expect might be useful to Matt. No more and no less.

    Which of course brings us to what exactly Foggy means when he says that Matt has never seen him dance, and what Matt means when he, at least indirectly, agrees. He must have, in a general sense, “experienced” Foggy dancing (for some reason, thinking about this brings to mind the scene of Elaine’s dancing on Seinfeld…). What this experience entails is honestly unclear to me. Of course, I have my own personal idea of what Matt “sees,” and in what detail (and at what range), but the Netflix show has also been pretty inconsistent in this regard.

    On the one hand, we have the dubious “world on fire” effect which might suggest that a dancing Foggy might appear as a flailing body-shaped “flame.” On the other, we have the “silent ninja” scenario, later in this season where a (ridiculous) case is made that Matt can’t detect silent objects – or bodies – despite the fact that his whole way of operating is completely dependent on his ability to do just that. What does make sense to me, and I base this in part on the comic, is that Matt 1) may have real trouble distinguishing the movements of individual people in dense crowds, and 2) this is especially true at some distance away from him. If Foggy is out on the dance floor, in the middle of a crowd, some twenty feet away, Matt’s impressions of what he’s doing may very well be dominated by (direct) sound, and not be very “sight-like.”

    I will, of course, also allow for this exchange simply being a case of Matt not wanting to screw too much with Foggy’s memories of the friend he knew in college. However, it does show that Foggy has come to understand that referring to Matt as blind is still appropriate in many cases, and whatever Matt’s senses may allow, they at the very least offer a very differnt “view” of the world, including Foggy’s dancing.

  2. Episode 1 (at 17:50) – The water at Josie’s

    At Josie’s, Matt and Foggy joke with Karen about the very questionable quality of the water. Matt mentions the rust and mold, and Foggy says, “I think I can actually see the bacteria floating in there.” So, I’m obviously mentioning it here because Matt wouldn’t be able to see whether the water is cloudy or not. Of course, he would know as well as anyone – probably better – that the water isn’t safe to drink, and this is also evident from this scene. However, it is a reminder of the types of properties of liquids (and other objects) that are exclusively visual, i e. color and opacity. Milk barely lets any light through and is essentially opaque, water appears to be virtually transparent and colorless (at least in small quantities), and beer is translucent and registers as amber in color. But these are visual qualities. It’s the same thing with a piece of window glass on the one hand, and a mirror on the other. In the world of light, these surfaces behave very differently. If your experience of them is not light-based, they may appear virtually identical and will not give you the experience of either the mirror or the window.

  3. Episode 1 (at 19:00) – The game of pool

    Matt and Karen playing pool, as seen in episode one of Daredevil, season two

    The scene where Matt, Karen and Foggy are playing pool has become a fan favorite. It is not only entertaining in and of itself, it also reminds fans who are well-acquainted with the comics of a scene from the mini-series Daredevil: Yellow where Matt impresses at the pool table. I don’t doubt for a minute that Matt would be great at sinking one ball after another, given his typical arsenal of skills. One thing has always bothered me slightly about the idea of Matt playing pool, however. That is when it is talked about without reservations, as if we’re forgetting that there are rules to abide by.

    In this scene, Karen guides Matt’s hand to the cue ball, and this is the one ball I’m sure he would he could keep track of pretty easily. What I’m less sure of is how he would keep track of every other ball, during the length of an entire game (especially early in the game), without an occasional verbal reminder. To him, they all appear identical. Of course, there are people who can keep track of every move in parallel games of chess, but now we’re talking about an exercise that is more about perfect recall than anything else. In this scene, Matt actually does prematurely sink the eight ball, and at least a part of me likes to think that he forgot it was the eight ball. 😉

  4. Episode 1 (at 20:35) – The guy at the bar

    Matt notices that Grotto, who has shown up at Josie’s, is taking an unusual interest in the three of them, and so asks Foggy: “The guy at the bar looking this way, you know him?” There are two ways for Matt to recognize people, and that is either if he has ever met them before, or if he has heard their voice. I suppose he could also recognize someone from the way they smell, but that of course takes having access to a sample of that person’s clothing or a personal item beforehand. When Matt asks Foggy, he knows that Foggy might either recognize the person in question from a personal contact, or from having seem him on TV, a wanted poster, in a newspaper of through some other visual medium. Simply put, the odds that Foggy might recognize someone he hasn’t met in person are substantially lower than Matt doing the same.

  5. Episode 1 (at 38:20) – The slaughter house

    After squeezing Turk for information, Daredevil goes looking for the Mexican cartel in the Meatpacking District. He finds several men there, one still alive, hung from meathooks among the animal carcasses. He doesn’t recognize that they’re there until he gets fairly close, and even then, it takes him a beat or two to realize what he’s up against. Given that the smell of dead human body is probably drowned out pretty well by the overall stench of the place, it’s not surprising. A sighted person would probably react much sooner to the contrast provided by the men’s clothing and spot them from a greater distance. It’s a nice detail that Matt unveils the horror of the scene a bit more gradually.

  6. Episode 2 (at 12:00) – The silent panic

    In what was a pretty shocking scene to me when I first saw it, Matt temporarily loses his hearing in the beginning of the second episode, after having had his head grazed by one of the Punisher’s bullets. Considering everything Karen and Foggy get up to while we cut from this scene, and then back again, it is safe to assume that he probably went full Helen Keller there for a good couple of hours. What this scene shows pretty clearly is that, in losing his sense of hearing, Matt is losing his all sense of his surroundings as well (there is no traditional radar in this show). What he probably experiences as two senses – hearing direct sound from a sound source and “feeling” objects through sounds reflected off their surfaces – really stems from the same sensory organ.

  7. Episode 2 (at 32:00) – The crime scene

    I’ve talked about this scene before, and I really like it. Matt goes to examine the scene of where the Irish mobsters were shot, and examines it for himself (he’s already overheard what the crime scene investigators have had to say about it). There are a lot of nice details about this scene, including a hitherto rare display of Matt’s sense of smell – this much underused sense! There’s also some touching going on, such as feeling the bullet hole in the wall to sort of verify that it’s there, and the kicking of the dog chain. Of course, he’d have to be carful with touching a scene like that, or risk leaving fingerprints.

  8. Episode 4 (at 07:05) – The wardrobe

    Matt picks out a shirt to wear

    This was one of the scenes I mentioned as a suspected homage to the Daredevil movie, where Ben Affleck’s take on the character has a very similar moment going through his clothes. Anyway, what we see here is that Matt’s shirts, more specifically the hangers, are all labeled with braille tape stuck to index cards. (And it’s a nice little detail that the braille labels are Daredevil red.) This is an obvious indication that Matt’s relationship to the world of colors is like that of any other person with little to no vision.

    Early in the life of the comic, Daredevil used to be able to distinguish colors by touch, but it was an ability that was completely phased out over the first ten years or so. Probably a good idea given that it doesn’t make much sense at all. Color is, first and foremost, a visual quality. Even the gadgets many blind people use to match clothes or separate laundry may not always behave perfectly because the underlying task is so tricky. For an illustration of how something as simple as the tone of the incoming light might affect the color something appears to be, I’d remind you of that dress that went viral a few years ago because people couldn’t agree on what color it was.

  9. Episode 4 (at 08:20) – The tie

    Matt is just getting ready to put on his tie for Grotto’s funeral when Karen shows up and offers to help. As Karen goes through the motions, Matt comments “Not that I can verify, but you seem good at this.” Well, Matt actually can verify, by using his hands, but if his definition of verify boils down to a visual inspection, he’s certainly right. Like I mentioned for the list from the first season, everything that has to do with dressing and grooming, for which sighted people typically use mirrors, are tasks that Matt would approach the same way as any other totally blind person: tactually.

  10. Episode 4 (at 15:00) – The X-ray

    Karen is telling Matt and Foggy about what she’s found out about the Punisher, showing off Frank’s head X-ray that Matt obviously can’t see.

  11. Episode 4 (at 17:25) – The Punisher files

    Karen leaves the office without telling Matt and Foggy, the two of them busy discussing other things. When they realize she’s gone, Matt wonders aloud whether she took the Punishers files and briefly pats around on her desk to look for them. If he could see, he wouldn’t have to do that.

  12. Episode 4 (at 18:45) – The new mask

    Matt goes to Melvin’s place to pick up his new mask (or should we call it a helmet?) Melvin has placed it in a case, which Matt doesn’t even bother opening up all the way, instead examining the contents with his hands which obviously give him a better feel for it. It’s actually quite surprising how little interest Matt has in at least pretending to look at things around Melvin (this isn’t the only scene like this).

  13. Episode 4 (at 52:00) – The arrest

    After the Punisher is arrested (and Daredevil nearly arrested with him) Matt meets up with Foggy and Karen at Josie’s for a drink. Meanwhile, the story about Frank Castle’s arrest is playing on the news. Matt obviously gets the audio only version of these events.

  14. Episode 5 (at 01:30) – The flirtation

    Matt meets Elektra for the first time, as seen in episode five of Marvel's Daredevil, season two.
    After we all learn that Matt was an assignment from Stick, Elektra’s approach to reeling him in at the faculty party makes much more sense. There’s the clattering of her bracelets, and the sound made by her finger circling the rim of a cocktail glass that she uses to get his attention. Of course, Matt seems almost hypnotically drawn to her. Whatever the pull may be though, it is not her physical beauty that does the trick.

  15. Episode 5 (at 08:50) – The Castle photo

    Karen shows a photograph she stole from Frank’s house. Matt can’t see it, obviously.

  16. Episode 5 (at 20:05) – The complication

    In another flashback scene, Matt and Elektra breaks into Fogwell’s gym, where she soon discovers his secret. Although, to be fair, she knew before she even met him that he had certain gifts. What’s interesting is the conversation between them.

    Elektra: “You said you were blind.”
    Matt: “You said I was blind.”
    Elektra: “So you can see?”
    Matt: “It’s complicated.”

    Considering that Matt had told Elektra, something like two minutes earlier, that he wasn’t born blind (emphasis on the “b word”), he may need to get his story straight regarding who said what to whom. 😉 However, I was quite amused to hear him describe his sight status as complicated. And I guess “complicated” is as good a description as any.

  17. Episode 5 (at 35:05) – The menu

    Matt is taking Karen out to dinner at a fancy restaurant (much too fancy, it turns out), and when she steps away for minute, Matt asks the waiter for help with the wine. This is very obviously not merely a blindness-related issue, as Matt’s main concern is that he doesn’t know much about wine, but the fact that he can’t read the menu (and in places like that, they often go on for many pages) probably doesn’t help.

  18. Episode 5 (at 36:20) – The driving

    In another flashback, Matt and Elektra drive up to Roscoe Sweeney’s house. When they arrive, Elektra tosses the keys to Matt and says jokingly, “Any time you want to drive…” Daredevil has driven occasionally in the comic, with varying results, and I once read a piece of fanfic that had Matt drive casually down the freeway. I was flabbergasted, to say the least. Of all the complex and visually demanding tasks you can think of, I think driving is near the top of my list of things Matt should realistically never attempt outside of a parking lot or a closed road.

    It’s not merely a matter of “Does his radar penetrate the windshield?” or “But he can hear the lights change!” There’s signage. Lots of it. And lanes with markings in and around them. And weirdly designed intersections. And subtle turn signals of cars way up ahead. The list goes on. There’s a reason people with even relatively modest vision impairments are barred from driving. In my native Sweden the cutoff is an acuity of 20/40, which is also a common limit in many U.S. states. That translates into half the normal (20/20) acuity or five times better than the legal blindness limit (20/200). Matt shouldn’t be driving in real traffic. I’m pretty sure he knows this, jokingly telling Elektra, “I think it’s illegal… Driving under the influence of blindness.”

  19. Episode 5 (at 42:10) – The Indian restaurant

    Matt and Karen eating Indian food, as seen in

    Karen and Matt move on from the stiff, fancy restaurant and find a cozier spot at an Indian place. During this scene, Karen tells Matt that she wishes he could see the place, and he asks her to describe it.

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the makers of this show chose such a visually distinct place for this scene. It makes the scene feel much more genuine to have Karen describe something that is overflowing with light than if they were in a place where Matt’s take on the place would have been more in line with hers. This way, Karen – who is still in the dark about Matt’s abilities – can talk about something he can’t really appreciate otherwise.

  20. Episode 6 (at 13:35) – The hospital lobby

    When Matt and Foggy arrive at the hospital to visit Frank Castle, the lobby is full of people. Matt asks “What’s going on?,” directing it at both Karen and Foggy. True, Karen is there too, but this is not an unreasonable thing for Matt to be asking. He can obviously tell that the place is packed, that there’s a general commotion, and it wouldn’t take long to figure out that some of them might be reporters, cops, and hospital staff respectively. But, there are certain visual shortcuts available to Foggy and Karen that makes this particular information-gathering exercise much quicker for them.

  21. Episode 6 (at 14:10) – The promotion

    Along the same lines as above, and as mentioned in the first item on this list, Foggy seems to have figured out a nice balance for what kind of information Matt might find useful. When they step out of the elevator on Frank’s floor, Foggy exclaims: “Brett? You’re wearing a tie. And it’s not a clip-on!” This quickly segues into talking about Brett’s promotion. Would Matt realize pretty quickly that there’s something different about Brett, including how he wears his badge? Sure. But Foggy’s ability to casually weave these little details into their conversations is probably helpful.

  22. Episode 6 (at 16:20) – The red tape

    When the trio enter Frank’s room, Matt steps forward and is about to step over the red tape around Frank’s bed when Karen calls him back. I can actually sort of buy that he might be able to sense the tape (it would cause sounds to reflect differently compared to the tiles around it, and even have a distinct smell), especially since they’ve all been told about the tape before going in. But, it’s a much more subtle detail from his vantage point compared to everybody else’s.

  23. Episode 6 (at 30:55) – The fawning men

    When they arrive at the gala, Matt points out to Elektra that “You must look nice.” She responds with a “How would you know?” This is another example of Matt interacting with someone who presumably knows everything relevant to know about how his senses work. As has usually been the case in the comic, Matt’s idea of what people look like is rudimentary, at best, aside from their overall shape, and Elektra knows this. And, of course, Matt responds with how it is that he knows what she looks like: Indirectly, by gauging other people’s reactions to her as they walk by.

  24. Episode 6 (at 39:50) – The key card

    After knocking out Gibson and his guards, Matt feels for the key card in his jacket pocket and verifies that he’s got what he was looking for by scanning the surface with his fingers. For anyone worried that we’re straying too far into the print reading of the comics (I’m fine with it there, but think it’s been an appropriate move to downplay it in the Netflix show), I’d say there’s no need. Identifying the name and logo, printed on top of the card, should fall perfectly within the realm of what’s actually possible in real life. You’d barely need heightened senses for that.

  25. Episode 6 (at 45:30) – The search for the ledger

    Matt sits back and lets Elektra look for the ledger, as seen in episode six of Marvel's Daredevil, season two

    After opening the safe – very cool scene, by the way – Matt sits back and lets Elektra do all the visual searching for the ledger. I’ve mentioned this scene before and think it’s a great example of what any type of team-up between Daredevil and other (sighted) characters should look like, all the time.

    Of course, if you think about all this a bit longer and harder, you also realize everything that is always conveniently skipped over in both this show and the comic book. Daredevil rarely comes up against obstacles that might actually be quite challenging for him, despite the fact that these should realistically be quite common. The same way early Daredevil faced off against an unusual number of villains with blinding rays and the like, his stories are often written in a way that plays to his strengths, not his weaknesses. This is reasonable from a storytelling perspective, but obviously biases people’s perceptions of the extent to which Matt’s blindness might be a real issue. As I mentioned in my previous post on this topic, we rarely follow Matt to the store (or a tailor) to buy a new business suit, or pick up a present for Foggy, or to a law conference. Those kinds of things lie far outside the typical scope of the book, so it’s easy to downplay vision-heavy tasks. We’re simply not reminded of them very often.

  26. Episode 6 (at 50:10) – The pupil check

    Matt gets his pupils checked by the security guards after he and Elektra are found making out. There was a pupil check last season too, as you might recall. Obviously, Matt’s pupils are unresponsive to light. This doesn’t really prove anything, though, in terms of whether he should be viewed as blind or not, since no one has ever argued that Daredevil can see with his eyes. I’m still bringing it up here though, since it might be a good reminder that total blindness is relatively rare. In this case, Matt is extremely fortunate that he really has no light perception, since he would have otherwise been pegged as a fraud. This despite the fact that most people who fall under the blindness umbrella can, in fact, detect light.

  27. Episode 6 (at 50:55) – The secrets of the ledger

    In the car leaving the gala, Matt and Elektra go through what’s in the ledger. Matt leaves the reading of it up to her, not only because it’s in Japanese.

  28. Episode 7 (at 04:00) – The laptop

    There’s not a lot of office work this season, since Matt’s been busy elsewhere, but in episode seven, there is at least one scene of Matt on his laptop, which looks about the same as last season, that is perfectly ordinary but with some additional equipment.

  29. Episode 7 (at 10:25) – The dictaphone

    Before he runs off with Elektra, Matt makes an attempt to get started on his opening statement. He does so by recording it on a dictaphone, rather than writing it down. This may simply be a personal preference, but it’s probably safe to assume that blindness affects this preference.

  30. Episode 7 (at 14:50) – The note from the creepy professor

    Matt receives the note from the professor who encrypted the ledger and immediately passes it to Elektra, in another division of labor task.

  31. Episode 7 (at 20:00) – The train cars

    The note sends them on an expedition to the docks in search of the particular train car revealed in the previous scene. While Matt is very helpful in identifying which cars need closer inspection, Elektra obviously has an edge when it comes to identifying the one that matched the number they were given.

  32. Episode 7 (at 24:20) – The cut

    Matt and Elektra get into a fight with some bad guys down by the docks and Elektra ends up with a nasty cut on her neck. “Let me see,” Matt says before he examines the cut with his hand. It’s certainly not very hygienic, but it’s his best chance of actually getting a good look at it. In the next scene, he stitches her up too. I found that bit mildly questionable, not because he shouldn’t be able to do it, but because he’d have to do it entirely by touch which is probably not the best idea when stitching up human skin. On the other hand, they don’t really have much of a choice.

  33. Episode 7 (at 26:50) – The scar

    The above scene leads into a rather amusing one where Matt and Elektra compare scars. For the complete show and tell, Elektra guides Matt’s hand to a scar on her thigh that he obviously wouldn’t have known about otherwise.

  34. Episode 8 (at 00:50) – The silent ninjas

    Matt and Elektra fighting ninjas, as seen in Marvel's Daredevil season two, episode eight.
    I covered this topic separately in an earlier post, so you know how ridiculous I find the notion that Matt can’t detect the ninjas in this scene. Detecting otherwise silent objects is kind of what he does, after all, and he couldn’t be Daredevil without this ability. However, this idea, flawed as it might be, is yet another indication that Matt’s abilities are fundamentally dependent on hearing.

  35. Episode 8 (at 18:00) – The origin of the Hand

    One thing occurred to me when I saw the scene where Stick is telling Matt the history of the Hand and the Chaste, and that’s the neat inclusion of an additional soundtrack to go with the story being told. Rather than showing the audience a visual image of ancient Japanese warriors invading villages, we get only an idea of what it might have sounded like. Of course, the main reason there are no visual images probably has to do with the cost of shooting such a scene, but I actually think that omission works brilliantly here. This is, after all, a case of a blind man telling another blind man a story. Both of them, Stick especially (being born blind), would play such a scene to their “mind’s ear” rather than imagine the scene in full color.

  36. Episode 8 (at 33:20) – The courtroom

    In a scene that’s similar to the hospital scene mentioned earlier, Matt asks Foggy to tell him what’s going on when Frank enters the court room. In this case, he is asking Foggy specifically, and Karen doesn’t really factor in to it, so we have to assume the question is genuine. Foggy goes on to tell him what Frank is wearing. While we didn’t see it happen, it also makes sense for Foggy to have told Matt what was written on all the signs the people were holding.

  37. Episode 8 (at 35:05) – The missed glance

    Frank trades glances with the bailiff, as seen in episode eight of Marvel's Daredevil, season two.
    Before Matt questions Frank, he hears the bailiff whisper something to Frank and gets that something is seriously off with the way Frank is acting. With Frank on the stand, though, quickly glancing over Matt’s shoulder to look at his co-conspirator, I’m reminded of how Frank would not be counting on Matt to notice such subtleties. He would be right, and this would, of course, be a more general issue. Matt is very good at noticing how people react to things, he (usually) knows when he’s been watched, and so on. Subtle glances, and other interesting things that people’s eyes are doing, and that people have been shown to be very sensitive to, are a bit beyond him though.

  38. Episode 9 (at 53:30) – The Farm

    There is something about the way Matt decomposes the scene when he reaches the kids in the basement of The Farm that appeals to me. It’s as if he’s making sense of it a little at time before full comprehension happens.

  39. Episode 10 (at 06:50) – The painkiller

    At the hospital, Claire gives Matt two aspirin. He asks her what they are. While one might argue that he’d be able to smell aspirin, he would obviously be unable to glance at the bottle in her hand and recognize it visually.

  40. Episode 10 (at 14:40) – The X-ray, part two

    Reyes shows Matt, Foggy and Karen the picture of a skull X-ray she found in her daughter’s backpack. Karen explains to Matt what it is they are being shown.

  41. Episode 10 (at 21:00) – The braille document

    Matt gets a braille document to sign while visiting Fisk in prison. I read or heard somewhere that they didn’t plan for Matt to be handed the document upside down, as happens in this scene, but I like that little detail.

    Matt then signs his name at the bottom to consent to the terms, but we sadly don’t get to see what his little scribble looks like. As I mentioned for the first list post last year, Matt should be able to write by hand (and he does so in the comic), but he’d be relying on muscle memory much more than a person who can see what they’re writing while they’re writing it. (It might look a bit odd, as in this example from Daredevil #26 (vol 3), by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee.)

  42. Episode 11 (at 26:50) – The paintings by Madame Gao

    A minor detail, certainly, but Madame Gao is painting when Daredevil pays her a visit. To him, her paintings won’t look like much.

  43. Episode 12 (at 11:30) – The subway map

    Matt examines a tactile subway map, as seen in episode 12 of Marvel's Daredevil, season two.
    Matt is frustrated that the Hand is eluding him so goes to the soon to be empty law office to do some research, which entails some kind of tactile subway map, and a book of what appears to be tactile maps. Foggy surprises Matt by helping put. This actually isn’t the first time we’ve seen Matt use a tactile map. He did so way back during the Chichester/McDaniel run, as seen in this panel from Daredevil #314.

  44. Episode 13 (at 11:00) – The billy club

    Melvin gives Matt his billy club, and he takes his glove off to feel it. As I’ve mentioned before, I think Matt is surprisingly lax with his routine around Melvin. He very possibly doesn’t care what Melvin might suspect.

  45. Episode 13 (at 14:25) – The phone call

    Foggy calls as Matt and Elektra are getting ready to head out, and we hear it call out the name of the caller for the first time this season. I sounds to me like Matt switched to a different, much weirder-sounding voice for his phone.

The Defenders

  1. Episode 1 (at 09:20) – The braille printer

    I think I may have cheered when I saw Matt’s braille printer for the first time. Because I’ve honestly been wondering where this fairly essential piece of office equipment might have been hiding for two seasons of Daredevil.

  2. Episode 1 (at 11:40) – The pep talk

    Matt gives a pep talk to his client Aaron James, as seen in the first episode of The Defenders.

    It might seem strange to include Matt’s talk with his client Aaron James in this list. Does it really suggest or “prove” anything with regard to Matt’s blindness, specifically. I think it does. This whole conversation, and the impact of it, hinges on Matt’s genuine ability to emphasize with Aaron. Like Matt, he’s had his life dramatically altered at a young age and knows that he may never walk again. I don’t think anyone would deny that, regardless of the eventual outcome, losing his sight would have been very traumatic for Matt, so we might argue that his ability to relate begins and ends there.

    But in this situation, Matt clearly represents something very important to Aaron as a role model. Aside from the details of their respective injuries, Matt has been where Aaron is, and has gone on from there to build a life and career for himself. If blindness wasn’t still something that impacted Matt’s life in meaningful ways, despite his heightened senses and his being Daredevil, then much of the speech would fall flat. Of course, Aaron wouldn’t know it, but we as viewers would.

  3. Episode 2 (at 11:10) – The bandaid box

    After Matt gets his knuckles bloodied, he searches through a box for what looks like an antiseptic wipe, a compress or some kind of bandaid (it’s hard to tell). This is a scene where he’s very clearly using his hands to find what he’s looking for.

  4. Episode 2 (at 12:10) – The phone call, part two

    Foggy calls again! And it sounds like the old voice is back.

  5. Episode 3 (at 17:30) – The braille case files

    When Matt and Foggy meet up, Foggy gives him some case files he might be interested in. When I first saw the pile of documents, I wondered at first whether they were braille files or the originals (had it been the latter, I suppose Matt could have scanned them and used OCR software), but when Matt goes to see Jessica in jail, we see that they are already in braille. Nice little detail.

  6. Episode 3 (at 26:20) – The pursuit

    Matt and Jessica play a game of cat and mouse, as seen in episode three of The Defenders

    To everyone who thinks it’s insane for Matt to miss that Jessica is right behind him taking pictures, I wholeheartedly agree with you. It’s not that Matt should be expected to be simultaneously aware of everything. All humans have a limited amount of attention to go around. However, this is the kind of thing he should have actively been paying attention to.

    But this is not why this scene is on the list. Rather, it reminds me a little bit of the scene from season one, where Matt is following Wesley’s movements, but doing so only by listening. Here, we see him pay attention to Jessica’s footsteps, which really does seem like the best way for him to track someone in a crowd (as opposed to following specific physical shape that may be much less distinct and vanish completely when there is a lot of movement going on).

  7. Episode 3 (at 50:45) – The return of the dead ex-girlfriend

    When Elektra appears again, it takes Matt several minutes to realize that it is her. Probably because, on top of being presumed dead, she likely smells different than she used to, and may seem different in other ways as well. Had he been able to see, though, he would have recognized her instantly.

  8. Episode 4 (at 11:15) – The non-explanation

    I know a lot of people groaned at Matt’s explanation of how he can do what he does, when it comes up after meeting the other defenders. “Well, sight is overrated” really isn’t much of an explanation after all. But at least it’s a subtle acknowledgement that whatever he can do, seeing isn’t how he does it.

  9. Episode 6 (at 13:05) – The braille Bible

    When Elektra goes to Matt’s apartment, she finds a braille Bible (parts of one, more likely) and the program for her own funeral. I really have to applaud the Netflix people for including so much braille in these shows, and demonstrating so clearly that this would be Matt’s preferred mode of written communication, regardless of whether or not he technically can read print in the show.

  10. Episode 6 (at 18:15) – The brownstones

    “All these brownstones look the same, don’t they?” Jessica asks, as she and Matt head to the home of the now dead architect who was going to blow up Midland Circle. Matt gives her an expression of “how should I know?” and she catches herself. Of course, it makes perfect sense that subtle architectural details are not what Matt uses to figure out where he is in relation to where he needs to go.

  11. Episode 6 (at 34:40) – The hidden plans

    When Matt and Jessica find building plans inside the piano of the dead architect, it is obviously up to Jessica to figure out what they are.

  12. Episode 7 (at 06:30) – The new shirt

    Matt finds himself in a strange environment wearing a new t-shirt, as seen on episode seven of The Defenders.
    When Matt comes to at the police station, he is not only very disoriented, to the point where Foggy rushes in to tell him where he is (he probably would have figured that out sooner rather than later, but being able to see the bulletin board in the room would have been helpful). He’s been given a tee shirt to wear in place of the clothes that were confiscated for evidence, and does a quick touch check of his new attire.

  13. Episode 7 (at 23:20) – The surprise change of clothes

    When Foggy mentions to Matt that he’s brought him a change of clothes it takes a few moments for him to realize what it is, and puts his hand inside the bag to verify. In general, there’s been a good amount of “touching” going on in season two and the Defenders. It’s a step in the right direction, if you ask me, since his sense of touch is almost as ignored as his sense of smell (though probably for very different reasons).

  14. Episode 8 (at 49:50) – The map of Midland Circle

    At Midland Circle, there’s more map reading again, by pretty much everyone but ol’ hornhead

Oh boy, with that out of the way, I’m off to bed! I never intended for this post to be this long, or anal, but I guess I have a lot of stored Daredevil energy that needs somewhere to go. As alway, feel free to comment. And have a great week!

Christine Hanefalk

Christine Hanefalk

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Christine is a die-hard Daredevil fan who launched The Other Murdock Papers in 2007 to share her passion for Matt Murdock and his friends with other fans.

11 comments

  1. Can Matt perceive the Iron Fist when Danny’s using it? It’s only identified as being summoned when Danny’s fist begins to glow, which Matt can’t see, obviously. Does the Iron Fist give off some other kind of indicator which Matt’s heightened senses can pick up on?

  2. #56 – I liked how he found the plans in the first place. He had a suspicion based on the daughter saying that the architect used to sit at the piano. Then he played the Defenders theme (which sounded similar to the Daredevil theme to me) and listened for anything suspicious, ie: the paper rattling due to the movement of the hammers.
    I also liked that he said he had taken piano lessons as a kid, since I did too. 😉

  3. Don

    Since the Fist is iron (or so called) and can smash through (ok) steel(?).. I think that an argument would be made that the transformation is accompanied by a greatly increased density so, you know, blip……blip…..blip-BLIP-BLIP-BLIP, take it from there my friend

  4. I was thinking that the glow would be accompanied by heat, which Matt could definitely pick up on.

  5. Bravo Elizabeth.. That’s a great, solid observation concerning the heat dissapation.. I think our teacher Christine would assign us students (and many other classmates) an A+ grade.. Good show lady

  6. Wow, I never even noticed the braille Bible! I’ll have to give it another watch, though I’m not sitting through all of Defenders again.

    Anyway, about the Iron Fist thing, we are to assume that the sound it makes is audible to the characters present, not just the audience. Maybe it is the heat thing, but in any case, there must be other signifiers for DD to pick up on, since after getting out of prison, he didn’t suspect that the Daredevil impersonator was Danny until the glowy fist came out.

  7. I think Matt and Karen’s first kiss is missing from this list. We see Matt slowly run his hand up Karen’s right arm before cupping her face and then pulling her in for the kiss. It could be argued that he’s trying to find Karen’s face with his hand, but there’s also an argument to be made that Matt is just doing it to make the kiss more sensual since he already has a visual map of Karen’s body from the echolocation of the raindrops on her bare skin (given the camera’s decision to appeal to the male viewers by giving us a very close-up shot of Matt’s fingers running over Karen’s wet skin while Matt is using his senses).

  8. #53 – The non-explanation

    I have a somewhat different take on Matt’s “sight is overrated” comment in episode 4 of The Defenders. First of all, it’s a snappy comeback, and I always enjoy a snappy comeback. It also reminds me of Matt telling Foggy in “Nelson v. Murdock” about what Stick taught him – his blindness is not a disability, and sight is a distraction. Beyond that, if we know anything about Matt Murdock, it’s that his “default setting” is not to give up any more information about himself than he absolutely has to. When he tells Danny “sight is overrated,” he has just met the other defenders, taken off his mask, and told them his name. In these circumstances, it’s entirely in character for him not to offer, in addition, an explanation of his unique kind of blindness. (No one follows up on Matt’s comment, because Luke changes the subject, pointing out that they need a plan). The result is that the other defenders learn about Matt’s abilities by watching him in action, and by the end of the series, they have a pretty good idea of what Matt can and can’t do. They appear to take his abilities for granted and routinely ask him for information, such as the number of ninjas waiting at the bottom of the elevator shaft. I liked that his abilities were revealed to the others in this organic way.

    P.S. Have I mentioned how much I’m enjoying the site? Thank you!

  9. “Can Matt perceive the Iron Fist when Danny’s using it? It’s only identified as being summoned when Danny’s fist begins to glow, which Matt can’t see, obviously. Does the Iron Fist give off some other kind of indicator which Matt’s heightened senses can pick up on?”

    A couple of ways in which Matt could perceive the change:

    First, the way Danny moves, particularly the way his moves that arm, may change when the First is active. While Matt can’t see a glow, certainly in fights he is attuned to how other people move. If Danny moves differently when the Fist is active Matt probably can pick up on it.

    Second, how *other people* react can also give Matt information. If other characters turn to look at a glow, or act startled, or change how they move when the Fist is active or visible then Matt could pick up on it. Again, Matt is no doubt attuned to how other people move. He probably can’t catch their facial expressions but how they hold and move their bodies is probably perceptible to him at close range.

    I’ve mentioned before that I used to work with a blind man with no light perception, that is, completely blind. He used to know nearly immediately when the clinic where we worked had a power failure not because of what he could directly sense but how his *dog* reacted – when his seeing eye dog started bumping into things he knew the light were out. Likewise, Matt is probably adept at gathering information from the reactions of other people around him.

  10. I really took time to read your article, because I’m a Brazilian who understands little of your language. But I’m an unconditional fan of Daredevil. Both comics and series. Your writing is fantastic! Thank you for writing! and sorry if you find an error in this message. As I said, I’m still learning your language;)

  11. @Michely: Thank you for reading and commenting! And thank you for your kind words.

    Your English is very good, and you shouldn’t apologize. English is actually my second language too. I’m grateful to have learned it very well over the years, but I know what it’s like to learn a new language.

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