Daredevil Season 2 Episode 4 Penny and Dime –
Dir: Peter Hoar; Written By: John C. Kelly
We watch film and TV to escape, to forget and also to grow. Through these characters we according to Cohen (2013:183), expand are own ’emotional and mental lives’ beyond that of personal experience. We identify with both the characters and their situation, we empathise with them and understand their goals, we make a connection, become invested in their outcome and are interest is caught.
Netflix’s, Marvel’s Daredevil second antagonist, Frank Castle, is a war veteran, a US marine corps sniper, he has taken out entire gangs. We know he is dangerous.
Karen, a reporter is at Castle’s home. A regular family home with photos of his wife and kids in various stages of growing up, of castle in fatigues, a medal of Honour proudly displayed, a book is in his daughters room, the words emblazoned on the pages, the words Castle says before he pulls the trigger “One Batch Two Batch”, his daughters favourite book. We recognise the kids trainers on the stairs, the box of kid’s toys, we too have family photo’s on the mantlepiece.
Rescued by Daredevil, Castle tells of the murder of his family by a gang in a park. We empathise with him, this could have been any family, this has never happened to you, but your gut wrenches too, we cry. We understand his needs and goals, we want revenge too.
The story feels real, you have felt raw emotion, mirrored the feelings on screen. He maybe on a rampage, but he has damn good reason. He maybe seen as the antagonist to the vigilante Daredevil but he isn’t evil, he isn’t your typical bad guy. And because of this you have a strong connection for him to get his revenge, to see his goal through to the end, you want it to be alright for him. You have connected, you are invested as much as Castle. You have identified with the character and his situation.
As Cohen (2013:186) points out this is an active psychological state, just one of the many ways we respond to film and TV.
Cohen J. (2013). Chapter 11. Audience Identification with media characters in Jennings, Bryant and Vorderer, Peter.(eds) Psychology of Entertainment. London. Routledge