At this point, I’m almost ready for this show to be retitled Kingpin. Wilson Fisk gets the best scenes of Daredevil 1×05, making big moves and changing the world in his image. The rest of the cast is left in his wake, spiraling and reacting at best, or spinning their wheels at worst.
It’s weird how this episode features the single best Matt/Claire scene, yet the overall plot between the two is deeply dissatisfying. The very first scene between Matt and Claire is exactly what was missing in the last episode. Their relationship finally matures both physically and emotionally, but it lasts all of one scene before Claire is questioning Matt and his motives. I love Rosario Dawson, but the show really needs to course correct Claire quickly. “I don’t think I can let myself fall in love with someone who’s so damn close to becoming what he hates,” is a garbage line. Claire is stuck in an isolated corner, interacting with nobody but Matt, Santino, or Russian torturers. If Claire is meant to be the MCU’s Night Nurse, a hero in her own right, then she needs to be free from her Murdock-shaped black hole. Of course, given the finale of the episode, it seems that Claire will return to work sooner than later.
Matt also behaves rather stupidly in this episode. Instead of disarming the cop before he reveals vital information, Matt knocks him out. Halfway through the episode, he doesn’t hear the cop cars approaching when he interrogates the Russian (though the end doesn’t bother me; he was awfully close to that explosion, his ears have to be ringing). He’s not dumb, he’s “TV dumb”, acting in a way that’s convenient for the plot but inconsistent with how smart he’s been in the past.
Fisk has returned, to the initial delight and almost immediate consternation of his allies. His conspicuous absence was vital to building his reputation in the first few episodes, but now that he’s here, that absence will likely go unexplained. Fisk is also a lot smarter than I gave him credit for in the last episode. First he framed Daredevil for Anatoly’s death, throwing the Russians off his scent with an easy scapegoat. Then he goaded the Russians into organizing themselves into several neat, easy targets. Though I’m sure his business partners are a bit warier of him than before, Fisk gets to walk away getting everything he wants. And I’m sure part of Fisk’s plans involve a car door for those partners too.
Fisk’s interpersonal relationships are few, but deep. Vanessa’s line, “I’d like a reason to stay,” is the exact opposite of Claire’s problematic line above. Vanessa knows exactly what her worth and value are, and she’s the one holding Fisk under a microscope. Fisk squirms underneath it, but his tolerance of her examinations show how patient and resolute Fisk is. But when he says, “By my side is the safest place that you could ever be,” the dual-meaning is clear: it’s safer for her to be with Wilson than away from him. But Vanessa knows this as well. Given her response to the explosions at the end, she knows that when you live in a world of fire, burns are just an everyday risk.
Karen and Foggy’s C-plot is grating, but it serves a couple important purposes. The duo pursues justice for an annoyingly stereotyped client, a pitiful old Central American woman who swaps arbitrary English words for Spanish. Most of it is just the two spinning wheels until the episode’s finale. Foggy and Karen being caught in the explosion is mostly to show flawed Fisk’s mission is. He blows up Russian mobsters, but the shockwave hits a building full of innocents. I still believe he’s lying to Vanessa when he says he wants to clean up Hell’s Kitchen; at the very least, he’s lying to himself.
The more worrying development is revealing that Foggy has legitimate feelings for Karen, and Karen has feelings for Matt. It’s become an awkward love quadrangle: Foggy > Karen > Matt > Claire. Thus far, 2/3 of the major women on this show have been defined by their romantic interest in men. Karen stands alone, mostly defined by her investigation into UAC. If they sideline that storyline to make her Matt’s next woman, it will rob a lot of goodwill I have toward this show.
The episode ends with Matt cornered by the police, leaving us with no clue how he gets out of that one. With coordinated explosions in Hell’s Kitchen, the police and maybe even the DHS will get involved with criminal activities there. It will be interesting seeing how both Fisk and Daredevil change once the police start prowling their streets.
2.5 Stun Guns out of 5. It’s a dangerous world out there, you should never put your stun gun in storage.
The long take cab shot is a lot of fun, and definitely the most stylish shot since the second episode. Props to director Farren Blackburn. I hope future episodes come up with inventive shots despite the obviously smaller budgets employed after the first two episodes.
Nelson and Murdock’s neighbor is Atlas investments, definitely a reference to Atlas Comics, Marvel’s predecessor.
I really think they need to go into Daredevil’s modus operandi sooner than later. I understand that he doesn’t use guns, but I don’t understand why he doesn’t.
For all the shits and jesuses in this show, Foggy still has to say “mother freakin.” Looks like Daredevil’s not going to be dropping the MCU’s first fuck anytime soon.
Fisk looks physically pained when he hears that Vanessa slept with another man. What do we think: is Fisk a virgin?
The woman Matt sits next to in the police precinct looks remarkably like Krysten Ritter. Do you think we’ll find out in later this year that Jessica Jones was in the police precinct that day?