In this episode the collision course that all the characters are headed down becomes even more drastic. Fisk’s manipulation of Dex reaches a tipping point, causing Dex to forgo his late therapists lessons. In perhaps the best acted scene in the entire show, Karen directly confronts Fisk and attempts to emotionally destabilize him. Agent Nadeem continues lying to his wife after he and Matt confirm Dex’s involvement with Fisk. And we finally have confirmation about the nature of Matt’s relationship with Sister Maggie.
Even though he’s just committed horrible acts of violence, Dex still feels that if he finds the right person, they’ll be able to guide him in the right direction. Even though he’s clearly been stalking her, Julie decides to hear him out. Dex’s explanation was very sincere and Julie seems sympathetic and willing to help. While quite weird, his scapegoat impression was also kind of endearing. But Fisk being the master manipulator that he is, has Julie killed. Which prevents Dex from escaping his clutches. Her murder was the first time I’ve been truly shocked this season. Of course I didn’t think she’d escape the season unscathed, but I was not expecting her to get murdered in such a nonchalant way. It just shows the terrifying lengths that Fisk is willing to go.
Agent Nadeem is clearly unhappy about working with a vigilante like Daredevil, but he seems to realize that there’s enough evidence pointing at Dex that it’s worth investigating. Even though they plan to break the law, Nadeem forces Daredevil to agree to his terms before he gives up the name. So even though what they’re doing is illegal, he still wants to maintain some semblance of moral authority. Even though they find Dex’s sketchy safe, Nadeem isn’t convinced of his guilt until he and Daredevil start taking fire. The fight scene was also a great way to show the ingenuity of both Dex and Daredevil. We see Dex’s ability to ricochet bullets and wield unorthodox weapons. But we also see that Matt is starting to learn Dex’s tricks when he uses the mirror to get Dex to shoot his last bullet and forcing him to reload.
Nadeem’s plan to get Dex out of his apartment is also very well thought out. It’s a great way of freeing up the crime scene while making the suspect think he’s on their side. When Nadeem introduces him to the lawyer it’s very convincing and Dex is clearly touched that somebody is supporting him. Even though things don’t go to plan, they play out in a natural and logical way. It makes the characters and plot much more compelling when events occur due to realistic character actions, rather than pure coincidence.
The other major thread in this episode is Foggy and Karen’s plan to force the FBI into bringing Fisk back to prison. Having figured out that Fisk is using the Feds as his personal army, by giving them the names of his enemies, Foggy tries to convince Karen to expose it in the Bulletin. However, knowing what Fisk is capable of, she’s terrified that he’ll have anticipated their move. So she makes the brash (but bold and surprising) choice to confront Fisk directly. And by doing so, we see she’s willing to put herself in direct danger in order to bring Fisk down.
The scene in Fisk’s penthouse was by far the highlight of the episode (and if it weren’t for the 11-minute prison escape it would probably be the highlight of the season). The acting and writing were both spectacular and enthralling from beginning to end. These characters have so much history together even though they’ve never really talked one-on-one. Although Karen comes in extremely prepared, she’s initially thrown off by Fisk’s knowledge of Matt’s secret life. But she doesn’t let that stop her.
Even though Karen is clearly terrified, it’s amazing how well she holds herself together. Karen also doesn’t let her fear prevent her from trying to intimidate Fisk. In fact, it’s quite the contrary. Karen knows that Fisk has no idea she killed Wesley and uses that to emotionally destabilize him. And it works. Throughout the entire exchange it looked like Fisk was desperately suppressing his urge to attack her. Which is exactly what Karen wanted. If Fisk hurt or killed her then the FBI would have no choice but to bring him back to prison. After Karen is escorted out, Fisk then seems to channel all that rage into further destroying Dex’s moral compass. And while it’s sad to see Dex going through so much pain and turmoil, his transformation into a certain famed Marvel character has, so far, been beautifully executed. Hopefully they can keep it up.
5 therapy tapes out of 5.
I dislike giving perfect scores because there’s always room for improvement, but this episode (and season) have earned it. There was a great balance between Matt and Nadeem investigating Dex and the plot line with and Foggy and Karen planning to take on Fisk. Both were incredibly tense and very well acted. Vincent D’Onofrio and Deborah Ann Woll were able to say so much just by looking at each other. There was so much pain and rage behind both of their terrifying scowls. And Dex’s descent into villainy adds a very compelling and human element to what could otherwise be a very theatrical and over-the-top portrayal of the famed comic book character.
- Nadeem’s reaction to Daredevil being able to open the safe was really funny. Not sure why, but I find people’s reaction to the scope of Matt’s abilities endlessly entertaining.
- It’s great that they keep showing Dex’s ability to turn anything into a deadly projectile. They’re making it clear that he’s not only great with a gun, but he’s a perfect shot no matter what he’s using.
- Even though Matt spends his nights beating up criminals and putting his life on the line, Karen’s fearless determination to directly challenge Fisk makes her one of the bravest characters on the entire show.
- Foggy’s speech was really well put together because it wasn’t perfect. District Attorney Tower was able to point out flaws in Foggy’s reasoning and stood his ground. Neither character came out of the exchange with a huge advantage since they both made good points. Thus making the scene and characters feel a lot more realistic.
- Karen’s confirmation that Matt is Daredevil is a great way to reference the comics in a natural way that makes sense within the show, while still respecting the source material.