Welcome back for the second instalment of the five-part review on Marvel’s Daredevil. If you missed the first instalment you can catch up here.
Episode 4 – In the Blood
This episode featured Vladimir and Anatoly Ranskahov, the brothers who head up the Russian organisation. It began in a Siberian prison, an echo of their past to demonstrate their violent roots.
Matt (who we saw applying pressure to the Russians), visited Claire to get his wounds patched up. Since her apartment was no longer safe, she was staying at a friend’s (cat sitting), and using up all her sick days. There was definite chemistry between Claire and Matt, though I think she was hoping for a little more encouragement. Giving her a burner cell so he could get in touch, wasn’t exactly what she had in mind!
We discovered the reason Prohaszka was eliminated last week – his holdings had already been transferred to the new cab company; doubling distribution. Wesley argued with the Vladimir and Anatoly about Fisk’s input. The brothers weren’t particularly impressed by his criticism over the ‘mask’ situation, especially his gag about the absence of an iron suit or magic hammer. Still, it was a nice Avengers reference.
The brothers decided to visit Semyon in the hospital (the man Matt threw into a dumpster), and woke him with a shot of epinephrine. After learning of Claire’s involvement, they sent men after her.
As Foggy and Matt are leaving the office, with Foggy complaining about their lack of equipment and wishing he’d taken his mother’s advice to become a butcher, Matt received a call from Claire. Upon hearing her scream, (by then Foggy was in a taxi), he dashed into the alley and vaulted up the building onto the roof (throwing the stick was a nice touch). This whole scene was fantastic for a number of reasons – did I mention the vaulting? When he realised Claire was gone, he began listening to the sounds of the city, honing in on the Russian accents, followed by a woman’s distinct scream.
He missed them by seconds, but it didn’t slow him down all that much. He followed the breadcrumbs, and managed to save Claire from her captors.
I love how conflicted Matt was during the scene in his apartment. His vulnerability really shows with Claire, because she’s someone he can confide in. He has no fear when it comes to facing the darkness in Hell’s Kitchen, and that’s part of his strength, but his weakness lies in the responsibility he carries – for all those who get hurt in the crossfire.
It was interesting to see the roles being reversed, and Matt doing the patching up this time. He was clearly thinking of his father. It was an emotional scene, and Matt finally decided to trust Claire with his secret. He started by giving her his name – until then she’d been calling him Mike.
Elsewhere in the story
Ben and Karen
Ben and Karen continued their secret rendezvous, though Ben spent a lot of time trying to convince her to let the story go. But Karen was like a dog with a bone, and intended to investigate with or without him. Eventually Ben relented, and coached her on staying smart and keeping her mouth shut.
Fisk made another visit to the art gallery, but this time his interest had nothing to do with a painting and everything to do with the curator, Vanessa. There was something oddly compelling about Fisk’s discomfort when he asked her on a date. There was a little bantering, subtle flirting (from Vanessa at least), and they finally decided on Italian!
The dinner was going quite well, with Vanessa buying into Fisk’s somewhat awkward charm, until Anatoly interrupted the date (to seek his help).
Fisk’s displeasure at the interruption was clear. It only got worse because of Vanessa’s reaction. I started to get an anxious feeling the moment I saw Anatoly waiting in the car with Wesley, and I was right to be afraid. Fisk dragged him out and started beating on him.
To say Fisk was angry is an understatement ‘You embarrassed me in front of her.’ He turned into what can only be described as a rage monster, taking things to a whole new level in terms of violence. He hit Anatoly over and over again with the car door, until there was nothing left of his head. Not pretty.
Episode 5 – World on Fire
In the opening scene we learnt more about the world from Matt’s point of view, as he confided in Claire. He explained his use of perception, that all the fragments form a kind of impressionistic painting. Then we caught a glimpse of what he actually sees, and it was beautifully done – a world on fire.
Their discussion, and easy banter, highlighted the growing connection; a chemistry which resulted in a rather sexy kiss. But the fact remained that Claire’s life is in danger. So, armed with a name – Vladimir – he set out to continue his search for Fisk.
Meanwhile Vladimir learnt of his brother’s death. He found a mask on Anatoly’s body, which was Fisk’s way of diverting the attention elsewhere.
Later, in a meeting with Madame Gao, Nobu and Leland, Fisk informed the group that the Ranskahovs were no longer part of the organisation – since he removed Anatoly’s head with a car door. None of them were particularly happy about not being consulted. But the fact Fisk offered to take over distribution cooled their jets a little.
Elsewhere in the Story
Nelson and Murdock
The team got a new client, Elena Cardenas, who sought their help to prevent her landlord (Tully) from pulling down her apartment building. Elena is a friend of Brett Mahoney’s mother (Foggy’s friend on the force).
As they discussed the case, the fact Foggy can’t speak Spanish was highlighted. He made reference to his knowledge of Punjabi (which came into play later in the series.) Needless to say they agreed to help, and Matt later visited the station to speak to Brett.
As he waited for copies of the complaints against the landlord, Matt listened to the sounds and conversations around him. He overheard two officers interviewing a Russian, who offered information on Fisk in exchange for a deal. It quickly became apparent the officers were dirty, especially when they shot the suspect and staged it to look like self defence.
Matt later confronted one of the officers (Detective Blake), and questioned him about Fisk’s connection to the Russians (by which I mean he beat it out of him). He managed to get away with Blake’s cell phone and discovered several locations (with a little help from Claire).
Meanwhile, Foggy and Karen visited Landman and Zack – the lawyers representing Tully. We’ve heard of them before, as Foggy and Matt interned with the firm. Foggy comes up against an old flame (Marci), which could have been humiliating given the ‘Foggy Bear’ comment, but Foggy turned things around.
He then saw first-hand what Elena had to deal with. For the second time this episode, Foggy showed us what he’s made of, by making a few calls, and calling in some favours.
Fisk managed to talk Vanessa round after their disastrous first date, and the pair went to dinner – this time they had the restaurant to themselves. Things appeared to be going well until Fisk brought up the elephant in the room – Vanessa had a gun in her purse!
I can’t get a handle on Vanessa. She’s a complex character, and is clearly drawn to the darkness in Fisk. But as to her motivations, I’m just not sure. Anyway. Fisk basically told her there’s no safer place than by his side, and Vanessa decided he was a safe bet.
The Final Curtain
Vladimir learnt of Fisk’s involvement in his brother’s murder (through Turk Barratt), and offered one million for Fisk’s whereabouts.
The action jumped a little, between Foggy fixing Elena’s kitchen sink, and bonding with Karen, to Matt overhearing Vladimir’s plan and deciding to take action. First we saw one of Madam Gao’s people entering the building, and then Matt about to go through the door. When the building exploded, Matt was thrown back by the impact. Luckily the door protected him from the worst of the blast.
The proceeding explosions bled out across the city, and Elena’s building took a hit, with Foggy and Karen still inside. As Hell’s Kitchen lit up the sky, Fisk and Vanessa looked on, as though it were their own personal light show. By then most people guessed Fisk planned the whole thing (if not before).
When Matt regained consciousness, he realised Vladimir was making his escape and followed him. As he started beating on Vladimir for information, the police showed up. The episode ended with Matt surrounded.
Episode 6 – Condemned
The episode started as it meant to go on – with Matt in trouble. He got away from the police, after realising they were dirty, and took Vladimir with him. It was only the start of his problems.
Fisk was not happy about Vladimir’s escape, mainly because he promised Madame Gao things would go smoothly. We already know Madame Gao had a hand in the bombing, but the confirmation tied things together.
Matt hit a bit of a wall when questioning Vladimir, because the Russian was bleeding from a bullet wound and passed out. He called Claire, who was back on duty, and after telling her the Russians would no longer be a problem, asked her to talk him through stabilising Vladimir. Not an easy task in an abandoned building, with limited supplies. Matt improvised by using a flare to cauterise the wound. Ouch!
Unfortunately an officer passing on the street heard Vladimir’s screams and entered the building to investigate. Matt tried to diffuse the situation, but his plan backfired and the officer called in the cavalry.
The fact Detective Blake and his partner were first on the scene, did not bode well. Still, at least Matt got Vladimir talking. He learnt a little more about Fisk’s operation and, just as I thought Vladimir might spill all the secrets, he turned the tables on Matt. In the ensuing scuffle, they fell through the floor and landed on the next level.
Matt almost lost Vladimir when his heart stopped beating, but he wasn’t about to let Vladimir off the hook that easily, and managed to restart his heart.
The tension reached boiling point when Matt heard Fisk’s voice over the radio (private channel). Instead of clashing swords, the two had a verbal battle. It was all in an effort to distract Matt, given the fact Fisk’s men are closing in.
Strangely, it was Vladimir who came to Matt’s aid, and the pair escaped through a manhole cover, into the tunnels below. Outside things went from bad to worse. One of Fisk’s men started shooting officers on the street, including Detective Blake, just as Fisk leaked a tape to the media. The evidence all pointed to the masked vigilante.
In the tunnels, Matt saved Vladimir’s life when they were cornered by one of Fisk’s men. In the commotion, Vladimir snagged a gun and informed Matt he was staying put. Though Matt was clearly torn about leaving a man behind, no matter who that man might be, he left Vladimir to face the music. As he walked through the tunnels, gunshots could be heard in the background.
So, now for the discussion. Which is your favourite episode so far? Do you have a favourite scene/favourite character? What are your thoughts about Wilson Fisk. I look forward to hearing from you in the comments.
NB: Images used within this review are the copyright of Marvel Entertainment/Netflix. All rights reserved.