Episodes Four & Five — “In the Blood”, “World on Fire”
By Jarrod Jones. Marvel’s Daredevil might be the best thing the studio has going for it right now. Look, I know I’m behind on watching/reviewing this show, but the time I’ve allotted myself to really soak it in has afforded me some serious clarity. With Avengers: Age of Ultron kinda sticking it to me aesthetically, and news that Captain America: Civil War might need to go ahead and change its name to Avengers 2.5: Civil War, I’m in desperate need of some solace in the Mighty Marvel Manner. And the downright sophisticated and moody Daredevil is scratching that itch just fine.
Anyway, to make up for the slack, I’m covering the fourth and fifth episodes of Daredevil (“In the Blood” and “World on Fire”), two episodes where we finally get to see Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk truly shine. We also get to see what toll Matt’s life is beginning to have on his personal relationships. Sharon begins digging into the mystery that is Fisk. Foggy grows a pair. Matt level jumps on his relationship with Claire. And Wilson gets creative with murder. Two riveting hours of television.
WHAT WORKED: We are allowed to witness the ugliness of Vladimir and Anatoly Ranskahov’s (Nikolai Nikolaeff and Gideon Emery) origins, and that gives us a damn good idea what these two brothers are willing to endure in order to get what they want. And since we know they’re not going to let a bald entrepreneur with delusions of grandeur and a psychopath with stockings on his face push them around (no matter how often the latter does precisely that), the road to their reckoning with both Fisk and Murdock is a fascinating one.
Wilson Fisk’s wooing of art curator Vanessa (Ayelet Zurer) is at once eerie and utterly romantic. It’s the fated pairing of two souls, one who’s happy with the way things are, and the other who’ll only be happy once the way things are are no more. Obviously this relationship isn’t going to work out — I’ve been in too many relationships not to know better — but the ride is engrossing, sweet, and more than a little sad. I want more.
Making Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) a victim of Matt Murdock’s (Charlie Cox) lifestyle benefits both characters in a wholly unexpected way. It brings out the uglier side of both of them, and while Matt has already sold his soul in order to protect the city he loves, Claire can only play with the low flames. This creates a dichotomy between them that is as vital to the show — more vital to the show — than any other relationship. Zoinks.
WHAT DIDN’T: While it’s nice that a Marvel show is addressing its Cinematic Universe’s chronic problem with ineffectual villains, the show spends way more time with Fisk and his cronies than the hero of the series. I’m loving how well the Kingpin is being depicted onscreen (especially since memories of Michael Clarke Duncan’s hammy performance just will not relent), but Matt Murdock needs to be given more time to do other things rather than punch.
Episode Four — “I know how much your people delight in extolling the amount of pain they can endure, but maybe next time you can try ducking?” – Wesley.
“I mean, if he had an iron suit or a magic hammer, maybe that would explain why you keep getting your asses handed to you.” – Wesley, who rules, by the way.
“To a better place.” – Vanessa.
“They say the past is etched in stone, but it isn’t. It’s… smoke, trapped in a closed room, swirling. Changing. Buffered by the passing of years and wishful thinking. But even when our perception of it changes, one thing remains constant: The past can never completely be erased. It lingers… like the scent of burning wood.” – Wesley. (Someone give this guy an Emmy.)
Episode Five — “You have X-Ray fingers now?” – Claire.
“So you’re gonna see us in court, where I will absolutely dismantle you, from the top of your salon blowout to the bottom of your overpriced pumps.” – Foggy.
“I know you’re a dangerous man. That’s why I brought a gun to a dinner date.” – Vanessa.
Episode Four — Wilson defends his honor. “I’ve been preoccupied,” Fisk says of his romantic endeavors, and it shows. How quickly this soft-spoken gentleman, who adores fine art and can scarcely bring himself to meet the gaze of a beautiful woman (in this case, Ayelet Zurer), can shift into a savage hulk is a terrifying thing to experience. (I’ve seen so many things in my life, but I’ve never seen a decapitation by car door. Yeesh.) If this is how Fisk deals with a simple embarrassment, I can only imagine what’s in store when he finally meets the vigilante who’s been stymying his endeavors.
Episodes Four & Five — Wilson Fisk. It’s not something you think about, but yeah. Vincent D’Onofrio is one hell of an intimidating guy. And as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s own Kingpin, D’Onofrio might be the single greatest villain it’s had since Tom Hiddleston threw some golden antlers on his head. It might still be too early to say, but Fisk is looking to be the second most vital aspect to Daredevil. I really hope D’Onofrio sticks around.
– “Apply enough pressure, someone will break. Sooner or later.” And out the window he goes. Matt needs to work on his idea of romance.
– Swirling a wine glass by the bowl? Tsk, tsk, Fisk. “I don’t know much about wine.” Well, at least he’s honest.
– Fisk talks about spending time on a farm as a child, which seems to contradict his comic book origins: Fisk not only grew up in Hell’s Kitchen, but he stayed there all his formative years, solidifying his grasp on the criminal underworld as the Kingpin. I just can’t see that guy milking cows.
– I really don’t know why people just can’t say “fuck”. What’s the problem, people?
– Fisk likes to play the pity card. But it seems to be working for him.
– Ben Urich is a man wise beyond his years, but we need to learn more about him, stat. (Like, for instance, how he pulled a ninja/Batman-like disappearance on Karen at that auction. How did he do that?)