Previously: Stick came into town and was a dick.
Shadows in the Glass
Catherine: The episode begins with Fisk in bed, waking from a nightmare. He sits up and looks at a blank wall (M: the white painting sold to him by his girlfriend?) and violin music begins to play as we see a montage of him starting his day—making breakfast, dressing from a closet full of pretty much identical black suits, opening up a drawer full of cuff links and putting on a certain pair—all things precisely done in an immaculately clean apartment.
Annie: As if we needed further proof that he’s a complete psycho.
Marines: I really liked that the violin music turned to villain music when he opened the cuff link drawer. I was like, “WHAT’S IN THE CUFFLINKS?”
Jessica: No poison spray, no darts, no missile launch codes. Nothing. Doesn’t this guy know he’s a superhero’s villain?
Catherine: So disappointing. When he finishes dressing he turns to the mirror but instead of seeing himself he sees the young boy that he used to be covered in blood. He doesn’t look surprised by this as he turns out the light.
Mattpartment. Mattpartment is still destroyed from his fight with Stick. Matt’s alarm clock wakes him and tells him it’s 7 AM. He gets up and I wanna celebrate that we get a nice shot of his chest but he’s clearly in pain so it feels kinda wrong. Thanks for making me feel like a weird pervert, show!
Matt gets dressed and we get a shot of the ice cream wrapper bracelet from last episode as he leaves the apartment.
Mari: The very obvious foils they set up between these two don’t even bother me because they are well done. Fisk wakes up from a nightmare into a clean, well lit apartment, looking clean and immaculate. Matt was presumably sleeping like the dead, wakes up hurt and dirty and bloody and scruffy, to a destroyed apartment.
Catherine: Over at Poor Lawyer & Sons (M: A+), Karen is telling Foggy that they can’t tell Matt about their sleuthing because he wouldn’t understand. He confesses that he hates her coffee since they’re being honest with each other and she laughs and calls him a dick. Foggy starts to talk about keeping Matt in the dark again but cuts himself off when Matt walks in. Karen notices that Matt looks like he got the shit beaten out of him again because of how he got the shit beaten out of him again. He brushes off her concern and asks what they were talking about keeping him in the dark about. (J: They move on from this surprisingly fast. Maybe they think he’s secretly joined a fight club and are waiting for him to tell them when it’s right for him?) Karen is surprised that he heard them from the hall but Foggy isn’t because he knows that Matt has freakishly good hearing.
Foggy and Karen tell him about the fight outside Elena’s apartment the night before and Karen says that Foggy helped her fight them off. Matt takes a disapproving dad stance and tells them that they can’t just go around investigating shit because someone is going to for real kill them. Karen gets frustrated and says that Union Allied’s shady henchmen have already hurt her and she doesn’t care what she signed, she’s not gonna let them hurt anyone else. This is all very noble, Karen, but maybe you could have come to this conclusion before you signed the papers? Matt sighs and obviously decides to help them. He asks who else is on their Hardy Boys team. They tell him about Ben Urich. Matt implies that he might not be trustworthy and Karen tells him that she trusts Ben as much as she trusts Foggy or him. She starts to say that she’s not a kid but Matt interrupts her to tell her to stop acting like one (A: I haaaaate when Matt treats Karen like this. Don’t be a dick, Matt.) (M: It reminded me a lot of Angel…) Karen looks rightfully offended but then he changes it to “both of you” and she looks more ashamed.
Anyway, Matt tells them that he’ll help them but only if they do it Lawful Good style through the court system. Boooo! Chaotic Good is where it’s at.
Annie: Haha, okay, secret vigilante! You lecture your BFF and administrative assistant/person you saved with your vigilantism about making sure to do everything the lawful way. I see you, Mr. Hypocrite! You do you, man.
Jessica: Right?! Seriously, guy.
Catherine: So much this. I get where it’s coming from but come on, Matt. At The Evil Docks of Evil, Fisk and Nobu are in-fighting as criminals do. Nobu is pissed that the Black Sky is dead. (J: Still not buying it.) (M: TV taught us offscreen deaths don’t count.) Fisk says that his only part was to keep the police off the docks and he did. Nobu says that locating another Black Sky is gonna be super hard because they’re extremely rare. Fisk gets pissed off for a second before he visibly pulls himself back and apologizes to Nobu for offending him. Nobu threatens him again before leaving. After he leaves, Wesley points out that Nobu and his men aren’t really bringing enough to the crime table for him to be so snippy snappy. Fisk calls them a necessary evil. Wesley says that he doesn’t like the way Nobu speaks to Fisk especially now when everything is going their way. Fisk says that’s exactly when you need to be cautious.
Then a Rolling Stones song takes us into a flashback. It’s the 1970’s on a street in New York. It’s VERY CLEARLY the 70’s based off the Rolling Stones song, the amount of hair on the kids and teenagers playing in the street, the bell bottoms, the cars. I could go on. Anyway, in an apartment, a balding guy walks by some campaign signs and is asked by his wife to turn the music down. He tells his son—who is the little boy that Fisk saw in the mirror earlier, that his mom doesn’t like music. His dad calls him Willie. Willie is cutting a piece of wood and his dad tells him he cut it too short. There’s a tense moment because Willie forget to call him “sir”. But his dad goes back to being all congenial and asks if he wants his dad’s face to be in the dirt.
The mom is looking over a bunch of bills that say “PAST DUE”. The dad holds up a sign that says “Bill Fisk for City Council.” He says that getting on City Council is their ticket because once you get on City Council people start bribing you left and right. Fantastic.
Fisk’s dad tells him that the city is everything and everything he wants can be right there if he is willing to take it. Thanks for the vague super villain advice, abusive dad. Fisk’s dad offers him a drink of beer and his mom objects but gets ignored. Little Fisk takes a drink and gags and spits it out. Mom gets upset and takes the drink away. Dad tells her she worries too much and she says that somebody has to and asks how the hell they’re paying for all of the campaigning supplies. Dad looks exasperated and tells her he got a loan from someone named Rigoletto. Willie asks who that is but Dad tells him not to worry about it. Mom still expresses doubt but luckily abusive dad is there to emotionally manipulate her. Yay!
Back in current day and in Fisk’s American Psycho apartment, he’s on the phone with Vanessa when Wesley beeps in to tell him that Detective Blake woke up from his mini-coma and, even though he’s not talking yet, he’s gonna be the night’s big lede. Fisk tells Wesley to take care of Blake so he won’t talk. Wesley says he can’t because there’s a police detail on his room to keep the Man in the Mask away. Only half the detail is made up of their dirty cops. This is what happens when you get the 50% discount, Fisk. Fisk looks thoughtful for a second and then suggests asking Hoffman, Blake’s partner. Wesley says he’s not sure if that’s gonna work since Hoffman and Blake go way back. Fisk tells him to set up a meeting so he can speak with him himself.
Foggy & Grumpy INC. Foggy tells Matt that reading books is supes boring and they should be out on the streets cracking skulls. Karen and Matt laugh and Matt tells him he’d be in intensive care in five minutes. Foggy argues that he handled himself real good in the fight the night before and tells Karen to back him up by calling her “K”. She’s like, you did but don’t call me that. Also, Matt is reading what seems to be a braille news ticker and it’s super cool! I love the way they display what seems to be real technology for the vision-impared on this show, and I feel like we maybe haven’t mentioned that before.
Anyway, something about Confederated Global comes up. Foggy remembers that was the name of the company who footed the bill for that “bowling alley nut” they defended a few episodes ago. Matt asks Karen to look up the names of the subsidiaries she got from the check Wesley gave them. He wants to know if “Westmeyer-Holt Contracting” is on the list. Karen says that it is. Matt says they’ve had a bunch of complaints about forcing people out of their apartments like Elena. Karen suggests talking to Elena’s landlord, Tully. Foggy starts to get up to track him down but Matt stops him and tells him to use the phone. They joke around for a second before Karen sees the story about Blake waking up online. Foggy says that Blake is a dick but he didn’t deserve a bullet from that “masked douchebag”. Karen starts to defend the douchebag, saying that no one actually knows if it was him. Matt says that Blake would know. Foggy says that he’d be interested in what Blake has to say and Matt agrees darkly, having no chill. (M: On Brand.)
At Probably the Evil Docks of Evil, Fisk is talking to Hoffman in a dark room, surrounded by easels with unfinished paintings on them. Mmm-kay. He’s trying to talk Hoffman into carrying out a hit on Blake.
BUT we’re taken to a slow mo shot of a hospital corridor. It’s filled with cops and doctors. Hoffman gets out of the elevator, still looking teary. He walks to Blake’s room. Brett, the ONLY good cop on this show, tells him how great it is the Blake woke up and asks him to sign a sheet before going in. He asks to check the bag that Hoffman is carrying and Hoffman shows him a sandwich from Blake’s favorite place. (J: Damn you Hoffman for dragging innocent, delicious sandwiches into your nefarious plot!)
Inside the room, Blake is asleep in his hospital bed. Brett leaves Hoffman alone. With shaking hands, Hoffman pulls open the sandwich and pulls out a syringe filled with probably something bad. He apologizes to Blake before injecting the syringe into his IV. The worst part of this is that he ruined what looks to be a perfectly good sandwich! (J: Where is the sandwich justice?!?) (C: I’ve honestly never been so upset. RIP Sandwich.)
Blake opens his eyes and asks Hoffman what he’s doing. Hoffman is so shook that he stumbles backward and right into the waiting stranglehold of Daredevil. Daredevil strangles him into unconsciousness and then puts a chair in front of the door to bar it. The whole time, Blake is starting to seize and die. Daredevil calmly walks over to him and gently eases him back onto the bed. Daredevil tells him that they don’t have much time because whatever Hoffman injected him with has already reached his heart. That’s some top quality poison. Daredevil says that he can’t save him but before he dies, Blake can tell him everything that he knows about Fisk and make him pay.
Blake starts to code. The cops outside start trying to break down the door. Blake dies and the cops manage to get in to the room. Brett looks in shock at a dead Blake, unconscious Hoffman and an open window. Great job, Matt. REAL good for your rep.
Annie: Matt really needs to hire a PR crisis management firm if he’s going to keep doing shit like this.
Mari: Or he could just learn to close the window behind him, god. Also real good work by the police who were supposedly around the clock monitoring for the man in the mask, but didn’t pay attention to the window.
Catherine: As if he even ever uses doors. Over at a Crime Place. Leland is getting measured for a suit while Fisk… is also there. Leland is pissed because he’s been threatened and he had to tell his son not to come and visit him. Fisk apologizes. Leland keeps complaining and asks what the deal is with the suit. Fisk tells him that it will keep him safe. Leland asks the bald man measuring him for the suit what it’s coated with and gets “Polyethylene, glycol, silicate” and then the man starts to talk about hydroclusters and kinetic energy and Leland blah blahs him and tells him he’s a 46” long. Fisk tells the bald man that will be all and calls him, Mr. Potter. Mr. Potter looks a bit nervous but like he’s covering it up. He leaves. Leland says that Potter is half an idiot and Fisk says it’s the other half that counts. Potter has a learning disability, btw but it’s an important reminder that these are the Bad Guys and we hate them.
Leland boo-hoos about Daredevil knowing who he is. Fisk says that he’ll give him a guard detail and move him. Leland points out that if Daredevil drops him off a roof an awful lot of money is going along for the ride. Fisk says that sounds like a threat and Leland says he’s just stating the obvious. Wesley comes in and tells Fisk about Daredevil interfering in the hit on Blake. Leland’s all like “SURPRISE SURPRISE”. Fisk is pissed and worried that Blake told Daredevil something before he died. Wesley says he might have but at least Hoffman was able to blame Blake’s death on Daredevil. Leland asks how much Hoffman knows and Fisk tells him they are taking care of it. Leland says the situation is for sure being handled, just not by Fisk.
Flashback to Wilson’s childhood again. He has a bloody lip and is crying. His mother offers him some zuppa, which, from a 5-second Google search, seems to be some type of delicious looking Italian cake. (A: Zuppa is also Italian for soup, which is what I first thought she was talking about. But I’d rather cake than soup. So team cake!) (C: I’m learning so much today!)
Again, I like this detail. It brings more depth to the character in one quick line.
Wilson cries and says he’s not hungry but his mother insists and says that it will make him feel better. We find out that he got in some type of fight at school with a kid named Bernie. Bill comes in and says that Wilson eats too much wonderful Italian cake and he’s just gonna get fatter. He snatches the cake away. Bill asks Wilson what happened and Mom starts to answer but he shuts her up. Wilson tells him that Bernie was knocking down Bill’s City Council signs and Wilson told him to stop. Bernie said Wilson was a loser just like Bill. Bill tells Wilson to get his coat.
In a junkyard/alley type deal, a teenager is hitting glass bottles with a baseball bat. Bill walks up with Wilson and asks the kid, Bernie if he’s been knocking over his signs. Bernie says that the election is over so who cares. Bill says that doesn’t give him the right to destroy other people’s property. He goes on a rant about putting himself out there and calls Bernie a little shit. Bernie says he was just repeating what his dad said. Bill grabs Bernie by the shirt and Bernie accidentally smacks him in the face with the butt of the bat trying to get away. Bill throws him against a fence and Bernie swings the bat. Bill manages to catch it and get it away from him but then gets the kid on the ground and starts beating him with the butt of the bat and telling him to say something funny. Wilson starts crying and begging him to stop. Bill calls him over and tells Wilson that people like Bernie want to keep him down and keep him afraid. He tells Wilson to kick Bernie. Wilson doesn’t want to but his abusive, asshole father orders him too so he does. He keeps telling him to kick him and Wilson keeps going until the flashback ends with adult Wilson waking up in bed again.
He looks disturbed again before he looks at the blank wall to calm himself and then goes through the same morning routine from earlier, including the cufflinks. But this time he gets a phonecall. Wesley tells him that Madame Gao wants to speak to him and that she’s already on her way. He asks Wesley to be there before she arrives and Wesley says that he’s already almost there.
At the table in Fisk’s apartment, he pours Gao some tea and she tells him through Wesley’s translation that she approves of his choice of tea. She says something else and Wesley starts to translate again before Gao starts speaking in English, telling Wesley that Fisk doesn’t need him to translate. Power move. Doesn’t make a lot of sense but a power move anyway.
Mari: Bonus points for not making sense because it means no one will see it coming.
Gao tells him that she speaks many languages and then goes back to Mandarin, saying that they don’t need a translator because Fisk speaks Mandarin as well. Fisk responds in Mandarin and Wesley looks annoyed. Gao tells Fisk that it is a clever man who plays the fool and a foolish woman who does not recognize it. In Japanese, Gao asks if Nobu has guessed that Fisk speaks Japanese as well. Fisk says that he doesn’t think so in Japanese and Wesley looks DOUBLE annoyed. Gao tells Wesley that he can leave, and Fisk asks him to wait outside. Back to Mandarin, Gao tells Fisk that Nobu isn’t happy with him. Fisk points out that Nobu is just generally very unhappy. Gao laughs and agrees. But Leland is pissed, too. Fisk says that it’s being dealt with.
Gao asks if he has considered how she knew where he lived since it’s one of his most guarded secrets. She tells him she figured it out because he’s been sloppy and emotional just like the Russians were in their final days. Fisk’s voice cracks a bit as he tells her he’s been going through some shit. Gao tells him that she only came there as a courtesy to warn him to get his act together or she will be skipping him and dealing with Nobu and Leland directly. She thanks him for the tea before leaving. Enraged, Wilson stands up and flips the table, meme-style.
Back in flashback land, Bill and Wilson are home again. Bill brings a chair over to the wall and tells Wilson to stare at it and think about the man that he wants to be. He tells him that he should be a king and not some fat pussy. Bill tells Wilson to stare at the wall ’till he gets back and we’re shown that the wall looks a lot like the white painting from ‘Rabbit in a Snowstorm’.
Jessica: Ok so I’m a bit confused. Is the thing adult Wilson stares at every morning the painting, or some part of the same wall that he removed? Because at first I thought it was the painting, but then it seems too textured to be an entirely white painting. So then I thought, did he literally pull a piece of the wall from his childhood home? Because that is a thing he would do. To conclude: I’m not sure. Theories welcome.
Mari: I also thought it was the painting because he mentioned to Vanessa a few episodes back that he looks at it in his room every morning, or something creepy like that.
Catherine: It’s the painting. And I just realized that the reason I didn’t see that it was the painting before is because my brightness isn’t turned up far enough on my TV. A+ recapping, me.
Mom asks Bill where he’s going so late. Bill tells her that he has to take care of something. Mom asks if it can wait till tomorrow and Bill snaps at her and tells her it can’t, calling her Marlene. Bill says that he has to talk to Rigoletto while putting on the same cuff links that Wilson wears everyday in the future. Marelene realizes that Bill is getting behind on his debts and starts freaking out asking how much he owes Rigoletto. Bill and Marelene start arguing. He hits her and starts beating her with a belt. (M: It’s offscreen and still incredibly awful.)
The flashback ends. Wilson is standing at the big window in his apartment looking out. Wesley comes in again. Fisk snaps that he didn’t call for him. Wesley says that he thought he might need something. Fisk again snaps that if he’d needed him he would have asked. I feel it. I hate when people interrupt my staring out at New York brooding flashbacks.
Wesley says that he doesn’t think that’s always true and steps aside to reveal Vanessa. Fisk looks slightly ashamed of himself. Vanessa thanks Wesley and tells him they’ll be alright. Vanessa starts to comment about the table and Fisk begs her to leave in a strangled voice. Vanessa says that she’ll leave if he wants and Fisk doesn’t answer. She says that he made a promise to be honest with her. He tells her he’s afraid of how she would look at him if she knew and she says to tell her. (J: I’m so curious about this woman!)
Annie: First, hard pass on this flashback. But also, it does explain why Fisk is a psychopath.
Catherine: Sawing up your abusive father’s corpse is probably gonna have effects that a therapist would refer to as “long term.” End of flashback. Wilson says they carried his father’s body down piece by piece over a week in trashbags. Everyone in town knew that he owed Rigoletto money so they just assumed that he skipped town. Wilson was then sent to live with relatives on a farm. Vanessa looks a bit ill but she tells him it wasn’t his fault and that he was protecting his mother. Wilson says that he did it for himself and that he still wears the cufflinks to remind himself that he’s not cruel for the sake of cruelty and that he’s not his father and not a monster. He asks Vanessa if he’s a monster and she says that he isn’t. He says it’s not going to matter soon because there are people in Hell’s Kitchen trying to expose him because they don’t understand what he’s trying to do for the city. Um… blow it up? (J: Force all the poor people to move so he can build condos?) (M: Give them a collection of Russian mobster heads?)
Vanessa asks if he’s gonna let them take him down and he says no. There’s a shot of them standing together as lightning flashes outside the window.
Outside in the rain, Ben is arguing with his editor on his phone. He hangs up and tries to get into his car but drops his keys. This is a classic horror movie ‘you done fucked up’ moment. Luckily, Ben is not killed by the Cloverfield monster (I think that’s what that movie was about) but when he stands back up, Daredevil is there. Daredevil tells him they need to talk. He asks if Ben knows who he is and asks if he believes what everyone is saying about him. Ben says that he seems to be in a lot of the wrong places at the wrong times lately but he’s heard that the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen is a cool guy too. So he thinks there’s more than one side.
Jessica: I didn’t love this scene. The rain felt like a bit much, and the dialogue felt rather stilted, though that may not entirely be the actors’ fault because you can definitely tell they are freezing, I’m sure I caught some shivers in a few of Daredevil’s lines. I mean, what purpose did the rain serve, beyond unnecessary dramatic element? It could have been better done, I think.
Catherine: It was all very Batman, tbh.
Daredevil says that he didn’t cause the explosions and he wants Ben to expose the man who did. He tells him it’s Wilson Fisk. Ben says that he’s never heard of him. Daredevil says that that is intentional, Fisk keeps his name out of the limelight for a reason. Ben asks why Daredevil is asking him to do this instead of another reporter and Daredevil says that there are good people who trust Ben and he has faith in their judgment. Ben realizes he means the Union Allied thing and asks if it was him that dumped the guy on the steps of the Bulletin. Daredevil says that that guy was connected to Fisk. Ben tells him that Karen is a good kid and Daredevil says that people like her are why he does this. (J: Note: Neither of them calls her ‘K’ here.) Ben finally asks him what he has. Daredevil tells him about Leland but all the info is stuff that he’s beaten out of people and Ben can’t use that. Daredevil mentions Blake and tells him that he and Hoffman work for Fisk. But he has no evidence that Blake gave up Fisk before he died. Ben says that he can’t do shit without evidence. Daredevil says that he doesn’t necessarily want to put Fisk away, just shine a light on him. He thinks once the city knows who he is they’ll tear him apart. (J: Ok Matt, how do you expect Ben, a reporter, to “shine a light” on a guy with no solid facts? Write a feature profile on his muffin pan collection?) (C: Yayyyy! I hope so!) Ben asks him if he’s sure about Fisk being the guy at the top and Daredevil says that he’d bet his life on it. Ben says that he’s betting his life on it, too and tells him to tell him everything he knows.
Fisk’s apartment. Fisk wakes up from another nightmare and looks at the painting, but this time Vanessa is in bed beside him. He puts his arm around her and goes back to sleep. The next morning, we get a voiceover of Ben writing his article exposing Fisk as Fisk goes about a slightly different morning routine with Vanessa eating breakfast and helping him dress. He opens his drawer of cufflinks and she covers his father’s and picks out different ones.
Cut to Ben typing the article at his desk while watching a newscast of Fisk doing a press conference with Vanessa behind him. Matt is also watching the press conference denouncing him from Mattpartment. Foggy sees it from a bodega and Karen watches it from the office. Fisk talks about Leland getting assaulted to get to him and says that he is coming out of the shadows to help the city. Ben looks frustrated and sees the words in his article basically matching what Fisk is saying on TV. He deletes the article just as Fisk says his name on TV and promises to make the city a better place. Matt gets so angry that he karate swipes his computer off the table in his apartment.
End of episode.
Very much a Fisk heavy episode, if that wasn’t obvious. There were only about 3 or 4 scenes with Matt and not one fighting scene. I’ll be honest, I never noticed this episode was so Fisk-centered before recapping it because I usually watch a few episodes at a time because Netflix. Fisk is a great villain, in my opinion and since this is Netflix, maybe a whole episode setting up his back story isn’t too bad. Even if it did leave barely any plot advancements for anyone else.
Jessica: I wasn’t a fan of this episode until the very end. I know why they did it, having done Matt’s origin story in the previous one, so then they did Fisk, but it felt long and stilted, tbh. However, I wasn’t expecting the end twist, with Fisk coming out of the shadows and presenting himself in the limelight as a philanthropist. An angry philanthropist, but nevertheless, a rich guy who supposedly is a stand-up citizen, which could make him much tougher to beat than a shadowy gang boss. I wonder how much of that decision was from his ladyfriend Vanessa and she just gets more and more intriguing. #camehereforMatt #stayedforVanessa
Mari: I thought it was stilted too. You can tell when that happens, more or less, when non-main recapper comments are brief. I took me a while to even comment on this episode because I didn’t have very much to say. It was useful information, and it was fine, but nothing to write home about if you ask me.
Next time on Daredevil: The team starts investigating Fisk’s past in S01 E09 – Speak of the Devil.