Previously: Fisk was abused as a child.
Jessica: Blood! Daredevil gets punched in the mouth and is fighting with a very flippy individual in red robes. The opponent pulls out a knife-thing on the end of a chain and starts flinging it around. One of Daredevil’s sticks gets knocked away and he winces as he’s cut. They keep fighting and even though he grabs the knife at one point, DD loses his second stick. As the fight continues, he’s definitely seeming to be on the losing end. He gets knocked to the floor, grimaces bloodily (M: GRIMACES BLOODILY A+) in pain, and we close up on Red Robes’ eyes (the only part of the face we can see).
JUSTICE AND WAX.
Different scene. Matt is sitting on the bench outside the church, and is approached by the priest from several episodes back. The priest says he’s ready to hear Matt’s confession, but Matt would rather talk over coffee. Cut to the priest serving coffee at a table somewhere inside the church.
Matt asks if the priest believes the devil exists in this world, beyond just a concept. The father answers with a story about how he used to study in Bible school, and that he had a theory that the devil was “inconsequential” overall. He says that in the Scriptures the word “Satan” in Hebrew also translates to “adversary.” Matt starts to interrupt him with a “so you don’t believe he exists” and the priest sasses back with, “Am I done talking?” and it’s amazing. (A: Do NOT interrupt Priest Sassy Pants, Matt.)
Getting back to his story, he tells about a time when he was in Rwanda during the genocide, and watched a commander hack a holy man to death with a machete, and that is when he saw the devil. “I believe he walks among us, taking many forms,” he says. Matt wants to know if the priest would have stopped him if he could. “Stopped him how?” the priest asks, and we cut to Matt’s lawyer office.
Ben, Karen and Foggy are talking about Fisk’s appearance from the end of last episode, where he stood up in front of the cameras and pretended to be a philanthropist for making a better Hell’s Kitchen. They know he’s the King of Diamonds in Ben’s playing-cards layout. Ben says that it’s all changed because Fisk is being held up as a guy who pulled himself out of the gutter and is trying to do good. Foggy is sure someone knows something but Ben is skeptical they could find out anything. C’mon Ben, feed the reporter side of you, dig something up! Matt arrives and meets Ben as Matt (not DD) for the first time. Hey, at least they’re not standing in the rain.
The argument continues, with Matt wanting to pursue the uncovering of Fisk on the legal side and Karen favoring sketchier, more unsafe tactics. Ben tells them of his meeting with DD, and that he says he was framed. (They throw in a Captain American reference here too, so take a drink!)
Ben puts DD (who he calls the Mask) forth as an ally to take down Fisk, due to the framing claim and the folder of paperwork he gave Ben on Fisk. However, the problem with all that evidence is that it’s not admissible because, as Matt helpfully points out, it’s all hearsay. They discuss where they could find more info, and land on Westley, who they recognize as the guy who hired them to defend the bowling ball killer from several episodes ago. They connect that to the slumlord Tully kicking people, including Mrs. Cardenas, out of their apartments.
Foggy isn’t sure about trusting “The Mask” but Karen stands up for him, and says, “I’ll take the devil of Hell’s Kitchen over Fisk any day. Plus, he kicks ass.” And Matt smiles as she describes him “flipping around in the rain” which makes me smile too because that’s how I described the beginning of this episode.
Mari: I like my punchy-kicky with a side of MUAH so I’m okay with it.
Jessica: Foggy wonders why the masked man doesn’t just take Fisk out himself, but Ben seems to understand someone wanting to settle things legally and through paperwork rather than by blood.
Sketchy warehouse. Westley is talking to Fisk about his approval poll numbers rising, while Fisk looks at building blueprints. Donations are coming in, a Senator wants to meet. Fisk asks about Detective Hoffman, and Westley explains he’s gone missing but they will find him. The man in the mask? Westley thinks the police will shoot on sight. He suggests he’s given up, but Fisk isn’t convinced.
Nobu enters angrily, taking down the one door guard easily, and is upset because he was promised “a city block” for helping Fisk. Fisk says he can have a different block since the current one has difficulty with its development (thanks a lot Mrs. Cardenas). Nobu DGAF and for some reason wants that block in particular, and says that after the problems on the docks (when Stick and Matt appeared to kill the weapon-that-was-or-wasn’t-a-kid) he can’t afford more mistakes.
Fisk tells Nobu if he helps get rid of the masked man, he will make the city block happen for him. He asks Nobu to bring in a “specialist.” I’m guessing this is the Red Robes guy we saw in the beginning of the episode.
Back at the lawyer office, Matt listens to Karen and Foggy argue. Foggy thinks landlord Tully is a dead end, but Karen persists. Tully The Evil Landlord is actually on an island that he bought with all the money Fisk gave him for his real estate holdings in Hell’s Kitchen. So everything sketchy that happened before now was in Tully’s name, before Fisk was the official owner of those buildings, which doesn’t necessarily help bring him down.
There’s a knock at the door and Mrs. Cardenas enters. She tells them that Fisk has doubled the price to get them to move out, and her neighbors are wanting to accept. Foggy wants her to stand strong. Mrs. C says she wants to fight and thinks she can convince enough of her neighbors to do the same. After she leaves, Matt says he thinks it’s too dangerous for the renters to stay, and tries to impress on Foggy how dangerous it is, but he and Karen push back.
Mari: I mean… double the money and evil dudes keep threatening you… I guess I don’t love my home enough to see why Foggy and Karen don’t just listen to Matt.
Jessica: Yeah, I wasn’t convinced enough of Mrs. Cardenas wanting to stay in her kinda crappy apartment. They didn’t give her family or sentimental reasons, so just, pride, I guess?
Matt changes tactics, quoting the Art of War and saying you need to “know your enemy” and tells them to keep digging, just quietly and carefully. Matt’s plan is to go after the third person that stood by Fisk’s side when he made his philanthropic announcement — Vanessa. I think this will be rather interesting.
Vanessa’s art gallery. Matt enters and notices security guards all over the freaking place, who are also armed. Vanessa approaches, and he introduces himself, but only as a potential buyer, not the lawyer trying to take down her boyfriend. He claims he wants art pieces to warm up his stark apartment and impress the ladies.
They discuss art, and she takes him around her gallery, and stops in front of a reddish yellow painting, describing it to him as full of anger, rage, and also love, hope, balancing them out. It serves as a nice contrast to the pure white painting that represents Fisk.
Matt asks if Vanessa has a man and what he likes, what he responds to artistically and she laughs and it’s so casual and then suddenly the tinkly lobby-esque soundtrack stops and Vanessa says, “You could always ask him yourself,” and the soundtrack gets all ominous as Fisk slow-motion walks through the glass doors of the art gallery, surrounded by security guards.
Matt clenches his fist, and barely manages a handshake when Vanessa introduces them. Fisk says he’s heard of him and his work in Hell’s Kitchen. Fisk’s art advice is for Matt to buy whatever Vanessa tells him. Matt brings up the rental property case. Fisk starts pontificating on fixing up Hell’s Kitchen, until Vanessa stops him. Fisk leaves off with a line about Matt being another person who sees the full potential of Hell’s Kitchen. Matt says he’ll think about the painting and skedaddles and is totally not subtle at all. (M: Matt, you’re supposed to be like a ninja.) Fisk stares after him.
Church. The priest is sitting alone in the pews as Matt approaches. Priest was worried he might have done something “foolish” after their is-the-devil-real talk. “Not yet,” Matt says. The priest is still concerned. Matt says he visited someone “close to the devil” to get a sense of him, to see if he could “do what I have to.” But he learned that Fisk has someone who he loves, and who loves him back. “Few things are absolute,” the priest replies.
Matt ignores a call from Foggy and says his soul is damned if he commits murder, but he struggles with the issue of the terrible things those non-murdered bad guys would do, but priest insists murder will not help, that it and inaction are not the only choices. Matt needs to consider if he has to kill this man or just wants to. The priest’s theory is that Matt went to see Vanessa to, unconsciously, find a reason not to kill Fisk. Matt looks unsure and doesn’t answer.
Annie: Priest Sassy Pants has a point.
Mari: I think coming to see PSP is another tick in the column of looking for reasons not to kill. It’s not like the Priest is going to tell you to do it, Matt.
Jessica: Lawyer office the next morning. Matt enters and Karen and Foggy tell him they identified the thugs who jumped them earlier, who were connected to the sketchy construction companies. Unfortunately, they are missing and therefore unable to flip on Fisk. Foggy surprises Matt with the new sign for their office. “It’s small,” says Matt. “And so are we,” says Karen, “We are small but awesome.”
The phone rings, and it’s bad news. We transition to the morgue to see that poor Mrs. Cardenas is dead. (A: Noooooooooo.) Karen and Foggy are moved to tears while Matt stares stoically ahead. The police officer says she was stabbed by a junkie who stole her purse. Karen and Foggy keep crying and hug. Matt remains stoic but his hands are tightly clenched on his walking stick.
Back to the fight from the beginning of the episode. Daredevil rises to face off with Red Robes again. He keeps getting sliced by the knife on the chain. The knife hits a barrel, that starts leaking something clear, presumably gasoline.
They keep fighting, and the red mask falls off and we see that Red Robes is Nobu! He says DD is a worthy opponent and it’s an honor to claim his life, as DD crouches all sliced up and panting. Nobu puts the wrap around the bottom half of his face again and bows. Then he attacks, more slashing, and it’s truly awful. He uses the chain to drag Daredevil screaming across the concrete floor.
Annie: Yeah, this was getting to be too much for me. Exactly the reason why I struggle so much to enjoy this show.
Mari: It was awful and intense and while you *know* with TV knowledge that Matt will find a way to survive, it didn’t make it hurt any less or make me any less worried. I had to pause and take a break after the bloody dragging.
Jessica: It was definitely a notch or two up on the usual violence meter.
Jump back to previous timeline: Matt, Karen and Foggy are having morose drinks in a bar. Foggy and Karen reminisce on how they got started on the case, and in the background a TV reports Mrs. Cardenas’s death. Matt introduces the possibility that it wasn’t just a junkie and blames Fisk. Fisk appears on TV behind them. “Speak of the devil,” Foggy says. You get a star! But it’s a sad, somber one.
Mari: This is the saddest the star gets, I think:
Fisk talks about the apartment, the supposed “criminal element,” the usual bullshit. He brings up the “masked psychopath” and says the people need to stand together. Matt has emotions in the foreground. Fisk calls out those who are “afraid of stepping out of the shadows” and that they should be “standing up for people like Mrs. Cardenas.” Matt grimaces, Karen looks horrified.
Karen says she hopes the Mask kills Fisk. Matt has thoughtful face. He asks if Karen’s religious. She’s not but her parents were. Matt says he’s Catholic. “Does it help?” she asks tearfully, and he responds, “Not today.”
Matt goes to leave, and Karen says that if there is a God, Fisk will get what he deserves, and they should believe it. Matt says he does, and leaves as Daredevil-style music starts to play slowly.
In his apartment, he considers a dusty chest for several moments before opening it. Inside are things of his father’s, that he caresses and shakes his head over. He then lifts it out and it’s false-bottomed, reminding me of that iconic scene in the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In the bottom are his mask, fighting clothes and sticks. Matt crosses himself and suits up.
DD beats him up and asks about who paid him to kill Mrs. C. The junkie doesn’t know names, but says there was the warehouse on the pier near the water. DD tells the junkie to turn himself in to the police and threatens to kill him otherwise.
Warehouse. DD enters, and it’s totally empty though he notices the blueprints on the table. Behind him, he suddenly hears the heartbeat of someone and follows it. It gets faster as he approaches a doorway. Red Robe/Nobu drops from the ceiling.
Daredevil mentions the docks incident, that Nobu was there with the weapon-boy, and Nobu remembers DD too, with “the old fool.” “I’m not part of his war,” DD says, but Nobu doesn’t care.
He wants to know if Fisk had Mrs. C killed to lure him here, and Nobu confirms it. DD mentions how Nobu was able to lower his body temperature and slow his heart rate to make DD believe no one was in the building. DD wants Fisk, but says he’ll settle for this guy, and they begin their fight.
At the part where we came in to the episode, the cheek punch with the blood, we switch back to Karen and Foggy in the bar. Foggy is very drunk and knocks over a beer bottle. Karen is only slightly less drunk. Foggy wants to know what’s a good toast in Spanish, but breaks down, saying he should have told Mrs. C not to fight like Matt suggested. He says the old Hell’s Kitchen at least had a heart, and he and Matt had a dream to help people when they grew up. Foggy wants to know what they can do to someone who owns everything. “You make them pay,” Karen answers angrily.
Back to the fight: DD is getting dragged around. He kicks Nobu over near the barrel that’s leaking. Nobu gets up and lashes out, but Matt grabs a stick and deflects the knife chain into a nearby light fixture, which rains sparks down on Nobu. He immediately lights all on fire. He even then charges and attacks DD, but is deflected and falls down, all dead and flamey.
“Thank you,” comes a deep familiar voice out of the corner. Fisk, Westley and a guard approach. Fisk thanks DD for getting rid of Nobu who had been bothering him lately. Matt cottons on that Fisk wanted this. “In a perfect world, you would have taken each other out,” Fisk says and for one of the first times I’m really appreciating his brilliance and craftiness as an evil villain. Hearing his voice right then gave me creepy chills.
Fisk starts villain monologuing about how he wants to make this a perfect world. He says his character flaw is that he can’t meditate, and that the Mask’s is that he has emotional weakness for women, children and the elderly. He admits to having Mrs. C killed. “I’m going to kill you,” Daredevil replies and the guard raises his gun but Fisk motions it away. He channels his inner Hamilton and tells DD to take his shot.
Hallway. Foggy pounds on Matt’s apartment door. He’s all drunk and sad and wanting to talk. “We need to keep going Matt.” he says, continuing that they need to make Fisk pay. He hears a crash inside, and can’t get in. He runs up to the top somehow, through roof access? I didn’t follow that but it really doesn’t matter. He makes it into Matt’s apartment and comes down the stairs. It’s dark, no one answers, and he can’t see anything at first. He grabs Matt’s walking stick as a weapon, then sees an injured Daredevil, still in his mask clothes, stumble in. At first he doesn’t recognize him and demands to know where Matt is, but Matt collapses and Foggy starts to call 911, then sees light pass over the face, comes over and takes the mask off. “Matt?” he asks incredulously, and it fades to black.
I have to say that this has been my favorite episode so far. It had some amazing fight scenes and we got a lot more info about Fisk and Matt, and finally talking about Matt’s decision (and struggle) to not commit murder, even though he’s quite capable of it. Fisk felt more scary than he has so far, and I’m still being teased with the importance/background of Vanessa but it’s ok, I’m waiting for some kind of reveal, so I don’t mind. I’m curious to see the next step, as Fisk is taking down his sometime-partner criminals and as he clashes more and more with DD.
Mari: I was really excited when I realized that Foggy would be figuring out DD’s identity! I love when those kinds of reveals happen and the fact that this is coming S1 makes me happy. It was tough to watch the fight sequences, but this show is and continues to be so high stakes and dark.
Next time on Daredevil: What will Foggy do about this reveal? Find out in S01 E10 – Nelson v. Murdoch.