Daredevil has already subverted a number of superhero movie conventions, but I have a feeling that when we’re looking back on the series, the big difference that will really stand out is Wilson Fisk. The series held off on revealing Daredevil’s archnemesis until the third episode, and even then, he wasn’t what we expected. (A lonely art aficionado?) And now that he’s appearing more prominently in the show, he’s not skewing any more conventional, and that’s a very good thing.
And while we’re on the subject of unexpected turns, the fact that this episode opens with a flashback to the Vladamir and Anatoly’s imprisoned past is a welcome surprise. Here we have a seemingly familiar archetype—the Russian mobsters—that would be completely dispensable in any other superhero movie. (To be fair to The Dark Knight, we do learn why the Chechen brings… dogs!) Instead, Daredevil devotes a cold open and an entire subplot to grounding Vladamir and Anatoly in reality and demonstrates a use for rib bones that you’ll probably never find on Etsy.
Back in the present, Matt is taking some punches, dolling out many more, and coming to Claire for some fixing. Since their little chat with the fake detective on the roof, Claire has been hiding out at a friend’s place, while Matt continues to tear down the Russians’ trafficking ring. It’s going pretty well, but he’s been taking more beatings than Claire is comfortable with. Part of the problem is that his outfit sucks, a clever nod to the fact that everyone knows the red suit is coming. Matt wants to stay nimble, however, so armor is ruled out—another possible reference, perhaps to Daredevil’s questionable fashion sense circa 1993. As a sign of his appreciation for all of the care she’s given him, Matt gifts Claire with a burner. (Are you listening, gentlemen?) She wants him to ease up, but it doesn’t seem likely since he’s hot on the trail of whoever this Wilson Fisk guy is.
Every step forward Matt makes is one in the other direction for Vladamir and Anatoly. The masked man’s antics have seriously messed up their drug distribution, which is in turn hurting Madame Gao, the manufacturer of the product. As a result, Wesley, Fisk’s right-hand man, has a few questions for the brothers. Namely, “Why can’t you just, like, kill this guy?” After all, he doesn’t have any flashy super powers like the Avengers, but he’s done enough with the abilities of blindness and punching to make Fisk wonder whether he should take the cab operation from the Russians. Disturbed by the proposition, the brothers suggest that they just need more time, but what they really need is to kill Daredevil and get some dirt on Fisk. They task their friend Piotr with the latter and go see their other buddy Semyon about the former. Semyon, as it would happen, is the real name of Matt and Claire’s fake detective. Vladamir and Anatoly do the comatose patient the kindness of waking him up prematurely with an epinephrine shot, and Semyon says that the girl is the key to finding the masked man.
Meanwhile, Karen and Ben Urich are proceeding with their side project of trying to figure out what the hell happened to her former employer, Union Allied. While Karen is raring to go, Ben is stuck on the Daredevil of it all. Her story just doesn’t make sense, and the liquidizing of Union Allied assets doesn’t strike him as all that odd. If they’re going to have any chance of taking the bad guys down, they need some real evidence, and Urich isn’t so sure he’s the man to find it. His days of raking the muck seem to be over until he appears at the Union Allied auction behind Karen. Trying to remain inconspicuous, he instructs her to buy something cheap and keep an eye on who isn’t bidding, but the auction doesn’t give them much besides some messed up office equipment from around the time Daredevil was wearing armor.
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