For everyone still holding their breath from Matt’s run-in with the cops at the end of the previous episode, the cliffhanger resolves itself quickly. Well, slowly at first, and then quickly.
The cops have Matt and the unconscious Vladimir surrounded, and our hero has his hands on his head. What’s he going to do? Flip and then punch the cops? Punch the cops and then flip? Actually, he’s going to surrender—that is, until one of “cops” reminds the other that their order specified no witness. Which gives Matt permission to punch and flip all over their asses.
Does someone need to remind Ben Urich that notecards exist? I mean, I understand how cool and symbolic it is to diagram your understanding of the Hell’s Kitchen underworld on a deck of playing cards, but they’re harder to read than say—I don’t know—a Post-It note. Plus, you ruin a perfectly good deck of cards. But I digress. The explosions have naturally caught the attention of Hell’s Kitchen’s newspaper, Not The Daily Bugle, and Ben’s editor is gung-ho to get to the bottom of it. He reads off a list of locations to Ben, and the veteran investigative reporter immediately identifies the spots as Russian-controlled.
Now that Fisk’s big “look at these explosions I planned” moment with Vanessa is over, he has to tie up the loose ends—specifically, Vladimir and the masked man, whom Wesley informs him have escaped. Fisk tells his right-hand man that he prefers that the clean-up be left to the cops. “Let the police do their jobs,” he says. “That’s what I pay them for, isn’t it?” And that plan involves Blake and Hoffman, the two dirty detectives from the previous episode, both torturing and killing trapped Russians and ordering the other cops to shoot any survivors “in the head.” Isn’t a blown-up building filled with gunshot victims going to look the tiniest bit suspicious? I’m thinking Blake isn’t very good at this whole “dirty cop” game.
We finally return to Daredevil as he’s carrying Vladimir into the abandoned warehouse where most of this episode’s action will take place. The Russian has been wounded pretty badly, but Matt still needs whatever he can get from him on Fisk. Vladimir, still convinced that Matt is responsible for killing his brother Anatoly, isn’t willing to cooperate with the masked man’s crusade to bring down Fisk—to the tune of “suck my dick.” It seems for a second that he dies, which would make those some of the most baller last words ever. But no; he’s just passed out.
At the hospital, we see the large chaos that the explosions have caused. Foggy and Karen bring in their hurt old lady friend, whom Claire is kind enough to take off their hands. But Matt’s law partner has a boo-boo of his own. “Oh, that explains it,” Foggy says to Karen. “Explains what?” she asks. Answer: “The stabbing pain in my side.”
While Foggy gets some attention, a phone call pulls Claire away. It’s Matt, and he needs some help. Not the usual kind he asks Claire for: He needs to know how he can save the life of the man that had her kidnapped and beaten. Though she obviously has reservations, Claire tells him that he can cauterize the wound with one of the road flares he’s found.
NEXT: Matt falls for the old “His name is…” trick
The road flare scene in hardcore, and Vladimir’s screams are enough to attract the attention of a nearby police officer. When Daredevil takes out the cop and asks him who he’s working for, the poor officer gives the answer he’s supposed to: “The city of New York.” He’s clean, but there’s plenty of dirt outside, as Ben Urich finds when Blake and Hoffman greet him. The honest reporter’s presence puts a small wrinkle in Fisk’s plan to take the building immediately, but the Kingpin goes in the opposite direction, ordering all of his media contacts to the scene. That Wilson Fisk is one scheming dude.
But Vladimir has some schemes too. When the Russian wakes up from his nap, Matt does his best to bring him into the fold, telling Vladimir that cooperating is the only way out of the warehouse. It’s a convincing argument, so Vladimir starts his story at the beginning. Fisk came to him and his brother with the promises of zero police interference and access to Madame Gao’s heroin. The man that Matt needs is Fisk’s accountant, the one connects all of the criminal syndicate’s arms. His name—his name is—
BOOM! Vladimir smacks Matt upside the head with a piece of wood, and the two wrestle right through the floor. When Matt comes to, Vladimir is in bad shape, as in “dead.” But luckily, Matt, who apparently attended the Jack Shephard School of CPR, is able to revive him.
That hard work could all be undone by Fisk, who orders his S.W.A.T. team in the building and sends a sniper up to the roof. But first, the Kingpin wants to have a chat with the masked man. So he has a radio channel cleared. I’m glad that Matt and Fisk were finally able to have this conversation—but did the Kingpin have to start off by saying that they aren’t that different? That’s the most tired villain cliche possible, even though in this case, it’s the truth.
They are after the same goals—but Fisk is working on a much bigger scale and with greater effect. That doesn’t seem to bother Matt, since he believes that his actions will inspire other defenders to step up. That’s going to be hard, however, after everyone hears on that news that Matt is responsible for the bombings and the sniper fire outside the warehouse.
Disturbed by what she’s seeing on the news, Claire calls Matt while he’s trying to escape into the underground access tunnels. He apologizes for not listening to her before and gives his goodbyes, since his survival prospects aren’t looking hot at the moment. That changes when Vladimir finally decides to get off his lazy ass and help with the grate. The combined effort allows them to escape the S.W.A.T. team that’s just broken in. The same cannot be said for the poor, innocent Officer Sullivan, who takes a knife to the neck for being an honest guy and having a kick-ass last name.
In the access tunnels beneath the city, Matt punches a few of the S.W.A.T. members that follow them down there, and Vladimir ends up holding a rifle. But he’s not going to shoot Matt. He’s going to stay behind and clean up the rest of the S.W.A.T. Before parting (and presumably dying, which we never see), Vladimir leaves Matt with some advice: he’s going to have to kill Fisk to fix the city.
For an episode that mostly took place in one location, “Condemned” did a solid job advancing Matt’s philosophy as a burgeoning superhero. His conversation with Fisk will undoubtedly change both how he approaches what he does and how the Kingpin will move to counteract that force.