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Marvel’s Daredevil: Hell’s Kitchen (episodes 2-4)

The next few episodes of Daredevil see Matt Murdock having to deal with the repercussions of the actions of criminals that were shown at the end of episode 1.

Recap

Matt goes after the child that was kidnapped by the Russians, only to find that it was a trap. He takes a beating and has the good fortune to end up in the home of a nurse, Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson), who prevents him from dying. When one of the Russians comes to Claire’s place to finish the job, Matt is able to catch him. With Claire looking on in a disguise, Matt tortures the man until he gets the information about where the boy is being held. This leads to him beating up a bunch of Russians in a hallway. Matt gets the boy back and has Claire hide out at his place.

Meanwhile, Foggy tries to help Karen recover from her ordeal. After the assassination attempt, she’s more fearful of living in the city. Foggy doesn’t have much to offer, but a night out seems to get her in better spirits. Later, Karen is brought in by Union Allied and offered hush money. She also finds out that they paid off the widow of the man who was killed in her apartment. Karen knows that something bigger is going on. She goes to see Ben Urich (Vondie Curtis-Hall), a reporter struggling to report real news in a deteriorating industry while his wife battles a terminal illness. Karen offers him the chance to investigate the Union Allied story. After looking into Karen’s request, Urich echoes everyone’s recommendation that Karen just leave this alone and count herself as fortunate that she’s still alive. When Karen presses him about it, he alludes to her “past activities” making her an unreliable source. However, after Karen makes an ill advised attempt at doing her own investigation, Ben reveals that he intended to continue the investigation, he just didn’t want her to.

This is around the same time that Wesley shows up at the offices of Nelson & Murdock. He offers to put them on retainer for a very hefty sum. Matt senses that something is off about him when he won’t tell them his name, only that he works for Confederated Global Investments. Wesley sends the lawyers to meet with John Healy (Alex Morf) in order to get an idea of what kind of work they’d be doing. Healy is a hitman that was arrested after he beat one of his targets to death. Despite his initial hesitation and Foggy’s hesitation after he meets Healy, Matt insists that they take on CGI as a client.

While working on the case, Matt starts to realize just how deep this mystery man’s backing runs. They are defending a professional criminal. The jury has been tampered with and CGI is a facade on top of a facade on top of an untraceable number of other facades. While still defending Healy in court, Matt hits the streets in order to undo Wesley’s case tampering. However, everything leads him to the conclusion that whatever’s going on runs incredibly deep. After Healy is released, Matt attacks him as the vigilante. He gets him to give up the name of the man behind Wesley, Wilson Fisk. After doing this, Healy says that Fisk will come after him and everyone he loves in order to make an example of him. Instead of allowing that to happen, he impales his own head on a spike.

Fisk has been elsewhere while all this chaos has been going on in his name. When we first see him, he’s at an art gallery looking at a white piece of artwork and hoping to catch the attention of a gallery manager named Vanessa (Ayelet Zurer). While Fisk has been looking for love, Wesley has been pressuring the Ranksahov brothers (aka the Russians). The vigilante’s constant interference has put a dent into the flow of Fisk’s entire operation. After getting a lead from one of the men that the vigilante went through trying to get the boy back, they are able to find and kidnap Claire. Matt is able to find them and arrives as they’ve been beating her in order to get information about him even though Claire legitimately doesn’t know anything to tell them. Before they do any permanent damage to her, Matt takes them all out under the guise of darkness. Well, he takes out everyone except for the one who was interrogating Claire. She knocks him out with a bat while Matt is slowly breaking his arm. Claire is shaken up by the experience, but she’s convinced that Matt can do something to stand up against the bad people in this city.

While Matt has been working his way through Fisk’s men. Fisk is asking Vanessa out to dinner. The two talk about how much the city is changing and how Fisk seems pretty uncomfortable in the dating arena. After their men were beaten, Anatoly (Gideon Emery) decides to go and make amends with Fisk. Unfortunately for him, he does so during his date. This causes things to end badly, which enrages Fisk. Instead of a face-to-face to talk about their situation, the Russian gets beaten to death with his head smashed by a car door. Fisk has his remains sent to his brother, Vladimir Ranksahov (Nikolai Nikolaeff), and sends out word that the vigilante is responsible. Fisk hopes that this will send Vladimir on the warpath against the vigilante.

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Commentary

Honestly, it took a few viewings and some time for me to figure out how this part of the story tied in to the end of episode 1. At first, I thought the montage of bad guys at the end of that episode was just an overview of general bad guys in Hell’s Kitchen, not people specifically working for Fisk and Wesley. In the same way that Matt Murdock has not yet fully become Daredevil, Wilson Fisk has not yet fully become the Kingpin. It seems like this story will show both men ascend to their more well known roles and give us some more insight into them. I was certainly not expecting the unbridled rage that Vincent D’Onofrio showed as Wilson Fisk.

I was really happy with the way that they encapsulated the story of Matt’s father, Battlin’ Jack Murdock. It’s shown through flashbacks, which can really be cumbersome to the flow of a show. However, this was handled about as perfectly as I think you can handle a flashback as far as pacing goes. They also managed to throw in an Agents of SHIELD reference by adding in Crusher Creel, the Absorbing Man, who was already in Agents of SHIELD.

I also like how this set of episodes was really built around specific moments. The fight in the hallway, the fight with the Russians in the dark auto shop and, of course, Fisk bludgeoning a man’s head off of his body using a car door. These are images and scenes that really stick with you for reason or another. The show isn’t exactly slow in between these moments either. I’m intrigued by the women that have come into Fisk and Matt’s lives and how Foggy and Karen are dealing with things in the “real world”. It all comes together in a well crafted balance of building to frequently memorably events.

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