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Marvel’s Daredevil: War and the Devil (episodes 5-7)

Episodes 5-7:

5: World On Fire
6: Condemned
7: Stick

Fisk frames the vigilante for the death of Anatoly Ranskahov. Enraged by the death of his brother, Vladimir mobilizes all of his forces to take out the vigilante of Hell’s Kitchen. However, there is more going on than either of them realize.

Recap

Matt (Charlie Cox) and Claire (Rosario Dawson) are still hiding out at his place and starting to get romantically involved. Matt also explains to Claire how it is he can do what he does. He also explains that he can see, in a way. When she asks him what the world looks like to him, he says it looks like a “world on fire”. Now that they know that the Russians know about Claire, they can’t risk her leaving. So, they agree that she should stay with Matt which also makes sense because the two are starting to get romantic. After getting Claire situated, Matt hits the streets to find Vladimir. Eventually, Matt’s determination to go after Vladimir and do what’s necessary to help the city would cause Claire to put a quick stop to any romantic relationship between them.

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At Nelson & Murdock, Matt and Foggy (Elden Henson) are visited by a Mrs. Cardenas (Judith Delgado) who is having trouble with a landlord trying to squeeze her and some other tenants out of their rent controlled apartments. This puts the Nelson & Murdoch firm in direct competition with the law firm they interned for as well as Foggy’s ex, Marci Stahl (Amy Rutberg). Foggy and Karen (Deborah Ann Woll) head back to the apartments to help the tenants weather the storm until the trial. As they work through the night, they seem to find themselves on an impromptu date.

Matt heads to the police precinct to get information on the shady landlord. While he’s there, he overhears the interrogation of one of the Russians. When the gangster tries to give up Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) in exchange for a deal, he’s executed by the detectives. Matt comes to the detective in the night as the vigilante and takes a phone off of him that happens to have the locations of the Russians. While Matt is hunting Vladimir, Vladimir has been given new information that indicates that Fisk and the vigilante are working together. This causes Vladimir to shift his attentions towards Fisk and start hunting him.

Fisk happens to be on his second date with Vanessa (Ayelet Zurer) where the two are getting everything about their lives out in the open. As they look on from the private restaurant, Vanessa sees the fruits of Fisk’s labor. Fisk and Gao launch a coordinated surprise attack against the Russians. They detonate bombs across the Russians entire set of bases while they were amassing arms. The apartment building housing Foggy and Karen is caught in the blast. They end up at the hospital along with Claire, who is called in to help manage the madness. Matt is also caught in the blast as he was tracking the Russians. In the aftermath, it is revealed that Fisk has been manipulating everything from the very start, including leaking that the man in the mask was working with him.

After the blasts, Matt catches Vladimir but then has to save him from some crooked cops on Fisk’s pay roll. He takes Vladimir to an abandoned building where he tries to convince him that Fisk is playing him. Whether Vladimir believes him or not, he’s not willing to help the vigilante. Even so, Matt continues to try to get more information about Fisk out of Vladimir while struggling to keep him alive. They happen to catch the attention of an honest beat cop, who calls in reinforcements. The two crooked detectives arrive and take control of the location. Ben also arrives on the scene to try to figure out what’s going on and if there’s any link between this situation with the Russians and the story Karen put him on. In order to help prevent any unwanted press, Fisk calls in the media on his own terms.

Fisk has the police patch him through the radio so he can talk to the vigilante. He offers the vigilante a pass if the he agrees to take out Vladimir. When the offer is refused, Fisk uses the media to make the vigilante look like a terrorist. He also has one of the detectives shot by a sniper (also blamed on the vigilante somehow). The crooked cops breach the building and kill the honest officer, also blaming that on the vigilante. By that time Matt and Vladimir make their way into some subterranean service tunnels. With the police closing in, Vladimir decides to take a stand. After Matt takes out a couple of them, Vladimir takes one of their guns. He tells the vigilante that Leland Owlsley is the man that Fisk’s money runs through. He also tells the vigilante that it should be clear to him now that the only way to stop Fisk is to kill him. As he says, “when you put on the mask, you got into a cage with animals. Animals don’t stop fighting, not until one of them is dead”. Matt walks away as Vladimir makes his last stand, hoping that the Vigilante will stop Fisk. Thanks to Vladimir, Matt is able to walk out of the situation alive.

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While the entire city, including Foggy and Karen, are trying to figure out what to make of the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, Matt is consumed by the idea of hunting down Vladimir’s Leland Owlsley lead. He confronts Leland, but he’s distracted by the arrival of his old mentor, Stick, and Leland gets away. Stick was the one who started to care for and train Matt after his father died and his extrasensory abilities began to intensify. The episode shows a lot of flashbacks to Matt’s early training with Stick and how he tried to turn him into a fighter while helping him deal with his issues. However, Stick abandoned him and his training after a young Matt presented him with a present. started to develop an attachment to him as a father figure.

Stick is in town because he’s trying to stop Nobu (one of Fisk’s associates) from getting his hands on a weapon called “Black Sky”. According to Stick, Nobu is part of a larger organization that Stick is fighting against. Instead of giving Matt more information, he goads him into helping him with his mission. Matt is shocked to find out that the “mission” is to assassinate a child who, according to Stick, is a weapon of some kind. Matt stops the assassination but, Stick is able to finish the job while Matt is busy with Nobu’s henchmen. This leads to a knock down drag out brawl in Matt’s apartment between the former student and teacher. Matt seems to get the upper hand and Stick leaves and tells Matt that there may be hope for him yet. He also leaves the pair of short sticks that he trained Matt to fight with as well as the gift that Matt had given him as a kid, showing that he had kept it all these years. Stick is shown meeting with a man with a scarred back. He never says the man’s name, but he was the one who sent Stick on the mission. The mystery man also wants to know if Matt will be ready “when the doors open”, to which Stick responds, “I have no idea”.

Karen and Ben have been delving deeper into the Union Allied story. Karen goes back to the apartment building to try to get information about the guys who tore it up. When she leaves, she’s attacked by two of the men who were described to her. Fortunately for her, Foggy was suspicious and followed her. He is able to save her by attacking the thugs from behind with a bat. Karen decides to bring Foggy to Urich to explain to him what’s been going on. Urich has determined a deep web of interconnected activities, tracing through a lot of Fisk’s network. However, Urich still doesn’t know who Fisk is. He just knows that there’s a man at the top of everything. He also suspects that the “King” and the man in the black mask are working against each other somehow.

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Commentary

Things really escalated quickly here. We went from beating people up in the streets to a full on gang war in Hell’s Kitchen. The vigilante has officially drawn a line in the sand with Wilson Fisk and Stick appears to be the harbinger of another disaster on the horizon. I loved Stick. Not so much the way he entered, but the way that he interacts with Matt. It’s such an uneven relationship with neither of them seeming to be able to care about the other while still caring a good amount. As much as Stick is obviously a strong fighter, he’s also a really destabilizing force for Matt. Matt barely seems to be holding it together as it is, so I’m not sure how he’s going to deal with all of this conflict and keeping his day job.

Speaking of his day job, Karen and Foggy are probably not going to stay in the dark about Matt’s extracurricular activities for long. Disappearing during big events like a bombing isn’t something that you can just keep “conveniently” pulling off. But, I guess, Karen and Foggy are gonna keep themselves distracted so that (and Foggy’s injury) might keep them busy for a little while longer. They do have decent chemistry together, even if the comics tell us that Matt and Karen should end up together. Hopefully they figure it out before they get too deep into the investigation that they’re doing, because they seem like they’re going to end up putting themselves right in the middle of the war that Fisk just started. In a normal comic book show, I would say that they’d be okay, but this show has already shown that it’s more than willing ot up the violence and take out an innocent person. So, who knows what would become of Karen, Foggy and Ben if they stuck their nose in the wrong place.

I’m also really liking Vanessa so far. Her character feels like it’s completely out of left field, but the idea of a woman who’s actually into the idea of dating a man like Fisk is intriguing. Especially because she’s not a crazy Harley Quinn type, a mindless soldier like Mercy (Lex Luthor’s body guard), or a criminal fan girl. Vanessa seems to be, more or less, an intelligent and potentially willing partner in Fisk’s enterprise. I know that’s projecting a little bit, but considering that she brought a gun to their dinner and then willingly turned it over, I’d say it’s not too much of a reach. There’s a ton of potential in this relationship and I’m excited to see where it goes. It was certainly handled much better than Matt and Claire’s little flirtation. That was so brief that there didn’t seem to be much of a point to it even happening in the first place.

That one aspect of the story aside, this little arc has continued to push Daredevil in a direction that I’m excited about. Although, I do wonder if maybe there’s almost too much going on.

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