“We don’t say his name”
I always say that a superhero needs an equal and opposing supervillain. It’s something most films in the Marvel Universe lack. However, with ‘In The Blood,’ Daredevil gives us a great supervillain. We saw Wilson Fisk in the last moments of ‘Rabbit in a Snowstorm,’ but here, we see him in all his glory. ‘In The Blood’ is Fisk’s story, and another gripping episode of Daredevil. That’s not to say Matt Murdock isn’t in the spotlight, but (akin to The Dark Knight) it is the villain you will be talking about after watching the episode, not the hero. And that makes it all the better!
I mentioned before that we’ve already seen Fisk. Towards the beginning of ‘In The Blood,’ though, among the Russians, his name is still not to be spoken. Wesley meets the Russian gangsters in their taxi rank. One of the Russians says the name Fisk, and Wesley quickly admonishes him. Saying his name betrays who Fisk is, according to Wesley. When we see Fisk, criminal business isn’t at the forefront of his mind. He is asking Vanessa, the art curator he met at the end of ‘Rabbit in a Snowstorm,’ to go to dinner with him. In the asking, Fisk is nervous and fidgeting, constantly rubbing his cufflinks. He’s the opposite of a supervillain. She accepts after being sweet-talked by his line “a woman that can be bought isn’t worth buying.” Vincent D’Onofrio is flawless as Fisk. Simply flawless.
At dinner, Fisk reveals he is not a wine connoisseur. Things like that are matters for his underlings. We get an insight into his motives. After growing up in Hell’s Kitchen and moving away, Fisk has returned to make the city better. It’s changing, but not fast enough. Fisk presents himself as the change you can believe in. However, we know that this is putting him on a collision course with Murdock. They both want to change the city…but have different outcomes in mind. However, Fisk and Vanessa’s cosy dinner is brought to a halt by Anatoly. He wants a deal with Fisk. Vanessa walks away, not sure of what to think about Fisk’s underhanded dealings. And later on, Fisk turns psychotic as he crushes Anatoly’s head with a car door again…and again…and several more times. “You embarrassed me!” Fisk growls. It’s gory and simple; Fisk is a mad man. From romancer to psycho in one episode…Fisk is the villain we deserve!
“I’m just trying to make my city a better place”
We see Anatoly and Vladimir in Siberia, eight years ago, in a filthy prison. They are battered men, but see a better life for themselves in America. They get there, only to be opposed by Daredevil. They gather information from the hospitalized Semyon about Dardevil’s associate, Claire. In a plot similar to the one we saw the aftermath of in ‘Cut Man,’ they kidnap her to set a trap for Daredevil. In the taxi rank, we see Claire being beaten up by the Russians. They want the location/identity of Daredevil. Very rarely on TV do we see a woman being beaten by a man. This, more so than the car door meeting head scene, was difficult to watch. However, it doesn’t last for long, as the lights go out…
Claire laughs and shouts ‘Ask him yourself!’ In a scene worthy of Batman, Daredevil takes the Russians out from various hiding places. The last man holds Claire hostage, but Daredevil’s God-like voice booms from above. Daredevil takes him out, but Claire lands the last blow, hitting him with a baseball bat (this leads to the Russians arguing about making a deal with Fisk. Anatoly decides to deal, so goes to meet him…) Afterwards, Murdock shows signs of doubt about his role. Like Fisk, he wants to make his city a better place. However, all it does is put people in danger. Will it be worth it? Are the forces Murdock is fighting too great to overcome? We see Fisk getting his way with the Russians, but Murdock is fighting a losing battle. Murdock knows the name at the top of the criminal pile, but it’s just a name.
Alongside these two major stories, Karen continued to follow the activities of UA. Ulrich warns her in a diner that people mysteriously die when tracking UA. For that reason, Ulrich cannot help her. However, he interrupts Karen at a bid for UA property. He recommends that she doesn’t make herself so conspicuous. He convinces her to sign the agreement with UA, to get them off her back. After that she can make the real progress in investigating them. This is the slow-burning storyline, but nonetheless a fascinating one. Karen, like Murdock, is taking on the criminal elements in Hell’s Kitchen. But in a rather different way.
And that’s what Daredevil does best. It shows us all the elements of society. ‘In The Blood’ depicted the criminal element, and how there is ‘no honour among thieves.’ Yes, Daredevil rescuing somebody as a trap has been done before, but it gave us a very different (but still brilliant) fight scene to ‘Cut Man.’ Daredevil didn’t go in simply with his fists; he used his superpowers to take the gangsters out one by one. His doubts about his goals contrasted with Fisk. Already, he’s one of the most developed villains in the Marvel Universe. His goals are equal to, but also opposing to, Daredevil’s. They both want to make the city a better place, but have different ideas about the definition of a better place.
VERDICT: 8/10. The villain enters and steals the show. The Daredevil element is still thrilling, but Wilson Fisk is a revelation.
(Click here for my review of Daredevil, Season 1, Episode 3: Rabbit in a Snowstorm)