Review: Daredevil, Season 1, Episode 5: World On Fire (My Pleasure Centre Is Alight!)

daredevil netflix(SPOILERS AHEAD)

“Copper in the air”

‘In The Blood’ was the introduction to Wilson Fisk. ‘World on Fire’ shows the two worlds of Fisk and Matt Murdock colliding. It’s been made clear that they both want to make Hell’s Kitchen a better place, but both have different ideas about the definition of a ‘better place.’ Fisk let’s other people do his dirty work for him; Murdock has no choice but to dirty his own hands. ‘World On Fire’ shows their differences in the starkest of manners. Fisk attempts to get rid of Murdock by using the Russians, and in doing so also eliminating the Russians…Fisk is moving five steps ahead of everybody else in his game of chess, played over the city of Hell’s Kitchen. 

First, Fisk causes Vladimir to believe that Daredevil was responsible for Anatoly’s murder. Second, his undercover man with the Russians, Turk, convinces Vladimir that Daredevil is working for Fisk. Vladimir readies for all-out war on Fisk. He finds out Fisk’s location (through another man working for Fisk). However, before Vladimir can declare war, Fisk has all of the Russian warehouses blown up. It’s a wonder to see Fisk’s plot fall into place. When I found out that the Russians had Fisk’s location, I waited for a massive gunfight. It was Fisk’s plan all along to eliminate the Russians. Earlier on in the episode, he tells the consortium that the Russians will be eliminated. “They are too unpredictable,” he says.

Fisk later watches the explosions whilst dining with Vanessa. She decides to give him a second chance. In a great scene, Vanessa tries to mentally dissect Fisk. She brought a gun just in case anything went wrong. Fisk admits that he has hurt people. The city needs to die before it can be reborn. Vanessa is in awe of his power but seduced by his nature; Fisk is fascinated by a woman who interrogates him without fear. A match made in heaven? Maybe not, but after his admission of criminal behaviour, Vanessa warms to him. They both look on at the explosions (in a scene that reminded me of the ending of Fight Club…), symbolising the change in their relationship.


 “I need to be the man this city needs”

Daredevil, unbeknownst to Fisk, is at the scene of one of the explosions. He had been looking for the Russians throughout the episode. He has one name: Vladimir. At the beginning of the episode, Murdock is with Claire, explaining his powers (sort of). The world to him is like an impressionistic painting. What he sees is a ‘world on fire.’ Of course, it foreshadows the fireworks later on, but also symbolises his chase for justice. He wants to douse the flames of a city on fire. He wants to take the hell out of ‘Hell’s Kitchen.’ Afterwards, he finds some Russians and (after battering them) asks the whereabouts of Vladimir. The preceding scene is just a single 360 tracking shot inside a cab. The camera turns to the Russians, turns back to a Chinese guy in the cab, turns to a glimpse of Daredevil, turns back to the Chinese guy, turns to where Daredevil was but he is gone…It’s almost something out of a horror movie. The tension ramps up, the Russians re-enter the scene…and Daredevil pounces on them. Perfect execution. Perfect scene.

Murdock finds out how deep the rabbit hole goes when, as Murdock, he goes to the police station. A Russian from the 360 scene is in custody, and Murdock (with his super-hearing) hears detectives questioning him, but then shooting him. “Who’s turn is it?” they ask before one of them shoots him. Who doesn’t Fisk have on his side? If this wasn’t enough to discourage Murdock, Claire tells him that if he continues to fight for justice, he will become what he hates. Also, there’s no chance of a future together…But, Mrudock’s heroic nature puts justice first over romance. So he goes out to stop Vladimir…but ends up in the backdraft of an explosion. Post-explosion, he chases Vladimir, but the cops arrive and surround him. Cliff-hanger central!

“That’s very bad for business”

Karen and Foggy have their subplot as well, as they try to stop an old lady from being forcibly evicted from a block of apartments. Well, I use the term ‘apartments’ loosely. They are glorified hellholes. Men with sledgehammers have come round and destroyed her flat under the pretence of doing repairs. Foggy and Karen, after taking the lady’s case, offer to repair her flat. They laugh, they have dinner…but it’s clear that Karen has the hots for Murdock! In Foggy’s words, Murdock is like a “sexual rain man” when it comes to hot women. He’s not wrong! They are also caught by the backdraft of one of the explosions…

Another episode, another one knocked out of the stadium for Daredevil. At times, it can be very unsubtle, but the occasional blunt observation can be forgiven. Daredevil is still doing so many things right. For example, every scene is shot to perfection. The 360 taxi scene was sublime. Fisk’s plan came as a welcome surprise. While he controls the chess game, Murdock is struggling to get started. They are on a collision course, but Fisk may already be thinking five steps ahead to eliminate Murdock…

VERDICT: 8/10. Great! We saw the extent of Fisk’s abilities in ‘World on Fire.’ He used his brain here, rather than the car door of ‘In The Blood.’ Murdock is a fish swimming upstream…

(Click here for my review of Daredevil, Season 1, Episode 4: In The Blood)

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