Thursday, September 3, 2015

Daredevil Recap: World on Fire (1x05)

Focus on a foggy mirror. There’s the sound of running water from a shower. A shadow moves toward the mirror, becoming clear: it’s Claire. She wipes some of the residue from the mirror and looks at herself. She turns her head, which reveals brutal wounds across her face. She turns away from the mirror and her silhouette’s movement suggest her undressing.

Matt stands in his kitchen, preparing some kind of meal. Claire—clothed in a baggy shirt (is it Matt’s?)—enters the room.
“Cook for every girl you bring home?”
“Just the ones who save my life.”
As Matt continues to prepare breakfast with expertise (can he make me breakfast?), they discuss Matt’s real job. You know, the lawyer thing. During the discussion, Claire moves, which opens up one of the wounds on her back. Matt, with his super sense, notices and comes to her aid. He looks her over—after asking for permission—and tells here there’s a hairline fracture. He does what he can to patch her up.

But his sensitive perception makes Claire wonder. She asks him how knows, how he can see while being blind. He responds:
“I guess you have to think of it as more than five senses.”
He goes into depth—a very nice description really—of different ways he can sense beyond the average five. He can “feel” balance or temperature changes. The number of “feel” senses is unlimited, as is the rest of the senses: hearing, tasting, smelling,
“All the fragments form a sort of impressionist painting.”
“But what does that look like? What do you actually see?”
“A world on fire.”
Suddenly, the camera view is thrust into Matt’s head, seeing through his eyes for the first time. There’s a blurry, fiery outline of Claire.
“If all I saw was fire, I’d probably want to hit people too.”
The light-hearted tone of the conversation shifts. Matt’s worried for Claire. He knows the Russians know who she is and he thinks they will try to attack her again. He wants her to stay with him in his apartment, where she can be protected. She hesitantly agrees, trying to make another joke.

One thing leads to another and after a long look between them (sort of), Matt kisses her.
“I was wondering when you were going to do that.”
“Well, I’ve been a little busy.”

The happy moment dissipates quickly as they go back to discussing “business” (okay, vigilante business). Fisk, the Russians, both come up in their conversation. Claire reveals she heard the Russians say a name when they had her tied up.


Ah, yes the Russian who still has his head. He is currently brooding in his hideout when Wesley arrives (much to Vladimir’s dismay). They discuss his brother (the one without a head). Wesley—who watched Fisk slam Anatoly’s head into the car door repeatedly—demands Vladimir and his men find his brother so they can get their operation back on schedule. Just then, a man walks in and says in Russian:
“We found him.”
We all know who he’s talking about.

They bring the body in and lay him on the table. It’s only a silhouette shot for the body, so nobody needs to worry about gore in this scene. Though it’s obvious the head is gone, smushed between the door and the car floor. Ick.

The henchman says the body was found in a nearby lot. Vladimir is clearly upset. He goes to his brother’s body and speaks to it. Then he pulls something out of his brother’s jacket: a black mask. The Russians think the masked vigilante is trying to send them a message. Vladimir demands his men find the man in black and…
“Bring me his head.”
Cue opening credits. (That was a doozy of an opener: a good ole talk, a kiss we’ve been waiting for since Claire found Matt in her dumpster, a brother’s grief, and a bounty for an innocent man accused of murder. Stay tuned for more on Marvel's Daredevil.)

The show resumes with an up-close shot of someone spraying what appears to be blood from a fancy-schmancy car (getting rid of the evidence, eh?). The Big Leaders—Madam Gao, Nobu, and Leland—meet in this warehouse. Mr. Fisk arrives and announces the Russians are out of their deal.
“Since when?”
“Since I removed Anatoly’s head with my car door.”
The Big Leaders aren’t happy with Fisk, but he soon smooths it over. He claims it was a personal matter with the Russians and now the profits can be split between four instead of five. They were going to eliminate the Russians eventually; Fisk just decided to end it earlier than expected. He informs them they’ve set-up the masked vigilante to take the fall for Anatoly’s death.

The Big Leaders are suddenly in agreement—maybe in fear of losing their own heads. Leland isn’t so thrilled with the latest developments:
“Masked vigilantes, crazy Russians, I’m getting my stun gun out of storage.”
Somewhere else in Hell’s Kitchen, a man sings in the backseat of a taxi—clearly another language. Those in the front seat question him about the masked vigilante, but he doesn’t respond. They stop the car and get out, leaving the singing man in the cab. He continues his concert for one.

The excellent cinematography really revs it up this episode. The camera pans around the cab, facing out the windows toward the dark, seemingly-empty alley. It pauses on the singing man before circling back around. The men who left the cab exit a door from one of the buildings and head back to the car… until they are attacked by the masked vigilante. Part of the fight is seen through the back window of the cab. Men with guns barrel out of the building and begin shooting. The singing man is shot, his blood splattering the cab’s windows. The others lay still, including the masked vigilante. The men circle around the cab…

...when the masked vigilante springs from the ground and knocks them around. He grabs one of the guys and demands to know where Vladimir is. The man doesn’t tell him, but he does reveal that Vladimir believes he—the masked vigilante—killed his brother, Anatoly.

The police arrive and Matt takes off into the shadows of Hell’s Kitchen.

Fast-forward to the next morning, where Karen is fighting with her new office equipment. Foggy promptly arrives, as usual, with a joke. Matt walks in and immediately asks about Russian beheadings in the news. Karen and Foggy are appalled. Then, a woman walks in asking for “Senor Foggy Law.” Mrs. Cardenas needs help because a big businessman—Armin Tully—is shutting down her apartment building. However, the whole scene feels sketchy since “workers” had come to “fix” the apartments’ problems. Only instead, they left a bigger mess, which gave Tully valid reasons to shut down the building complex.

Since Karen speaks some Spanish, she takes to translating Mrs. Cardenas’ bilingual speech. Obviously Matt knows Spanish too, but he lets Karen continue because he likes the sound of her voice. Karen flushes. They learn also that Tully is offering money for the residents of the apartments to get them out. But Mrs. Cardenas says they don’t want money. They want to stay in their homes.
Matt rattles off something in Spanish and Mrs. Cardenas thanks him profusely. He’s told her that Foggy will talk to Tully’s lawyer. Foggy informs Matt that Tully’s lawyer is from Landman and Zack, the law firm they both used to intern at and then refused to work at in order to…“help people.”

Matt suggests Foggy take Karen to the meeting. He will head to the police station to find more on Tully and the situation. While there, he “listens” in on a conversation in one of the interrogation rooms. It’s a Russian man with two cops—one of the Russians from the scuffle last night. The Russian says he’ll give them a name to make a deal: Wilson Fisk.

The cops look at each other and ask “Whose turn is it?” They release the Russians handcuffs. Then one of the cops (Detective Blake) punches the other cop (Detective Hoffman) in the face and pulls out his gun. Hoffman yells “he’s got my gun.” The Russian cowers, crying for mercy. Blake points the gun at the Russian and says:
“You really shouldn’t have said his name.”
He pulls the trigger (OHMYOHMYOHMY). The camera zips back to Matt, who jerks up from his sitting position. The gunshot is loud in his ears, the rest of the police station buzz fading into a dull roar. He stands in the middle of the police station amidst cops running toward the interrogation room. The cinematography of this moment is fantastic. Go watch it, seriously. Stop reading this and just go watch it.

Karen and Foggy arrive at Landman and Zack. They go to the desk to check-in for their appointment when someone yells, I kid you not, “Foggy Bear!” They turn to see a pretty blond strutting towards them. She’s Tully’s lawyer—and Foggy’s ex (oooh, this is gonna be good). She writes off their argument without a second word. She explains the workmen left the apartment buildings out of fear—criminal element. Foggy still stands up for Mrs. Cardenas and shoves it back in Marci’s face.

Thank you, Foggy Nelson. Please don’t ever change. Ever. Please. Please…
“You could have killed it here, Foggy Bear.”
“And you never should have signed on, Marci.”

Wesley and Fisk sit in a fancy schmancy car again (like do big, bad rich guys not have anything better to do than ride around town all day? How are they not noticed by now?). They briefly discuss the police station incident. Fisk emphasizes how lucky they were it was “those two.” They can’t always count on their grubby paws being able to influence the idiots who wind up in handcuffs.

Foggy and Karen visit Mrs. Cardenas at her apartment. The building complex is… not the best looking of places. Foggy, however, tells her they are there to get things fixed in the apartments.

As they fix the sink, Matt—as the masked vigilante—approaches one of the cops, Detective Blake… with his fists. He interrogates the interrogator, demanding information on Fisk and Vladimir. But Blake doesn’t know anything. Matt asks how they’re connected, but Blake just calls him stupid for not connecting the dots. So Matt knocks him out and "borrows" his cell phone.

Vanessa and Fisk meet for dinner once more—only this time, it’s more exclusive: a fancy restaurant just for the two of them. She’s not exactly happy; she confronts him for lying almost immediately. He responds with:
“I don’t like to be in public. I don’t like to be questioned.”
(I feel you, Wilson. I feel you.)

He tells her he will be honest with her though. They sit down to eat.

The brightness of the cozy restaurant is contrasted with dark, brooding Vladimir. He wipes down his brother’s body. A man—Turk—waltzes in, bringing in a doozy of information: a fancy-schmancy SUV was brought into a shop to be cleaned. Black, expensive, blood, brains.
“Who’s car? Who does it belong to?”
“Some big white guy. Bald as shit.”
Vladimir mutters the name like Indiana Jones mutters his nemesis’ names. He knows Fisk has been playing them. He tells his  men to get ready—all the weapons. He says he’ll give one million (I’m assuming dollars but maybe he means those Russian hats or something) to whoever can tell him where to find Fisk tonight.

(I know! Pick me! I’d like one million—even if it’s the hats—and a good old fashioned manhunt.)

Foggy and Karen do maintenance for Mrs. Cardenas, who is overjoyed and demands they stay to eat.
“Aqui, we take care for another.”
Mrs. Cardenas basically tells them to enjoy their date. Foggy and Karen have an awkward laugh. (I ship it. I ship it. I shiiiiip it.)

Matt and Claire are in his apartment, looking over the phone Matt “borrowed” from Detective Blake. There is a text message listing four locations. One of them is where the Russians took the boy they kidnapped in “Cut Man.” Claire and Matt argue about what kind of man Matt truly is. He says,
“I need to be the man this city needs.”
(Okay, slow down, Batman.)

Claire tells him what he does is important to the city, but she can’t “fall in love with someone who is so damn close to being what he hates.”

Matt responds, simply with: “No, you shouldn’t.” Then he literally walks out the door, leaving Claire behind, to go vigilante-ing.

We return to Fisk and Vanessa’s private dinner. They’re telling each other stories as well as discussing the concept of feeling alone (I smell a theme developing here).
“Why does a man like you feel alone?”
“Nature of my business, I suppose.”
“And what kind of business is that?”
“Rebuilding this city. I want to carve something beautiful out of its ugliness, set free its potential.”
“You sound like an artist.”
“I’m just a man with a dream.”
“What do you think an artist is?”
They briefly discuss his fancy cuff-links—the only ones he appears to wear. They were his father’s… he wears them every day to remember him (I wonder if this is for a good reason or bad). He died when Fisk was a boy.

Fisk asks her what kind of gun she has in her purse. Vanessa states she knows he is a dangerous man, but she’d like a reason to stay (Who is this Vanessa? Why is Fisk so interested in her?).

He admits he’s don’t terrible things and he will do more terrible things because…
“A city… crumbles and fades. It needs to die before it can be reborn.”
(That is either poetic or terrifying. Maybe both.)

He tells her that by his side is the safest place she’ll ever be. She pulls out her gun and slides sit across the table to him (SYMBOLISM). Their waiter is in the background; he’s on the phone and looking toward their table. He speaks, but the words are inaudible.

Vladimir, brooding over his brother’s body, turns when a man comes in and announces they know where Fisk is. Matt—sitting outside on a rooftop—“listens” in on the conversation.

Foggy and Karen tell college stories over their dinner. The conversation leads to Matt’s extravagant love life where Karen is clearly acting odd (why, Marvel, why???). Matt uses his sense of touch to find out what people look like by touching their faces. It’s clear he’s never done that to Karen because she asks Foggy if he’s ever described her to Matt. Foggy fumbles—almost with a compliment?—and says Matt probably has a mental picture of Karen in his head and he wouldn’t want to mess with that.

Karen, a little hesitantly, says:
“Foggy, I want you to touch my face.”
Awkwardly, Foggy tries to make up some excuse—“I’m not blind?”—so she says she wants to know how a blind person would see her.

A man with a cane—I thought it was Matt at first—approaches one of the Russian warehouses. He’s led inside by guards. Matt—donned in his black mask—attacks the guards. Inside, the Russians are preparing weapons. Vladimir is ready to go. The man with the cane approaches—“were we expecting another message from Madam Gao?”—Vladimir and Sergei discuss.

 Then the man with the cane—a henchman of Madam Gao—blows up the warehouse.

Matt—who is still outside—is knocked to the ground by the blast.

Just as Foggy goes to touch Karen’s face, the blast rocks the apartment building, and they are both tossed to the ground.

Mrs. Cardenas—injured in the blast—cries out. Foggy gets up to rush to her side.

But there’s another blast.

And another.

And another.

Foggy and Karen huddle around Mrs. Cardenas before Foggy takes off, saying he’s going to see if anyone else needs help (oh Foggy Bear, you pure soul).

An overhead shot of the city reveals four explosions lighting up the night.

Vanessa and Fisk watch the fires burn from the window of the restaurant. Classical music plays in the background while police sirens screech through the night outside. Vanessa casually asks, “Who?”  Fisk asks if she heard about the kidnapped boy. Then he says:
“The men who did that will no longer infect this city.”

Fisk tells her he should get her home. He calls for the waiter and hands him an envelope—presumably carrying a big tip—as a thank you for the evening, “For making this call for me, especially.”

Matt—on the ground and covered in soot—stirs, coughing. One of the Russians is on top of him, unmoving. He pushes him off and gets to his feet. His Daredevil senses tingle (oh, wait) and he hears Sergei calling for Vladimir inside the warehouse. They’re both still alive.

Turk—the man who told Vladimir about the SUV—is in a car with Wesley (seriously, does Mr. Fancy Pants do nothing else but sit in cars??). Turk strokes a handful of big bills. Wesley reveals they planted the black mask to distract Vladimir—to keep him off balance—until they could get their plans in place to destroy the Russians.

Sergei and Vladimir stumble out of the warehouse, making their escape through back alleys. But who loves to frequent remote, empty back alleys? The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. Matt arrives and knocks them both down. He dodges bullets and flying fists before grabbing Vladimir. He pummels him, saying “This is for Claire.”

But then the police arrive… from all directions. They’re surrounded with guns and lights aimed true. Matt lifts his hands to his head in surrender.

Cue credits.

What did you think of this episode? Do you like the story arc forming with these characters and this city?

Thumbnail photo and cuff-links photo from Marvel's Daredevil official Facebook page. All other Daredevil photos and gifs from Daredevil Red Thread site. 


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