Sunday, July 19, 2015

Summer TV Rewind: Marvel's Daredevil 1.04: "In the Blood"

“That’s because we’ve been talking behind your back. About how the Russians can’t seem to handle one man running around in a mask. I mean, if he had an iron suit or a magic hammer, maybe that would explain how you keep getting your asses handed to you.”
-James Wesley

The fourth episode of “Daredevil” focused primarily on one of the criminal enterprises under Fisk’s influence – the Ranskahov brothers. The Russians have been taking the brunt of Matt’s vigilanteism in the first three episodes, so it makes sense that all their recent setbacks are now causing bigger problems. This was also another episode where Matt was separated from Foggy and Karen, doing his own vigilante thing. Actually, Matt wasn’t really in this episode much at all, but he did drive much of the action. I wonder if the series going forward will take an every-other-week approach, with Foggy and Matt case episodes alternating with more mythology-heavy episodes. That could work for me, if it is indeed how the rest of the season goes. Although now that I think about it, too many case of the week episodes might not be a good thing for me personally, since one of my pet peeves is legal TV shows that get lots of stuff wrong (for example the quickest scheduled trial ever in last week’s episode).

Like I said, the big focus of this episode is the Ranskahov brothers, Vladimir and Anatoly. The episode opens with a flashback scene to eight years previously where the brothers are in a prison in Siberia. It’s pretty clear that Anatoly, the older brother, is the real planner while younger brother Vladimir is a bit of a hothead. They seem to be about to escape, and part of the escape plan involves cutting up a corpse. Meanwhile, in the present day, Matt is messing up yet another job that the Ranskahov brothers are trying to complete. This one ends with a body falling on the hood of a car. Afterwards, Matt has to go to Claire to get patched up yet again. She’s catsitting for a friend, so it gives her a good excuse to not be at her apartment where the Russians can easily find her. Matt and Claire talk about how their arrangement is going to work going forward. Matt tells Claire to put her number in his burner phone, and he will call her when he is next in need of her services.

Throughout this episode, Karen is continuing to pursue the true story of what happened at Union Allied. First, she takes another meeting with reporter Ben Urich. Ben says he doesn’t want to take the story, and he recommends Karen drops it. Karen chides Ben, bringing up all the great exposes he has written in the past. Ben basically pulls a Murtaugh, saying he’s too old for the high stakes investigative reporting game anymore. Karen then goes to an auction off office equipment, some of which belonged to Union Allied. Her theory is that whatever Union Allied has become will try to buy all their old stuff back. Ben slides into the seat behind her and warns her to be careful. He points out a few other people who aren’t bidding on anything. He thinks they are Union Allied spies. He tells Karen to bid on and win a lot (presumably a cheap one) to look less conspicuous.

Later, Karen and Ben again meet at the diner. Ben says Karen needs to stay out of this, but he’ll keep investigating. Apparently his tipsters have a habit of being victims of retaliation. Ben wants Karen to sign the NDA to keep her safe (but he doesn’t have to keep quiet himself, since he hasn’t signed one). Karen did indeed bid on and win a $3,500 lot of 1990’s era office equipment, including a fax machine, but since she’s broke she charged it to the law firm. She’s pretty sure she’ll be fired, but Ben reminds her that the alternative is worse. Near the end of the episode, she shows Foggy the fax machine and tells him more equipment is coming, and he’s actually happy about it. It makes him feel like he’s actually working in a real office and starting to live his dream.

Wesley visits the Russians at their cab company. He says that Fisk is offering some of his people to help with the vigilante situation because they can’t get the job done. The Ranskahov brothers are not happy about this. They pay a visit in the hospital to a guy Semyon who was put in coma by Matt. They give him epinephrine to wake him up and make him talk about whatever he knows about Matt. He wakes up just long enough to tell them about Rosario, then he dies. The Russians raid her apartment, and Santino sees this go down. We see Matt and Foggy leave the office at the end of the day in a good mood, but then Matt gets a call from Claire, and he can hear she’s being attacked. Matt runs to the apartment where she has been catsitting, but he’s too late. She’s gone. He tries to hear what’s going on outside so he can run after the abductors. He hears Santino’s name mentioned, but he loses track of where Claire is going.

Matt visits Santino because he heard his name and all. Santino seems a bit beaten up and worse for wear, and while he doesn’t know much about what happened to Claire, he is able to give Matt the name of the taxi company that was on the back of the taxi used to kidnap Claire. It’s the Ranskahov brothers’ taxi company, of course. At the taxi garage, the Russians are torturing Claire, and they want to know the identity of the masked vigilante. You all know how I feel about torture, and here I am blogging two torture episodes of television in a row. The things I do for you readers (all one or two of you)! Just as things are about to get really violent at the taxi garage, the lights go out, and Claire starts laughing. She tells the Russians they can ask the vigilante his name directly.

Matt arrives on the scene and fights off all the Russians one by one. Claire gets an assist on the last one by hitting him over the head with a baseball bat. Once all the Russians are dead or incapacitated, Claire starts to break down, and she and Matt hug in the middle of the garage. The Ranskahovs arrive at the scene and survey the damage. When they are told that the masked man has struck again, Anatoly decides he’s going to go to the deal with Fisk and get some extra help to fight off the vigilante. Vladimir, who had been resistant to the idea up until this point, finally agrees that asking Fisk for help is something they really need to do.

Wilson has the car take him back to the gallery where we saw him last week so that he can flirt with the saleswoman, Vanessa, some more. They agree to meet for dinner when she is off work. She mentions that one time a man offered to buy every painting in the gallery so that she would be off work sooner, but Fisk counters that any woman who has to be bought isn’t worth it. They do have dinner at a fancy restaurant, and Fisk mentions that Hell’s Kitchen isn’t changing fast enough for his taste. There’s a little mini debate on gentrification, and Fisk comes out the winner, of course, since he wouldn’t have it any other way. Fisk and Vanessa are about to enjoy desert when Anatoly arrives at the restaurant and causes a scene. Fisk tells Wesley to put Anatoly in a car, and the date is over. Later, when Fisk is dropping off Vanessa, she doesn’t commit to another date. She saw something different in him, but she doesn’t know what to make of the restaurant incident.

At Matt’s apartment, Matt patches up Claire’s injuries from her abduction. It’s an interesting role reversal. She’s scared, but she’ll still help Matt because she thinks he’s really doing good for the city. Matt finally reveals some personal information to Claire, telling her that his dad was a boxer and his name is Matthew. Meanwhile, Wesley and Anatoly are in the car, and Wesley admonishes Anatoly for showing up in person instead of calling. Fisk pulls up to the driver’s side of the car and pulls Anatoly out. The two seem to have a history, and they start fighting right there on the street. Fisk eventually gets the better of Anatoly, and he repeatedly slams Anatoly’s head in the car door. It’s an especially gruesome scene. When it is all over, Fisk tells Wesley to deliver to body to Vladimir. Wesley says this will start a war, and Fisk is good with that.

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