Sunday, July 26, 2015

Summer TV Rewind: Marvel's Daredevil 1.05: "World on Fire"

“I can’t go to L and Z alone. They’re going to shark attack me, man. Look at me! I’m delicious!”

As I predicted last week, the fifth episode of “Daredevil” has a bit more of a case-of-the-week focus, however there’s still plenty of mythology, too. This week’s case is a civil case, not a criminal case, which makes me a little squirrely because it comes pretty close to the kind of law I used to practice, and legal inaccuracies in television shows are a pretty strong pet peeve of mine. Usually there isn’t enough actual legal stuff in “Daredevil” for it to bother me too much (other than the fastest trial ever that I ranted about a bit two weeks ago), but this week skated a little closer to the line. Beyond the case, there was plenty of build-up of the mythology, with Fisk continuing his plan to take over and “rebuild” New York City. There were also advancements in the romantic relationship department, both with Matt and Claire and Foggy and Karen. I don’t have much hope for the long-term viability of either relationship, but that’s where we’re at for now.

We start right in on the first of the two relationships with the episode’s opening. Claire is getting a shower in Matt’s apartment and clearly still in a lot of pain from the beating she took during the kidnapping in the last episode. She’s got a fair number of lacerations, and as Matt diagnoses by listening to her breathing, a hairline rib fracture. They get especially close as Matt is treating one of the lacerations on Claire’s back, and they end up kissing. They don’t have much time to talk about it, though, because Matt has to go to work. This made me start to wonder what the creative team was planning to do with Matt and Karen, who seemed to have a bit of a thing in the pilot. Have they been dropped in favor of Foggy and Karen? Well, it appears that at least for now, the answer to that is yes. I have a feeling this paradigm will be short lived, though. Later in the episode, Matt and Claire do have a bit of an argument, where she says she’s not sure she should be falling in love with someone who “enjoys” beating people up the way Matt claims to. Matt says that’s probably a good idea.

Meanwhile, much is happening on the organized crime side of things. Wesley arrives at Ranskahov headquarters, announces that the deal for Fisk to help with distribution is done, and he innocently asks Vladimir where Anatoly is. Vladimir, understandably, has the exact same question. At that moment, a henchman brings in Anatoly’s headless body. There is a black mask with the body, which looks quite a bit like the vigilante is responsibly. Vladimir vows revenge. Madame Gao seems especially skeptical, but eventually Fisk seems to win her over, too. Nobu reminds Fisk of the promises he made to Nobu “and those he speaks for,” so I’m really starting to wonder who Nobu really is.

Concurrently, Fisk calls a meeting with all the other crime bosses (minus the Ranskahovs, obviously) that he has been dealing with. He tells them that he killed Anatoly for “personal” reasons, and he says that eventually, he wants to cut the Russians out of his business entirely. The timing isn’t quite right yet, though. The rest of the gang is skeptical, but when Fisk promises to split what had been the Ranskahov share of the profits equally among everyone remaining, they go with it. We next see some Russians transporting one of Madame Gao’s blind workers. When they arrive at their destination, the Russians go inside the building while the Asian man remains in the car. We’re told by a camera angle looking out from that car that Matt is lurking. When the Russians emerge from the building, Matt attacks. The Asian man is shot and killed in the fray. Police arrive on the scene, but Matt manages to run up a fire escape before they see him. The surviving Russian man is arrested.

Moving on to the case of the week, a woman named Mrs. Cardenas arrives at Nelson and Murdock. He’s a friend of Foggy’s police officer contact’s mom. Her landlord, Tully, who is really better described as a slumlord, wants to convert her rent controlled apartment building into condos. His staff started some repairs and left everything a mess. There’s no water and spotty electricity. Matt says they’ll take the case, and of course he volunteers Foggy to talk to Tully’s lawyers while he goes to the police station to look up other tenant complaints against Tully. The law firm Tully has on retainer just happens to be the law firm where Matt and Foggy interned, then turned down permanent positions to start their own firm. So this will end well, for sure.

Foggy and Karen go to the law firm as instructed, and they are met in the lobby by Marcy Stahl, one of the firm’s attorneys who also happens to be Foggy’s ex. She says she is Tully’s lawyer, and she aggressively explains why Mrs. Cardenas has no case. Foggy is equally aggressive in explaining his point of view, and they engage in a bit of a battle of wits before Foggy and Karen eventually leave. The whole encounter makes Foggy more determined to win the case. Foggy and Karen then pay a visit to Mrs. Cardenas to update her on the case. Foggy offers to finish all the repairs to her place so that it’s habitable while all the legal wrangling is happening. After the work is done, Mrs. Cardenas treats Foggy and Karen to dinner, and they treat it like a date. It’s a pretty uncomfortable date, though. Karen seems more interested in talking about Matt, and she wants Foggy to touch her face like Matt would. I’ve got to admit, that even though I find Charlie Cox much more attractive then Elden Hensen, I felt kind of bad for Foggy in that moment.

Meanwhile, Matt is at the police station waiting for his and Foggy’s officer friend to get him all the complaints against Tully. Thanks to his super hearing, he picks up on two detectives interrogating the Russian guy he beat up the night before. The Russian gives up Wilson Fisk’s name, and the detectives kill him, making it look like self-defense. Later, of course, Matt, in vigilante mode, attacks one of the detectives and tries to get him to spill the beans on Fisk. While the detective offers no specifics, he does imply that Fisk and the Russians are connected. The detective falls unconscious, so he says no more, but Matt does get his phone. Back at the apartment, Claire finds some addresses on the detective’s phone, one of which seems likely to be Vladimir’s. Of course that’s where Matt is headed next, and that’s when Claire gets upset.

Another romantic relationship explored in this episode is Vanessa and Fisk. Vanessa has finally agreed to a second date, and they are at the same restaurant as the first date, only this time Fisk has rented the whole place out. Vanessa would like to get to know Fisk better, and while he promises he will never lie to her, he does get evasive when she asks him to talk about work. He goes on and on about how he wants to make Hell’s Kitchen better and rebuild it from the ground up. Vanessa is smart, though, and you can tell the gears are turning. She knows that he is not starting up a community development foundation! She does see something in him that she likes, though, despite the atrocities he has committed. I’m not sure what that says about her.

Anyway, Fisk and Vanessa are looking out over the city when four explosions go off at each of the locations where the Russians have major installations (the addresses in the cell phone Matt recovered). One of the explosions is right by Mrs. Cardenas’ apartment, and she, Foggy, and Karen are caught up in the middle of it just as Foggy is about to touch Karen’s face with his eyes closed. Mrs. Cardenas is the worst injured of the trio. Matt has gone to the building where Vladimir is supposed to be, and that one blows up, too. He punches some people, and he manages to get to Vladimir, but then the cops show up. I’m not quite sure how he’s going to get out of this predicament. You’d think he would know that all the punching and havoc was going to catch up to him at some point!

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