Sunday, August 16, 2015

Summer TV Rewind: Marvel's Daredevil 1.08: "Shadows in the Glass"

“I don’t want anyone to be a hero, Karen. I want you to be safe. And I want to protect this firm and everything we’re trying to build here. We know the law, we’ll use it to our advantage. Agreed?”

“Shadows in the Glass” focused heavily on Wilson Fisk, and like the previous Fisk-heavy episode, it was very violent. Fisk, for all that he tries to say he’s not like his father, is a very violent man. In this episode, we learn about Fisk’s childhood and why exactly he is so messed up. Fisk’s father is played by the always impressive Domenick Lombardozzi, aka Herc from “The Wire.” I do like my villains in shades of gray, rather than pure moustache-twirling, so I appreciate the care that has gone into developing Fisk, however I don’t think I can take too many more of these ultra-violent Fisk-centered episodes. I want to follow the sometimes goofy, sometimes dangerous misadventures of Nelson and Murdock. Although that could be a double-edged sword. If we see them spend too much more time in the courtroom, my “I hate shows with legal inaccuracies” reflex could be triggered. The creative team didn’t exactly give me much confidence in that department the only other time we’ve seen a “law” heavy episode.

At the beginning of the episode, we learn that Fisk has a very precise morning routine. He gets up, looks at the white painting Vanessa sold him, makes a particular scrambled egg recipe, picks out a similar black suit and tie, and puts on a particular pair of cufflinks (we later learn the cufflinks once belonged to his father). The creepy part, though, is that when Fisk looks in the mirror, he sees himself as a child covered in blood. The soundtrack to Fisk’s morning routine is Bach’s first suite, which as a cellist through college, is ingrained in my brain, and I’m not sure how I feel about associating it with Fisk. We also see Matt waking up. His apartment (and his face) are worse for wear from the fight with Stick. Matt is still upset about the Stick situation, and he barely drags himself to the office.

As he approaches the office, Matt hears Foggy and Karen telling each other to “don’t tell Matt” something. They’re talking about their investigative exploits with Ben, obviously. Once he’s inside the office, Matt confronts them about what he heard, and Foggy and Karen tell all. Matt is upset because he thinks his friends are putting themselves in danger, never mind the fact that Karen is coming close to the line of breaching the NDA she signed with Union Allied. Matt says that going forward, they are going to do this the right way, and on their home turf, through the legal system. We later see the trio doing some research into the corporate structure of the company that did the “renovations” to Mrs. Cardenas’ apartment and what became of Union Allied. They start to see some connections.

Throughout the episode, all three of Fisk’s associates meet with him to express their displeasure with how he has been running the business recently. The first meeting is with Nobu, who is still extremely angry about losing Black Sky in the previous episode. Fisk is equally angry, because he thinks he deserves more respect. Next it’s Owlsley, who meets with Fisk at Fisk’s tailor’s shop. Owlsley feels that the business is in danger, and he essentially tells Fisk to get it together. The final complainant is Madame Gao, who shows up directly at Fisk’s apartment. She says she has heard that Nobu and Owlsley are upset, and she warns Fisk to get his house in order, or she will start dealing with Nobu and Owlsley directly. She also warns Fisk that not everyone around him is loyal, since she found out his home address, a closely guarded secret.

We also get a number of flashbacks to Fisk’s childhood in the 1970s that really help explain what makes him tick. We learn that Wilson Fisk’s dad, Bill, decided to run for city council, essentially because he thought it was a meal ticket. Unfortunately for the Fisks, Bill took out a loan from a loan shark to finance his campaign. Bill ultimately loses the election, and a school bully makes fun of Wilson for it. Bill takes Wilson to confront the bully, and when the bully says that his father called Bill a loser, Bill attacks the bully. Once he is on the ground, Bill has Wilson kick the bully repeatedly. Later, Bill and Wilson’s mom, Marlene, get in an argument about Bill’s needing to repay the loan shark. Wilson is in time out watching the wall (which looks like the painting he bought from Vanessa) as Bill starts to take a belt to Marlene. Wilson eventually has enough, and he kills his dad by bashing his head in with a hammer. Wilson and Marlene chop up Bill’s body and drop the pieces in the river.

There is some additional drama for Fisk to deal with in the present day. Detective Blake, who has been hospitalized in a coma since being shot by Fisk’s agents, is conscious again. Fisk and Wesley hatch a plan to make Blake’s partner, Hoffman, kill Blake. They’re old Academy buddies, though, so the plan is easier said than done. Ultimately, though, money talks, and Hoffman agrees to kill Blake. Hoffman sneaks an injection into Blake’s hospital room inside a sandwich. Just after Hoffman injects Blake, Matt bursts in, incapacitates Hoffman, and tries to interrogate Blake before he dies. Matt doesn’t get much before he has to rush off. Of course the whole incident is later spun as being the work as the vigilante.

Following the confrontation with Madame Gao, Wesley can see that Fisk is upset, so he sends for Vanessa. After hearing the story of his childhood, Vanessa says Fisk is not like his dad. Fisk, for his part, seems more at peace with someone to support him. Meanwhile, Matt pays a visit to Ben Urich. At first Ben is afraid, but Matt assures him he’s not a killer, and most of what has been in the news are lies. He gives Ben Fisk’s name and says Fisk needs to be dragged into the light. Just as Ben is in the process of writing an article about Fisk, though, Fisk gives a press conference saying that he’s going to step out of the shadows and make a big donation to help Hell’s Kitchen stop the masked vigilante. Ben deletes the article he was in the process of writing. Fisk has won this battle, but hopefully not the war.

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