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TV Review: Marvel's Daredevil - Season 1 Episode 4 "In The Blood"

04.13.2015

Missed an episode? Check out all prior reviews of Marvel's Daredevil here.

EPISODE 4: "In The Blood"

SYNOPSIS:  Two vicious Russian brothers working for Fisk strike back against Daredevil. Fisk moves to further consolidate his power in the criminal underworld.

BREAKDOWN: (The following column contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so I don't recommend reading this if you haven't watched this episode).  

It never occured to me that I would feel sympathy for Wilson Fisk. The man is The Kingpin, but this series plans to present him as the man behind the terrifying rumors and legends. In fact, we see the gravelly voiced man in a way I never anticipated: on a first date. Returning to the gallery from the prior episode, Fisk awkwardly asks Vanessa Marianna (MAN OF STEEL's Ayelet Zurer), the sultry woman who sold him a painting, out for dinner. She initially turns him down but they eventually go out to dinner. In the comics, Vanessa is the eventual Mrs. Wilson Fisk, so you know this is not a throwaway role.

D'Onofrio is an actor of imposing physical stature but there seems to be an awkwardness to his portrayal of Fisk. Taking Vanessa on their date, he at first seems to be quiet, reserved, and somewhat shy around his beautiful companion. Their conversation shifts to what he wants to do for his city and specifically Hell's Kitchen and his statements mirror those of Matt Murdock. Both want to make their hometown a safe place for citizens to live and both will do whatever they need to in order to realize that. Both have ambiguous methods, but for a good portion of this episode, you feel for Fisk as a relatable human being. That is until a pair of Russian gangsters crash the restaurant and send Vanessa off, hesitant to continue a relationship with Fisk.

When the episode closes, we see the true darkness of who Wilson Fisk is as he brutally kills a man with his bare hands before liquifying his skull by smashing it in a car door. This man, not yet The Kingpin, is well on his way to starting a war that will rage across the city and he is fully prepared for it. There is something unhinged about this scene that truly demonstrates how calculating and yet unpredictable this take on Fisk will be. There are also shades of D'Onofrio's performances in FULL METAL JACKET and THE CELL on display here, cementing him as the perfect choice for the role.

We also get to learn a bit more about the Russian gangsters glimpsed over the first few episodes of the series, specifically siblings Anatoly and Vladimir. We see the brothers in a flashback eight years prior while imprisoned in a Russian gulag where they vow to go to America and make a name for themselves. They scoff at Fisk's offer to work together and even brazenly use his name, something treated like uttering the name Voldemort. They also decide they need to prove they can be on their own by finding Matt Murdock whom they call The Man in Black. They find their way to Claire Temple and take her prisoner.

When Matt gets a distressing call from Claire on the phone he gives her at the start of the episode, we see the blind man leap around corners and rush to his friend's aid as if the city were a map he knew intrinsically. It is a nice touch to see him arrive too late and out of breath, another little detail that makes him more human. When he finds his way to the Russians' hideout, we see a bloodied and beaten Claire warn the gangsters of what they have wrought on themselves. Another expertly choereographed fight ensues which leads to Matt tending to Claire's wounds the same way she has tended to his.

Karen and Urich continue to build their partnership which begins begrudgingly. Urich comments that Karen may be barking up the wrong tree and hints at something he learned about her past that makes her a less than trustworthy source. Still, the two crash an auction house where Urich saves Karen from being caught by nefarious pursuers and the two agree they will go all in together to find out what is happening in Hell's Kitchen.

This was the best episode to date, in my opinion, as it did not mess around with flashbacks or anything too in your face. Rather, this felt like a strong dramatic episode reminiscent of something you would expect on House of Cards or The Wire but with a masked vigilante. Tight writing and pacing without any sloppy or out of place dialogue, this episode is top notch. If every show could be crafted this way, we would be in for some major treats.

MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES: Iron Man and Thor get name-checked this week as foes that the Russian gangsters would be expected to lose to rather than a masked vigilante.

NEXT ON DAREDEVIL: Episode 5 "World On Fire" - Fisk moves forward with plans that threaten to rip Hell's Kitchen apart. Murdock and Foggy take on a case helping tenants victimized by a slumlord.

Source: JoBlo.com

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