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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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10:13AM on 04/14/2015
This was a solid episode in an absolutely amazing show. I'm only up to episode 5 right now (don't worry I won't talk about spoilers), and every episode has just fired on all cylinders for me.
The only issue I have is with the introduction of Kingpin, not the characterization as others have mentioned below, but just with how he was introduced. I feel that having him introduced to us first with going on a date with Vanessa has the reverse effect of building him up to be the villain. I think
This was a solid episode in an absolutely amazing show. I'm only up to episode 5 right now (don't worry I won't talk about spoilers), and every episode has just fired on all cylinders for me.
The only issue I have is with the introduction of Kingpin, not the characterization as others have mentioned below, but just with how he was introduced. I feel that having him introduced to us first with going on a date with Vanessa has the reverse effect of building him up to be the villain. I think it would have been better to introduce him as the crime boss he is and then move into him on a date with Vanessa as a way of showing the audience that this evil guy is really a human deep down. Just my opinion and frankly a really small issue with the series as by the end of episode 5, I'm over it.
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8:31AM on 04/14/2015

Another Marvel reference.

At the end of the episode Fisk says to Wes about contacting Mr Potter for a new suit. I expect he is talking about Melvin Potter,a taylor who in the comics becomes the villain Gladiator.
At the end of the episode Fisk says to Wes about contacting Mr Potter for a new suit. I expect he is talking about Melvin Potter,a taylor who in the comics becomes the villain Gladiator.
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8:18AM on 04/14/2015
Disclaimer, I'm only up to episode 4, so don't take what I say like I know everything. I kind of agree with @I Am The Perfect Gentleman. I love D'Onofrio's performance, but I am not sure about the direction of the character. An unhinged socially awkward guy is not what I pictured the Kingpin ever being. I mean don't get me wrong he is still menacing and calculating obviously, but there is something so far that I am just not too sure about. Maybe as this goes on I'll change my mind. But man was
Disclaimer, I'm only up to episode 4, so don't take what I say like I know everything. I kind of agree with @I Am The Perfect Gentleman. I love D'Onofrio's performance, but I am not sure about the direction of the character. An unhinged socially awkward guy is not what I pictured the Kingpin ever being. I mean don't get me wrong he is still menacing and calculating obviously, but there is something so far that I am just not too sure about. Maybe as this goes on I'll change my mind. But man was this episode strong. I feel bad saying episode, lets face it, this is a 13 hour Hollywood budget movie.
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5:22AM on 04/14/2015
Been a long time since I read the comic books but didn't Fisk have a wife called Vanessa in the comics? I recall him having a sympathetic side when it came to her. Always nice when you can easily picture a baddie being a nice guy.
Been a long time since I read the comic books but didn't Fisk have a wife called Vanessa in the comics? I recall him having a sympathetic side when it came to her. Always nice when you can easily picture a baddie being a nice guy.
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11:59PM on 04/13/2015

@I Am The Perfect Gentleman

To be honest I feel the opposite. I love that he's an awkward recluse but still a man of conviction and resolve. Very powerful only when he feels the need to be.
To be honest I feel the opposite. I love that he's an awkward recluse but still a man of conviction and resolve. Very powerful only when he feels the need to be.
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11:56PM on 04/13/2015
I think my biggest issue with this show is the portrail of the Kingpin. Dinofrio looks the part (although he's either too small or not fat enough) but the portrail of an awkward recluse is something I'm not crazy about. It's fine and he's a very well developed charecter but I think I would have prefered a more traditional evil crime lord/ legitimate buisnessman appearance.

That's a minor complaint in a show that get's just about everythign else perfect.
I think my biggest issue with this show is the portrail of the Kingpin. Dinofrio looks the part (although he's either too small or not fat enough) but the portrail of an awkward recluse is something I'm not crazy about. It's fine and he's a very well developed charecter but I think I would have prefered a more traditional evil crime lord/ legitimate buisnessman appearance.

That's a minor complaint in a show that get's just about everythign else perfect.
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12:48AM on 04/14/2015
The writing is top notch. The Russians were stupid. Fisk didn't want people to know his name so people obviously weren't allowed to speak it. He was even reluctant to appear in public with his co-conspirators so that there wouldn't be photos of them together. So then one of the Russians shows up in public at a restaurant saying "I accept your proposal". Imagine the degree to which he had to hold himself back to not kill him then and there.
The writing is top notch. The Russians were stupid. Fisk didn't want people to know his name so people obviously weren't allowed to speak it. He was even reluctant to appear in public with his co-conspirators so that there wouldn't be photos of them together. So then one of the Russians shows up in public at a restaurant saying "I accept your proposal". Imagine the degree to which he had to hold himself back to not kill him then and there.
3:19AM on 04/14/2015
totally agree with you about fisk.
totally agree with you about fisk.
10:10AM on 04/14/2015
So far I kind of get a different feeling from him. I don't see him as a reclusive and socially awkward man. I see him as the strong and bold character from the comics. The scenes where he's with his "associates" show him being quite assertive. The scenes where he's with Vanessa is what breaks through his assertiveness, she's being built up to be that one person that can break through to his core.
So far I kind of get a different feeling from him. I don't see him as a reclusive and socially awkward man. I see him as the strong and bold character from the comics. The scenes where he's with his "associates" show him being quite assertive. The scenes where he's with Vanessa is what breaks through his assertiveness, she's being built up to be that one person that can break through to his core.
10:24AM on 04/14/2015
I think your forgetting the fact that this season is very much an origin story for Wilson Fisk as it is for Daredevil. He's not quite yet a "evil crime lord", nor has been called the Kingpin of Crime. All the makings of Fisk becoming that is all there it seems, it's just under this veil of an awkward man unsure of himself at times.
I think your forgetting the fact that this season is very much an origin story for Wilson Fisk as it is for Daredevil. He's not quite yet a "evil crime lord", nor has been called the Kingpin of Crime. All the makings of Fisk becoming that is all there it seems, it's just under this veil of an awkward man unsure of himself at times.
1:13PM on 04/14/2015
Keep watching a few more episodes, people. You get your "Kingpin as a legitimate businessman" deal.
Keep watching a few more episodes, people. You get your "Kingpin as a legitimate businessman" deal.
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