TV Review: Marvel's Daredevil - Season 1 Episode 6 "Condemned"
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EPISODE 6: "Condemned"
SYNOPSIS: Daredevil finds himself trapped in the fallout of Fisk's plan to take control of Hell's Kitchen. Ben Urich digs closer to the truth.
BREAKDOWN: (The following column contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so I don't recommend reading this if you haven't watched this episode).
It is pretty impressive how each episode of Daredevil has managed to be totally different from the preceding hour but still maintains a cohesive feel and flow through the season. After the couple-centric fifth episode, this hour focuses almost entirely on two characters and how their fates are comingled amongst the remnants of Hell's Kitchen. With the prior episode closing with Matt Murdock seemingly caught by the NYPD, we immediately learn they are actually on Fisk's payroll. Murdock dispatches them quickly and takes the barely breathing Vladimir with him inside an abandoned building.
While Claire tends to the injured at the hospital, she meets Foggy and Karen who arrive with the injured Mrs. Cardenas. We soon find that Foggy is pretty severely injured and needs to be admitted right away. As Claire helps, she is called away by Matt who needs help saving Vladimir. Claire is torn between saving the man who kidnapped her and had her beaten and Matt's need to stop Fisk, but she shows him how to cauterize a gunshot wound with the flame of a flare. Not pretty, but it gets the job done. Of course, the police scouring the building hear Vladimir's screams and Matt has to knock him out when he calls for back-up.
With the entire NYPD converging on the warehouse, Matt tries to get Vladimir to reveal what he knows about Fisk. Vladimir, of course, does not trust the masked vigilante and the two scuffle various times and at one point Murdock is knocked out. When he comes to, the police are preparing to descend on the supposed hostage-taker and Matt has to find a way out. Of course, Fisk himself has prepared for this eventuality and calls Murdock via a walkie talkie. For their first meeting, even by voice only, Daredevil and Kingpin have a begrudging respect for one another. Murdock, of course, vows to take down Fisk but Fisk is not afraid of this one man at all. In fact, he offers to call it even if Murdock kills Vladimir for him. Murdock refuses.
Fisk, always a step ahead, gives the signal and has a sniper take out several police officers and releases video footage of Murdock taking out the cops from the start of the episode, setting him up as the cause of the explosions in Hell's Kitchen. Karen is shocked that the masked man who saved her could have done this but Foggy tells her you can never trust a man in a mask. Murdock knows the cops are converging and calls Claire to say goodbye. Vladimiar musters the last strength he has and helps Matt left a sewer grate so they can escape. Not making it far, they fight off a wave of cops and know another group is on the way. It is here that Vladimir reveals to Matt that Fisk's finance man, Leland Owlsley, is who he needs to find and stays behind to kill the cops so Matt can get away. As Murdock escapes through the tunnels, gunfire erupts behind him.
Another fantastic episode that is all about claustrophobia. Almost entirely set within the warehouse Murdock is hiding in, this episode is driven by great dialogue and tense editing that culminates in the conversation between Fisk and Murdock. A verbal sparring match, this scene sets the stage for what the true fight between Daredevil and Kingpin is going to be like. There is a moment of futility towards the end when Matt essentially says goodbye to Claire that mirrors when Fisk tells Matt his fight is meaningless that imbues Charlie Cox's performance with a humility and humanity missing from a lot of superhero fare. Solid episode that sets the stage well for the next showdown.
MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES: Nothing overt in this episode.
NEXT ON DAREDEVIL: Episode 7 "Stick" - An important figure from Murdock's past reemerges seeking his help to battle a new enemy threatening Hell's Kitchen.