Defenders: A Review

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As a fan of Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve had a hit and miss relationship with the four Netflix Original Series shows. On the one hand, Daredevil started off well, but got muddled in the second season. I liked aspects of Jessica Jones, but I don’t think I could watch it again because Kilgrave is a living nightmare and I didn’t feel like Jessica had any hope of moving forward by the end of the series. Luke Cage is okay, but the violence feels all too real considering current events. Iron Fist felt too derivative and mediocre.

Defenders, much like Avengers, is the story of how these four street-level heroes become a team in order to take down the Hand, an ancient criminal organization. Daredevil and Iron Fist have the most at stake, since they have dealt with the Hand in the past. However, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones still have their own character arcs as well, wanting to help the people in their neighborhoods whose lives are being affected by the Hand’s conspiracy.

The action in this series is top notch, from the signature hallway fight to the fight between Luke Cage and Iron Fist and every other brawl in between. And the overall story is solid. The members of the Hand all want to prolong their immortal lives, especially Alexandra (played by Sigourney Weaver). They resurrect Elektra to act as their enforcer.

Matt Murdock’s character arc centers on trying to live out a normal life as a lawyer while still having the desire to fight crime as Daredevil. He is the only one who actually needs to hide his secret identity, since his double life could cost him his job and all the cases he won. Elektra’s return brings back issues for Matt Murdock who’s still not over her. While I understand their relationship, it’s not what you would call a healthy one.

Danny Rand starts out as being a single-minded, immature man-child, wanting to take down the Hand at any cost. Through meeting the other Defenders, he learns that he doesn’t have to follow his duty alone. His scenes with Luke Cage are my favorite scenes in the series, which makes sense because they’re best friends in the comics. I only wished that there was a scene where they talked about their taste in music. They also fight well together, as evidence in the fight with Alexandra’s minions.

Luke Cage acts as the conscience of the team, not wanting innocent people to get hurt. He has a lot to live up to as the Hero of Harlem and while he doesn’t have a lot of personal stakes in the series, he’s smart enough to go along with everything, even when things don’t make sense. He is also the hero who captures one of the members of the Hand. He’s better at escaping an attempted kidnapping than Danny, sad to say.

Jessica has the least amount of character development, given that she has the least amount of personal stakes and connection with the Hand in this series. She’s still isolating herself, not taking on any clients except for someone who provides the MacGuffin. By the end of the series, Jessica finds the resolve to start working again. And while I like that Jessica and Luke got some closure in terms of their relationship, I still ship them so hard that I wanted them to have at least one “ship tease” moment. Since Luke is still in a happy relationship with Claire, my Jessica/Luke ship is not gonna be sailing off anytime soon.

The major villains in Defenders are Alexandra and Madame Gao. The other three members of the Hand play second fiddle. Alexandra takes it upon herself to raise Elektra as the Black Sky, the Hand’s living weapon. Madame Gao is trying to keep the Hand from falling apart and proves to be a surprisingly good fighter. She’s also very intimidating, in spite of her age. Elektra, however, is the most complex villain in the series. Even though she is tasked with helping the Hand achieve their latest goal of gaining immortality and destroying New York City, she still has feelings for Matt. In the end, she chooses her own path, though where it will lead her and Matt is still unknown.

Overall, this series is worth watching, but I recommend not binge-watching everything at once. I don’t regret spending my weekend watching it, but watching the series one episode at a time helps to remember all the little things more. And thankfully, aside from one gratuitous sex scene, the violence is the only thing that makes this series MA. It’s a soft R rating overall. Watch it for the action and the character development. These guys are awesome.

 

How Can We Be Heroes?

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Question from a reader in regards to my previous superhero post:

We all have the potential to live by their example and be heroes in our own ways, but what problems do we face in life that make superheroes important to us? How does their presence on TV, on film, and in comic books help us?


One of GK Chesterton’s most famous quotes goeth thusly: “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”

The same can be applied for comic books and all of the adaptations thereof. In Geekpriest, Fr. Roderick Vonhogen (whom you may know for his Star Wars reaction video that went viral last year) has a chapter that integrates his love for comic book heroes with his own coming of age story. I highly recommend you read his memoir because it shows how faith and culture can work together, even in the world of geekdom.

 

Warning: Spoilers for Supergirl, The Flash, and other shows will ensue.

While it’s true that none of us have superpowers or face nefarious villains on a daily basis, we are all given talents, gifts, and special skills that we can use to help make the world a better place. One reason I love Flash and Supergirl is that while the heroes have awesome powers, their real special ability is something that we can all have: the power to believe in the best in people, the ability to empathize and be compassionate towards others.

In a recent episode of The Flash, Barry Allen helps Earth-2 Harrison Wells find another option when faced with the ultimatum of “Drain Flash’s speed or your daughter will be tortured and killed.” In spite of Harry betraying everyone, Barry is willing to help the scientist by offering to save Harry’s daughter, even if that means going to Earth-2 to do so. Keep in mind, Barry basically did all of that without using any super speed. Barry is a selfless person at heart, which means that he’s willing to go the extra mile, with or without his powers.

Another example of ordinary traits being used in an extraordinary way can be seen in the DC Animated Universe direct-to-video movie Superman vs. The Elite. Eric Rodriguez, AKA Channel Awesome’s “Blockbuster Buster,” says that this short movie exemplifies Superman’s greatest power: his strength of will. He does what is right, no matter what.

While we may not face situations where we have to sentence some form of justice on a criminal, we all have the power to try and be compassionate and fair, even towards those who’ve hurt us. In a similar way, we encounter situations where we are called to have conviction and do the right thing, even if it means facing insurmountable odds or a situation where vengeance could be an easier option.

Another reader pointed out that both Jessica Jones and Matt Murdock are not particularly role model material, due to Jessica Jones being an alcoholic with severe PTSD issues and Matt Murdock having Catholic guilt over not being able to save everyone. While Jessica Jones’s cynicism leaves a bad taste in my mouth, I and many other fans of Jessica Jones found her willingness to fight and prevent Kilgrave from hurting anyone else inspiring. And while Catholics are often mocked for having a major guilt complex, some people have used those doubts to find a sense of self-worth. Faith and doubt actually go hand in hand because doubt opens up questions that help further understand ourselves and our beliefs.

I also have a personal belief that nobody is beyond saving or redemption. While it’s true that the characters in Suicide Squad are only doing black-ops missions for the hopes of getting shorter prison sentences, these same villains could’ve been heroes in another universe. There’s a movie in the DC Animated Universe called Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths in which the Justice League find themselves in a Mirror Universe in which the Justice League encountered evil versions of themselves and heroic versions of the villains.

The same can be said for the character of Captain Cold and his complex character development in The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. Although Captain Cold started out as a major villain, he developed a more complex personality when it was revealed that he was very protective of his sister and would not resort to killing in order to get the job done. In Legends of Tomorrow, it’s implied that he resorted to becoming a criminal as a way to survive. He felt as if he had no other choice, given that he lived with an abusive father, and never thought that he could ever be a hero. However, DC Comics showed his heroic potential in an event called Flashpoint in which The Flash creates an alternate universe due to actions he did when he traveled back in time. In this series, Captain Cold becomes a hero called Citizen Cold.

But why bring up the villains at all, you ask? As I said: Everyone is capable of being a hero. We can look at the villains and see ourselves in them. We could’ve taken on a dark path if our circumstances were different and if we made different choices in life. However, even if you or someone you know is on that dark path, these same villains show that there could be a way out of the dark.

The Importance of Superheroes

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It’s easy to write off superhero movies as being all the same. It’s easy to get cynical about comic book movies, especially ones that are dark and angsty (*sideglances at Batfleck and Man of Steel*). But the genre of adaptations based on comic books has come a long way from how they started in the early 2000s and despite what some people may think, it’s not a rinse-and-repeat formula. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if there’s one thing that the current lineup of superheros has shown us, it’s that there are many ways to be a hero, just as there are many ways to be a saint.

WARNING: I’ll be making references to both the Marvel Cinematic Universe AND the DC shows currently on TV, so if you’re one of those people who wants me to pick a side between Marvel and DC, this post is not for you. Also, I’m more familiar with the current lineup of movies and TV shows and not with the comics themselves, so apologies to you diehard comic book fans.

I’m gonna start out with what is being called the “Arrowverse,” AKA the current lineup of shows created by Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg. Arrow is the series most similar to the dark and gritty DC movies we’ve been seeing in recent years. It’s not a perfect show, especially with its soap-opera worthy levels of poor communications and misunderstandings, but my brother, who is a huge fan of the show, loves Arrow because of the characters. He says that the Green Arrow represents “the idea of a ray of light to combat a dark town. I think that things may always get worse before they get better, but you shouldn’t stop when it gets either way.”

Similarly, the protagonists in Daredevil and Jessica Jones are more like anti-heroes because these heroes don’t try to do the right thing for the sake of being good, but for other reasons. Matt Murdock wants to reform Hell’s Kitchen and Jessica Jones wants to believe that she can be a hero, even though she doesn’t think that she’s good. Neither of them realize it, but they are being heroes just by being selfless and putting other people before their own personal happiness. Maybe it’s my Catholic bias, but I liked that (so far) Matt incorporated the advice that Fr. Lantom gives him. And while I still have problems with Jessica Jones, I love that Jessica’s motivations throughout the show are for Hope’s safety as well as protecting humanity from Kilgrave.

In contrast, The Flash and Supergirl both have a more optimistic and idealistic view on heroism. Neither of the titular heroes resort to killing their adversaries. Instead, Flash gets help from his friends and mentors and come up with a smarter plan of action. The best example of this was during the Christmas special “Running to Stand Still.” Facing off against two of his deadliest opponents, Flash works together with his friends at S.T.A.R. labs to prevent a mass bombing. He also helps out a police officer who had a grudge against one of the bad guys. Another example can be seen in the crossover episode with Arrow “The Brave and The Bold” (Arrow Season 3) in which Flash’s team worked together with Green Arrow’s team to stop five bombs in the city from going off all at once.

Supergirl relies on her empathy and willingness to believe in the best in people in order to save the day and her optimism and compassion compel most people to imitate her. A recent example was shown in “Strange Visitor from Another Planet” in which Supergirl helped changed the mind of an anti-alien senator simply by saving her from the Monster (or rather White Martian) of the Week. She also helped her mentor take another step in dealing with his personal grief. (I’m applying this to both Hank Henshaw and Cat Grant.)

One other thing I also like about the latest crop of heroes is that they allow for original conflicts and concepts. Movies with superhero teams such as Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers, and Big Hero 6 show that while heroes may not always get along or agree, they will come together and be heroes when the situation calls for it.

What’s even better is that there are even shows out there that center on people who don’t have any superpowers, but are still considered heroes because their actions go beyond the ordinary. Agent Carter is an awesome show for many reasons, but one thing I love is that none of the protagonists (Peggy, Jarvis, or Howard) have any standard comic book superpowers. Instead, Peggy relies on her intuition and quick thinking in order to save the day. Jarvis trains in martial arts and is always willing to lend a hand. And the only superpowers Howard has are his genius mind and his charm.

The most interesting thing I’ve been seeing in the superhero genre, however, is that every character is given the opportunity to be good. Most of the time, villains are too selfish or sociopathic to want to be good. However, there are more complex villains that have a moral. Legends of Tomorrow and Suicide Squad show that even bad guys have the potential to be heroic under the right circumstances.

In Legends of Tomorrow, there are three characters who are morally ambiguous: Captain Cold, Heatwave, and White Canary. In my honest opinion, these guys have been the most interesting characters to watch. I love their snark, but I also like that they’re trying to figure out their own purpose in a team where most of the characters tend towards following rules or morals. While they don’t consider themselves to be good, Captain Cold is more than willing to help out a “crewmember” in need. Back in The Flash, he establishes his own code of honor with the main hero and goes out of his way to protect his sister. And while I’m on the fence about White Canary partaking in cannabis, she’s efficient in battle and wants to be more than just an assassin. Even the characters with typical morals, such as Martin Stein, are becoming more aware of their flaws as people and are making efforts to change in order to become better heroes.

In short, we need comic book superheroes. Why? Because we all have the potential to be heroes, even without the ability to gain superpowers. Superheroes, in the end, are people who have “an increased capacity to act and exert power and to demonstrate agency.” And as David Bowie said: “We can be heroes, just for one day.”

So go be heroes, people!

Daredevil: A Review of Season 1

I’ve said on here before that I’m a casual fan of superhero stuff at best. I never grew up reading comic books and my first introduction to anything superhero related was the very cheesy cartoon Superfriends. That being said, I’m very glad that I watched Daredevil.

Many people compare Daredevil to Batman and Spider-man. I’ll admit that the parallels are definitely there. Like Spider-man, Daredevil has a sort of supersensory powers and fights in just one district of New York City. And like the many Batman films, Daredevil grew into becoming his own superhero with the help of a mentor and has a day job. Granted, he’s not a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist, but he wants to do the right thing.

I want to actually talk about how well the villains are written in this series. Like Batman, Daredevil has a very large Rogues Gallery and in the first season, you see them all working together as an organized crime syndicate. It starts with the Russian brothers, Vladimir and Anatoly. They prove to be more than just some Russian stereotypes.

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They’re the first major villains for Matt to deal with and they don’t disappoint. Although the first encounter was kept off-screen, they were able to beat up Matt so hard that he ended up in a dumpster. They’re also the most sympathetic villains aside from Wesley and Fisk because they wanted a better life for themselves and they have a loyalty to each other that a lot of villain duos don’t have. Anatoly’s death was brutal but the gore was kept off-screen.

It was in the early episodes that we were also introduced to Karen Page.

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Karen started out as a damsel in distress who’s way in over her head. I liked that she actually saved herself half the time that she got into trouble and was able to defend herself every time, even with somebody saving her. Her worst flaw is her naivete. She has this unrealistic view of what justice is and she gets tunnel-visioned about what she wants to the point of putting herself and others in danger. I’m all for being idealistic, but the implications of Karen’s dark and troubled past imply that her idealism came from a really dark place, which is a very dangerous place for idealism to come from. She’s ship-teased with both Foggy and Matt, but given that Foggy is now semi-involved with his old girlfriend, Marci, and Matt doesn’t exactly have anything with Claire, it’ll be interesting to see if the show will tease Karen and Matt in the second season.

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Claire wasn’t as major a character as the hype would lead you to believe. She plays a prominent role in the earlier episodes, but breaks things off with Matt when he seems to take things too far for her. Her flickers of romance with Matt were genuine and sweet, but ultimately, it ended because of the usual “It’s not you, it’s my enemies” trope.

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Wesley James turned out to be the most surprising character on the show for me. He started out as a ruthless right-hand man, but it’s shown that he genuinely cares for Fisk, like a brother or a best friend, and was the only one in Fisk’s crime syndicate that supported Fisk’s growing relationship with Vanessa. He is willing to protect Fisk at all costs and makes sure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. His death came as a shock because he ranked up so high on the villain totem pole that I thought for sure he’d live to see the next season.

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Vanessa was also an interesting character to watch because villain girlfriends don’t usually get that much development. In fact, the last villain girlfriend I remember off the top of my head who had as much development as Vanessa is Harley Quinn from Batman: The Animated Series. Vanessa, however, has all her sanity intact. She’s a woman who’s attracted to powerful men like Fisk, but her love for Fisk is genuine and sweet. It’s shown that her relationship with him actually improves Fisk psychologically, but I’ll get more into that when I talk about the man in question. As much as I love Ayelet Zurer’s acting, I couldn’t help but imagine Stephanie Romanov playing Vanessa in a similar manner. But maybe that’s just the Whedonite in me.

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I loved Ben Urich’s determination and wisdom throughout the season. It was sad to see that his wife had Alzheimer’s and that he couldn’t really take care of her. He also symbolized the journalists of old, who were there to witness history in the making, enduring in spite of the technology and the seemingly growing disinterest in “real news.” I honestly wish that he didn’t get killed off.

Side note, btw: I’m docking points for having Mrs. Cardenas die just to bring Daredevil out into the open. Women getting killed to provoke men into action is a trope I’m not a huge fan of.

Moving on to Matt’s mentors.

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Stick is a mercenary and I don’t have that much love for him. Little Mattie needed somebody with him growing up and Stick dropped the ball by leaving Matt on the premise that he wanted Matt to be a soldier and not a son. Say what you want about the Ninja Turtles, but at least Master Splinter raised the turtles as his own sons and never abandoned them.

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Fr. Lantom, on the other hand, was a more reasonable ally. I want to personally thank the writing team for creating a great portrayal of a Catholic priest. He is neither corrupt nor shown as a living saint, but just an ordinary man with Catholic perspectives. His perspectives on the Devil are, in my opinion, in line with what I learned about the nature of sin and spiritual warfare. The last time I saw a priest portrayed this realistically was Fr. Jack Landry from 2009’s V.

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At first I thought that Foggy Nelson would be this dudebro character, the slacker stereotype who makes the main character look awesome by comparison. Later episodes develop Foggy to act as Matt’s moral conscience whenever Claire wasn’t in the role. I think having Foggy in on the secret was a smart thing because Matt needed to be held accountable in case he took things too far. Foggy may not be a future sidekick, but he helps Matt out when it matters the most. He’s actually got ideals underneath his desire for money, so much so that he was able to persuade his ex-girlfriend to contribute to the cause at the risk of betraying the well-paying law firm she works for.

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Nobu didn’t contribute much to the series aside from possibly bringing in the ninja order called the Hand. He’s strictly business to the point of being borderline volatile. I will give him credit for being the only villain so far to have almost defeated Matt through usage of some pretty sweet weapons. Go ninja, go ninja go!

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Madame Gao, on the other hand, is a force of nature, like a tidal wave. She starts out being a meek and quiet, if not very self-assured woman who happens to be head of a drug ring. It’s implied that her drug ring was more of a cult and that Madame Gao may not be as human as she appears to be. I hope to see her again in the second season.

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Leland Owlsey was supposedly based off of a major villain in the comics, but in the series, he’s seen as the financial manager who keeps his eyes on the big picture. I pretty much called it that he was behind Vanessa’s attempted murder because of his unusual behavior and he proceeded to make things worse for Fisk towards the end of the series. I understand making sure that Fisk keeps on task, but as stated before, Vanessa was actually helping Fisk in accomplishing his goals.

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I love complicated villains. I also love to hate Fisk. He actually garners sympathy at times, but his brutality and ambitions remind me of what separates him from Daredevil. Fisk is shown to be psychologically damaged. Like many a villain, he grew up with an abusive father and a mother who was weak-willed. Killing his father at a young age was a serious shocker and it’s shown in “Shadows in the Glass” that Fisk is still haunted by it. He wants complete control over his life and his ideals to make the city better fall to the wayside when things spiral downward for him. It really stinks that in spite of everything that happened, he’s still going to get the girl, but I love Fisk and Vanessa together too much to really hate it.

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Matt Murdock aka Daredevil has finally come into his own. Matt is shown to have ideals, but he’s more realistic in what has to get done. I don’t like how brutal he can be when interrogating mooks at times. Some of the violence he’s done seems excessive and unnecessary. However, Matt makes up for his pugilism by having his own moral code. He won’t stoop to killing anyone, he’s willing to work with anyone who can help (see his short alliance with Vladimir), and he embraces the idea of being feared, of being the one to keep people on the path of the righteous. Even though he dresses like and takes on the name of “Daredevil,” his story arc also reminds me of Angel. 

But unlike Angel, the series of Daredevil flows a lot more smoothly. There aren’t any filler episodes or soap opera plot lines that take away from the action and character development. There’s room to breathe in scenes here and there, but I can’t think of a scene that feels dragged out. I also like the action sequences and how some scenes were kept off-screen while others were shot atypical from your usual action shot. Yes, the show is dark and gritty, but it doesn’t have the cynicism of shows that have a similar tone. Nor does it reek of nihilism or even anti-nihilism the way that Angel does. Best of all, the angst in this show is not done for the sake of looking cool or adding drama. It’s all justified and the characters open the lines of communication in a realistic manner.

I would recommend the show to fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as casual fans like myself. I don’t recommend anyone who has kids to share the show with anyone under the age of 13, but given that some of my second graders play M-rated games, your mileage may vary. As far as I’m concerned, I can’t wait for the second season!

 

 All screencaps are copyright to Marvel Entertainment and Netflix and are used for editorial purposes only.

Daredevil Month: Season Finale

The episode opens at Ben Urich’s funeral. Fr. Lantom is presiding as “Many Rivers to Cross” by Jimmy Cliff plays over the scene. Nobody says a word. Not Karen, not Matt, not Ben’s wife, not the head of the bulletin. This is the shortest cold open in the season. Karen speaks to Mrs. Urich who compliments her and says that Ben saw her as something like a daughter. Karen feels like it’s her fault, but Mrs. Urich assured her that she didn’t push Ben to do anything he didn’t want to do.

Fr. Lantom asks Matt how he’s handling things. Matt replies “Like a good Catholic boy,” which is apparently a bad thing. It’s clear that Matt is angry, both at Ben’s death and at himself.

Karen and Matt return to the offices and Karen laments Foggy not showing up to the funeral. Matt tells her to go home, but Karen doesn’t want to because she’s afraid of Fisk.

Vanessa and Fisk are back in their apartment. Vanessa insists on staying in spite of what happened. Later on, Fisk meets with Leland at a storage locker. He shows Lesley that there are some inconsistencies with the accounts, but Leland insists that it’s nothing. Leland is shaking and sweating. Fisk thinks that Leland killed Wesley, but Leland admits that he didn’t. Fisk puts two and two together but Leland says that he was never the target. Vanessa was. Leland says that being with Vanessa has made Fisk distracted, emotional, and erratic. He decides to leave and take half the assets because he has Detective Hoffman who will confess to the feds about everything. Fisk, of course, disagrees and the two break out into a fight. He pushes Leland down an elevator shaft and tells his henchman, Francis, to find Hoffman and put a bullet in his head.

Matt trains at his dad’s old gym, taking his frustrations out on a punching bag. Foggy comes in to talk. Matt visited Ellison, but he didn’t get much. The two of them talk about what happened in the last few episodes. Foggy says that he got Marci to help with the case, but Matt hates that Foggy got Marci involved. Foggy doesn’t want Matt to go after Fisk alone. To use the law instead. Things can’t be as they were, but there’s a chance to move forward. The two of them visit Brett for information. Two cops exit and Matt listens in on a phone call one of them is talking. Brett decides to leave town. Matt tells Foggy about what he eavesdropped on and they return to the law offices.

Matt, Karen, and Foggy look over the paperwork that Marci gave them and Matt says to look for anything leading to Lesley. Karen echoes something about enemies that Ben told her. She also finds some inconsistencies in the paperwork. Matt goes off to do his vigilante stuff in spite of Foggy being reluctant to let Matt go.

Fisk gets a call from his henchman and tells them to leave no survivors. In a run-down part of down, a bum brings food to some people who are guarding Hoffman. The police come in and shoot everyone, but just as Hoffman is about to get shot, Daredevil comes in and beats everyone off-screen. He tells Hoffman that he can fess up on Fisk and gives him a punch for good measure.

Now you might be wondering where the Stan Lee Cameo is in this season. Well, when Hoffman goes to turn himself in, you can see a picture of Stan Lee on the wall of the precinct. Matt and Foggy act as Hoffman’s lawyers as Hoffman snitches on Fisk about the money trail.

Nessun Dorma plays as the feds and good cops arrest everyone on Fisk’s payroll, from dirty cops to the people at the New York Bulletin,  the lawyers at Landman and Zack, and the senator that Fisk met at the Gala. Vanessa watches the news as Fisk tries to take damage control. The Feds come for Fisk as he gives Vanessa orders and a diamond ring. Journalists swarm in as Fisk gets taken into police custody. Matt, Foggy, and Karen toast to their victory.

Inside the FBI tank, Fisk tells the story of the Good Samaritan, but of course, takes the story entirely out of contest. He saw himself as the Good Samaritan, but now he sees himself as the men who beat up the traveler. A group of mercenaries come in to get Fisk out of Federal custody, but the Feds shoot them down. Foggy and Matt get Karen in a cab while Matt goes to be a hero. Foggy tells him to be careful. We find out that one of the feds is also on Fisk’s payroll. The mercenaries lead Fisk out. He gets inside another truck and gives orders to his men to shoot anyone who tries to follow them.

Daredevil arrives at Melvin’s who gives him his new superhero outfit.  The scene cuts to Matt with his new outfit, standing on a rooftop. Fisk goes to a garage and gets in a department store truck. Matt hears the radio. Fisk talks to Vanessa that if things go wrong to get outta town. Their love for each other is honest. Of course, the truck gets turned over when a tonfa breaks through the front window, As Fisk gets out, we see Daredevil in the red suit for the first time.

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I’ll admit it. I fangirled at this moment. It looks amazing. The mercenary fires at Daredevil, but he dodges the shots, showing off his new weapons in the process. Daredevil confronts Fisk in the alley. Fisk threatens to kill Daredevil, who replies with “Take your shot. The fight in the alleyway is glorious. I can see all the action and feel every punch and kick. Wilson attacks with rebar, but Daredevil defends himself with his tonfas, which can combine into a staff. Fisk gets the upper hand, grabs the staff starts beating Daredevil with it, but Daredevil sees a weak spot and gets his second win. He beats Fisk down. Fisk chastises Daredevil for thinking he can make a difference, but Daredevil repiles with a well, landed punch. Brett comes in and finds Daredevil standing over the unconscious Fisk and Brett covers for the vigilante.

Up on the rooftop, Vanessa and Francis wait for Fisk. Francis tells her about Fisk getting caught and Vanessa puts on the ring that Fisk gave her. How the two of them will get married, I have no idea. I guess we’ll see in the second season. Brett asks Daredevil what to call him. It cuts to Karen reading the Bulletin, who gives Daredevil his name. Foggy jokes about it, but Karen loves it. Foggy places the sign Karen made on the front of the building. Foggy goes to help Marci find a job. Fisk is in jail, but trial will take a while. Karen starts to go inside, but Matt asks her about what’s going on because she still has something that makes her sound hesitant. Karen says that she still feels the loss of everyone who paid the price. Matt says that all they can do is move forward. There’s a tiny ship-tease moment between the two of them as they walk inside the office building.

Fisk is put in solitary confinement. He stares at the wall across from his bed like he did as a child. Meanwhile, Daredevil stands up on the rooftops of New York City and goes off to save the day again.

My overall review of this show will be posted on Monday. For now, I’ll say it was totally worth it!

Promotional images are copyright to Marvel Entertainment and Netflix and are used for editorial purposes only.

Daredevil Month: The Ones We Leave Behind

The episode opens where the last one left off. Karen throws the gun she used to kill Wesley into the river, no longer the damsel in distress. She returns to her apartment and drowns her sorrows before washing off. still filled with guilt over what she did. She wakes up the next morning and grabs another drink, only to find Fisk waiting for her. He tells her that it gets easier. Karen wakes up, realizing that the scene with Fisk in the kitchen was just a nightmare.

Karen goes to the Nelson and Murdock Law offices, trying to figure out what to do. Foggy walks in and gives Karen a scare. He asks her about what’s going on with her but she keeps calm and carries on. Foggy makes a marijuana joke and Karen asks him if he’s returning to the offices. But he was just there to pick up some things. Karen doesn’t want to be left alone and Foggy promises that they’ll keep working to stop Fisk because he’s a killer. He also admits that he doesn’t think that The Mask is a terrorist anymore and to call him. He leaves with a “don’t do drugs” and opens the door to find Matt at the entrance. Matt steps aside as Foggy passes him without saying a word. Karen tells Matt that him and Foggy are all she has and Matt asks her if something happened. Karen says “The world fell apart.”

Fisk checks for any calls from Wesley as Vanessa finally wakes up. She doesn’t remember being poisoned and jokes at Fisk’s apology. He tells her that he made arrangements for her to be taken out of the country, but he’s not coming with her. However, Vanessa is willing to stay with him and she knew what she was getting into and that she’s not leaving. Fisk goes out to meet with one of his henchmen who leads him to Wesley’s dead body. Fisk beats up the henchman for not backing Wesley up, but Leland tells him to stop. Lesley and Fisk wonder whodunit, but Fisk tells Leland to go. Lesley tells him to keep an eye out on the endgame. Fisk takes Wesley’s phone and sees that Wesley received a call from his mother.

Ben Urich leaves from another day at the office to find Daredevil waiting for him. He gives Urich a packet of heroin from someone working for Fisk and makes the connection between the triads and Fisk. Urich tells him that he has a lead, but Daredevil tells him to lay low. Daredevil speculates about one of Madame Gao’s henchman and Urich gives him a location.

Over at Josie’s pub, Foggy meets with Marlene to ask for her help about the tenement case leading to Fisk. He gives her information relating to the case and in spite of the fact that her firm was working for Fisk, she takes a look at it.

Karen arrives at Ben’s apartment and tells him that she thinks that Fisk’s men know about their visit. Urich tells her that he has a lead with Rigoletto. He tells her to post what she knows on the net, but Karen has a shady past and knows that nobody will believe her. Marlene tells Foggy that she can’t work with him with all the information they have, but Foggy pleads with her to do the right thing.

Out on the streets, Matt listens for the distant tapping of a cane. A blind woman walks past him and he follows her. The blind woman gets into a car and Matt follows after by scaling a building. Classical music is interspersed with the score of the show as Matt scales from rooftop to rooftop parkour style. He follows the car to a warehouse. Meanwhile, Fisk takes his mother out for a drive and wants her to live somewhere like Italy. Her memory lapses, but Fisk asks her about the call that she made to Wesley.

At the New York Bulletin offices, Ben’s boss is out. Karen gets a call from Matt who’s patching himself up and tells Karen to make sure she and Foggy don’t get involved. Unfortunately, Ben’s boss isn’t up for exposing Fisk because it’s controversial. Urich suspects that Fisk is paying them off, but his boss fires him.

Madame Gao’s sweatshop of heroin runs like a well-oiled machine with plenty of blind people acting as her cogs. Of course, her security isn’t so great when they fall for Daredevil knocking the secret password. Daredevil slowly knocks the other security men out. The blind people, of course, have no clue, but instead continue working as Daredevil walks among them. The scars on some of the men’s faces suggest that some of them have been blinded on purpose. Madame Gao yells out a signal and everyone attacks him.

Fisk talks to Leland who’s dry on leads. He gets a phone call and leaves. Madame Gao and her men search the warehouse for Daredevil, who strikes from the shadows, causing some nearby gasoline to ignite.

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Madame Gao tells him that they blinded themselves and attacks him, escaping into the night as the fire starts to consume the whole warehouse. Daredevil grabs a gun and shoots the sprinklers open, ordering one of the henchmen to lead everyone out. Insert blind leading the blind joke here. Fire trucks close in on the factory as Daredevil makes his escape, only to be confronted by a cop. He confronts the cop and tells him the truth, but leaves quickly.

I’ll be honest when I say that I suspected Leland of being behind the poison. He and Madame Gao have a discussion. She decides to no longer deal with heroin. My suspicions are proven correct: Madame Gao and Leland conspired to kill Vanessa at the gala. However, neither of them know who killed Wesley. Madame Gao says “Screw you guys, I’ma going home” and leaves Leland stuttering.

Ben visits his wife and says that they should go away somewhere. His wife, of course, knows otherwise. He tells her that he’s been fired from the paper. She tells him that he can still share his story on the internet. He calls Karen to update her on his plans to publish the story online.

Matt tries to enter the office, but it’s locked. Karen tells Matt that she’s sick of getting the silent treatment and Matt chalks it up to his old mentor. He admits that he can’t do this alone and starts crying. Karen comforts him and tells him that he’s not alone.

Ben returns to his apartment and gets a drink as he starts writing his first blog. The camera pans up to see Fisk waiting for him. He makes a half-hearted apology and confesses to paying off the Bulletin to prevent more exposes. He tries to talk Urich out of posting on the internet. He makes a snarky, cynical social commentary and asks Ben if he was alone when he spoke to his mother. Ben lies about being alone and Fisk knows that he didn’t kill Wesley, but can’t forgive him for going after his mother. He throttles Ben over the table and then smothers him on the carpet.

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Daredevil Month: The Path of the Righteous

The episode opens on a young girl at a hospital watching cartoons. Fisk and his men enter in from the gala. Lesley is concerned about himself and Fisk wants to make sure his girlfriend is okay, but procedure comes first.

Karen is knocking on Matt’s door. Foggy has been radio silent. Karen looks at Matt’s damaged face and says they should sue. She looks at the damaged apartment and he tells her not to worry. Karen can tell that Matt is lying, so she tells him about how she found Fisk’s mother. She also tells him about how Fisk killed his father. Unfortunately, that’s not a lot. Matt tells Karen to keep trying to find Foggy and to be careful. Karen gives Matt a “get well soon” balloon and leaves. Foggy wakes up at Marci’s apartment after a night sleeping with her. She rushes off to work while he ignores a call from Karen.

Fisk waits at the hospital. Leland is more concerned about how Fisk is going to keep things together. Wesley and Leland speculate as to “whodunit.” Wesley gets news that the other people who drank that poison have died, but Vanessa is still alive. Leland tells Wesley that they have to stay focused. Wesley tells Leland to talk to Gao. If she didn’t do it, they’re gonna need her help and if she did.

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Claire patches up Matt and tells him that he needs to get body armor. Matt remembers that Fisk had some kind of armor in the lining of his suit. Matt asks Claire if she wants to stay, but Claire says she wants to get out of the city. Matt implies that he’s gonna miss her. The two of them discuss their relationship, along the lines of whether or not they should have one. Matt still believes in the whole “We can’t be together because of my enemies” but Claire doesn’t believe it and leaves. She said that the only thing she remembers from Sunday school is that the martyr, saints, and saviors ended up bloody and alone. Matt doesn’t think he’s anything like them, but well, we know otherwise.

Karen meets up with Ben at the docks. Karen tries to apologize, but Ben is still mad at her. Karen really wants to get at Fisk, but all they have is the word of an old lady. The two of them discuss where things will eventually lead. Ben tells Karen about the gala and they both know that there are other bad guys out there who want to get at Fisk.

Fisk and Wesley continue to figure out whodunit. Fisk thinks about what Madame Gao said to him and wants vengeance. He wants to send Vanessa away to keep her safe, but Wesley disagrees. Fisk meets with the doctor and gets news that Vanessa will pull through.

At the church, Matt meets up with Fr. Lantom again. Fr. Lantom asks if he wants confession or a latte, but Matt wants neither. He tells the good priest about how he attempted to murder Fisk and what Claire told him. Fr. Lantom has a pretty good idea about what he does and Matt says that he used to think that what happened to him was God’s will but asks about why he feels like he has the devil in him. Fr. Lantom says that the devil is a symbol and a warning to get the righteous to repent.

Matt meditates in his apartment. The fight with Nobu is still on his mind. We cut to an alley at a man shooting at what’s seemingly nothing. He scales a rooftop and jumps down, only to be confronted by Daredevil. He asks the guy for information about Fisk’s body armor. The guy says the he might know a guy.

Fisk gets a call from his mother, but ignores it. He kisses a comatose Vanessa and heads out to meet Wesley. The doctor says that there may be complications. Fisk also asks Wesley to see what his mother needs. Lesley comes in saying that Gao sends condolences and didn’t say much else. He wants Fisk to get back to business because the enemies that are after them will inevitably come back. Wesley calls Marlene and asks her about what she needs. She talks to him about her recent visitors. Wesley asks to borrow keys and gun from a security officer and goes to take care of Marlene’s recent visitors himself.

Meanwhile, Daredevil finds the tailor that Fisk went to a few episodes ago. The tailor walks in and doesn’t see Daredevil in the room until the man in question appears behind him. The two get into a fight. The tailor tries to choke Daredevil with chains, but Daredevil uses that to his advantage and smothers the tailor. The tailor named Melvin breaks down and cries about Fisk hurting Betsy, a friend of his. Melvin tells Daredevil that he wants to do good but Fisk is threatening him to do otherwise. Daredevil asks Melvin to make him in exchange for keeping Fisk out and for keeping Betsy safe.

Karen finds Foggy at Josie’s pub and shares a drink with him. She asks him about why he hasn’t been returning her calls. Foggy tells her that what she has isn’t enough given Fisk’s power. Karen wonders what’s going on between Foggy and Matt and Foggy can’t talk about it. Karen tells him that they’ve started tearing down Elena’s building. She wants Foggy and Matt to make up or else. She calls Matt as she walks out of the pub and then calls Ben for a little pep talk. The camera shows Ben looking into Karen’s story before cutting to Karen getting kidnapped.

At the hospital, Fisk talks to Vanessa about how he never knew how to pray, even though it felt like he was lying to himself when he tried. He promises to avenge her.

Karen regains consciousness and wakes up at a warehouse, where Wesley is waiting for her. He asks her about why she went against her contract. He takes out his gun. He asks her if she loves the city and says that he himself doesn’t, but he stays because Fisk needs him. Wesley is surprised that Marlene remembers Karen and Ben in spite of her memory issues. Karen says to kill her and get it over with. Wesley, however, has other ideas. He makes her an offer: convince Ben to back off from Fisk and promote him or else he’ll kill everyone she knows and cares about. Karen grabs the gun from the table as Wesley’s phone goes off. Karen tells him that it’s not the first time she shot someone and kills Wesley. The phone goes off again. Karen takes the gun, cleans the table and leaves. Fisk keeps calling and gets no answer.

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Daredevil Month: Nelson V. Murdock

The episode opens up with Matt finally regaining consciousness after his last battle with Nobu. Foggy comes in, telling him that Claire patched him. He has a lot of questions, the first of which is “Are you even really blind?”

We flash back to Matt and Foggy’s college days. Foggy had long hair and a bro-beard like a hippie while Matt is your typical clean-shaven college boy. Foggy is keen on becoming Matt’s best friend right off the bat. They make a promise to keep no secrets.

Flashing forward, Foggy continues to lash at Matt, flashing him the middle finger. He’s seriously pissed that Matt kept his superpowers a secret. Matt tries to explain everything that’s going on, but Foggy’s too distraught. Karen calls and Foggy covers for him, but he asks Matt to tell him everything.

Fisk meets up with Madame Gao on the roof of a high rise building. They discuss Nobu’s unfortunate demise and the fact that the Masked Man is still at large. Nobu’s minions are waiting to make their next move. Madame Gao asks if his ambition will ever attack her, but Fisk tells her that he respects her. She starts speaking in English, telling him that the downside of being a Villain with Good Publicity is that Fisk is now torn between his two roles: the savior of the city or the oppressor of his crime ring. She tells him to choose wisely.

At the hospital, Ben Urich is visiting his wife, Doris. The two of them have a heartwarming discussion about whether or not he’s still the man he used to be. Doris’s memory lapses as Shirley walks in. The extension has ended.

Back in Matt’s apartment, Foggy looks at Matt’s black outfit and asks him about the costume and how he was able to fight. Of course, the backstory sounds like something out of a movie to Foggy. The superpowers freak Foggy out, especially the living lie detector thing.

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Flashing back to the salad days, Matt and Foggy are walking back, having fun after a night of drinking. Matt almost fesses up about his supersensory powers, but is able to cover it. He tells Foggy a little bit of his backstory. We also find out that Foggy’s real name was Franklin and that he learned Punjabi.

Urich looks at a brochure for a hospice when his boss comes in, asking why he’s handing out stories to other people. He gives Urich a job offer to work the metro branch and Urich considers it.

Karen comes back to the Nelson and Murdock offices and finds a box of Converse sneakers on her desk. The box is a gift for Karen: everything that Urich has on the Fisk consipracy. He tells Karen about how he has to take care of his wife. Karen tells him about a nursing home upstate.

Lesley, Wesley, and Fisk are suiting up at Fisk’s apartment and Fisk tells Lesley to placate Gao. Lesley berates Fisk about his new girlfriend but Fisk justifies it as part of change.

Foggy asks Matt if he ever killed anyone and Matt says he didn’t, but he wanted to.  Foggy asks him about why he’s working outside the law and Matt says that sometimes the law isn’t enough. We flash back to Matt and Foggy’s internship days. A panel of lawyers are interrogating an old sickly man about his breach of contract. Matt knows that the old man isn’t lying, but Foggy is still dreaming of working as an associate or partner at Landman and Zack. Matt wants to use the law to make a difference instead of being rich and fat. The two of them decide to quit their internship.

Karen and Urich are out on a drive and Karen learns how serious Doris’s condition is. Karen says that everyone has secrets they hold onto. They pull up to the nursing home and take a tour inside. Urich says he can’t afford the place.

Foggy asks Matt about how he went from being a blind kid to being a vigilante. Matt tells him about the first time he tries to save someone. He tried to report a child molestor, but nobody believed him. So Matt decided to take things into his own hands, beating up the man to a pulp, but leaving him alive. Foggy wonders if Matt’s just being pugilistic and Matt admits he doesn’t want to stop fighting.

Over in the nursing home, Karen leads Urich to the room of an old woman. They ask the woman about her life story. The woman turns out to be Fisk’s mother.

We cut to a gala where Fisk is giving a speech. He and Vanessa act like a pair of future politicians, schmoozing around. Fisk meets a Senator with a lot of connections. All of a sudden, the partygoers start collapsing to the floor, including Vanessa. And yes, I am actually fearing for her safety.

Foggy asks Matt if he’s thinking things through. Matt says that he’s doing what he does to make the city a better place. Foggy points out that it’s the same thing that Fisk is saying and that he wants his friend back. Foggy walks out.

In Josie’s bar, younger Matt and Foggy toast their leaving of the internship and Foggy creates a drawing of a sign for their future law offices. The bromance is real. Back in the law offices, Foggy looks at the sign that Karen had made and throws it away as he leaves the offices, resigning from his job.

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Daredevil Month: Speak of the Devil

The episode opens with Daredevil fighting a red ninja, one who uses a kunai with chain to slice at Daredevil from a distance. The red ninja seems to have the advantage, constantly knocking Daredevil down or making a cut with his weapon.

After the opening credits play, Father Lantom approaches Matt Murdock and says that he’s open for Confession. However, Matt wants to take the priest up on his latte offer. Fr. Lantom said that he is still willing to listen to Matt’s confession, since it’s just the two of them. Matt asks Fr. Lantom if he believes in the devil. The good priest admits that he believed that the devil was inconsequential, justifying the fact that “Satan” in Hebrew meant advocate, so he used to think that the devil represented any antagonist. Then he spent some time in Rwanda and befriended Gahiji, a village leader and holy man. Gahiji’s enemies were ordered to behead him in front of the village. Even though Gahiji was able to win over the men who worked for the enemy leader, he wasn’t able to win over the man himself. In that instance, Fr. Lantom began to believe in the Devil and that he could take many forms.

Meanwhile, at the Nelson and Murdock law offices, Foggy, Karen, and Urich discuss what to do about Fisk because of his Villain with Good Publicity status. Urich gives Karen the documents that Daredevil gave him. Karen looks through them and starts thinking of following the money through the six degrees of separation. Foggy is unsure about whether or not to trust the Mask, as Karen calls him, but Karen and Ben Urich definitely do.

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Fisk and Wesley meet down in a warehouse by the docks. Hoffman has gone missing and Fisk’s men haven’t found him yet. Wesley also points out that Daredevil hasn’t been as active as he once was. However, Nobu comes in and interrupts, demanding a particular city block in exchange for his services to Fisk. Fisk tells him that the city block will be hard to clear out, so he asks Nobu to take care of the man in black.

Back in the offices of Nelson and Murdock, Foggy and Karen are struggling with their follow-the-money plan. Mrs. Cardenas comes in, telling them about how Fisk is offering them double or nothing to move out. They persuade her to fight back and Mrs. Cardenas is firm in her resolve. Once Mrs. Cardenas leaves, Matt isn’t sure if standing up to Fisk is the right thing because he won’t be shaken easily, but Karen wants to call the old man out. Matt goes to the art gallery where Vanessa works.

At the gallery, it’s shown that there is extra security. Matt comes under the guise of buying art to impress the ladies. Vanessa shows him a painting and describes it to him. The painting is a gradient of red, a bright red center with dark in the background. He asks her about what kind of art her boyfriend likes. Cue Fisk entering the gallery. It’s probably not a coincidence. The two of them have a discussion about the tenement case. Matt decides to leave the gallery to “consider the cost” and heads to church.

Fr. Lantom and Matt speak in front of the crucifix. They discuss what Matt ought and ought not to do about his desire to confront the devil. Fr. Lantom tells him to think about what his desires are because the ends don’t justify the means. He quotes Proverbs 25:26 and opens two interpretations. On the one hand, evil happens if good men do nothing. On the other hand, the sin of a righteous man can affect everyone else. Lantom thinks that Matt went to see Vanessa to try and find a third way.

Matt returns to the offices. Karen finds the people who attacked her outside of Mrs. Cardenas’s apartment. But while they’re off the map, the good news is that the law firm finally has a proper sign. Karen gets a phone call…it’s the coroner calling them to identify Mrs. Cardenas’s body. She was stabbed multiple times.

We cut back to the fight between Daredevil and the red ninja. Daredevil fights back in spite of the multiple slices. The red ninja is revealed to be Nobu himself, intent on assassinating Daredevil. The fight scene is brutal and it seems that Daredevil is down for the count.

Down at Josie’s pub, Foggy, Karen, and Matt mourn Mrs. Cardenas. Matt doesn’t think that her death is a coincidence. Local news talk about Mrs. Cardenas’s death and Fisk talks about the offer he made to the tenants. Fisk cries crocodile tears, but Matt, Karen, and Foggy know that it’s not a coincidence. Karen wants the Mask to take care of Fisk by any means. Matt asks Karen if she’s religious. Karen admits that she isn’t. Matt says he’s Catholic. Karen asks if it helps, given their current situation, Matt admits that it currently doesn’t. As Matt leaves, Karen tells Matt that if God exists, then Fisk will get what he deserves.

Matt returns to his apartment and, after thinking about it for a minute, decides to open up a green trunk. It’s a trunk that contains his father’s boxing uniform and his Daredevil costume. A montage of Daredevil interrogating people in various allies. He comes across some heroin junkies in a rundown apartment and finds Mrs. Cardena’s purse there. He beats up one of them and asks about where he got the purse. The addict gives him the name of a pier where he got hired. Daredevil tells the addict to turn himself in or else and gives one last punch for good measure.

Daredevil arrives at the pier and feels out the plans Nobu laid out for Hell’s Kitchen. He hears the heartbeat of another person in the room. Nobu appears. Daredevil quickly figures out that it’s a trap. The two of them quickly get into a fight. It’s at this point that see the parts of Daredevil that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles got their inspiration from.

At Josie’s pub, Foggy and Karen continue to drown their sorrows. Foggy blames himself for Mrs. Cardenas’s death and begins to lose faith in what he believes in, given how Fisk has so much power and money.

We cut back to where the fight left off. Daredevil is able to get Nobu off his back and kicks him into a back wall. We notice gasoline pouring out of a barrel. A spark from a lamp sets Nobu on fire. Daredevil struggles to get up while Fisk thanks him for “murdering” Nobu. This is the first time that Daredevil and Fisk meet face to face. Daredevil tells Fisk that he’s gonna kill him. Of course, Fisk came with armed backup. Daredevil uses Nobu’s weapon to slice at Fisk, but it doesn’t wok. Fisk starts beating Daredevil down and sends him flying, with Daredevil breaking the desk of Nobu’s plans. He starts to leave and tells Wesley to finish the job, giving Daredevil the chance to escape quickly by jumping out of a window and into the river. Fisk tells his other henchman to make a manhunt for Daredevil. Shoot on sight.

Foggy shows up at Matt’s apartment and hears a noise inside. He comes in through the roof entrance. He comes inside and sees that the floor’s been broken through. He arms himself with Matt’s walking stick and Daredevil appears, stumbling and falling down. Foggy calls 911, but hangs up as the slow realization and curiosity sinks in. He takes off the mask…revealing Daredevil to be Matt.

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Daredevil Month: Shadows in the Glass

The episode opens with Fisk waking up from a nightmare, unseen by the audience. He stares up at the painting he bought. Yo Yo Ma’s Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major plays as he cooks himself breakfast. He picks out a suit (they all honestly look the same to me) and a shirt to wear. As he gets dressed, he looks in the mirror and sees a young boy whose face is covered in blood, his younger self.

Murdock’s apartment is still a huge mess after what happened last episode. An alarm goes off, telling him that it’s 7AM. Over at the offices, Foggy and Karen discuss whether or not they should share their investigation with Matt. Of course, Matt walks in and Karen decides to fess up. Matt tells them to stay out of it, but they’re already too far in to back out. Matt decides to use the law to their advantage.

Over in a warehouse by the docks, Nobu gets in an argument with Wesley and Fisk. Nobu is pissed that Black Sky is dead. Wilson said he’ll work something out and Nobu walks off, threatening Fisk. Wesley asks what Nobu contributes to the group. Fisk says that even though things seem to be going so well, he’ll have to be more caution than ever.

We flash back to Fisk’s childhood, where he’s cutting cup wood and listening to records with his father. His mother is paying bills. His father, Bill, is running for city council. Wilson overhears his parents talking about how he got a loan from the Italian mob boss Rigoletto. Flashing forward, Fisk is on the phone making conversation with Vanessa when he gets interrupted by Wesley. Blake, one of the cops that got shot a few episodes ago, has gotten out of his coma. Although Blake is unable to talk, Fisk tells Wesley to take care of him. However, Blake is surrounded by security. They decide to acquire the help of Blake’s partner, Hoffman.

Karen, Foggy, and Matt are researching, in spite of Foggy wanting to be more hands-on. Karen gets the news of Blake getting out of his coma.

Fisk and Wesley talk to Hoffman about trying to keep Blake silent. Hoffman knows that Fisk is the real reason Blake got shot, but Fisk is that Blake will continue to give information to the wrong people like he did before. Hoffman is loyal to his partner because they are childhood friends. Fisk plans to buy Hoffman out.

At the hospital, Hoffman appears with a very guilty expression in his eyes. He signs in with the security and smuggles a syringe in through a sandwich. After Hoffman syringes Blake, the patient in question wakes up and Daredevil attacks Hoffman, knocking him out. Blake has trouble breathing. Daredevil asks Blake for information, but it’s too late. The cops come in as Daredevil disappears.

Leland gets fitted with a new vest and laments not being able to see his grandson. He asks Fisk about where he can hide from Daredevil. Wesley tells the two of them that Blake talked with Daredevil before he died, but that Daredevil continues to be framed for Blake’s death.

Back in Fisk’s childhood, Fisk shares a cake with his mother. He’s distraught with a bloodied lip. A kid from his school knocked down his father’s signs, called him a loser, and beat him up. Bill meets up with the bully, who’s practicing his baseball swing on a few empty glass bottles. The bully says that he was just repeating what his father said. Bill assaults the bully and kicks him down. Fisk tells his dad to stop, but his dad insists that this is the right thing to do, telling him to kick the bully as he’s down.

Fisk wakes up again and makes breakfast. As he gets dressed his phone rings. Wesley tells Fisk that Madame Gao is coming to visit him and that Wesley’s on his way to help out. The three of them share tea and we find out that Madame Gao is good with her English and knows that Fisk can speak and understand Mandarin. She asks in Japanese about whether or not Nobu knows Fisk also speaks and understands Japanese and asks Wesley to leave them. Madame Gao and Fisk discuss about Nobu and Leland. She tells Fisk that he’s getting sloppy and emotional, comparing him to the Russians. She tells him to get his act together or she’ll just work with Nobu and Leland without his help. Fisk flips over the table as he loses his temper and orders Wesley to get out.

Back in Fisk’s childhood, his father tells him to stare at the wall and think about the man he wants to be. We see that the wall is very similar to the painting Fisk bought as an adult, all white. Bill prepares for a meeting with Rigoletto. His wife, Marlene, doesn’t want him to go. The two have an argument that escalated with Bill beating up Marlene with his fists and his belt.

Wesley comes back to Fisk’s apartment, wanting to help. He brings Vanessa in and leaves. Fisk tells Vanessa to go, but she also wants to help Fisk get back on track. Fisk confides in her.

Flashing back to Fisk’s childhood, Fisk tells his father to stop, grabbing a hammer. He attacks his father with the hammer, beating him to death. His mother tells him to get the saw. She undresses her husband and gives the cufflinks to the young Fisk before sawing the body so that it’s easier to hide.

Fisk continues to tell Vanessa about the night he killed his father and how he and his mother hid the body. He still carries the guilt of killing his father. He wears the cufflinks to remind him that he’s not a monster. Vanessa tells him that he’s not a monster. Of course, we know otherwise.

Lightning strikes and a thunderstorm pours down over the city as Urich heads to his car. He’s on his phone and drops his keys. Daredevil appears, saying “We need to talk.” Urich, of course, is unsure what to think about him. Daredevil tells him to expose Wilson Fisk. The two of them have a discussion and Urich asks for more information, reliable sources. Daredevil tells him just to drag Fisk into the light.

Fisk wakes up again after a night of passion with Vanessa. He looks at the painting and then curls up with her. She’s there to greet him at breakfast. Ben narrates about the haves and the have-nots as Vanessa picks out the clothes and new cufflinks for Fisk to wear. When Fisk looks at himself in the mirror, he finally sees himself, and not the boy he used to be. Urich is at his office, writing his expose on Fisk, only for Fisk to appear on the news as a “mysterious philantropist,” cementing his place as a Villain With Good Publicity.  President Lex Luthor has nothing on this guy.

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