REVIEW: Daredevil: Episode 4- In the Blood
The villains are often cited as being the most interesting aspect to any show. They offer interesting views of the world we often don’t get to see from the clean cut protagonist heroes we’ve become all too familiar with. Up until this point Daredevil has escaped this trap by making use of Matt Murdock’s (Charlie Cox) anti-hero status, sure he’s a hero, but we could very easily see a villain committing some of these gruesome acts of “justice”. So when Daredevil’s villain is feared far more than a man that stabs screwdrivers into people’s heads and throws them off buildings, we’re left wondering how evil Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) can really be in contrast. This episode answers this question with genuine style, beautiful scripted dialogue and performances more than worthy of the big screen, never mind Netflix.
It would’ve been very easy for Daredevil’s writers to simply create Wilson Fisk, AKA The Kingpin, as a power crazed crime boss who throws in the occasionally power hungry monologue as so many TV villains do. Fisk is anything but a two dimensional villain. In the same way that the show has managed to build on every aspect of Matt Murdock, they have gone to equal lengths to flesh out his arch enemy. His dinner date with an art seller is one of the most gripping scenes, which really reaps the benefits of building up Fisk’s reputation from the start of the series. We want to see the terrifying man we hear lesser crime bosses fearing to name in case he hears, yet we seem to be confronted with a character far more complex than a simple thug. There are moments in the scene, such as when Fisk’s date jokes maybe she should be out with his assistant, that we see a flash of pure animal rage come over D’onofrio’s character. It’s a testament to his long acting career that in such simple changes in expression he can transport Fisk from socially awkward gentleman to raging thug.
Although most of the episode is spent delving into Fisk’ character, there are also developments in other story arcs. Murdock must save Claire from Russians who have managed to discover she works with him and want revenge. It’s nothing we haven’t seen in superhero film or TV show before, however the lengths that Daredevil is willing to go to instil genuine fear for a character’s safety seem to know no bounds. Russian mobsters do beat up Claire, there is no masked man saving her just before she meets harm. The entire thing gets wrapped up nicely with a typical fight scene involving Matt beating up a dozen Russian mobsters all armed in a fight scene that isn’t anything spectacular when compared to past scenes, but still very much manages to add some action to the drama unfolding with Fisk.
Karen (Deborah Ann Woll) and Foggy (Elden Henson) continue to be left on the side-lines however, I find myself wondering if Karen’s storyline will actually pay off at all. Her screen time with her supposed love interest, Matt Murdock has been waning from episode to episode, however there’s still two thirds of series left for that to change. This episode sees Karen trying to find out exactly what it is Fisk’s operation are up to, with the surprise held of Ben Urich (VonnieCurtis-Holl) a duo who’s on screen traits work well together and provide some interesting dialogue.
After watching Fisk be an almost complete gentleman throughout the episode, with him being polite when turned down for a date, being honest about his lack of knowledge on wine etc., we finally see him snap at the end of the episode. When a Russian mobsters bursts into his date he has the man removed from the bar. It seems every episode of Daredevil so far has had a scene that really sticks in your mind, this is one of the scenes that will spring to mind when you think of the series, never mind the episode. Fisk is a blur of primal rage, he fights similar to the way that Matt does, which is an interesting nod to both actors describing them as “two sides of a coin”. However, Fisk is brutal, as if not even thinking; he head butts his victim multiple times, never stopping for breath. Finally finishing off with a gruesome and gory car door execution (I hadn’t seen one in a TV show for a long time). It’s a perfect nod to mafia and gangster films alike and D’onofrio’s dialogue in the aftermath is perfectly written for this comic book classic villain.
At the start of these episode reviews I wrote that Matt Murdock was by far the most gripping character of the show, in just one episode of D’onofrio’s crime lord, I’m finding myself torn between the evil Kingpin and the thoroughly grey Murdock.