REVIEW: Daredevil: Episode 8- Shadows in the Glass
One of the most dialogue heavy episodes of the series and yet it manages to also be one of the most dramatic and heavy hitting. There’s no bombs about to go off, no kidnapped child to find or weapon to be destroyed, instead Shadows in the Glass builds up the tensions surrounding every ongoing storyline, one scene at a time.
The episode largely focuses on the increasing pressure on Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) and his empire. The Japanese aren’t happy after Stick (Scott Glenn) took out their weapon in the last episode, Murdock (Charlie Cox) teams up with Foggy (Elden Henson), Karen (Deborah Ann Woll) and Urich (Vondie Curtis-Hall) to take down Fisk through legal means, and Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho) of the “triads” is definitely not happy about Fisk’s slipping standards. The comic book Kingpin, Wilson Fisk, is very rarely seen in a position of weakness, yet here we see an early Fisk, before his crime empire encompassed the whole of New York City, and this allows us to see a vulnerable Fisk. It’s disturbing to see such a huge man, who we know can smash a man’s head with a car door and feel no remorse, look so scared and worried by his situation. It also leads us to ask, what exactly are Madame Gao and the Japanese really a part of, that Fisk would fear them so much. I could speculate, but if I’m right I’d rather not spoil it, as so far nothing is confirmed.
A couple of nice little Easter eggs are in Fisk’s conversation with Madame Gao as well. We discover Fisk can speak fluent Mandarin due to his time “in the East”, as well as the fact Madame Gao pretty much does as she pleases, and is most likely the most feared person in Hell’s Kitchen. The most interesting, however is her joke about “diving spells beneath the moonlight” with bones, yet another link between the supernatural Eastern elements to the Marvel Universe, becoming more and more prominent in the series with each episode. Although they continue to be subtle hints, it would seem something Eastern and magical is on the horizon. Whether this occurs in this season of Daredevil, or is simply setting up the Iron Fist TV series that will also be set in Hell’s Kitchen, remains to be seen.
This vulnerable Fisk is also fleshed out through flashbacks to a young “Willy” growing up with his abusive, power hungry father, and kind and caring mother. We see just where both Wilson’s rage, obsession with Hell’s Kitchen, and complete focus comes from in scenes showing his father. Yet in arguably the most memorable scene of the episode, we see a young Wilson Fisk finally snap and defend his mother from his abusive father. We see Fisk’s first ever rage as he smashes the back of his father’s head into pieces. It’s gruesome, but equally as emotional, as we feel genuinely sorry for a young boy that has simply been pushed too far, who we know will never be the same again. His mother also highlights her importance in Fisk’s life, simply stating “get the saw,” while looking at her dead husband. Perhaps Fisk sees himself as more of his mother than father, willing to do what’s necessary in the face of evil, doing what must be done for the good of others. Also it’s worth bearing in mind that in Fisk’s origin story in the Punisher Max comic book, he killed his father with a bucket of hungry rats, so it could’ve been even more gruesome than it was.
Skipping back to the present in the wake of this emotional flashback, Fisk offers up possibly his most emotional scene, in which he justifies his murderous actions to Vanessa (Ayelet Zurer). A key line might be “I didn’t do it for her, I did it for me,” is this him accepting that his lust for power is his real reason for wanting control of Hell’s Kitchen, and saving the city isn’t actually his motive in his vendetta?
In the final moments of the episode we see Fisk finally take off the same black suit, in turn donning a grey one, symbolising his move towards the white suit he will eventually wear once the city is his. We see him appear on television, promising to restore peace to the streets of New York, and develop before our eyes into an even more dangerous man than he was before. In the comics the Kingpin of crime, controls all crime in New York, whether Daredevil will play out as the comic’s book have, remains to be seen.