|Shoot me all you want, but Fury Road|
is still better than Road Warrior.
'Condemned' told a familiar story of two adversaries (in this case a Russian gangster and masked vigilante) finding themselves in a dire situation where they are forced to work together in order to survive and eventually come to an understanding with one another, leading one to sacrifice their life so that the other might live. And it told it exceptionally well.
Now that we're almost halfway through the first season I feel confident at this point in proclaiming that Daredevil is not only Marvel's best TV series so far (sorry, Peggy) it is also the best superhero TV series on the planet right now (sorry, Barry) as well as the best action series (sorry, Person of Interest). Actually, superhero TV series isn't really the right way to describe this show. Like the best Daredevil comics, this show is at heart a crime drama with some subtle fantastical elements.
The best Daredevil comics were of course written by Frank Miller, whose work has been a major influence on this series. Ironically, this episode's plotline was more reminiscent of his work on Batman, especially his Year One mini-series with David Mazzucchelli (who also worked with Miller on the best Daredevil story, 'Born Again'). The third chapter of that series featured a sequence where Batman was cornered in an abandoned building by corrupt cops working for a local mobster who wanted him dead. That is exactly what happened here, except that the Caped Crusader wasn't dragging around an injured Russian gangster who hated his guts.
Matt and Vladimir actually made for an entertaining pair, and while they didn't exactly end up liking or even respecting each other, they did come to something of an understanding that their true enemy is Fisk. Vladimir gave Matt the information he would need to bring Fisk down, but also told him that it would not be enough. Fisk is just too powerful. If Matt wants to really take him down he will have to cross that moral line in the sand he has drawn.
Matt is naive if he really thinks he can bring Fisk to trial. Even if he were able to find something incriminating on him, what are the chances someone as powerful as Fisk would ever see the inside of a courtroom? This is a man who seems to have most of the police force in his pocket as well as people in the media. Lord knows how many D.A.s and judges he has, too. To misquote Edmund Blackadder, Fisk could be found next to a body, the knife in his hand, thirteen witnesses that had seen him stab the victim, and be screaming "I'm glad I killed the bastard" when the police arrived and his lawyer would not only be able to get him off, but get him knighted in the New Year's Honours list, and have the relatives of the victim pay to have the blood washed out of his jacket.
Killing Fisk may be the only guaranteed way to stop him, although it is one that Matt would prefer to avoid. Matt refuses to kill not only because, in his eyes, it would make him no different than the people he is fighting against, it is also a mortal sin, and one of the big ones, too. The commandments are pretty clear on this one - "Thou shalt NOT kill". No ifs, no buts, no small print, no hidden call charges, killing is a big no no. And that one comes directly from the almighty, although since Moses did smash the tablets before anyone else could get a good look at them I guess we'll have to take his word for it that they contained God's laws and not their recipe for the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich.
|I said 'grilled', Aaron, not 'gilled'. Put that fish away.|
Let's say for a second that Matt was able to put his moral compass away and actually kill Fisk, what would that accomplish? Would Fisk's death bring an end to crime in Hell's Kitchen or simply create a power vacuum that would lead to further chaos and destruction? An organisation like Fisk's would not simply shrivel up and die along with its master. History has repeatedly shown us that when a powerful ruler falls without a clear successor who could maintain control, anarchy swiftly follows. Fisk's death would ultimately only make the situation in Hell's Kitchen worse, not better. Even if Matt were able to take down Fisk's entire operation at once, that would simply open the door for a new player to step in and take over.
Notes and Quotes
--Fisk's sniper had a deck of playing cards in his bag. This has lead many, including myself, to suspect that he could be Bullseye.
--This is the first episode where our protagonist and antagonist actually got to have a conversation with each other. As exciting as that was, I wish Matt and Fisk's first conversation hadn't been loaded with dialogue clichés like "We are not too different, you and I".
--It wasn't very smart of those corrupt cops to execute those injured Russians with their service weapons. Just because your boss controls everything doesn't mean you have to be sloppy.
--Ben's boss really is an idiot.
--Fisk has no loyalty to his own minions. He didn't think twice about having one of his own corrupt cops shot to discredit Matt.
Claire: "It's not as easy as it looks in the movies, you know."
Matt: "I don't really go to the movies."
Matt: "You got the wrong guy. I don't kill people. Not even scumbags like you who deserve it."
Vladimir: "You dropped Semyon off roof. Put him in coma."
Matt: "Yeah... but he was still breathing, wasn't he?"
Karen: "Foggy, you're bleeding."
Foggy: "Huh? Oh, that explains it."
Karen: "Explains what?"
Foggy: "The stabbing pain in my side."
Wilson: "You and I have a lot in common."
Matt: "We're nothing alike."
Wilson: "That's what you'll tell yourself."
Matt: "You're feeding off this city... like a cancer."
Wilson: "I want to save this city, like you... only on a scale that matters."
Four out of four ultimate grilled cheese sandwiches.
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.
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