I guess the moral of the story is don't ever, EVER, under any circumstances, ruin Wilson Fisk's date.
This episode introduced us to two very different Wilson Fisks. The first, and the one we spend the majority of the episode with, is Wilson Fisk the romantic. This Wilson Fisk was like a gentle giant, all awkward and nervous, even a little shy. As the date with Vanessa went on we began to see that behind that shy exterior he was funny and charming, even, dare I say it, a little sweet. And he and Vanessa make such a lovely couple, thanks to the great chemistry between Vincent D'Onofrio and Ayelet Zurer.
Obviously the writers placed so much emphasis on Fisk's softer side so that his actions at the end of the episode would be all the more shocking. They needn't have bothered because pulverising a guy's head with a freakin' car door is shocking enough. Woah! I mean...woah. I knew they were probably going to show us Fisk's ruthless side by the end of the episode, but I wasn't expecting anything like that.
This is the Wilson Fisk we've not been hearing about. And with good reason. This Wilson Fisk is a creature of uncontrolled rage. Anatoly came to him to beg for his help, to grovel on his knees at the feet of Hell Kitchen's unofficial king(pin). But he chose the exact wrong moment to do it, ruining Fisk's date and embarrassing him in front of Vanessa. For that he got his head turned into mush. No wonder Healey chose to ram his head into a metal spike. If this is what Fisk will do to those who want to be his allies, imagine what he'd do to his enemies or those who betray him.
It was decent of the writers to flesh out Anatoly before his gruesome death so he wasn't just a generic Russian gangster by showing us him and his brother in their Siberian prison days, where they were making shivs out of poor Alexi's ribs (they obviously stress the importance of recycling in Russian prisons). It was also great how they, and all the non-English speaking characters, were speaking their native language whenever they were alone with each other, rather than speaking English simply for the audience's benefit.
I really like what the show is doing with Karen and how it seems to be avoiding treating her as just a love interest. Yes, Foggy is obviously besotted with her and it is clear she is attracted to Matt, but that is something that is being kept firmly in the background for the time being. Right now Karen feels like she is the lead character in her own show, not just a supporting player in someone else's. She has a storyline all of her own that has nothing to do with who she is or isn't dating. A storyline that is driven by her actions and decisions and isn't just some irrelevant filler to keep her busy until they need her to have some "will they/won't they" tension with Matt or get kidnapped by the bad guys.
Sadly, the same cannot be said of Claire. Everything the show isn't doing with Karen it seems to be doing with Claire. This is only her second episode and already she's being Lois Lane'd. Yes, the rescue sequence itself was pretty good, but can't we have a superhero drama where the bad guys don't try to get to the hero through the girl he is dating? Especially when it relies on a pretty big contrivance for it to happen. Why was Santino standing in Claire's doorway with a big sign over his head reading "I obviously know something, torture me"? It was a blatant example of characters doing dumb shit because the plot required it.
Notes and Quotes
--After Anatoly slashes Fisk's amazingly armoured suit he tells Wesley to contact "Mr. Potter" about getting him a new one. This is likely a reference to Melvin Potter, a character from the comics who is a reformed villain named Gladiator.
--Before the Russians came calling, Claire and Matt were getting seriously flirty (I saw what you were doing with your hand there, Matthew, you smoothie).
--Wesley referenced both Thor and Iron Man, reminding us that this show, despite its gritty tone and brutal violence, still takes place in the same universe as Norse space gods and flying tin men.
Claire: "You really need to get some kind of body armour or something."
Matt: "It would slow me down too much."
Fisk: "A woman that can be bought... isn't worth having."
Wesley: "They say the past is etched in stone, but it isn't. It's smoke trapped in a closed room, swirling, changing, buffeted by the passing of years and wishful thinking. But even though our perception of it changes, one thing remains constant: the past can never be completely erased, it lingers like the scent of burning wood."
Karen: "Well, I did some digging, too. I read every big story with your byline. The VA kickbacks, toxic runoff, the Teachers Union scandal. Hell, you pretty much brought down the Italian mob back when I was in diapers. Whatever happened to that reporter, Mr. Urich?"
Ben: "He got old. And a hell of a lot less stupid."
Three out of four shivs made from some poor sod's ribs.
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.
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