Sorry for the slight delay, guys! I had a busy week, but it’s finally time to look at the fourth episode of season three. Much has been said about this episode, in particular that 11-minute one-shot scene. Let’s see if I have anything interesting to add. As usual, feel free to jump to My thoughts for the review portion of the post. Especially if you have the events of the episode fresh in you memory.
Wilson Fisk wakes up at 5:50AM (!) for his room check, which sees him wait stoically while Agents Lim and Poindexter go through his bedroom and pat him down. As the agents leave, something compels Dex to turn around and look at Fisk standing at the top of the stairs. Could this be the beginning of a beautiful friendship?
Matt goes back to his apartment and finds the spare key behind the radiator. (You really have to be a Man Without Fear to “hide” the key to your apartment in such an obvious place.) He stands around taking in the atmosphere for a good while, letting the audience enjoy the top-notch score this season, before noticing the piles of mail on the coffee table.
At this, he must have a realization that someone, on a very short list of potential suspects, has been looking after the place for him and not given up hope. There’s a hard-to-decipher, sad look before he goes to put on a suit and tie and heads out the door. He hails a cab.
We’re back with Foggy, who looks like he’s barely slept at all. He frantically tells Marci about Matt showing up alive, but that Matt doesn’t want to see him again. He then remembers the threat he’s under and runs to check the locks. Marci first tries to calm him down and then comes up with a brilliant idea, that Foggy should hide in the open by running against Blake Towers for District Attorney, as a write-in candidate. He would get the issue of Fisk’s release out and maybe even make a few friends on the police force.
When Foggy notices that his wallet is gone, we cut immediately to the man who has that wallet. Matt is sitting in the back of a cab outside a prison. He takes out Foggy’s bar association I.D. and puts in a separate pocket before paying the driver what probably seems like a reasonable number of bills from the center of the wad of cash in Foggy’s wallet. Matt asks him to wait.
Once inside the gates, Matt talks his way inside just using Foggy’s non-picture I.D., by claiming to have lost his wallet. Matt had called earlier to set up a meeting with a client, giving his name as Franklin Nelson. We cut to the intro.
The client Matt had set up a meeting with on the inside is someone he and Foggy used to represent by the name of Michael. He got his sentence reduced and has been studying for a degree in psychology. Matt is acting a bit shady, and asking for his client’s connection to the Albanians, specifically a man named Vic Jusufi. This makes Michael really nervous and the meeting ends with Matt taking a punch to the head, and his client being dragged away, swearing he didn’t say anything. Matt is told he needs to get checked out by the nurse, for liability reasons.
Meanwhile, Ray Nadeem is busy at the office when his wife shows up to bring him lunch. She mentions that she’s taking their son to her sister’s house since Sami can’t sleep at home and needs a few days to get his mind off everything going on with his dad. When Ray insists that nothing bad is going to happen, Seema talks about her visit to the hospital. She knows it could just as easily have been him, and there is some resentment on her part, even though they are both happy about his promotion.
We are back with Matt in prison. He is being taken to the prison clinic and shown the way through long and winding corridors. There are successive gates being closed behind him and the atmosphere is quite threatening. Matt is finally shown into an empty room, and told to wait for the nurse.
Karen is frantically chasing down some leads at the office when Foggy shows up. She is going on and on about what she’s found when Foggy, interrupts her. He is not there to talk about Fisk, and Karen immediately gets the sense that he knows something about Matt. She is tormented for a few seconds before correctly concluding that he’s alive.
The two run over to his apartment, looking for him. Foggy says there had apparently been no one there poking around, though as they are about to leave they find signs that Matt was, in fact, there. Before we get to that though, the two have a conversation about where Matt’s head is at. Karen is livid that Matt would let them think he was dead. Foggy says that the man he talked to didn’t seem like the Matt they used to know, and that maybe a part of him had been buried under Midland Circle. Karen argues that there’s always something missing with Matt. Foggy says that this is different than before, and that he doesn’t know if Matt is coming back. Karen is extremely disappointed with Matt and tries to take in that he isn’t leaving any room for either of them. Fisk needs to be dealt with, however, and she isn’t going to sit around and wait for him to come to his senses.
A nurse comes in to see Matt and apologizes for the wait. He checks Matt’s jaw and confirms it’s not dislocated. When the nurse says he needs to check Matt’s pupils to make sure he doesn’t have a concussion, Matt pleads with him to just give him the paperwork to sign. Instead, just as he notices a surveillance camera moving in the corner of the room, he gets attacked with a syringe and is just barely able to stop most of its contents from going in.
With the nurse subdued, Matt finds the door has been locked. That’s when the phone starts ringing. It’s Wilson Fisk on the line! And Matt realizes he’s being watched. Fisk is not happy about the threats that were made about Vanessa. Not happy at all…
With the conversation over, the door is opened automatically and Matt gets into that 11-minute fight/riot scene, with intermittent dialogue that everyone has been talking about. I guess it’s more effectively recapped through pictures…
Of course, in the middle of this scene, Matt has a pretty important conversation with the powerful Albanian Vic Jusufi, and some guys from his crew. Not only does he learn that Fisk arranged his own attack, with the help of a now-released “lifer” named Jasper Evans, the Albanians also help him on his way by one of them grabbing some gear off an unconscious guard and accompanying him on his way out.
By the time Matt finally gets to the outside, through fire, smoke and full-blown rioting, he collapses inside his waiting cab and instructs the cabbie to drive.
Back in Manhattan, Agents Poindexter and Lim are serving Fisk a hamburger (though not before Dex takes a bite out of it) and watch him eat. Their boss, Hattley, shows up with her boss, and Agent Nadeem, Dex is asked to leave.
Agent Nadeem follows him outside and obliquely tells him that their superiors want a private interview with Fisk regarding the details of the ambush, after an internal investigation has been launched of what happened, and that there was a discrepancy between the official report and the forensics. Ray also expresses his gratitude to Dex for being the reason that his family still have their husband and father.
Foggy decides to start his campaign by drumming up some support at a union-only police function. His longtime “frenemy” Brett Mahoney is not amused, but Foggy gets on with presenting his case: Wilson Fisk. Foggy knows that Fisk’s new situation is seen as an insult by the NYPD. Foggy would like an introduction from Brett, but the latter asks him to leave. Foggy doesn’t heed his orders, and instead grabs the spotlight, and Brett gives him one minute. Foggy delivers an impromptu speech and announces his decision to run for District Attorney to put Fisk back in prison. Many of the officers decide to sign up.
An angry Karen is walking late at night when she sees a group of guys harass women walking by. She goes up to them and pulls out a gun to go along with her speech. They scatter.
Back at the hotel, Hattley asks Ray if there’s trouble at home, which leads him to open up about how his son is dealing with the dangers of his job. Hattley tells him treat his kid like a confidential informant, and lie to him about the things he doesn’t need to know. She tells a story from her childhood about how her father, who was a trucker, tricked her into being less frightened of the dangerous chemicals he was hauling.
Karen reaches her destination, the home of a contact at the FDIC she was on the phone with when Foggy showed up earlier. This woman is the only one who can tell Karen about Red Lion National Bank, the bank she suspects Fisk is laundering money through. Her contact, not too happy about being bothered at home, gives Karen the name Felix Manning.
Dex returns to the surveillance room and asks Agent Lim to go downstairs to grab coffee, his treat. Dex then uses the alone time to look through the taped conversation with Fisk that he wasn’t privy to earlier. He discovers that Fisk has said nothing to incriminate him. In fact, he gives a statement that lines up with Dex’s version of events and makes Dex out to be a hero. Dex breathes heavily as he watches. At the very end, we see Fisk looking up at the camera.
Dex turns the cameras off and goes to speak with Fisk, asking him what his game is, saying that he doesn’t need any favors. Fisk keeps his attention by telling him about the story that’s in the papers, and that Dex has his sympathy for being vilified.
In a final scene, we see Matt who is coming to in the back of the cab, discover that he now has a new driver. Before he can act, the new guy escapes out the door on the driver’s side and sends the cab flying off a pier and into the East River.
Let’s first talk about that “fight scene,” because it’s clearly worth talking about. And I put the quotes there on purpose, because this scene is so much more than a fight scene. It’s got some exceptionally very well-choreographed and acted fight sequences that stand up really well to being watched in slow motion (trust me), what makes this scene even more impressive is everything else going on with it.
On top of the action elements, there’s quite a bit of dialogue, pyrotechnics (object on fire and some kind of explosive going off), smoke, and a lot of people in motion. All of these elements have to come together in a single take. However, I will leave the detailed analysis of the fight itself to those who are better at such things than I am. See, for instance, “How Daredevil Filmed Its 10-Minute Prison Fight in a Single Take” (Vulture), and “Marvel’s Daredevil boss on season 3’s epic one-take fight scene” (EW).
Another interesting thing that happens in this episode is that we really begin to explore the power dynamics between Fisk and Dex. The way Dex so very clearly looks down his nose at Fisk during the room check is juxtaposed beautifully with Fisk towering over Dex as the latter walks down the stairs, just moments later. What is Dex thinking here? Is he feeling fear? Curiosity? Animosity? A combination of all of them? Their relationship is about to change and there’s some great foreshadowing here.
By the end of the episode, Fisk has really caught Dex’s attention. Under scrutiny by his own employer – though treated very respectfully by Agent Nadeem – Dex finds in Wilson Fisk someone who is willing to defend his actions, even lie for him. He is also successfully planting the seed in Dex’s head that he is fundamentally misunderstood – a vilified hero.
Of course, this episode demonstrates in more ways than one that Fisk is quite capable of playing the long game. We learn that the stabbing that got him out of jail was a clever ruse, and Matt’s visits to the prison, under the name of Franklin Nelson, triggers an elaborate set-up that allows Fisk to travel, in spirit at least, to where Matt is.
A lot of planning obviously went into this, on the off chance that one of the lawyers that put him in prison would show up. It isn’t until the security camera in the nurse’s office catches Matt, rather than Foggy, that Fisk even knows that the lawyer he will be attacking is Matt. The prison fight, and its aftermath, should heighten Matt’s concerns about Foggy’s safety, as well as his own. One has to wonder whether he fully considered that when taking Foggy’s wallet.
Foggy, meanwhile, is left wondering how to move forward. Elden Henson has some absolutely brilliant lines in this episode, and the way Foggy is written during the entirety of this season is a huge step up from seasons one and two. That’s not to say that Foggy has previously been written in a way that I’d classify as out of character – he and Matt have had their fair share of conflicts over the years in the comic as well – but there is a genuinely compassionate side of Foggy that we haven’t seen as much of before. And, he’s funny in a way that doesn’t make his character a joke.
I do wish that Marci had been given a little more to do this season. Even though she gets a fair amount of screen time, her range is limited by existing only as Foggy’s supporting character. However, actress Amy Rutberg manages to squeeze the most out of the scenes she’s got, and in this episode, it is Marci’s idea that sends Foggy off on a whole new adventure. By providing a solid plan and a push in the right direction, Foggy’s story takes on even more of a life of its own when he decides to run for office. For us fans, this also means a welcome reunion with everyone’s favorite cop Brett Mahoney. (I really like Brett.)
This is a really rough episode for Karen. And I don’t mean in terms of Deborah Ann Woll’s performance, but in terms of what her character goes through. The joyous news that Matt is still alive is quickly tempered by the realization that he wants nothing to do with her and Foggy, and has gone at least a couple of months (after regaining full consciousness) without telling them that he’s alive. For someone who has been paying the guy’s bills, clinging to the faintest of hopes that he may have made it out alive, this must be devastating. Her pain is palpable in this scene.
This seems to push Karen closer to the edge. She doubles down on her own personal war against Fisk, her encounter with the woman from the FDIC – at her home! – a clear breach of professionalism. Her decision to pull out her gun to threaten a group of young men on the street is yet another indication that she’s unraveling.
Foggy has had a much longer relationship with Matt, and knew Matt’s secret long enough to (it seems) successfully integrate his understanding of “old” Matt and “new” Matt into a complete picture of who the guys is, at his core. Karen must have a much more complicated relationship with the guy to begin with, one much more dominated by the lies and the sketchiness. It makes sense that she, at this stage, would be the one of the two who would turn to anger and confusion.
Ray Nadeem is also under pressure. So far, his promotion has definitely been a mixed blessing with his son terrified, and his wife coming down on him hard. I’m a bit ambivalent about his wife Seema, and this goes beyond this particular episode. I get that part of the point of her characterization is to highlight the many demands that Ray is under, but you don’t really get a sense of her beyond “concerned wife.” I did find Ray’s interactions with Dex quite interesting. These are not guys you’d expect to hang out after hours, but there’s definitely a level of mutual professional respect between them.
Overall, this is another strong episode, one that deserves accolades for reasons that go beyond the famous prison scene. I will continue to applaud the efforts of the episodes below (good senses writing here!), but to round off this part of the review, I want to emphasize how much I enjoyed pretty much everything coming out of all the characters’ mouths. Everyone has really well-written lines. Some are funny – many of them Foggy’s – and some are pretty darn deep. Ray’s conversation with his boss, Tammy Hattley, was a great example of this. And when this show does give us humor, it’s of the true to life kind that fits the characters.
If we spent much of the last episode inside Matt’s head, this episode takes an alternative route. With the exception of those brief moments in his apartment, where we see Matt taking in the fact that someone has neatly arranged his mail on the coffee table, there is little insight into Matt’s thinking processes.
However, even a quiet scene like the one in Matt’s apartment can tell us a lot. What is he really thinking as he stops to take in the air and ambiance of what used to be his home? Had he planned to do that at all, or did the side of him that still cares get the better of him?
When he realizes that someone has cared about him in his absence, he appears to not really know what to do with this information, and snaps immediately into getting a suit, putting it on and heading out the door. He is all business here, but the pause just before that is probably significant, even though we don’t see where that leads yet.
Matt needs to be all business for the rest of the episode. Deep down, he must feel horrible for taking Foggy’s wallet, maybe even for asking to see his old client Michael, and using him to get information. But, the mission comes first. And the mission is important enough to put all thoughts of suicide to rest (and yes, his senses may be back, but it’s not as if the rest of his life is peachy). While watching Matt fight for his life is heartbreaking in its own way, at least he’s fighting. To stay alive.
Really, really good stuff this episode. Lots of nice details, and I don’t catch him doing anything patently absurd (honestly, the whole season stays pretty grounded in this respect). Two scenes deserve a little extra attention, starting with the scene in Matt’s apartment:
I count about twenty-five seconds between Matt stepping into the main living area and his suddenly noticing the mail on the coffee table. This really is a nice touch and goes well with one point I’ve occasionally made about Matt’s senses in that they don’t follow the same hierarchy as those of the average person. The moment you imagine what he’s doing as walking into a lit room (and artists who draw the radar sense as an Instagram filter on acid would be better off not trying to render it at all), you’re missing something.
In an environment where he is actively “interrogating” his surroundings, exploring or looking for something, he likely would have noticed the stacks of papers sooner (compare this to his almost imperceptible brief “check” of that area of the hotel before he grabs a brochure), but in this case, he’s not actively looking for anything like that, and from his perspective, it’s not particularly attention-grabbing, compared to many other things in that room.
A longer and more detailed explanation for the delay in detecting the stacks of mail needs its own post though (in the near future!), otherwise this review will go too far off-topic. I will say this though: The exact same logic has been on display in the comics fairly often. At least often enough that I’ve come up with my own term for these situations: CAR or “conspicuously absent radar.” I’m making it a thing.
The other scene, or really string of scenes, that deserve special mention is Matt at the prison. For the second episode in a row, he pretends to be sighted. And, even more so than in the last episode, you get some appreciation for the risk involved. Did he hand the driver the appropriate amount of cash? Matt doesn’t seem to know. There’s the pupil check he narrowly got out of, and the potentially revealing paperwork that didn’t happen.
In an odd way, he might have been lucky to be attacked by a syringe instead, as his ability to fight his way out of a prison while being slightly drugged up exceeds his ability to fill out any form that requires more than a scribble at the bottom. Yes, even with the print reading from the comics, feel free to explain to me how he would have quickly and efficiently filled out a semi-complicated questionnaire with check-boxes. In front of someone…
Even more interesting, from the perspective of Charlie Cox’s acting, are the subtle differences between how he carries himself naturally (say, around the people who know about his senses), and the rather stiff behavior of someone who has to put on a completely different performance than the one he’s used to (and a much riskier one at that). And, as the fight progresses, and he starts interacting with the Albanians, he gradually goes back to being his more natural self, scanning the environment in his usual manner, less focused on looking straight ahead. This is all really subtle, but very nicely done.
Foggy: “Only I, Foggy Nelson, can be ghosted by a ghost.”
Foggy: “We need to get another dead bolt installed. A single dead bolt and a measly chain? Might as well be a beaded curtain.”
Agent Dex: “If I’m being honest, that’s not the way I thought this was going to go.”
Agent Lim: “Who eats a burger with a spork?”
SAIC Hattley: “The lies that keep us safe, are the ones worth telling.”
Fisk: “The world is changing. The real heroes are ridiculed and dismissed.”
Okay, so Matt is still being shady as hell and keeping away from his friends, though not their wallets. But, he did set out to do some pretty gutsy detective work, and – more importantly – managed to survive an attempt on his life in the middle of a prison riot. That, and he got some new information on how Fisk was able to get out of prison and who would know the truth. Not bad for a day’s work, Matt! Just imagine how much you’d get done if you were actually a team player! 😉
And, while I’ve decided to forego the Easter egg section for his season, I also have to give an honorary mention to former Daredevil writer Roy Thomas who had a cameo as the older inmate at the prison. Read Roy’s own story here!