Daredevil – World on Fire

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Image via Netflix and Marvel
Image via Netflix and Marvel

For all the talk of this show being dark, I find that there is still a sense of hope and optimism that things can improve, even when things look dark that works beneath the surface. This is especially apparent throughout this episode in the case of Foggy and Karen going above and beyond to assist Miss Cardenas, an older woman who, like the rest of her neighbors in a local apartment complex, is being pressured out to take over the land. All of which is a part of Fisk’s various corporate dealings to amass power in Hell’s Kitchen. Foggy shows his lawyerly competence when he stands up to his ex at the Landman and Zack corporate lawfirm.

I believe I mentioned how much I enjoyed the show’s methodical pacing and the time it has taken to set up the characters and the world they live in. All of that continues in this episode, with the Miss Cardenas storyline particularly putting a human face on the world Matt is trying to protect and change. This is also the episode where all the hard setup work pays off. The episode’s conclusion is a major turning point, and it would not be as emotionally resonant or dramatically effective had it all occurred before we understood these characters and the world they live in.

Vanessa also returns to give Wilson another shot, and it becomes a bit more clear why: she is someone intrigued by power and takes what she wants. So even though Fisk is clearly a morally questionable figure, she enjoys the thrill of it. This becomes more and more clear as she and Wilson sit down to dinner and she talks a little bit about herself. It is probably that thrill and love of power that Fisk is most attracted to, which makes sense. Vanessa’s infatuation has to be to the power and influence that Fisk obviously holds, because all of his talk about reviving the city is super creepy.

The title of the episode comes from Matt’s description of how he “sees” the world. For the first time, he shares the truth about his abilities with someone and we as viewers get a real explanation, as opposed to smaller hints. I like that the show has avoided a POV of Matt’s senses, which run the risk of compromising the series’ verisimilitude and more grounded aesthetic. Show runner Steven DeKnight said they had attempted to put it in a few other places but structurally they never fit. It makes the shot of Claire Temple more unique, and it works from a story perspective. Murdock’s in a place of inner turmoil in this episode, and our glimpse into his view of the world represents a moment of vulnerability. It comes at the right time for us to buy the abstract shot as viewers. This is the first time Matt has ever talked openly about what he sees, and it comes after being forced to recognize his own shortcomings and failures through his experiences with Claire. It is these shortcomings that lead to Claire and Matt to have a falling out. She accuses him of becoming the thing he hates, and Matt doesn’t seem to disagree too much.

It makes a certain amount of sense for a character called Daredevil to “see” everything like the world is on fire, and thematically it speaks to a lot about who Matt Murdock is as a person and where he is at this moment in time. The city itself appears to be on the brink of erupting in violence, and Matt himself is on the verge. Throughout this episode he is scrambling with no leads and trying desperately to catch up to Fisk, who seems from his perspective to be an almost omnipotent and all-encompassing evil. The series has taken care to display the city’s problems and how they branch out to the lives of the innocent people who inhabit it, both through corruption and in large scale violence.

And as the episode goes on it becomes more and more clear that Murdock is totally out of his depth and outmatched. He is working more on rage than sense. More on his burning passion than any kind of strategy.  And Matt has no real idea how deep the rabbit hole goes, which leads to twists neither he nor the audience expects. The “you really shouldn’t have said his name” scene  even took me by surprise. That moment in particular shows how much influence Fisk has on the city. And he appears to be gaining more and more control as the episode continues. The world is on fire, and he lit the match. He seeks to save the city as well, but he is going to do it with cleansing fire, and it is going to be his vision. On the surface, Murdock and Fisk appear to have similar motivations. When the episode ends, though, they could not be in more different places. Fisk has made a massive power grab by getting rid of the Russians, and Matt is close to taking the wrap for the cops, not to mention having been pegged with the death of Anatoly at the end of the last episode.

The episode is a dramatic turning point for the show in many ways, and the explosions that mark the end of the episode send shockwaves that will have a major impact on episodes to come.

Stray Thoughts

  • I haven’t talked about the character Wesley yet, but I’m a big fan. Although the shady butt well dressed and respectable looking guy in a suit is a bit of a cinematic cliché , Wesley does a fantastic job of being both intimidating and strangely likable. Toby Leonard Moore doesn’t have many acting credits to his name, but he brings so much life to the character and does a fantastic job.
  • This episode has one of my favorite shots of the season, with a long continuous shot from the perspective of one of Madame Gao’s blind workers in a car. The camera spins around, with Matt disappearing and then reappearing to take down some thugs. The next cut only comes after he’s shot. Beautifully done. Love the visual inventiveness throughout the show.
  • Nobu, the Japanese dude in Fisk’s entourage mentions working for other people…Could it be the HAND?? Or just something boring like the Yakuza. But Fisk appears to answer to them a little.
  • When Matt goes into the police station he sits in front of a sign that says “You don’t have to reveal your identity to solve violent crimes.”
  • This episode has what may be the worst scene of the entire series when Karen asks Foggy to touch her face. It’s nonsense and though Deborah Ann Woll tries to sell it, it’s just bad.
  • I enjoy Turk’s description of Wilson Fisk. “Some big white guy. Bald as shit.”

Marvel Facts

  • In the comics, Daredevil’s enhanced senses are usually described more like a radar than an impressionistic painting. The radar motif is usually how they visualize it in the books and in the Affleck movie, but I think this show has a more inventive and interesting way of showing it. Thematically it works really well.
  • There’s a line of dialogue that takes a dig at Kingpin’s comic appearance. “An ascott? That’s a bit much.”

 

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