Warning: Spoiler Alert
Tonight’s episode takes us back to Siberia, Russia 8 years earlier where we meet the Ranskahov brothers, Vladimir and Anatoly. Their future from inside this prison seem grim. Vladimir will not let go of his motivation to escape and build something, in America. First step in that direction is taking advantage of the dead body the guards have left in their cell. Rib bones make for a decent shank.
After another night mission to make life difficult for the Russians, Matt finds himself back at Claire’s apartment. Getting stitched up. For the second time, Claire has referenced a ‘better suit’, this time mentioning armor. This time however, both parties are more than content to introduce flirtation into their conversation. His gesture of asking her to put her phone number into his burner phone (as a courtesy for the next time) was not as well received as Matt might have hoped.
Wesley pays Anatoly and Vladimir a visit. He brings the paperwork that finalizes a deal turning over control of two companies including a taxi company over to their control. Thus doubling their ‘infrastructure’. Anatoly is grateful, Vladimir seems way to proud to echo the sentiment. Seemed like as good a time as any to bring up the headache of the man in the black mask. Shipments are light and that is an area of contention for Wesley and by a direct correlation, his employer. Additional elements to their enterprise have voiced concerns about the Russians ability to contain this ‘man’.
Vladimir: We’ve not heard of this.
Wesley: That’s because we’ve been talking behind your back. About how the Russians can’t seem to handle one man running around in a mask. Maybe if he had…an iron suit or a magic hammer that might explain why you keep getting your asses handed to you…
Vladimir: We’re done here.
Karen meets with Urich at a diner to discuss the depth of the story she has to tell. Urich has done his research. That plus his experience, says that there is not much their worth pursuing. Especially considering that Karen is still breathing. There is also that little pesky detail that accompany journalists of integrity. Stories like these are built on sources. Credible sources. Ben has done enough digging on Karen to know that she does not fit the description of ‘credible source’. This is a tease to a dark past that will come up. Probably not in season 1, but it is a significant detail about the Karen Page character.
The Russians pay their brother a visit in the hospital. Recovering from injuries sustained care of the man in the black mask. They feed his I.V. with epinephrine to wake him up. They ask about the man who did this to him. He responds quite simply with, “The Devil”. When they press for more, he adds that there was a woman. He whispers something in Vladimir’s ear. Then next thing we see is a fourth Russian (Sergei) kicking in Claire’s door. They don’t find Claire, but when they turn back around Santino (a neighbor and the young man who found Matt in the dumpster in episode 2) standing in the doorway.
Wesley and Fisk ride in a black SUV trying to navigate through the small problems they still have. Most important of which is the man in the mask. If the Russians cannot take care of it, Fisk will find someone who can. They stop, Wesley attempts to get out. Fisk insists he must do this alone. ‘This’ deals with the art gallery that Vanessa runs. This is not the first, but one of what feels like a string of scenes that are intended to make Wilson Fisk somewhat redeemable. It humanizes him. He may be a nasty, vindictive villain, but under it all he’s just another guy struggling to ask a woman out that he has a genuine interest in. She shrugs off the advance, but only to extend the flirtation. She was surprised to find that Fisk was willing to cut bait at that moment. She even references a time when a man offered to buy all the paintings she had in order to get her to close early.
(Wilson walks back very slowly, getting very close to her face)
Fisk: Any woman who can be bought, isn’t worth having at all.
Claire while cat sitting, thought she heard something outside the door. She didn’t notice the shadow outside the window. Matt’s burner phone rings, but there’s no voice at the other end. Just the sound of a struggle and a muffled voice. Matt does not arrive in time. Matt does find Santino who has been roughed up a bit. Clearly, he lead them to Claire. He was able to remember the name of the taxi company.
Bound and sat before a taxi cab in the garage while Sergei hits around her with a baseball bat to the cab she’s sitting in front of. Then the lights go out. Claire leans back and lets out an almost sinister laugh as she knows what comes next. The Russians engage in a fire fight, shooting at nothing. It does buy Claire enough time to free herself from the duct tape. Sergei intercepts Claire and claims he’s walking out of there with Claire. Matt gets him in an advantageous hold and begins to monologue. Then Claire swings the bat at Sergei’s head knocking him out. She instantly breaks into tears and Matt has to catch her before she falls.
Vladimir and Anatoly make their way to the garage to find no woman, no man in the black mask, but a beaten Sergei. It’s at this point that the offer of help from Wesley becomes something to consider. Vladimir is too proud, but Anatoly is not. Anatoly gladly will accept the partnership on his brother’s behalf.
Fisk and Vanessa are on their first date. Generally speaking, it’s going well. It’s clear to Vanessa that Wilson doesn’t do this very often. There is an adolescent awkwardness that seems to illustrate his sincerity. Fisk convinces her to try the Zuppa. Fisk finally is able to deliver an effective line that doesn’t come off as a line at all when there is a commotion at the front of the restaurant. Anatoly wishes to convey his thanks face to face. Not a wise choice.
At Matt’s apartment, there is a bit of a role reversal. This time its Matt patching up Claire. Matt tries to apologize for getting Claire involved. She’s not interested in the apology. Not to be rude, but there is a bigger elephant in the room. She needs to know all of this is worth it in the end. Matt has no profound answer for her, just that he’s trying to make his city a better place. She tries to bring his perspective around to those he’s already helped. She calls him Mike again and he corrects her.
Matt: Matthew. My name is Matthew.
Fisk tries to salvage his date with Vanessa and has a difficult time doing so. She’s visibly shaken. She saw something in him that was intriguing. After the restaurant episode, she’s not exactly sure that intrigue was a good thing.
Anatoly and Wesley ride in a car. Anatoly believes they are en route to a cordial meeting among business men. They have a conversation about putting the past behind them. Wesley gives a nice reply about the past never really disappearing. It lingers like the smoke of burning wood. Just circling. Then Wesley’s phone rings.
Wesley: Yes sir. Yes. Passenger side.
Fisk opens the passenger side door. Throws Anatoly against the inside of the door frame before pulling him out. Anatoly fights back but his efforts do no damage. Fisk says only, “You embarrassed me. You embarrassed me in front of her.” Heavy punch after heavy punch. Head butts and body shots. One after the other. Anatoly mutters something in Russian as he crawls on his stomach toward Wesley still seated in the vehicle. Fisk punches him one more time knocking him out. Then Fisk lifts him up just enough to place his head conveniently between the SUV’s passenger door, the runner, and the door opening. Then Wilson Fisk in a rage repeatedly slams the car door against Anatoly’s head over and over and over until Anatoly’s head is removed from his body. This scene is not for the faint of heart.
Wesley: What should we do with this?
Fisk: Take what’s left of him and send it to his brother.
Wesley: That will start a war.
Fisk: I’m counting on it.