Warning: Spoiler Alert
Matt Murdock stands with his hands up, back facing officers, dressed as the man in the black mask. From his knees and handcuffed, Matt genuinely seems willing to not endanger these officers. That is until he hears one of them claim their task is to take out Vladimir. Still handcuffed Matt takes out all four cops. Vladimir was hit with a stray bullet. The first cop wakes up to find no Vladimir or masked vigilante.
Urich stands in his office at the Bulletin trying to piece together some connection between the Russians, heroin, and the masked man when he hears a commotion in the bullpen. Ellison informs the group that they are getting reports of multiple explosions in Hell’s Kitchen. Ellison starts barking up the ‘natural causes’ (like a gas main), but upon hearing the locations of the explosions, Urich knows this has something to do with the Russians.
Blake and Hoffman arrive at one of the locations executing their ‘sweep’. Blake attempts a borderline torturous method to get his answers. This Russian lackey simply doesn’t have any. After shooting this man, Blake instructs his officers to shoot anyone still alive in the head.
Matt gets Vladimir (relatively) to safety. Vladimir still harboring rage the man in the mask for taking his brother’s head. Matt careful but bluntly says that he doesn’t kill people and Vlad is being played by Fisk. Matt attempts to appeal to Vladimir’s sense of rage by offering him payback. Vladimir does not warm to the idea of helping the masked man.
In a fun Serendipity sort of way Foggy and Karen bring Mrs. Cardenas to the ER that Claire is working. Foggy attempts to call Matt when Karen notices he’s bleeding in his side. Claire gets a call from Matt’s burner. Before she can walk him through how to stabilize Vladimir, he has to tell her it’s Vladimir. Using his senses, Matt tells her what if anything is lying around this rundown floor. She opts for the road flares in a roadside kit.
The basic gist is, Matt is going to use road flares to cauterise the wound. Or burn the hole with a fire stick. As a small consolation, this is going to be excruciating. It takes a moment, but Vladimir does wake up. There is enough commotion to draw the attention of an honest beat cop. Matt asks the cop who he works for, and his heartbeat would support the notion that he’s clean. But that doesn’t prevent him from being an idealist. Instead of giving Central the all clear, he gives them a specific location.
Wesley gets an update on the situation. None of this is good for Fisk, but he needs to appease Madame Gao at the very least by ending this. He informs Wesley to reach out their contacts in the media. He wants everyone to see what’s about to happen.
When Vladimir wakes up, he’s just slightly more willing to talk. He makes a spectacle of it, but does give up the analogy of the accountant. Naturally, he referring to Leland even if he doesn’t give the name. Then Vlad gets sidetracked intentionally. He waits for Matt to lean in close, then summons all his strength for one last fight. He knocks out Matt with a baseball swing with a 2×4. They both fall through the floor, causing more damage to Vladimir. Matt can hear his heartbeat fading and quickly administers CPR. After pounding on his chest, Vladimir forcefully wakes up.
Wesley steps back into Fisk’s car with a large envelope. He pulls out a walkie-talkie and hands it to Fisk. Inside the building, Matt finds an accessible sewer drain when the restrained cop’s radio turns on.
Fisk: I’d like to speak with the man in the mask.
They have the ‘talk’. Neither willing to budge on their goals. Fisk trying to portray himself as the protagonist. Both wanting the same thing, but FIsk wants change on a scale that will matter. His aim is to turn this night and the backlash as yet unseen on the man in the mask. Matt still has options as Fisk sees it. Turn and kill Vladimir and the cops leave the scene.
This, believe it or not, is the most important Fisk scene to date in this season. This is the point where we experience what he is. Gauge his intent, motivation and execution. He doesn’t know it yet, but Fisk is giving us something that will define him in a way even he is not aware of yet.
Wesley sent a sniper to the roof with the intention of taking out Urich. Urich has positioned himself in Blake’s personal space and sniper hits Blake instead. Fisk bows out of the conversation leaving Matt to lose his cool. Next for Fisk is to give the media the go ahead to run the video surveillance of the man in the mask taking down the cops in the cold open of today’s episode.
Matt tries the sewer drain again when Claire calls. Matt gives his last farewell to Claire as he can hear SWAT ascending the stairs. He strains and the cover is too heavy. Vladimir somehow makes his way over and grips the other side of the cover. “I told you. This is not how I die.” One of the cops from SWAT finds the young idealistic cop, radios that he’s already dead, then stabs officer Sullivan in the throat.
With Matt and Vladimir in the tunnels, SWAT finds them. Matt shoves Vladimir to the ground so he wouldn’t get hit and Matt takes out the scout team rather quickly. He turns to find Vladimir pointing an automatic assault weapon in his general direction.
Matt: There are five more coming. We don’t have time for this.
Vladimir: I think…maybe…I stay.
Vladimir is embracing his end. He also gives the “you know what you must do” speech. This should be familiar to just about any comic book fan. Shades of the Joker in The Dark Knight, “Then that’s the rule you’ll have to break to know the truth.” Matt has rules. And those are the rules he will have to break to beat Fisk. Vladimir instructs Matt to leave. Vladimir will buy him some time. A beaten, bloody, barely clinging to life Russian stands hunched over with a very large gun pointed at the anticipated entry singing something under his breath in Russian.
The man in the black mask trudges down a lit corridor with the gate of someone with somewhere to be. Without interrupting his stride, the sound of gunfire can be heard. First single shots, then rapid fire. Maybe this was the way Vladimir thought he would die.