Warning: Spoiler Alert
The opening sequence has Fisk waking from a dream. He rolls out to the edge of the bed to stare at his ‘rabbit in a snowstorm’ painting. Then he proceeds with his morning ritual at the of which he gets dressed, turns to a large mirror, and sees the image of a husky kid that vaguely resembles Fisk with blood on his face.
At the office, Karen discovers that Foggy is not a fan of her coffee. At all. The coffee is literally the least of their collective concerns when Matt makes his way to the office. In short order Matt convinces (or guilts) Karen into spilling the beans about their Union Allied investigation. Matters not improved by telling Matt that the ruffians responsible for damaging Mrs. Cardenas’ apartment came after Karen. Then grumpy Matt takes over. Suggesting if not instructing that any further action will be done appropriately. Within the legal system.
Nobu meets hastily with Fisk and Wesley to air his grievance that the Black Sky was killed. Fisk, a details oriented man points out that his guarantee was not police interference. The man who killed the Black Sky was not police (it was Stick). There is more to Black Sky than we are given at this point. Nobu is affected by this loss and exhibits an overall tone we haven’t seen yet. Wesley’s concerned with the value of Nobu and his people’s contributions.
Flashback to Fisk’s childhood where we are introduced to his parents. His father specifically who is almost a cliché of the 1970’s NY/NJ working class man aspiring to get into the mob. Not suggesting that’s the angle, but he’s running for city council and tells his wife that once he’s in, everything will be taken care of. Dialogue almost straight out of Goodfellas. The overall tone and regard towards his wife and mother of his kid is abusive in nature. Nothing violent yet, but emotionally and mentally abusive.
Detective Blake has awakened from his coma. This presents a problem for Fisk, or at least it should at some point. With a 24-hour detail on Blake’s hospital room, only one man on Fisk’s payroll can get to Blake and it will be a tough sell. His partner Detective Hoffman. Fisk meets with Hoffman to gauge reaction to Hoffman taking Blake out. Hoffman’s reaction is as expected. Hesitant to the idea of intentionally causing harm to a friend he’s known for 35 years. That is until, Fisk asks how much each of those years are worth. Monetarily.
The slow trudge towards Blake’s room is shot in a way that lends an empathetic view from the audience as Hoffman sets out to do what he was instructed to do. Hoffman injects something into Blake’s I.V. Blake wakes up. Before Hoffman can answer the question of ‘what are you doing’? The man in the mask puts Hoffman in a sleeper hold.
Matt (to Blake): Whatever your partner injected you with has made it to your heart. There’s nothing anyone can do. You’re going to be dead soon. But you can get back at the man who did this to you. Tell me everything you know about Wilson Fisk.
Another flashback to Fisk’s childhood. Young Wilson has been in a fight and is rather emotional about it. The subject of the fight came from Wilson defending his father’s honor when a neighborhood kid defaced the elder Fisk’s campaign poster. Father, accompanied by son find the youth in question. A much bigger kid than Wilson. I’d guess in his early 20’s at first glance. The guy decides to get cute with Bill Fisk and that’s when Bill proceeds to beat the kid. Not leaving well enough alone, Bill uses this as a teaching opportunity and coaxed Wilson into kicking the kid (repeatedly) when he was already down and out.
Gao has reached out and would like a word with Fisk. This scene is provocative for a few reasons, none of I feel will flesh themselves out anytime soon. When asked how many languages she speaks, she replies with “all of them”. She then makes references to spells and potions to ascertain where Fisk lived. Then side steps that to suggest Fisk has gotten sloppy. In part due to his new found relationship with a certain woman. Before leaving, she suggests he get his house in order before she deals with Nobu and Leland directly. Then, one of our first glimpses into the enraged side of Fisk.
Flashback with young Fisk seated before a plain wall. His father telling him to think long and hard about the man he wants to be. Clearly, Fisk’s mother does not approve of this parenting tactic. Marlene (Mother) questions Bill and where he’s going and why. Never a good idea in a scenario like this. She doesn’t get a full sentence out before Bill hits her and begins his own tirade. He takes off his belt and continues hitting her.
Without being prompted, and knowing his friend and employer as he does, Wesley took it upon himself to bring Vanessa by. Thinking simply that this might be just what Fisk needs at this particular moment. Vanessa walks through the destruction cause by Fisk’s early rage and is completely unaffected. Fisk looks at her and tells her, he’s afraid.
Flashback to the previous flashback. Young Wilson has not taken his eyes off the wall during the spousal abuse happening a few feet away. He stands up and grabs a hammer off of a nearby table. He yells out for his father to STOP. His father sees this as an idle threat. Suggests his son isn’t going to do anything, then turns to walk away. That’s when Wilson buries the head of the hammer in the back of his father’s head. Then Wilson keeps hitting his father once he falls to the floor. Just as his father taught him to. After the final twitch from Bill Fisk, Marlene says something slightly unexpected.
Marlene: Ok…Get the saw.
Vanessa is affected by the story but not scared. She sees the good in a horrifying story. She sees a man protecting his mother. Then Fisk blurts out that he didn’t do it for her. He needs to know that he is not cruel for cruelty sake. Because if he is, then he is no different from his father. The last time we saw any significant screen time with Vanessa, she was almost scared for her safety. We saw her turn the corner then. Now she is almost un-phased by the story, by his tempter, and by his tone. She is assuming, essentially, the role of Mrs. Kingpin right before our very eyes. She accepts a level of bad, because she believes in the man.
Urich leaves a building going at it with his editor on his cell phone during a heavy rain. He drops his papers and his keys. When he collects his stuff, he is welcomed by the presence of the man in the mask. The conversation is cool and measured. Neither man trying to do or say anything to upset the other. Matt has pieces of the story, but Urich needs credible sources. In the end the plan is to draw Fisk out of the shadows and let the city tear him apart.
The next morning, Wilson Fisk goes about his morning ritual only to have it pleasantly interrupted by the presence of Vanessa. She steals part of his food in a playful manner and even assists him in picking out his suit and cufflinks. The first time to this point, that Wilson Fisk has worn any cufflinks that weren’t the ones his father wore. All to the voice over of Ben Urich reading the story he wrote to draw Fisk out. As Urich wraps up writing this piece he sees a strange, large, bald man making an address on his television. It’s Wilson Fisk. Pledging aid to Hell’s Kitchen. His speech is a direct shot at and appeal against the masked vigilante.