Warning: Spoiler Alert
We begin tonight’s episode with the man in the mask fighting a ninja like character in a red hood. This feels like a flashback, so we’ll nail down the identity of the red hooded ninja later. The fight is not favoring the man in the mask.
Matt sits on a bench outside his church. Father Lantham walks up and is pleased to see Matt willing to take him up on his offer of a latte. Inside, the priest wastes little time conveying to Matt Murdock that he knows he’s the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, or the man in the mask. Depending on the news of the day. Matt asks if his priest believes in the devil.
The priest tells a couple of stories revolving around the concept of a ‘devil’. One from seminary where the original text translated “Satan” as “adversary”. It wasn’t until later revisions that the word or name Satan was designated to represent one specific evil. The other was a tale of time spent in Rwanda. When militia soldiers would not kill a holy elder, the warlords pushed. Eventually forcing an audience with the elder. After several hours of conversation, the warlord dragged this elder out of his hut and hacked him to death. “That day, I saw the devil. So yes, Matthew, I believe he walks among us. Taking many forms.”
Ben meets with Foggy and Karen following Wilson Fisk’s stunt with the media. “Everything’s changed now”. Matt enters the office and meets Ben for the first time. Again. Then as if he knew, Ben moves into the information he was able to pull off of a thumb drive the man in the mask gave him. All of this information is compelling to Karen, but without a direct connection, its nothing more than hearsay. Foggy takes another backhanded shot at the man in the mask and both Karen and Ben defend his virtue to a point. When asked why he doesn’t take Fisk down himself, Ben offers a very telling gem of wisdom. “Maybe he knows, there are certain roads you can’t come back from.”
Nobu barges into a meeting with Fisk and Wesley in a dingy dark basement. Nobu is at his wit’s end with the delays. He was promised a city block in return for his assistance with Fisk. The city block in question is the one where Mrs. Cardenas and other tenants are refusing to vacate. Fisk downplays any financial assistance and moves to a mutually frustrating issue. The man in the mask. Fisk suggests Nobu employ a specialist from his organization.
Despite the lack of anything tangible, Matt pushes on. Vanessa becomes the target. Someone Fisk is close to. Matt decides maybe its time he invest in some art. Or at least make it seem that way. Once in the gallery, Matt can sense the number of arm guards and even hear the chatter on their coms. Vanessa approaches him and puts on her selling art charm. She stops in front of a piece of fire tones and Matt asks her to describe it. Matt is not sold on the aggressive fire tones. He asks if Vanessa has a man in her life. A question he already knows the answer to. If he could get inside the mind of a man who won such a charming woman, it might better inform his decision.
Vanessa: You could just ask him yourself.
A very focused Wilson Fisk enters the gallery with an additional two bodyguards. Matt is seen by the viewer clinching his fist as if this is going down right here, right now. Matt plays nice and Fisk is pleasant enough. Then Matt tries to pull back by insinuating that they are on opposite sides of a tenement case. Mrs. Cardenas and alike. Vanessa politely intervenes refocusing the conversation back to art, which provides Matt with a way out.
Matt returns to Father Lanthom. Matt is struggling with the two things following his visit to the gallery. 1) Fisk has someone close to him that would mourn his loss and 2) He is not the kind of man to execute the reason for said loss. Lantham reminds Matt that there is a wide spectrum between apathy and murder. The art gallery move was not done for recon on how to kill Fisk, but Matt looking for a reason not to. Or so Father Lantham believes.
Matt returns to his office looking defeated. After some Fisk related discussion, Foggy unveils the sign. They had a professional sign made that reads “Nelson and Murdock. Attorneys at Law”. Foggy and Matt embrace and Karen answers the phone. Mrs. Cardenas has been found dead. And not the natural way. This realization shakes Foggy and Karen. It affects Matt, but he hides it well.
Flashing back to the fight that opened the episode, we discover that the foe in the fight is not one of Nobu’s specialists, but Nobu himself.
Matt, Foggy and Karen meet at their dive bar to acknowledge what has happened like a good old-fashioned Irish wake. On the television in the bar, Fisk addresses the media about the tragedy involving Mrs. Cardenas. Fisk’s words and performance infuriates our trio.
Matt returns home and stands before his closet where his father’s old trunk resides. After hesitating, Matt puts on the black and heads out to find the junkie responsible for taking Mrs. Cardenas’ life. Matt roughs him up enough to convince the junkie that his threats are not empty. Matt ultimately demands the junkie turn himself in, or he will find him.
The junkie lead takes him to a dark warehouse. There papers of Hell’s Kitchen development sit on a table. Matt is unaware that he is not alone. The heartbeat is slowed and body temperature lowered. Nobu being directly affected by Stick’s actions (killing the Black Sky) relishes this moment. To exact revenge. Yet there is respect in the air. A respect that is heavier for Nobu than it is for Matt.
Nobu: I show you respect. You should return the courtesy.
Matt: You’ll have to earn it.
From the start, Nobu has a slight edge. The most fair fight Matt has been involved with all season. Nobu has the advantage of sight and weapons that cut. The fight goes on longer than we might like and it is particularly blood for Matt. But eventually, Nobu makes a tragic misstep and literally steps into a puddle of oil or gas that is already lit. Fully engulfed, Nobu keeps fighting until the fire put out his light permanently. Then a familiar voice thanks the man in the mask for eliminating Nobu. Wilson Fisk.
Fisk thanks the man in the mask for taking Nobu out. Then professes that in a perfect world they (Matt and Fisk) would take each other out. Fisk eloquently suggests that he baited the hook to Matt’s emotional attachment. I.E. have Mrs. Cardenas killed. Beaten, bloody, out breath and favoring one leg, Matt replies to Fisk’s eloquence with, “I-I’m going to kill you”. Fisk gestures to his men to stand down. Fisk dares Matt to ‘take his shot’.
Matt obliges with a multitude of shots that land, but Fisk is unfazed. Fisk fights back and his blows do more damage. Once he’s down Matt grabs one of Nobu’s weapons and slices Fisk in the torso. Problem is, it only penetrated is outer jacket. Fisk hits Matt with another flurry of shots, then picks him up and drops him onto the table and breaks it. Fisk says Wesley’s name as if to instruct Wesley to finish the job. Matt hears the sound of Wesley’s gun, then throws one of his sticks at the gun changing the angle of where the gun is pointing as the shot is fired. This gives Matt enough time to jump out of a nearby window into the river below.
Foggy comes knocking on Matt’s door even though Matt isn’t there, yet. While Foggy talks through the door about getting Fisk, he hears a thud from inside. Foggy bangs on the door but doesn’t wait. He runs up to get in through the roof access. Once inside he can see the apartment has seen some violence (from the last fight with Stick). Foggy picks up one of Matt’s blind assistance walking sticks like a bat. Then Matt, still completely dressed as the man in the mask, comes out from the darkness barely alive.
Foggy: Where’s Matt!? What’d you do to him?
(The man in the mask falls before him)
Foggy starts to dial 911 then stops. He gets down on his knees beside the man. Foggy slowly reaches for the mask. Even slower, pulls it up, revealing the identity of the Man In The Black Mask.