Daredevil: The Vigilante Becomes A Symbol

Daredevil 5.17b
Photo Courtesy Of Netflix

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Father Lantom presides over Ben Urich’s funeral. Matt and Karen are present, but oddly enough, Foggy is not. Ellison even shows to pay his respects. Karen makes her way over to Doris to fall on the sword. She wants to take the blame for Ben’s death. Doris is glad to meet her. Ben spoke of her glowingly. He admired her relentless pursuit of the truth. Doris even said that if they had children, Ben would have wanted one like Karen. Karen feels guilty and wants to take responsibility but Doris isn’t buying what she’s shoveling.

Doris: Ben Urich never got pushed into doing anything he didn’t want to. (Doris reaches for Karen’s hand) He was a reporter. That’s what he lived for. (With tears in her eyes) And he passed doing what he loved. What he HAD TO DO. It was very nice meeting you Karen.

Matt and Karen return to the office. Despite the conversation with Doris, Karen still feels responsible. Compound that with the notion that Ben is dead because he visited Fisk’s mother. As did Karen. Also, there’s the whole issue of killing James Wesley, all resulting in not wanting to go home. Matt reassures her that he will keep her safe. And punish everyone who ever aided Fisk along with taking Fisk down himself.

Vanessa wakes up in Fisk’s home and finds him looking over financial numbers. Wesley put them together before he died and there is a discrepancy. The money set aside was to get Vanessa out of the country. She won’t leave without him and he is not ‘asking’. He’s decided to move the money back. As I’ve mentioned before, this is where Vanessa becomes Mrs. Bad Guy.

Fisk meets with Leland at another undisclosed location. Leland updates him on whose been paid off, zoning issues dealt with and the need to replace the funds from Madame Gao’s heroin trade. Fisk changes the subject on Gao and presents Leland with a form. A financial irregularity. At first, Leland plays the part. Moving money at the frequency he does, is bound to look off. Fisk gives him the opposite of the puppy dog face. Head tilted but serious. The when the jig is up, Leland comes clean.

Fisk: Your hand’s shaking.
Leland: That’s because it’s freezing out here.
Fisk: Then why are you sweating Leland?
Leland: Alright. Ok. Jesus. I thought you’d find out sooner or later. What’s a guy gonna do?

Fisk pokes to see if Leland killed Wesley. Then when that doesn’t seem likely, he moves over to Leland and Gao plotting against him. Potentially to kill him. Leland becomes more direct. He admits that the poisoning at the benefit was not meant for him. Telling Fisk they meant to kill Vanessa is about 1/2 a millimeter more acceptable than coming after his mother. This is the part where Leland thinks he can just talk his way to taking half of Fisk’s assets as if Fisk would let him walk away.

Leland believes hiding Detective Hoffman is enough of a disincentive. It’s cute really. If Leland doesn’t check in with Hoffman once every 24 hours, Hoffman goes to the feds. Here’s some juicy irony. The actor that plays Leland also played a character named Warden Norton in a celebrated movie called The Shawshank Redemption. For those few who haven’t seen it, Norton convinces a banker wrongfully accused to launder money in and out of the prison. That convict eventually steals most of his money and gets away. Leland believes that Hoffman + moving half of Fisk’s money offshore = a clean getaway. But like in The Shawshank Redemption, I have a feeling Bob Gunton’s character is about to get what’s coming to him.

After laying out his plan, Leland expected Fisk to accept losing half and letting the man responsible for almost killing Vanessa walk. Fisk didn’t see it that way. Leland tazed Fisk, but that really only made him more angry. This wasn’t even about the money. Fisk was never going to let the person go that tried to take Vanessa out. So Fisk took Leland out. Shoving him off the floor of the building they were standing on.

Matt hits a heavy bag hard and with emotion when Foggy walks into Jack Murdock’s old gym. Matt notices him and slows down for a moment. Then he continues as Foggy points out that maybe he has some anger issues to talk out. To which Matt replies, “You’re not my priest Foggy, a man you could’ve met if you showed up to Ben’s funeral”. Foggy’s excuse for missing the funeral was to pick up documents that Marcy has been copying ‘on the quiet’ from Landman and Zach implicating what Fisk has been doing. Instead of being pleased, Matt is anything but. Matt feels he needs to be the one to end this, so that no one else gets hurt.

Foggy: The last time you went after Fisk I found you half dead. More than half. You go after him in the mask again he might kill you. Or you might kill him, which might have the same effect on someone as Catholic as you.
Matt: What am I supposed to do? How do I stop him?
Foggy: By using the law. Like you told me and Karen to do. That’s how we take him down.
Matt (quietly and slowly): We…? Thought Nelson and Murdock were over?
Foggy: There’s nothing I want more than to get back to where we were, but I don’t know if we can.
Matt: No. We can’t. But maybe we can find a way to move forward, Foggy.

And just like that, Nelson and Murdock are at least working together again. While talking to Mahoney outside, Matt overhears one of the other cops walking past talking about finding Hoffman at Fisk’s behest and that Leland is somehow connected. Back at the office, their typical banter returns and Karen could not be happier to have all three of them talking again. The funny part though, is that Karen is the only one at the table still outside the loop. Which allows Foggy to drop little shots at Matt right in front of her. “It’ll show that the Man in the Mask isn’t the a*****e everybody thinks he is.”

They slip up mentioning a connection to Leland. Karen asks how they knew. Insert any situation in TV or film you’ve ever seen where two people try to tell the same story and completely mess it up in a comedic fashion. Painfully funny. Karen discovers something odd. Landman and Zach liquidated one property but no money changed hands. Matt gets up to leave and Foggy confronts him.

Matt: I know how you feel about what I do, but this is where law meets reality.

Fisk gets a call and order that there be no survivors. A guy walks through an alley. Inside the barren building are two feds with Hoffman sitting at a folding table. Before Hoffman can grab his meatball sub from the kid, two cops break in and open fire. They take everyone out except Hoffman. Both cops point their guns at Hoffman. Hoffman closes his eyes. There is sound of gunfire but nothing finds Hoffman. He opens his eyes in time to see the man in the mask go full on Tekken on his cop colleague.

Without a word, Matt pulls out a folding chair. Matt gives him the option of turning States Evidence on Fisk. Or wait to be killed. Fisk owns the cops, but he doesn’t own Mahoney and Mahoney knows a few lawyers who can’t be bought. Hoffman refuses. Matt tosses the card table and punches Hoffman in the face. I’ll follow you to make sure you get to the precinct safe.

Matt and Foggy bookend Hoffman across from the D.A. and staff. Matt informs the D.A. that their client will waive immunity based on the notion that he deeply regrets his involvement if Fisk’s criminal enterprise. Hoffman from the beginning spills everything. Matt slowly turns his head to look up at Karen. Ironic, I know, but still a nice moment.

What follows is a montage of the feds taking down those under Fisk’s thumb. Staring with Turk. Then dirty cops. Then a shot of Ellison at the Bulletin. The feds walk right past him and pick up his desk editor instead. In a parking garage an executive of Landman and Zach gets picked up with Marcy watching from her car. The one senator Hoffman knew of. Vanessa stands awkwardly while Fisk barks into his phone. Vanessa wants to run, but Fisk knows the next step cannot be prevented. He asks her to do something for him. She nods, but we never hear what the something was. As the fed s bang down his door, Wilson fumbles a marriage proposal as they haul him away. She kisses him as he’s pulled away. i.e. Mrs. Bad Guy. Fisk is lead through a media gaggle and into the back of a transport truck with four agents inside with him.

Matt, Foggy and Karen have a celebratory drink in the office.

Fisk monologues in the truck about a biblical story about an abused traveler. It’s the Good Samaritan story if you’d like to Google it. He says all of this to say that despite what he once thought, Wilson Fisk is not the Good Samaritan of this particular story.

Guard: What the hell does that mean?
Fisk: It means that I…AM NOT THE SAMARITAN. I am not the priest. I am the ill intent. That set upon the traveler who was on a road he should not have been on.

The entire motorcade comes to a screeching halt. The back doors to a truck open and guards or SWAT in riot gear open fire on the cops and feds trailing the truck. A full on fire fight. Once the news gets back to Nelson and Murdock, they all depart the office. The guards in riot gear get to Fisk’s truck and knock on the back door. One of the two guards threaten to put a bullet in Fisk’s head if they don’t back off. The other guard inside the truck actually puts a bullet in guard 1’s head. Fisk simply walks through the carnage as if this was all part of the plan.

Matt took a cab to meet with Mr. Potter. He is reluctant to say that the suit is completely finished. The black parts provide the most protection. The red might deflect a knife. Might not. Matt is gracious and says it will do just fine. Mr. Potter prevents him from closing the case to ask if Betsy will be safe from Fisk.

Man in the Mask: I made you a promise. I intend to keep it.

Standing on the rooftop (nothing new) we find a relative silhouette of Matt Murdock looking over the streets below. There is something different but the lighting prevents us from seeing it. The camera pans around and lands on a close up of Matt’s face listening to the sound of a police radio. Matt hears the line ‘the package is en route’.

Fisk’s team makes a stop to switch trucks. Fisk takes a phone call. Vanessa is standing outside next to a helicopter ready to evacuate on Fisk’s word. Fisk vows they will never be apart. This is just an inconvenience. Just as Fisk’s escort believes they are in the clear, a ‘stick’ crashes through the truck’s windshield. The truck topples over. The back door opens and Fisk walks out, then he falls to his knees when he hears a thud. The sound of something landing on the truck.


Daredevil: You were right. You told me on the radio that night, not everyone deserves a happy ending.

The suit is a symbol, no doubt about it. And not to take away from the big reveal, but I think I will always be partial to the ‘Man in the Black Mask’ look over the ‘Daredevil’ look. The guard that was in there with Fisk unloads bullets like they were free. Daredevil pulls something out that we haven’t seen yet. We’ve seen him use sticks. But until now, we had never seen the stick the comic book fans are accustomed to . The dark red walking stick that detaches. One more time. The suit is impressive as Daredevil pursues Fisk on foot.

Fisk (cornered): I wanted to make this city something better than it is. Something beautiful. YOU TOOK THAT AWAY FROM ME! YOU TOOK EVERYTHING! I’M GOING TO KILL YOU!
Daredevil: Take your shot.

The fight favors Daredevil out of the gate, but Fisk fights back. Head butts and body tosses. Brut fighting indicative of the Kingpin we all know. Fisk gets arrogant and the tide turns but only for a moment. Fisk’s use of a pipe conveys to Matt that it wouldn’t be ungentlemanly to go back to using his stick. The blows go back and forth. Eventually Fisk is able to get some combo shots in an raises Daredevil in that classic pose up over his head. Fisk drops him to the ground. Fisk begins hitting Matt while he’s down and at the same time yelling about his better tomorrow. Matt focuses and leg locks Fisk’s right arm. Then Matt pulls him closer with his legs. “This is my city. My family.”

The fight is very one-sided now in favor of the Daredevil. From his knees, Fisk asks Daredevil if he thinks any of this will make a difference. He stands still then yells out as he charges Fisk. Daredevil jumps in the air and delivers the knockout punch to the top of Fisk’s head. Just then, Mahoney arrives on scene.

Daredevil: I told you before sergeant, I’m not the bad guy.
Mahoney: Holy s***, it’s you.
Daredevil: This man was a fugitive from the law and I stopped him. So…we good?
Mahoney (Later handcuffing Fisk): So, what do I call you when I fill out my report?
(Daredevil runs up and over fire escapes so to not answer that question)

Mahoney reaches for his radio. Calls in that he’s found Fisk and the location. Says nothing about the man in red and black leather with horns on his mask standing before him.

Vanessa stands by the helicopter. There is no audio, but it’s clear her detail is adamant about getting her out of there. She pulls the large engagement ring out of her pocket, puts it on her ring finger, and reluctantly gets in the helicopter.

The next morning Karen reads on the front page of the Bulletin that “Daredevil Collars Fisk”. While Matt and Foggy laugh about the name, Karen insists that its much better than “the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen”. They all stand outside to relish in the visual of the Nelson and Murdock Attorneys at Law sign up on the building where it belongs.

Foggy races off to meet with Marcy to help her find a new job since most of Landman and Zach are under indictment. Karen attempts to go inside when Matt stops her. Matt has sensed for some time (I’m going to assume since the night she killed Wesley) that there was something in her voice. Something he assumed would go away once they took down Fisk. She deflects in a way that suggests, they will never get back to normal. Matt plays along.

Matt: It’s like I told Foggy. All we can do is move forward together.

Fisk stands in a white prison jumpsuit and sits on the rickety prison bed. Starring at a blank wall angrily. The wall of course resembling very similarly the painting “A Rabbit in a Snowstorm”.

Daredevil stands on a rooftop looking over his city. He hears a woman scream out. Separates his staff and leaps off the building in that ever so familiar pose.

Daredevil season 1 has been a joy to cover and may in time change the way television is presented. In my humble opinion, if it is not nominated for at least 3 Emmy’s than the award system is officially broken. For discussion sake, I would put Daredevil up against any show that has aired on television or any other format over the last 12 months minimum. All things considered, Daredevil may just be Marvel’s best work thus far. Everyone loves The Avengers, but this was the adaptation comic book fans have been waiting for.

All is not lost with the conclusion of this instant classic. Daredevil was part one of a four-part 2015 rollout from Marvel in partnership with Netflix. Yet to come this calendar year are such titles as “AKA Jessica Jones”, “Luke Cage” and “Iron Fist” all supposedly culminating in a Defenders series to follow. Congratulations Marvel fans, it seems the scope of the Marvel Cinematic and now Television Universe are ever-expanding. Some day it will be hard to remember a time when Marvel wasn’t a major contributor to our entertainment focus.

Photo Courtesy Of Netflix

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