Yes, the boys are fighting and Foggy Bear attacks like a… bear. It’s Foggy’s turn to learn about Matt’s powers and the first part of “Nelson v. Murdock” basically repeats previous scenes and flashbacks of folks that know about Matt. Nothing new that we don’t already know until the way Foggy plays it at the end. Besides Foggy’s cross examination of Matt, we get flashbacks to their meeting and law school
daze days, Madame Gao puts Fisk in another time out, Karen tricks Ben in a game changing way, and a benefit dinner really could have used a Medieval cup-bearer.
Matt is seriously fucked up post-Nobu. When he wakes up, he’s still a bloody mess and has a bunch of new stitches and patches, one of which he peels off just for us. Nasty, thanks. Foggy enters and questions himself as to what he knows of Matt Murdock. He also tells Matt his nurse friend was in to put him back together again. Sadly for us, it appears lady Dawson’s contract was up since nobody gets to see Claire. Boo. Foggy gets more worked up and asks if he’s really even blind.
We have our first flashback and get to meet college Foggy in the dorm, who just got off the road as a guitar tech for Alice In Chains. That hair and that goatee.
Matt walks in; they exchange pleasantries and learn they’re roommates. Once he finds out they’re both from Hell’s Kitchen Foggy puts two and two together and realizes he’s the kid that “had his peepers knocked out saving the old dude.” He tells him he’s a hero and thus begins his recurring feelings of jealousy towards Matt and the ladies. He tells him the ladies must love the wounded duck routine and can’t wait to be his wingman. Foggy makes a Top Gun reference, though Matt’s not thrilled about being called Goose since he dies in the flick. The bromance is in full bloom.
Back to the present, Foggy learns of Matt’s “world on fire,” but it just lights more fire under Foggy as he keeps getting more pissed that he felt sorry for him all those years and that Matt’s been lying to him since they met. And how could he tell Claire? That doesn’t help. Matt tells him he didn’t tell her as much as she found him. He asks and learns about the dead cops tied to Fisk and that Matt was smoked by a ninja, also tied to Fisk.
The lawyer vs. vigilante comes out again and he asks if this is what he’s doing while he and Karen are at the bar and they can’t get a hold of him. Cue a phone call from Karen. Matt tells Foggy he can’t let her in on the secret identity news, so reluctantly, he lies and tells her Matt was hit by a car and he’s with him. A car may hurt a little less than a ninja. Foggy’s mad he’s now lying to someone he cares about and tells Matt to spill it all from the beginning.
Fisk and Gao meet for the first time without Wesley; who is no longer needed. Madame Gao begins with a proverb of a snake that mistook an elephant as prey and died trying to eat him “betrayed by ambition.” Fisk asks her if he’s the snake or the elephant. She changes the subject to Nobu in a way that implies Fisk knew he was likely sending Nobu to his maker. That makes him squirm, so she asks about the man in the mask, to which Fisk tells her they haven’t found his body. She tells him the clan will prepare Nobu’s body for what’s to come and while they are currently distracted, “memories of knives are forever sharp.”
Back to the proverb, Gao asks Fisk how long before his ambition turns to her? He tells her she’s different and has his respect. She hits back that he’s a changed man. When they first met, she tells him, he was of a singular mind. Now, she believes he’s being pulled in two directions by the heart and there’s conflict within him. She drops some heavy foreshadowing telling him he can’t be the savior and the oppressor; the light and the shadow. One will have to be sacrificed for the other. “Choose wisely. Or others will choose for you.” Madame Gao turns Fisk into the nervous kid from his flashback. Hell, she makes me nervous.
Ben Urich has a tender moment with his wife in the hospital where he tells her he’s been outsmarted by a story and that instead of getting his ass in trouble, he should be spending time with her. Mrs. Urich turns the tables and reminds him it’s who he is. He tries to counter saying that’s all in the past, but she interrupts and says she believes his best work is still ahead of him. She looks off for a few seconds, and her mind is back to square one, ready to repeat the entire conversation. We see the severity of her amnesia and it’s very sad.
Back at the apartment, Foggy cross examines Matt asking where he got the suit. Matt hits him with the internet, of course. Nice. How about the fighting? How did he get so good? Matt mentions Stick and my favorite exchange from Foggy comes when he says: “A blind man taught you martial arts? Isn’t that the plot to Kung Fu?” Ha! Cheers to you writer Luke Kalteux. To try to help Foggy grasp his powers, Matt pulls another version of the ice cream test that Stick did with him as a kid telling Foggy it’s been a day since he’s showered and he had onions for lunch. Oh, and he can hear his heartbeat and tell when he’s lying. That revs him up thinking about all the past times Matt knew he was lying and just played along. He wonders if anything about the Matt Murdock he thought he knew was real, and pulls himself away for a breather.
Another flashback of the drunk college boys hanging on the steps on campus. Foggy asks Matt how you say lawyers in Spanish. “Abogados.” He tells him. “Avocados?” he replies. Good times. That one will come back. They talk about their dreams of the future business and Foggy then presses about him snuggling up with the hot Greek girl in Spanish and wonders what happened with her. Some of us have an idea or two.
Foggy wonders if blind folk can get wasted and Matt explains the aural biology of drunkenness, so yes, he can be and is shitfaced. Matt mentions his dad wanting him to use his head and not his fists, and Foggy comes back with more family butcher talk and his love affair with cured meats. Matt ends the drunken bosom buddies talk by telling Foggy, per their future firm name, Nelson and Murdock sounds better. “I can’t see worth shit, but I hear well.”
In the present at the hospital, Ben’s editor tells him he’s in line for a metro editor job with the paper with better pay and benefits. He tells him he’s a reporter, but he’ll think about it. He’s also looking at hospice info for his wife, and we get to see that his king card for his board is now named Fisk. Ben startles Karen at the office, she’s jumpy these days, but he tells her the door was open. He gives her a large box full of everything on the case. He tells her he used to be like her pissing folks off, turning heads, not knowing when to quit. He thought it was so important, but tells her it’s not the most important thing anymore. The hospital extension for his wife falls through and he has to bring his wife home and take care of her. Karen tells him she knows a nursing home and convinces him to check it out with her.
Owlsley, Fisk, and Wesley meet and Owlsley is not happy about hearing about Nobu being barbecued. Fisk assures him he didn’t lay a hand on him, but it doesn’t seem to put him at ease. Fisk tells Owlsely to talk to Gao and reassure her all is well since they have good rapport. He tells Fisk things have gotten out of hand since that woman popped up. Fisk tells Owlsley change is inevitable, that he too had once been in love, and that he appreciates his support. He tells Fisk they’re all in it together, “what’s left of us anyway.” The consortium is now 3/5ths its former self and paranoia is kicking in for the
Wolf Owl of Wall Street.
Back at Matt’s apartment, there’s a break in the trial of Matt Murdock as Foggy gets a call from their pal Brett at the 15th precinct who tells them the guy that killed Elena had a little fall off of a roof. Foggy wants to know if Matt was responsible and he explains his no kill policy to Foggy, but after Elena, he says he almost broke it. Well, he did because Nobu’s dead. We covered that in the last recap. Foggy cross examines again pressing him with its not enough to be the judge and jury, you have to be the executioner? Matt tells him we have to make the law work for us and sometimes the law isn’t enough.
This leads to the Landman and Zach flashback where the two bros are interning at the evil firm. They are with an asshole lawyer defending the Roxxon oil company going after a sick man from a dairy for patent infringement. In reality, he just told his doctor about what he thought was happening to him from toxic shit getting in his milk. Foggy gets offered a job, but Matt is not happy about the case or the company. Foggy ask how he knows the guy’s telling the truth and Matt tells him he just has a (heartbeat) feeling. He tells him he can’t defend profit over people, and though he’s not thrilled about it, Foggy goes along with Matt’s moral superiority solidifying their bond for the future.
Foggy again goes after Matt for running around like a moron beating people up and Matt tries to explain it’s not that simple. He tells him that after he left Landman and Zach each night he would hear a little girl scream as her father went to her room after the wife was asleep. Chilling stuff. He learned the guy’s routine and waited for the right moment.
We get to see a flashback of Matt’s first step into superhero land. With a single piece of cloth tied around his eyes, he head butts and proceeds to pulverize the piece of shit incestuous rapist. There’s a great shot of blood dripping from Matt’s hands as he’s finished. He tells Foggy the guy was interned for three months and he never slept better after that. Foggy tells him maybe it’s less about justice and more about him wanting to hit something.
At the nursing home Karen tells Ben she wasn’t aware of how serious his wife’s condition was. Ben tells her she has her good days and she’ll always be stronger than him. Vondie Curtis-Hall’s acting is stellar and the pain he’s going through feels palpable. He get’s half of the Golden Broken Arm. He adds that his wife would like her, but tells Karen he can’t afford such a place. Lady Karen has a trick up her sleeve and tells Ben old folks have so many stories, stories that keep us alive. Ben starts to get the clue and asks if they’re going to talk to a resident.
Karen enters the room and asks for a Ms. Vistain. The old lady is cordial and talks of her previous marriages, that her last name, Vistain, was from her third. Karen though, wants to know about her first marriage. It takes a little time, but Ms. Vistain begins to unwind and says he tried so hard, but he drank. Karen asks about any children and Vistain replies, “such a good boy.” She tells Karen he comes to see her every weekend and that he’s gentle and sweet. Not like his father was. Karen asks what her son’s name is. “Wilson.” She says. She tells Karen it wasn’t his fault and that he just wanted his father to stop. Well hot damn. Momma Fisk lives and now team Karen and Ben have a lead they can work with just like that.
In light of the bombings, Fisk and crew (minus Gao) hold a fundraiser with the elites of Hell’s Kitchen. Fisk makes a speech about why it was important for him to be private, but when the city needed him, he was ready to step out and step up. He tells folks they all call Hell’s Kitchen home and look forward to brighter days. Wesley beams with pride, Fisk tells Vanessa it’s all about her tonight, and Owlsley can’t wait to start working all the deep pockets around them. He also mentions that “something” has been taken care of.
There’s more dancing, drinking, and schmoozing, including a senator that wants a word with Fisk later. Owlsley and Vanessa joke that neither voted for him, but that it’s more about what’s behind him. At least, that’s the advice he heard from his pal van Lunt. Then, well, what’s an aristocratic party without a mass poisoning? All that wealth and such cheap champagne. People start foaming at the mouth and dropping all over. As Fisk is turning to help someone, he sees Vanessa go weak in the knees. Uh-oh.
Finally: the part where Foggy gets to the heart of it going after Matt. He tells him he’s going to get himself killed and he questions his focus on making the city a better place. I’ve lost track at this point, but again, we get the “You sound like Fisk.” Yes we know, same coin, different sides. That road never seems to end. Matt tells him the city needs the mask and Foggy breaks down and tells Matt all he ever needed was his friend, and that if it were reversed, he would have told Matt his secret.
Foggy basically tells him every time he suits up, he’s now dragging him, and inadvertently Karen, into his dangerous deeds with him. Which of his loves will Matt protect? The city or his friends? Either way, though it took a while, Foggy gets to this crucial point and drops a few tons of Catholic guilt on his best buddy’s shoulders before dropping the mic, storming out, and leaving him in deep thoughts. The episode would have been too short to drop all the prior Foggy the prosecutor scenes, but for a strong finish, Henson wins the other half of the Golden Broken Arm award.
We get one more flashback of the dynamic duo at Josie’s deciding they’re going to make the move and start a firm. Nelson and Murdock: Attorneys at Law gets scribbled on a napkin and Foggy tells Matt he trusts him, for better or worse. Matt says it sounds like a wedding. Foggy tells him it’s bigger than a wedding, especially in terms of the bills and debt. They laugh, clink their drinks, and the future is bright.
Flashforward to present: Foggy grabs the new Nelson and Murdock sign and tosses that fucker in the trash.
Devil in the Details:
- I honestly wasn’t sure anything Elektra related would be touched on in the series. Not necessarily a bad thing considering the movie that shall not be named may as well have been called, “Elektra and her Blind Sidekick” to set-up the Elektra shitbox movie I boycotted. However, we get that hint from Foggy’s “Greek girl” comment. If my prediction regarding The Hand becoming more of a focus from the prior episode ends up being true for season two, she will most certainly be worked in.
- Roxxon Oil is a frequent villainous corporation in Marvel comics tied to the death of Tony Stark’s parents. Their logo is quite purposefully close to Exxon’s. In the MCU, Roxxon has popped up in all of the Iron Man movies as well as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter.
- The corrupt Senator that we meet is Randolph Cherryh, another Frank Miller original.
- Owlsley mentions Van Lunt. He’s a real estate developer, but also becomes the villain Taurus from the Zodiac cartel in the comics. His name also appears on the office door of Nelson and Murdock.
- Owlsley: “Make sure Richmond’s on the guest list. He won’t come, but he’ll get pissy if he isn’t invited.” This probably refers to Kyle Richmond, a rich Stark-like playboy who becomes Nighthawk and is a part of The Defenders. Will he show up later in this or one of the other Netflix shows?
- I had some fun with the recap title this week. The Trial of the Incredible Hulk was my introduction to Daredevil many moons ago.