In one of the biggest things to happen in the MCU recently, Vincent D’Onofrio reprises his role as Wilson Fisk, aka Kingpin, in Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye. The actor originally became a fan favorite playing the role in Netflix’s Daredevil.
What a groundbreaking ride this has been. I am so thrilled that this character and his world that connected with me as kid has finally fallen into the right hands and ended up not just revolutionizing the superhero genre, but TV and film in general. Therefore, it’s fitting that show runner Steven DeKnight took the writing and directing duties for the finale. After all the defending of Daredevil I’ve done up to this point with haters of the “lesser Spider-Man,” not to mention the failure of the movie, it feels personally triumphant for me. Bill Everett and Jack Kirby have passed, but I can’t imagine how Stan Lee must feel watching a Pavarotti moment with these characters in the finale culminating the origin story and thusly named: “Daredevil.” I think Puccini would approve.
Four of our favorites are paired up once more and give us some outstanding on-screen chemistry. Claire’s patches up Matt again, even if it’s for a brief moment. While Vanessa is in recovery, Fisk and Wesley share some very tender moments as Wesley tries to balance his BFF’s sanity with keeping the machine moving. Nelson and Murdock Attorneys at Law continues to unravel with Karen upset and the boys still not talking to each other. Mr. Potter battles like a gladiator and we get quite the climatic ending in “The Path of the Righteous.”
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.
Ninja fight! Maybe you didn’t get that, let me clear my throat: FUCKING NINJA FIGHT!!!!!! I feel like I’m 12 again. One aspect of this episode I loved and found very original was the use of the ninja battle as the tie that binds. Though the ninja fight scenes are one complete fight, they are broken up chronologically and are stuck between all the other subplots. So essentially, the fight itself becomes not just a fight, but its own overarching subplot. Very cool. Credit due to the director Nick McCormick (The Good Wife), Silvera, and crew for a new take on the use of and cutting of a fight scene.
At this point, the similarities between Matt Murdock and Wilson Fisk both wanting to make their city a better place have been repeated a few times. Yep, they’re two sides of the same coin; we get it. Well, there’s another strong tie that binds; they both have serious daddy issues. Matt’s came earlier and now we get to see a big reason why Fisk is who he is. I mentioned there may have been a hint at potential childhood trauma on the fourth episode recap, and my, my; “hint” seems so wrong after this. In addition, Matt ends up in Karen and Foggy’s (and Ben’s) investigation, and Fisk’s grip on his empire starts loosening, creating tension among the consortium in “Shadows in the Glass.”
The Russian that we love to hate ends up taking one for team Murdock in “Condemned.” We get our first Fisk/Murdock confrontation (via walkie talkie), get to see Urich working the case, and in my opinion, get the best Easter Egg of them all to this point.
When great writing, directing, and acting come together in a crime drama, every so often we are treated to interesting and complex characters that are so much more than just “the bad guys.” It also turns out, from stage and some screen experience, these are the roles actors salivate over. Whether they admit it or not, everybody wants to play the villain. Even more want to play a villain with depth that can get the audience behind them. This episode gives us deeper insight into the well-oiled machine that is the extremely organized crime operation run by concert master Wesley on the ground, but overseen by the true conductor of the symphony: Wilson Fisk.
About three weeks before we got “the Netflix drop,” Vincent D’Onofrio was responding to Daredevil and Wilson Fisk questions on Twitter. One of the early questions that he responded to was probably the best:
This is our introduction to Fisk and I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He owns this one. Golden Broken Arms, legs, all limbs to D’Onofrio. In addition, the Russians get some more attention, Matt and Claire continue being awesome, and Ben and Karen team up.
It’s been three weeks since Marvel dropped Daredevil on Netflix, and the nerdosphere is still head over heels for the show. Now that Netflix has announced a second season of their hit superhero series, Hard NOC Life returns to talk about how Marvel is taking over the streaming television game with Black Nerd Problems’ Jordan Calhoun (@jordanmcalhoun) — whose Daredevil piece you’ve probably read — and returning Hard NOC champ Raymond Chow.
I brought this up in my recap for “Into the Ring,” but “Rabbit in a Snowstorm” is where we really get the Law & Order: Hell’s Kitchen portion of the show. We can break this one down into three parts too: bowling alley/back alley; Karen, Ben, and the devious corporation formerly known as Prince Union Allied; and the murder trial. There’s an up, then down, then back up wave feel in terms of rhythm in this one.
This being an outstanding ensemble drama, the writing and acting sparks get passed around nicely. I’m going to start giving out (drum roll…) “The Golden Broken Arm for Best Performance per Episode.” Appropriate, right? The best performance from “Into the Ring” goes to Charlie Cox, and “Cut Man” is all Rosario Dawson. This episode, though, is actually tougher, but I’m going to go out on a limb. (Ha, “limb” — more on that later).
This past weekend was the first weekend of spring weather in New York City, and instead of running through Central Park or eating ice cream from the street vendors that appeared like spring flowers, I spent 13 hours indoors watching Daredevil. And I regret nothing. Daredevil is — and I don’t say this lightly — the best superhero show ever made.