Episode 4 of Daredevil, “In the Blood,” opens with some background on the Russian mobsters that Daredevil has been dealing with. The two brothers, Vladimir and Anatoly, were in prison together in Siberia. They escaped in a grotesque manner that shows how desperate and committed they were to being free.
After a few scenes of Daredevil (yes, I know he’s not called that yet, but it’s easier than “The man in black” or whatever every time I refer to him) fighting some more Russian mobsters, the scene shifts to him being patched up by Claire, the nurse from episode two. They keep debating the morality of what Matt’s doing, which seems to be a recurring theme, between Claire and the priest Matt visits. A conscience and useful medical skills- Claire Temple is someone Matt should stay in touch with. That name, for those who don’t know, is a character from the comics who’s usually linked with Luke Cage, Power Man. Cage will be the third of the four Marvel Netflix series, so maybe she’ll pop up over there, too.
The Kingpin’s man in the suit (eventually revealed to be named Wesley) visits the Russians. He’s giving them control of the company they got from Prohaska, the man killed in the bowling alley earlier in the series. They do a nice job of tying things together here. After Wesley expresses displeasure at the Russians being light on their payment again, they complain about the “man in black,” and warn Wesley he’s asking after the boss by name, which is supposed to be a secret. Wesley comments that he could understand them losing to this man so often, “if he was wearing an iron suit or had a magic hammer,” a nice reference back to the Avengers films. The Russians agree they need to do something about the masked man.
Karen is meeting with reporter Ben Urich, pressing him to help her more aggressively, and go after the corrupt companies linked to the attack on her. Urich is very dubious about the man in black, and wonders if he’s working for Fisk, too. That’s a real stretch, between the stories circulating about him helping people (as revealed by Claire) and him saving Karen from the man who was working for them. I think Urich is possibly being a bit willfully blind here.
The Russians pay a call on Seymon, their thug that Daredevil tossed off Claire’s roof. They shoot him up with something to snap him out of his coma, and he starts babbling about the devil. With some prodding, he remembers there was a woman there. In no time, the Russians are in Claire’s apartment, not finding her, but they do run across the kid that helped Claire rescue Daredevil from the dumpster.
After a discussion with Wesley about the “masked idiot,” Fisk goes back to the art gallery he visited before. He and Vanessa have a flirting scene, which isn’t helped by Fisk being unsure of himself for the first time that we’ve seen. The banter is nicely done, not unbelievably witty and Hollywood, and it gives Fisk some depth, instead of just him being Evil Guy.
The rest of the episode does a nice job of moving between three different plots. Claire gets taken by the Russians, managing a short phone call to Matt as they grab her. This interrupts some amusing conversation between Matt and Foggy as Matt runs off. Matt, among his other skills, is apparently good at parkour, as he bounds and ricochets across the city to get to Claire. He’s too late but is going to go hunting. Hopefully he changes first, since he’s been doing all this in his civilian clothes- not great for the secret identity.
Plot two is Fisk and Vanessa on a date. Credit to Vincent D’Onofrio- he takes the hulking, confident Wilson Fisk and reduces him to the somewhat insecure person most of us are on a first date. The conversation between them is good, and starts revealing Fisk’s motivations for what he’s doing.
The third plot is Karen, and, eventually, Urich, pursuing the Union Allied company. It has gone bankrupt, and they are trying to trace the money and equipment. Urich is much better at this than Karen, which makes a lot of sense, and he gives her some pointers before slipping away for a later meeting.
After a clue from Santino, the kid we’ve seen with Claire, Matt traces Claire to Veles Taxi. There’s a long scene of him picking off thugs from the shadows. There’s a lot of tension, and it’s exactly how a non-powered hero should work. He’s fighting smart, using cover, and picking them off one by one. He rescues Claire, and she even gets to play a part in it herself, before another scene of Claire as trauma nurse for the battered hero.
Anatoly and Vladimir return to the taxi company in the aftermath of Daredevil’s attack. They realize they need help, and things have spun out of control. Anatoly decides they need Fisk’s help, which they early refused. Vladimir, reluctantly, agrees. Unfortunately, Anatoly has horrible timing, and interrupts Fisk’s dinner with Vanessa. Fisk puts Anatoly aside for the moment, sending him with Wesley, and then walks Vanessa home. Vanessa, understandably, is not happy about the scene at dinner, and has some reservations about Fisk now. Fisk takes that out on Anatoly in one of the most gruesome killings I’ve seen on screen in some time. Fisk has a temper, that’s for sure. Wesley advises Fisk that this will start a war, and Fisk answers that he’s counting on it.
What I liked: The fight choreography continues to impress me. Daredevil, supersenses to one side, is a very human character, and he fights like one, either during the combat or after, as he’s bruised and bleeding. As they both tell their stories, there are similarities between Fisk and Murdock. Matt would no doubt be horrified, but Fisk might be enough of a realist to acknowledge it. Claire is a great character to have, both for her skills and to shine a lot on what Matt’s doing. She’s doing a great job grounding him, keeping him from going too far into either depression or extremism.
What I didn’t: It makes sense in context, but the lack of names, or at least long delay for them, is getting irksome. You don’t need to introduce each one by name immediately, I get that, but four episodes in, we should have names for the major players. I’m also wondering when they’ll get to Matt’s codename and costume. The black, bargain-basement ninja look makes sense for the early days, but it seems like he’s been doing this a while now if Claire has heard all these stories about him.
I’ll give this a 4 out of 5. The series is impressing me, I’m wishing I had more free time to watch, and can’t wait for the other three. And, DD has already been picked up for season two.