Martin Carr reviews the tenth episode of Daredevil season 2…
If anything was going to stop Jon Bernthal stealing Daredevil, that was going to be the re-emergence of Wilson Fisk. An embodiment of such menace and calculated restraint, there would be few willing to spend time alone with Vincent D’Onofrio in a locked room. Between the two of them they managed to turn episode nine into a tag team blood bath, rivalling Murdock’s savage beating in season one at the hands of Nobo.
Facing off against each other in little more than a physical pissing contest you felt Castle had met his match. A blood soaked Punisher traded blows against the mountain of muscle, having just slaughtered half of Cell Block A. This Faustian pact of convenience made any concerns about Matt, Foggy, Karen and company drift quietly into the background. Especially as Fisk’s monologue next to a silently suffocating Dutton over steak and red wine, hammered home the point before episode ten opened.
Between Fisk, Reyes and Castle Daredevil is floundering. Isolated from friends and hampered by a support network made up of assassins, trust is thin on the ground. His belief system is destroyed after the apparent resurrection of Nobo, while New Yorkers are being terrorised by an ancient sect intent on levelling what’s left. Sleep deprived and playing the martyr Murdock is the very definition of running on empty.
Elsewhere Karen is still set on proving Castle innocent although every cop is following up a shoot to kill order. In the hail of bullets, body parts and recriminations which make up episode ten, there is a moment between Fisk and Murdock no one will forget. It reminds those who had forgotten what D’Onofrio is capable of with Kingpin.
Michael Clark Duncan’s Fisk never instilled him with the savagery you witness here. Cox and D’Onofrio sit opposite each other and the tension is palpable, those dialogue exchanges barbed before conversation descends into blood sport. At its conclusion you sit there riveted and shaken to the core. His threats are real, those words all the more powerful because he is ‘The Man In The Box’.
At one point a character advises Murdock to come down off his cross, get back into the world and talk to his somebody; but that’s not his style or the point. With so many in the morgue, politicians served up as cannon fodder and human blood banks feeding an intangible force. Daredevil continues cranking up the tension, keeping you in the dark and serving up endless twists with twice as much style as their nearest rival. As we approach these final three episodes there must be a reckoning and rising of all ships, delivered with an intellect and savagery in keeping with our expectations.