One great relief about Netflix dramas is that everything happens so fast. After last episode’s chilling ending, we’ve already skipped ahead to Matt’s failure to save the boy. Specifically, we see a teenager freaking out while staring into a Dumpster, where Matt is bloodied up and gasping. The kid runs off and returns with Rosario Dawson, who drags the body home with her.
Matt finds out his savior with the ridiculous cheekbones is named Claire. He stays as shady as he can with a woman who has seen his face (couldn’t she take a picture and Google Image search it?). At least until he starts having an attack because there’s air stuck in his chest, so Claire stabs him in the chest with a metaphor — I mean, to relieve the pressure.
He explains that the Russians (who’ve taken over for the Italians) run a human-trafficking ring and they kidnapped a little boy to lure him out. That’s why he has a ton of broken ribs and blood loss. It’s enough to get Claire to hide him when a Russian comes a-knockin’, and even watch him while he drops a fire extinguisher on said Russian’s head.
Meanwhile, Foggy and Karen are bar-hopping because Karen is in no hurry to get home to her blood-stained carpet and a wall dented by her head being smashed into it. After Foggy half flirts, half jokes with her, Karen admits she thinks the city is now filled with “dark corners.” When Foggy first laughs her off, she is appalled, but he goes on to point out the fellow barflies and their good deeds. I’m not sure what to make of their relationship — hopefully Foggy gets that Karen’s stonewalling him — but I do enjoy the levity. Usually when two characters in a gritty drama are laughing and enjoying themselves in the city, it can go to hell fast. But the sequence is reminiscent of the usual kind of all-nighter that you might’ve had. Who hasn’t visited a friend and yelled, “I DRANK THE EEL!” at their door? I’m surprised they didn’t befriend some hipsters or end up at a speakeasy or get some Taco Bell as the night went on. Of course, maybe that’s just setup …
Claire and Matt hash out the details on the roof, and Matt points out that no matter how Claire dresses it up, dragging a beat-up man in a mask home is not very normal. She points out that people are noticing what he’s doing — she’s seen his work up close as a nurse at Metro-General. However, she does agree to put on a white mask and a white hoodie (hello, Night Nurse?) and help Matt torture the Russian by telling him to stab the trigeminal nerve, which, yikes, you guys. He finally gets the rest of the information he needs from the Russian by threatening to push him off the roof and then … pushes him off the roof, into the Dumpster Claire found him in. They make plans to meet up later — in case Matt needs more patching up, of course.
The parallel story is about Matt’s relationship with his dad, both before and after he becomes blind. It’s so sweet, even if Matt has to take a sip of Scotch to sew up his dad’s wounds while he awkwardly hides the fact that he’s been losing fights on purpose for money. He overhears his dad being forced into a deal to lose again, and when he subtly calls him on it — “we always get up,” as he says — he calls his bookie and puts all his money on himself, because he wants to make his son proud. He also calls Matt’s mother (?) to get him a place to go, because after winning that fight with all those people chanting his name, he gets shot.
I understand integrity and wanting your son to be proud of you, but isn’t it better to live? So far, the show hasn’t had anyone do anything stupid for the sake of drama, and this isn’t stupid, exactly, but. I mean. He died! He knew he was going to die for doing that! I don’t know how much Matt can cherish his dad’s win if he knows it means he ended up dead.
The episode ends with a long green hallway. We see the setup: two rooms filled with gangsters, and a child sobbing over his meal at the end. In one continuing shot, we see Matt barge in and beat up the Russians. The fight sequences in the first episode were so unimpressive, the quick cuts lacking the mesmerizing quality of Captain America: The Winter Soldier or the innovation and verve of Iron Man 3. They are also less bloody than expected (I anticipated something like Snowpiercer, which has some incredibly gut-wrenching, bloody fights). But I loved this: the scrappiness and doggedness, the blocking with the door — was that an oven we saw smashing a man’s face? — and, after a few calming words, the final shot of Matt walking out, with the child in his arms.
- I love the credits sequence with the blood pouring, like the Hannibal credits. On the scale of Netflix credits, it’s nothing compared to the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, but it’s streets ahead of the Orange Is the New Black one.
- I liked Rosario Dawson and Santiago speaking Spanish. Also, her cheekbones are almost too much with this lighting.
- Claire saying, confusedly, “But you’re blind!”
- “You should be out doing poppers and flapper-dancing! I don’t know what the young kids are doing these days!” “We’re the same age, Foggy.”
- “[You] can take an unbelievable amount of punishment without one damn complaint.” “The last part’s the Catholicism.”