So it’s happened: Wilson Fisk is out of prison, and the world is slowly finding out. Of course, he’s under the strict supervision of law enforcement, but that doesn’t change the optics of the situation. He’s still being put up in a penthouse suite at fancy hotel, and not in prison. That is, for anyone who watched Daredevil’s first season, infuriating. People are going to want answers.
Enter Karen Page. Over these past couple episodes, Daredevil has been quietly reminding us of her backstory in ways that suggest that this season might have big plans for her, and we’re reminded that she lost her brother when she brings it up at a dinner with her editor, Mitchell, his wife, and their nephew. Unfortunately, she’s also being set up with said nephew, neither of them knew, and Mitchell’s a big weirdo about it!
Fortunately for everyone involved, dinner is cut short when they get the news that Fisk is out and Mitchell runs to the newsroom, telling an eager Karen that she can’t work the story, because she’s too close given her history with Fisk. (But not before passive-aggressively telling Karen that his nephew would “understand” if she left, too. He probably would though, given how much he talks about his cat.)
The release of Fisk into a glorified house arrest is a weird reminder of how small Daredevil’s world is. Despite dedicating a lot of time to large, city-endangering threats like the various crime families vying for control of Hell’s Kitchen, or the ninjas of The Hand, there’s precious little that remains in Daredevil’s world once those are dealt with. The Albanians — the primary criminal element both threatened by and after Fisk — have been conjured up out of thin air, and while it makes sense that people would protest Fisk’s extremely posh arrangements, the only real, genuine thing we can anchor dread over Fisk in is his history with the core cast members.
It’s a good thing then that this episode chooses to show all three of them responding to Fisk’s release in their own ways. First with Karen, who decides to circumvent her editor’s wishes and interview Nadeem at the hotel where Fisk is held, then to work a related angle and look into the hotel where he’s being held — turns out that Kazemi, the seemingly insignificant victim of the last two episodes, had sold it to a shell company traced back to Fisk’s lawyers and recently got cold feet — which arguably got him stabbed.
Foggy, who is still in the middle of his personal crisis, decides that he’s going to return to his crusading roots and offers to help District Attorney Blake Tower get Fisk back in prison via a lawsuit. Tower, however, tells him that Fisk is protected by the Feds and his hands are tied with his re-election campaign. Foggy Nelson, it seems, can’t find the penance he so desperately craves.
Finally, Matt Murdock is determined to confront Fisk in any way he can, and sneaks his way into the hotel with the intention of making it all the way to the penthouse. All along the way, he’s tormented by an imagined version of Fisk, clad in a white dinner jacket (much like his comic-book incarnation), who taunts him repeatedly — saying that in flipping, he may become more valuable to the city than Daredevil ever was; that Murdock doesn’t have the stones to kill him; that he’s out of prison to torment Matt for his sin of attempted suicide at the beginning of the season.
Matt is not well, and it’s probably for the best that he’s stymied by an agent who won’t let him past without a room key. The same agent that saved Fisk. Let’s talk about him a bit.
His name, or as much as we learn of it, is Special Agent Poindexter, or Dex, as Nadeem calls him at one point. Dex takes his job very seriously — he’s furious about his dead comrades, unhappy that he has to protect Fisk, but utterly committed to his role. Despite his contempt, Fisk attempts to talk to him when they’re alone, expressing gratitude to Dex, marveling at his talent. Dex doesn’t want to hear it.
Nor does he want to see his mandated shrink following the shootout last episode. The therapist tells him that if he’s going to stay on active duty, he needs to have a support system — Dex says he has one, a woman named Julie. He says she works as a bartender, but they meet up when she gets out, have her favorite slice, talk about everything. Convinced that Dex has a healthy personal life, the therapist clears him for work.
This is where things are getting fun. Daredevil is playing with expectations here — there is only one character in the Daredevil mythos whose whole deal is “being really good at aiming stuff,” so there’s no point in being cute about it. This is Bullseye’s origin story.
If there were any other doubts, this scene has a bookend, where we follow Dex as he heads out for the night, presumably to meet Julie — only when she leaves the bar and heads towards the van where Dex is waiting, she keeps walking. It’s probably the most effective and restrained moment the show has pulled off in a while, and it’s a damn good horror beat done up with a creepy bow as we see Dex watch Julie through a scope as she orders her slice, taking a bite out of the exact same one as she does. Special Agent Poindexter is not a healthy man.
Elsewhere that night, Matt Murdock has one final card to play. Donning his mask, he waits for Fisk’s lawyer in the back of his car and chokes him, hoping to get a clue as to Fisk’s endgame. Security intervenes, and it’s time for some action.
Daredevil is still keeping things pretty reserved when it comes to fight scenes, but this one — where Matt has to make it out of a parking garage crawling with security — is a whole lot of fun. It’s constructed like a video game stealth mission, with lots of hiding behind cover and opportune strikes, right up until Matt gets caught and has to resort to classic beatdowns (with his Fisk hallucination taunting him to “let the devil out” as he loses his cool and beats a man senseless.)
Matt, it seems, has made up his mind. He’s going to do what he can to end Fisk with his bare hands, and he’s not even being careful about it anymore. Not only that, he’s willing to set the last vestiges of his old life ablaze, quietly approaching Foggy at a bar only to tell him to stay away from Fisk, say that their friendship is over, and secretly steal his wallet.
Matt is treading dangerous ground, and he doesn’t care. He’s got a different kind of death wish now, one that’s going to lead to something dangerous. Because Fisk’s lawyer knows who assaulted him, and he tells Fisk the news: The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen is back, and coming for him.