“World on Fire”
Written by Luke Kalteux
Directed by Farren Blackburn
Nelson & Murdock get a new client! An elderly Guatemalan woman and all her neighbors face the threat of eviction from their scumbag landlord, who has used such underhanded means of chasing them out as sending in a “repair” crew to smash giant holes in their walls and then leave. Foggy and Karen head to the offices of the landlord’s lawyers, the same firm where Matt and Foggy both turned down jobs, and where Foggy’s ex works. After arguing with the ex, Foggy is determined to help Mrs. Cardenas, so he and Karen go to her place and help out however they can. Mrs. Cardenas totally ships them. Meanwhile, Matt is still trying to get closer to Fisk. He figures he can do the most good by taking down the man in charge of all the crime. He learns that (at least) two of the local cops are in Fisk’s pocket. Fisk manipulates Vladimir and his men into trying to attack him so that he can blow them all up, and one of the bomb sites is Mrs. Cardenas’s building. Vanessa ultimately decides she likes Fisk, perhaps because of his business, rather than in spite of it. And now Matt and Vladimir are both surrounded by cops.
Fisk/Vanessa is like the anti-Matt/Claire. Claire won’t start a relationship with Matt because of the means he uses to reach his ends, but Vanessa does start a relationship with Fisk because he’s willing to do whatever it takes, up to and including running a massive criminal organization, to make the city better. I’m not sure Claire would have rejected Matt if she hadn’t hit that Russian with the baseball bat, either. She was clearly pretty upset with herself as well as overwhelmed by the awful experience of getting kidnapped and beat up for information, and I think she’s afraid of what committing acts of violence does to people.
Things I Liked
Things I Didn’t
Matt is making the same mistake Angel made in S2. He thinks he can leapfrog all the lesser enemies and go straight for the final boss, like when Angel tried to take out one of the Senior Partners. Fisk isn’t as untouchable as they are, but Matt still needs to take an actual path to reach him. And Matt’s also doing that thing like Angel where he pushes away people who care about him. Claire is the only one who knows his secret, but he’s so focused on getting to Fisk as quickly as possible that he’ll leave everything she could offer him behind. Friendship, understanding, support—even love.
It’s kind of surprising that Karen seems to have a crush on Matt. I mean, I’m not surprised she would have a crush on him, but I’m a bit surprised by the way it’s presented. The first real hint we get of it is when she’s getting info about him from Foggy. Shouldn’t there have been some kind of look when Matt was in the room? I would’ve expected her to be developing a crush on Foggy, considering all the time they’ve spent together. She’s barely interacted with Matt, who has mostly treated her like an employee, but he’s the one she has a crush on? Not the guy who’s been making her feel better about her crappy situation?
Foggy seems like a softie, but when he really cares about something, he can whip out some serious verbal sparring skills. And some handyman skills! He’s great. I love Foggy. And I feel really bad for him, because I think he might like Karen a bit.
As much as I wish Matt/Claire could have happened, it's probably better that Matt doesn't get validation for his current "whatever it takes" mindset, and I have to respect Claire for being strong and not letting her emotions lead her to an unwise decision.
Fisk is much better at strategy than I realized. I don’t think I put it together before that he was manipulating Vladimir and his men the whole time. First, he plants what looks like Matt’s mask on Anatoly’s body, so Vladimir will assume Matt killed him. Then, Fisk has the arms dealer guy say Matt has been working with him the whole time. At first, I thought that was Fisk’s original frame-up of Matt backfiring spectacularly, but it was deliberate. That way, Fisk was able to maneuver the enraged Russians into those four specific locations so he could blow them all up. Still, I can’t figure out how much Fisk actually believes that what he’s doing is helping, because up until this episode, he was working with human traffickers. There’s no way someone in cahoots with human traffickers could believe himself the good guy, and it pretty much seemed like he only killed Anatoly because he ruined his date with Vanessa, not because he’d been planning to take out the Russians. Also, Fisk’s idea of making the city better is clearly at the expense of people below the poverty line, like Mrs. Cardenas.
Okay, I think Vanessa is a lot more jaded than she first appears. The quality she prizes above all is honesty, because she’s been lied to before. She wants a man who is honest with her, respectful of her, and who can protect her. She can accept that Fisk is the head of a massive criminal organization because he’s doing it for the city, not for his own gain. I’m not sure she realizes that he’s willing to squash quite a few disadvantaged people on the way to rebuilding the city from its ashes.
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.