For three episodes Wilson Fisk may as well have been Keyser Söze for the fear and underlined threat his name implied. Even his fellow criminal allies and most trusted lieutenant have warned others not to say his name. Unlike The Candyman, apparently just saying Wilson Fisk once is enough to sign your death warrant. In episode 4, it was clearly made apparent why the Hell’s Kitchen underworld should not cross the boss.
The episode starts with a brief flashback focusing on the Russian brothers, Anatoly (Gideon Emery) and Vladamir (Nikolai Nikolaeff), who eight years ago were not so welcome guests in a Siberian prison. The brothers vow not to ever be in this position again and as testament to their hardcore bada$$ nature, rip the bones from their fellow prisoners rat-chewed body for shivs. It’s an effective opening to show the brothers are nobody’s punks, which makes it all the more impactful as we switch to the present day and Daredevil is breaking up another hideout of the brothers and Anatoly barely getting away.
Wesley, Fisk’s No. 1, suggests the brothers can’t handle the mysterious man in black as he’s now costing the entire operation financially and offers a proposal where Fisk will take over their investments and deal with the mystery man. Anatoly was hot for the deal (sorry, getting a strong ‘The Godfather’ vibe with all this criminal dealing), but Vladamir dares speak Fisk’s name and tells Wesley he’ll have to come down if he wants to squeeze them out of business.
The brothers decide they need to be much more aggressive in tracking Daredevil down and visit their main assassin in the hospital still recovering from Daredevil knocking him from the rooftop and he tips them off to Claire. It’s jarring seeing Claire bruised and bloody as it is a stark reminder of why heroes have to maintain secret identities. Daredevil tracks her down and proceeds to lay a beatdown that would impress Batman, Wolverine and The Punisher. Daredevil is just fighting with his bare hands, but when he starts threatening the Russian goons to leave Claire alone there’s a legitimate “ooooh you’re in trouble now” vibe.
In a reversal of their previous encounters, Matt patches Claire up apologizing for bringing her into this world and finally tells her his real name. She reminds him she helped him as he’s making Hell’s Kitchen a lot less scary for the decent people who have become frightened with the criminals using it for their playground.
As for the biggest mover and shaker in the crime category, Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) returns to the art gallery seeking a date with the charming curator Vanessa (Ayelet Zurer, ‘Man of Steel‘). She’s intrigued by his awkward pick-up and otherwise assured nature and agrees to go out for Italian.
In the other action-light subplot, Karen tries to convince Ben Urich to investigate the Union Allied Construction buyout. He tells her the sources he cited who went up against powerful operations in Hell’s Kitchen have a nasty habit of dying off. Urich’s seeming lack of interest is just to keep her from getting hurt, but realizing she won’t let it go, he advises her on the best way to remain alive as he reveals he fully plans to crack the case. This pairing works well and gives Karen value in each episode besides simply bouncing off Matt and Foggy.
D’Onofrio does such a masterful job making Fisk look just on this side of going off every possible section. Fisk barely seems composed and frequently looks like he’s going to pounce on Vanessa. Just as Fisk is knocking off his dating rust, Anatoly barges in to the restaurant to accept Fisk’s proposal. This prompts half the restaurant patrons who reveal themselves as Fisk’s bodyguards to stand in attention in case Anatoly has a problem. All fairness? Anatoly should have at least called first or remember Fisk’s business hours. (anyone get that ‘Five Heartbeats’ reference?) Fisk leads Vanessa out and tells Wesley to get Anatoly in a car.
Date sufficiently ruined, Fisk tries to smooth things over and asks Vanessa out again, but she’s non-committal both on the prospects of a second date and her feelings. Wesley and Anatoly shoot the breeze in the car and Fisk pulls him out and proceeds to pummel him before savagely caving Anatoly’s head in with the car door. Yikes. Fisk has major anger management issues. Matt really may not want to deal with this guy. On to the next episode…