‘Condemned’ was notable as it provided the first direct contact between Daredevil and his nemesis, Wilson Fisk, laying the groundwork for what should be an intense second half of the season. For you non-hardcore binge watchers, this would make an ideal break point to take a breath and watch ‘Game of Thrones.’
But first, Daredevil had to deal with the little matter of being surrounded by cops before he could get more dirt on Fisk from his former associate, Vladimir. Given how much of an effort Daredevil has exerted dealing with common street thugs, it was a bit of a letdown that he handled the cops with relative ease.
Vladimir was badly wounded in the suicide bomber attack and to both their chagrin, Daredevil has to carry him into an abandoned building. Daredevil only gets a minor break as a rookie officer stumbles upon his temporary hideout. While he quickly subdues him, the officer ignores Daredevil’s request to tell his fellow officers it was a false alarm and instead gives them their location. This was a bit sketchy as the show has established Daredevil can quickly determine a person’s action based on their increased heart rate and should have been clued in fast enough to stop the message from getting out.
As Daredevil figures his next move, Fisk has the police officers in his pocket assume control of handling the ‘hostage’ situation. Urich is the first reporter on the scene forcing Fisk to call in his TV media contacts to control how the information gets disseminated to the masses.
While the episode provides an obligatory check in on the supporting cast — Foggy was wounded in the explosion fallout and gets admitted to the same hospital Claire works at and Karen is stunned that the masked man who helped her is now fighting the police — the focus is squarely on Daredevil stuck in his ‘Dark Knight Returns’ moment as the cops surround the building preparing to take him down.
The big surprise though was Fisk having an old school chat with Daredevil via the officer’s walkie talky. This was an inspired initial interaction between the two rivals while delaying the inevitable face to face encounter. One odd note though was why Wesley didn’t recognize Daredevil sounding exactly like that lawyer Matt Murdock since Matt isn’t Christian Bale-ing his Daredevil voice.
Although it seemed like a distraction since Fisk had to know Daredevil wouldn’t take his offer to kill Vladimir, Fisk has a more sinister plan in mind and has a sniper shoot three police officers including Fisk puppet Blake (Chris Tardio). Recognizing his losing hand, Vladimir helps Daredevil escape into the sewers (sadly no sightings of four turtles or a talking rat). Vladimir warns him the only way to win the war against Fisk is to kill him. ‘The moment you put on that mask you entered a cage with animals who won’t stop fighting until only one survives.’ TV and movie Russians always get the best dialogue!
Vladimir tells Daredevil the key to the Fisk empire is his accountant Leland Owsley. As the police close in, Vladimir stays behind to presumably sacrifice himself so Daredevil can escape and get payback on Fisk.
Armed with new information to help in his quest to take Fisk down, Daredevil is set to continue his war on crime, but knowing how resilient his opponent is, what steps will Fisk take to stop the Man Without Fear this time?