Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Review - 'Daredevil', S01E08 - 'Shadows in the Glass'

If it wasn't already clear to the audience, then the eighth episode of Daredevil should make it abundantly clear that we are meant to have conflicted feelings about Wilson Fisk. He is a dangerous man, certainly - and, there is a very real anger buried just beneath the surface that can compel him to commit acts of horrific violence. We have already seen this in previous episodes. But, we have also been given plenty of hints that there is a very genuine pain there, too. We have been given enough evidence of his loneliness, and his social awkwardness, and his desire for a real human connection as he pursues a relationship with Vanessa to feel some degree of sympathy, at least.

Here, though, the audience is given our first proper look at some of the root cause of all of this, with flash-backs to Wilson Fisk's own childhood - where we are shown a timid boy tormented by an abusive father determined to make him a 'man'.

It's all fairly predictable, certainly. It might even comes across as a little cliched. After all, of course a violent and tormented man like Wilson Fisk would turn out to have been the victim of an abusive childhood. That just seems to be the way that these things work - both in fiction and, depressingly often, in real life, too. But, while it might be a fairly conventional revelation for the character, it is also often very effective - and, it is done very well, here. Vincent D'Onofrio has already managed to make Wilson Fisk into an oddly sympathetic figure - and, the scenes involving the young Wilson Fisk (played by Cole Jensen) enhance that aspect of the character in a very dramatic fashion. This is likely to be the only time we ever see Cole Jensen in the role of the young Wilson Fisk, but he did a fantastic job of complementing Vincent D'Onofrio's own performance in order to give us a look at another facet of this increasingly complex character.
In the present, too, we have a man whose carefully crafted plans seem to be slowly falling apart. With his inability to put a stop to the masked vigilante's activities, Fisk's colleagues are slowly losing faith in him - even going as far as to privately discuss the possibility of cutting him out entirely if things do not change.

If there is one thing that this episode makes very clear it's that, just as Matt Murdock hasn't quite become 'Daredevil' yet, Wilson Fisk still has a fair way to go before he can become the true 'Kingpin'. He seems, almost, to be in over his head, here, as he struggles to maintain any sense of control. Though, of course, he's not entirely without support - he still has his faithful friend and assistant, Wesley, and he still has Vanessa.

While all of this is going on, the investigation into Fisk's shady business dealings also receive a fairly significant boost as Matt, in his role as the masked vigilante, finally shares his own information with Ben Ulrich. While it was great to finally see some progress on this plot, the fact that it turned out to be Matt, himself, who gave them the information they needed to make any real progress is also a fairly clear indication of the main problem with this plot-line, as a whole. Much like with previous episodes, Ben, Karen, and Foggy's are, essentially, stumbling along a few steps behind, lacking information that is already known by both Matt and the audience. It's a frustrating weak-point in an otherwise great episode - though, hopefully, things can change now that Ben, Karen, and Foggy have finally been brought up to speed.

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