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Daredevil Episode 8 review: "Shadows in the Glass"

I was conflicted with Episode 7, and looking back at it as I began Episode 8, I have to believe that 7 was simply put in the story to set up Season 2. As a Miller/Daredevil guy, Stick was essential to the first season, and while I'm ecstatic that they found a way, it's the first episode that I really struggled with in regards to continuity purposes.

I didn't hate it. I just didn't like it as much as the first six shows.

But...it was nearly a break for me, and likely, a break for the show. I had no clue where "Shadows in the Glass" was going to go. Condemned was so damn good, my favorite episode so far, as it delved into the character of Daredevil, and how he truly isn't much different from the criminal element that he can't stand.

No, Daredevil isn't an anti-hero, even though he's presented that way, because he doesn't cross the line. Episode 7 showed us that. Even his mentor couldn't push him that far.

Stick is clearly a connection to Chaste and Stone, who I believe was the man at the end of seven, and ultimately a battle coming with The Hand. Nobu is clearly a part of The Hand, but I'll get into that in later episodes.

So as I head into Episode 8 with Ben, Foggy and Karen wondering if the Black Mask trumps the King of Diamonds, I'm wondering where we are going next? Don't the best shows do that?

Hell yes.

"Respect...you gotta give it if you want it...don't forget that."
Episode 8 gets us back into the Season One continuum quickly, with a brilliant run-up to the opening credits with a look into Wilson Fisk's morning. We see the isolation. We see the suits. We see a man who clearly is obsessive compulsive. The opening scene takes us through his morning routine, that was eerily similar to the opening of Showtime's Dexter, and rightly ends with Vincent D'Onoffrio's Fisk staring at his younger self...covered in blood.

Let the backstory commence.

As I mention in the intro, there really is a fine line between the good and the bad here, and some interesting parallels.

In the present, Fisk meets with his lieutenants, or equals, I'm not sure what we could call them at this point. My comic sensibility makes me think he's in charge, but this show has me really thinking they are all looked at as equals here. The relationships are interesting. The Russians are gone, and they were the least worrisome to Fisk and were handled that way. What happens with the rest will be intersting.

He meets with Nobu first, who doesn't have a lick of respect for Fisk, and shows it. I don't think there's a doubt that he's the head of The Hand, or a big part of it, at the very least. Fisk plays passive with him in this episode, which is odd, but shows that Fisk can't deal with him the same way as with the Russians. He has to finesse this, the way he's finessed Daredevil into the public villain.

He meets with Owlsley second, while Mr. Potter is making him a suit that will "keep him safe," which I'll get to in a second. Owlsley is firmly on board with Fisk, but there's no way he trusts him. He's the money man here, which would explain it, but he's heading down the path of problems with Fisk. Bob Gunton plays it perfectly...almost funny. He's older, more experience, and bitches about everything, because everything is always kind of going wrong. The fact that he feels comfortable enough to go after Fisk is amusing through, and is a clear indicator that he'll do whatever to make money, and not get busted doing it.

Will be an interesting watch going forward.

He meets Madame Gao in his home, at his table, which likely shows the utmost respect. It's clear that he treats her vastly different from the rest from the start, and here we are given the gift that she understands English ("many languages...all of them."). We equally learn that Fisk knows Chinese and Japanese, which brings to question more of his past. He told Vanessa he spent time on the Farm. I'm starting to wonder where this farm is.

Gao smacks him in the face by comparing him to the Russians, which pisses him off. Gao is the brains behind this, and knows more than she lets on. While Fisk is the Kingpin, you can see here that Gao has more going on. She's old, and looks feeble, but THAT backstory is interesting. She sends Fisk over the edge.

Wesley steps up and brings Vanessa to his guarded home, and we clearly see that she is totally in tune with Fisk, and implicitly okay with his desire to fix the city, any way possible. The parallel scene that has her eating breakfast with him, is pretty brilliant. Madame Gao wanted him to control his emotions. Wesley brings Vanessa, and with Ben Urich writing a story about Fisk in the background, we see a calm, happily-ever-after Fisk, wearing a light grey suit, picked by Vanessa, with new, non-dad-related cuff links.

The ending is special. As Urich writes the story to let everyone know about Fisk, who is "in the shadows," well...the backstory first.

The bulk of this story is told through the Fisk backstory, where we are introduced to his father, a low-level thug who is abusive to both he and his mother. He tries to "teach" his son lessons by giving him beer, and beat down lessons, while also teaching him penance by staring at a rough, white wall. We now see why he bought the "Rabbit in a Snow Storm" painting, which he stares at daily when he wakes up.

His father is running for City Council, so he can be heard. In the first flashback, Fisk's father hammers a nail into a picture of himself through his head to make a sign. Yeah, I thought the same thing. Parallels are damn important in this series, and we'll get a skull-crushing one by the end.

Fisk's dad loses, and after he shows up at home with a fat lip, his father finds him, beats him down, then forces Fisk to kick him over-and-over again. When he comes home, his father starts to beat on his mother, and Fisk takes a hammer to his head while yelling "keep kicking him." When the anger clicks off, he looks to his mother and says, "Mommy."

Fisk is such the man-child, and this episode really draws it out.

While Urich is writing his piece, Fisk "comes out" on Vanessa's urging. "My name...is Wilson Fisk, and together, we can make this city a better place."

The show ends with Matt Murdock in a fit of rage, throwing his computer on the floor, while Urich delete's his story. Wow, Fisk is on top, thanks to lessons from a horrible father, and goading from a mother-like influence in Vanessa.
  • Mr. Potter is Melvin Potter, who was both a villain in the comic books (Gladiator) and ultimately, a friend of Daredevil's. He's only shown briefly here, but knowing Daredevil is ultimately showing up in red, I have to believe Potter will be back. The question is, will we see Gladiator first? Will DD force him to make the suit? I, of course, could be completely off base with this.
  • There's so much backstory yet to be told, and these side characters are just as interesting as the rest. The baddies in this: Gao, Owlsley and Nobu, could have a show of their own.
  • What about Fisk? What happened after he killed his Dad?
Onto the next...




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