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Daredevil Episode 3 Review: The Kingpin is a "Rabbit in a Snowstorm"

If you started this episode and weren't thinking, "When in the hell is Vincent D'Onofrio going to show up as The Kingpin," then you either know nothing about Daredevil the comic book (which isn't a bad thing), or have been living in a cave over the past six months.

In the weeks leading up to the series premiere, D'Onofrio was very vocal about how amazingly happy he was with everything to do with Marvel's Daredevil.
"I mean the whole Marvel world is so huge. But I gotta tell you, I couldn’t be working for nicer people. I really am. I’m just having a great time. The whole -- the way that we’re shooting it, our Daredevil, everybody that’s in the show, is just going so well."
When I heard of the casting of D'Onofrio as the iconic Wilson Fisk, "The Kingpin," I couldn't have been any more giddy. Let's be honest here, D'Onofrio has haunted me since I saw Full Metal Jacket, as "Gomer Pyle." That roll put him on the map, and he's been playing amazingly complex characters ever since, both in the movies, and on T.V.

It seems like his career was built towards playing this role, and while only briefly, he makes his first appearance here, and thunderously so...if subtly.

Let's get on with the review...and of course, there are spoilers...


"...beyond these walls, he may well face a judgement of his own making..."
This episode was nothing like the rest. While the first two were most definitively Daredevil-centric, ripe with the black-clad crusader beating down (and getting beat on) several criminals littering "his streets." The origin story played out through brilliant flashbacks that allowed us to see the roots of the superhero.

This episode had none.

The focus of this episode rested squarely on the shoulders of both our blind lawyer, Matt Murdock, and his good friend and law partner, 'Foggy' Nelson. These two finally find a high paying client, and we finally get to see them in court. Before I get into the particulars though, the questions that this story brings up is, well, intriguing.

The show begins with a brutal hit performed by John Healy (Alex Morf). It's a brilliantly filmed scene, as we are introduced to Healy, who is seemingly just looking to bowl a few games. The only guy bowling was Prohashka, a crime boss of some sort, and Healy was hoping to just "bowl a few games."

I've come to know a bit about this show though, and immediately thought, "Bowling Balls are about to fly."

I wasn't let down.

Thanks to a faulty gun (beautifully given to Healy by Turk, from Episode One...and for those that don't know, Turk is a really bad criminal in the comics too), Healy has to resort to smashing him in the head with a bowling ball. When he gives up prior to the police getting there, then ultimately asks for a lawyer, well...you and I both know where this was going.

Enter Wesley (played brilliantly by Toby Leonard Moore), who shows up at Nelson and Murdock looking to put them on retainer. Predictably, Matt says no, and Foggy says yes. Moore plays this smarmy Wesley to perfection, and convinces the two to take a case, just to figure things out. Walking out, Matt follows Wesley from a distance, and catches both the sound of his watch ticking, as well as a statement, "it's been taken care of."

It's clear at this point that Murdock knows that much of the crime is centered, likely with whomever Wesley is working for. What I'm not sure about are the motives of Wesley, and of Kingpin. We know they are keeping tabs on Nelson and Murdock after they leaked the information on the dummy corporation that tried to frame Page for the murder in episode one, but do they need "clean" lawyers for this, or do they want to tie these to up, in case they cause future problems? Either way, it works.

The case, of course, is Healy, and once Foggy meets him, he realizes he's guilty. But Murdock strolls in and takes the case. While this may be confusing to some, it was clear he was hoping to figure out who "the employer" was.

It's a fun ride, as Nelson and Murdock work well together throughout the case. Matt, again utilizing his vaguely-spelled out powers, hears a rapid heartbeat on the jury when Wesley walks in (remember that watch? Matt heard it walk in). Enter Daredevil, who beats up a blackmailer and gets the juror removed from the case.

As Murdock is closing, Wesley and his watch comes in again, and another juror's heartbeat rises. It's okay though, as we know justice will be revenged. Remember, Murdock/Daredevil just wants to know who's in charge.

The jury is hung, and Healy is free.

In the meantime, we are introduced to Ben Urich (Vondie Curtis-Hall-Die Hard 2), a reporter who is trying to figure out all the same things that Murdock is. Urich has a fantastic Marvel backstory, as a reporter for J. Jonah Jameson at the Daily Bugle. Unfortunately, Sony has the rights to the Spiderman backstory, and while they are allowing Marvel to use Spidey, it's clear they aren't making it a blanket statement. Urich writes for the New York Bulletin, and his boss isn't Jamison, it's Ellison, and nowhere near the character that J. Jonah is.

Sad that these characters are wrapped up behind "rights." Shameful that Sony, Disney and Fox can't figure out all this.

Urich's story is simple. He wants to break the story on a Crime Syndicate taking over Hell's Kitchen. He realizes there's a "new player on the scene," but his editor wants nothing to do with, instead, looking for reads by posting a story about "Your Favorite Color." On top of that, his wife is in the hospital, and not doing well.

Urich's story blends together with Karen Page, who broke her confidentiality agreement with Union Allied Corporation, and was offered another non-discloser agreement. It seems as though she doesn't sign it when she meets up with the wife of the man who was murdered in her apartment. She did sign the agreement, so Page turns to Urich.

The story is well put together, as it weaved in and out of the court storyline, as well as the Page/Urich "hunt for justice" storyline. Both stories are heading in the same direction though: who is at the center of all this trouble?

Enter Daredevil.

At the end of the episode, Healy is clearly leaving town, when Daredevil and the hitman have another pretty brilliant fight scene, in which we once again get to see DD's impressive senses as Healy picks up a metal pipe and a bucket to hit him with. It's another even match-up for Daredevil, until he utilizes a piece of broken glass to force Healy to give up the name...

...Wilson Fisk...

It was beautiful.

Then, Healy, in a very non-Marvel sorta way, throws his own head through a jagged piece of metal, killing himself rather than facing Fisk.

"I gave up his name. You don't do that, not to him. He'll find me and make an example. And then he'll find everyone I ever cared about, and do the same to them, so that noone ever does what I just did. You shoulda just killed me...you coward."

So damn beautiful.

And this is what leads us to Fisk. In an earlier scene, Wesley had met up with Leland Owlsley (the brilliant Bob Gunton), and Wesley lets him know that Fisk is looking at art. We see a beautiful woman, who turns out to be Vanessa Marianna (Ayelet Zurer). Marianna ultimately marries Fisk, in the comics, and it's clear this is where this is going.

She walks up to a BLACK clad Fisk (he normally wears white, which is an interesting parallel to Daredevil's black...will Fisk grow into his white?), who is staring at a purely white painting, called "Rabbit in a Snowstorm." She asks him how it makes him feel, and the camera pans to his face for the first time...

...and he says...

"It makes me feel alone."

They share a glance...and fade to black.

I thought two things...Tony Soprano, and "Gomer Pyle."

One look...this is getting good.
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