The previous episode stepped away from Matt to focus on Fisk and his growing criminal enterprise, but “Speak of the Devil” returns to Matt with a vengeance. When we see him this time, he’s losing a fight against a red-roped assailant, who’s having a hell of a good time slicing Matt up.
Now that Fisk is ahead of them, everyone’s scrambling for a better way to take him down, which leads Matt to Vanessa and her art gallery. Thankfully this doesn’t go the way I thought it would, with Matt trying to turn to intimidation to get information on Fisk from her. It’s not Daredevil who meets Vanessa but Matt Murdock, coming into the gallery with his cane and sunglasses and asking for paintings to decorate his “stark” apartment and satisfy the ladies. Matt turning on the charm with Vanessa is very typical of him, and also somewhat funny. And Vanessa appears a bit lighter as a character when she’s not on the receiving end of Fisk’s strong presence and equally strong emotions. So far we’ve never seen Vanessa on her own. We’re constantly viewing her through a lens provided by Fisk, and now, by Matt. Her presence in Fisk’s life gives Matt something to think about, as it’s proof that Fisk is capable of love and being loved, an ability that has Matt questioning his resolve to stop him, particularly if the only means of doing that turns out to be fatal.
Mrs. Cardenas’ murder makes Matt particularly eager to take a more lethal approach with Fisk. It’s hard to find her death as surprising as everyone else finds it, when it’s been all but guaranteed from the show’s start. She’s a woman defying Fisk so she’s in danger already, and deciding to buckle down and refuse to leave her apartment only makes her impending doom more obvious. It’s more confusing why this doesn’t occur to either Karen or Foggy, who encourage Mrs. Cardenas to stand firm. Karen’s been on the receiving end of Fisk’s brand of problem solving, and Foggy’s not clueless. It’s difficult to tell if it’s underestimating Fisk’s evil or just shortsightedness, but it seems like that’s something someone other than Matt should have considered.
Mrs. Cardenas’ murder satisfies two important tasks for Fisk. Avoiding obstruction on the deal and luring Daredevil into a trap. Nobu’s anxious and pressing for Fisk to make good on his deal, so Fisk tells him to figure out a way to get rid of their devil. So Nobu takes it upon himself. And with Mrs. Cardenas’ dead, Fisk has claimed another victim, making Matt even more desperate to see Fisk stopped. There’s a reason “Speak of the Devil” is sprinkled with Matt’s visits to the church, as he contemplates what eternity has in store for him if he continues on his path. Especially if he gives in to his darker urges and starts killing the bad guys he encounters. Fisk is the one he obviously wants dead, which is becoming more and more of a reality as Fisk becomes steadily harder to stop. Legal means aren’t possible for them, and neither is whistleblowing. If Fisk is going to be taken down, it’s not going to be in a well-lit courtroom but in the streets they both know.
So it’s somewhat thrilling to see Fisk and Matt coming to blows. To be fair Matt’s in no condition to win this fight, having been sliced and diced so thoroughly by Nobu, but he gives it his best shot. It’s a nice preview of the inevitable fight that’s to come between the two. Their meeting early in the episode is dishonest from both sides, Matt flirting with Vanessa until he’s thrown by Fisk’s arrival and Fisk giving Matt the same spiel he gives everyone else about wanting to better Hell’s Kitchen. And when they meet again, it’s as who they really are, their intentions laid out before them. And Matt barely escapes, returning home to collapse in front of Foggy.
It seems a bit early in the show’s run to start revealing Matt’s secret identity to people, though I can at least take some joy in the show actually taking Matt’s identity seriously. Unlike some other superhero shows I watch. But Foggy learning the truth now will finally give him something to do and provide some reason for him and Matt to actual spend some quality time together.
- Foggy: “Terrorist cop killer.”
Urich: “Says he was framed.”
Foggy: “I could say I’m Captain America but that doesn’t put wings on my head.”
- Foggy: “You know he can’t see that.”
- Vanessa: “You don’t need sight to appreciate art. But you do need honesty.”
Matt: “Sight helps.”
- So is Claire just gone for good now or what? How disappointing. I’ll tell you who they need to call to help Matt with those very severe wounds!
- Of course Fisk has armor in his suit. Of course he does.
- Fisk seemed to recognize that something was off about Matt. I thought he may have recognized his voice from his and Daredevil’s conversation that one time, but apparently not.
- Props to Nobu for keeping it moving even while he was on fire. Also, he thinks Matt and Stick are connected and obviously has some connection with Stick of his own. That seems like quite the comic book connection happening there, but I suspect we won’t see it pay off until next season.
- Foggy translating everyone’s physical movements for Matt is very sweet, even though he doesn’t need it.