Original Airdate: 04/10/2015
Written by: Joe Pokaski
Directed by: Ken Girotti
Created by Drew Goddard
Based on the Marvel comics by Stan Lee and Bill Everett
Cast of Characters
Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock/Man in Black
Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page
Elden Henson as Franklin “Foggy” Nelson
Toby Leonard Moore as James Wesley
Vondie Curtis-Hall as Ben Urich
Ayelet Zurer as Vanessa Marianna
Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple
Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk
Nikolai Nikolaeff as Vladimir Ranskahov
Gideon Emery as Anatoly Ranskahov
Alex Falberg as Semyon
David Vadim as Sergei
Tony Naumovski as Dmitry
Moisés Acevedo as Santino
Ben Livingston as Auctioneer
First Appearance: Sergei, Dmitry
Flashback: In a Russian prison 8 years ago, Anatoly Ranskahov is dragged back to a cell after being tortured. In the cell is his brother, Vladimir, who asks where their companion Oleg is at. Oleg is dead and Anatoly is convinced he will be soon. Vladimir tells him they are breaking out that night and shows him a shiv he’s made. Anatoly asks where he got it and Vladimir shows him the body of another comrade, Alexei. He’s used the man’s ribs. Anatoly wonders if they will go back to Moscow, but Vladimir says their future lies in America.
Anatoly runs out of a building, saying they’ve been found. He’s on the phone asking where his brother is. He gets in to drive a cab when a body falls from a window onto the hood. As Anatoly speeds off, the Man in Black rabidly faces out the broken window above. Later, Claire stitches some of Matt’s wounds up at her friend’s place where she is cat-sitting. She asks how things are going because she’s seen a lot of his handiwork. She mentions the guy he threw off her roof is in a coma and asks how he feels about it. He’s fine with it to her chagrin. She hates having to waste sick days hiding out, but he wants to make sure she is safe. Claire suggests his should get some kind of body armor to keep himself safe. He thinks it will slow him down, and she just imagines he’ll keep ending up on her doorstep. They flirt a little, and she wonders aloud if he comes by and she has company. Matt hands her a burner phone to put her number in so he can call her before showing up. She offers that he should ease up or he’s going to get himself killed. He can’t, he says, because of a man named Wilson Fisk. Matt couldn’t find anything about Fisk anywhere. Claire’s not familiar with the name either. So back at it he goes, and he jumps out the window.
Wesley stops by Veles Taxi to see the Ranskahov brothers. He tells them Leland Owlsley has taken care of Prohaszka’s assets and his cab business has now been merged with Veles Taxi for them to control. Wesley also mentions they were light on their contribution to the business partnership again because of the Man in Black. They tell him the Man in Black was asking about Fisk’s business by name. Wesley says not to worry about it, but mentions that their business partners, Madame Gao and Mister Nobu, have expressed dissatisfaction that the Russians haven’t taken care of this vigilante problem already. They are stunned to hear the group is meeting without them. The group uses the Russian taxi business as a front to distribute drugs from Madame Gao’s business. Fisk has decided he wants to be more hands on to make sure they are taking care of their end. Vladimir sees it as Fisk wanting to take over. Wesley says it is an offer to help not order. Vladimir isn’t having it.
Karen meets with Ben Urich at a diner to discuss her story. He doesn’t see the fresh angle, but she insists that the fact they killed Danny Fisher and tried to kill her makes her more than the usual. Urich asks about the man in the mask that saved her. She can’t offer more than he just showed up and protected her. Karen says he should look into Rance’s supposed suicide in jail and talk to the prison guard, Farnum. Urich reveals Farnum is dead, apparently a self-inflicted gunshot in his basement. And that her former boss, McClintock overdosed on pills. He recommends she move on before she has a similar fate. Karen pushes that they may be able to hide a financial or corporate trail, but that the physical equipment used in the business would have to be catalogued and referenced. Urich won’t pursue it. He says he needs a credible source and some digging into Karen’s past doesn’t hold up to great scrutiny. She challenges him to be the reporter he once was, but he says he’s too old and much too smart now to go after this.
The Ranskahovs show up at Metro General to speak with Semyon, the Russian that Matt put in a coma. They have a guy trying to track Fisk, but they haven’t been able to find him. Anatoly is worried because he thinks they are going to lose everything. Vladimir wants to be able to get leverage so they can take out the Man in Black and eventually get free of Fisk as well. They shoot Semyon up with epinephrine to wake him from the coma to ask about the masked man. Semyon calls him “the devil.” They ask if he can tell them anything to help find this devil. Semyon mentions the woman that was with him. They have their goons, Sergei and Dmitry, go to Claire’s apartment. She’s not there and took a bunch of stuff with her. Santino, the young man from upstairs, shows up and they talk to him.
Fisk and Wesley ride along, as Wesley updates his boss on various situations. Wesley asks about the Man in Black, and Fisk says he’ll have to find a solution if the Russians can’t handle it. They arrive at the gallery and Fisk asks Wesley to stay in the car while he goes in to speak to Vanessa. He follows up with her about the painting he purchased and awkwardly stumbles through asking her to dinner. She says that she’s the only one working and can’t get away. He ambles away when she calls him out for giving up so easily. She mentions that a guy once offered to buy all the paintings so she could close up early for a date. He’s not interested in someone who can be bought, which impresses her. She agrees to go to dinner. Meanwhile, Matt and Foggy leave the precinct late after talking with another client. Foggy complains about their lack of success and how given up job offers at an established firm might have been a mistake. He gets into a cab when Matt receives a call from Claire on his burner phone. The Russians have tracked her down and are attacking her. Matt rushes to her friend’s apartment, but he’s too late; they’ve got her. He listens out the window and sifts through the noise to hear them stuffing Claire into the trunk of a taxi. They mention Santino by name. Matt runs down to the street but loses sound of the taxi.
Karen attends a liquidation auction to track the sale of Union Allied’s office equipment. As she sketches various bidders on the equipment, Urich shows up. He points out two others who aren’t bidding on anything either, likely keeping tabs on the room. He suggests Karen bid on something and win it as cover and then to meet him at the diner after the auction. At Veles Taxi, the Russians pull Claire from the trunk of the cab. Matt shows up at Claire’s place and finds Santino roughed up and scared. He says they took him to the roof to get him to tell them where Claire was and that they’ve hurt his mother if he told anyone about it. He doesn’t know where they went but he remembers they got into a cab to drive it. Matt asks which company and Santino remembers Veles.
Fisk approves of a wine at an Italian restaurant where her and Vanessa are having dinner. She notes he keeps fidgeting with his cufflinks, and correctly guesses that he doesn’t date often. She likes the restaurant, and he offers that it just opened. Vanessa mentions the city changing fast, but Fisk counters that it’s not fast enough. She bemoans possibly losing character in all the change. He tells her about growing up in Hell’s Kitchen.
The Russians rough Claire up, trying to get her to give up information on the Man in Black. They want a name but she swears she doesn’t know it. Sergei is ready to pulverize her with a baseball bat, but Dmitry reminds him that she’s supposed to be kept alive. Sergei is ready to terrorize her more when the lights shut down in the garage. Claire starts laughing; she knows Matt’s there. She gets free as Matt takes out the Russians one by one amidst all of their gunfire, but Sergei grabs her for leverage when he’s the last one standing. No use; Matt takes him down and Claire knocks him unconscious with the bat. She’s devastated and Matt takes her in his arms and comforts her.
Karen meets Urich at the diner. She bid and won old office equipment for $3500 she charged to the law firm, which they likely don’t have. She asks how he knew she would be there, and Urich admits that he wasn’t there for her. He is following up on the story but suggested she drop it for her own protection. He points out how lives of other sources on similar stories he wrote were ruined and thought she’d have the sense to walk away after what she’d already been through. He lays out the ground rules: she can’t visit him at the office any more and she can’t tell anyone else about what they are doing. He says she should also sign the agreement to keep them off her back. She’s hesitant because she won’t be able to talk about anything publicly. He points out that he isn’t signing the agreement.
Vladimir and Anatoly return to the garage and ask Sergei what happened. Anatoly receives a call that Fisk has been spotted. He suggests they turn to him for help, but Vladimir wants no part of that. Anatoly says he will go and make the deal. At the Italian restaurant, Fisk convinces Vanessa to share a dessert. It’s something new for her to try; she prefers chocolate. They both agree that getting out of their comfort zones and letting go of the thought of who you should be is good now and then. Anatoly shows up to talk to Fisk, and Vanessa witnesses all the men in the restaurant who move to Fisk’s bidding. Fisk demands that she leave immediately, and escorts her out as he chides Wesley to take care of the Russian.
Karen shows Foggy an old fax machine she got from the auction and mentions other equipment is showing up. She reluctantly tells him that she charged it to the firm, but she’s got some money coming soon to help out. At Matt’s apartment, he tends to Claire. He tells her about patching up his dad. He apologizes for getting her involved and putting her at risk. He feels like his making things worse and getting people hurt. She tells him that she’s more scared than she’s ever been, and many people are, but he’s got the ability to do something and make a difference. Claire calls him “Mike” again, and he reveals that his name is Matthew.
Fisk walks Vanessa home. He asks if he can see her again, but she bulks, mentioning not dating customers. He offers to return the painting, but she doesn’t want gestures. She was interested because she saw something different in him, but after the brief display at the restaurant, she’s not sure if it’s a good thing. He tells her he enjoyed himself and if she can say that she didn’t, even a little bit, he’ll leave her alone. She says she’s not sure what she feels and goes inside. Fisk is crushed by the turn of events. Driving elsewhere, Wesley listens to what Anatoly has to say, and is concerned that they still didn’t get a name for the Man in Black. He offers that Anatoly should’ve called to accept the offer, but the Russian wanted to do it in person to smooth things over. Fisk arrives in another car and pulls Anatoly from the back. He beats the man for embarrassing him in front of Vanessa. Anatoly crawls back to the open SUV. Fisk begins to pound his head with the car door, eventually decapitating the man. He tells Wesley to send the body to Vladimir, and Wesley is concerned it will start a war. Fisk says he’s counting on it.
- During his fight with Anatoly, Fisk’s suit is slashed by a knife, revealing Kevlar within the lining. In the comics, the Kingpin was well known to wear Kevlar beneath his suits at all times.
- Wesley directly references Iron Man and Thor when talking to the Russians, though not by name.
Wesley: “That’s because we’ve been talking behind your back. About how the Russians can’t seem to handle one man running around in a mask. I mean, if he had an iron suit or a magic hammer, maybe that would explain why you keep getting your asses handed to you.”
Fisk: “A woman who can be bought isn’t worth having.”
Vanessa: “The city’s changing.”
Fisk: “Not fast enough.”
Vanessa: “I don’t know. Be a shame to see all the character scrubbed away.”
Fisk: “You didn’t grow up here, did you?”
Vanessa: (laughs) “What gave it away?”
Fisk: (beat) “When I was a kid, I used to dream what it would be like to live somewhere far away from Hell’s Kitchen, somewhere beautiful.”
Vanessa: “What made you stay?”
Fisk: “I didn’t. When I was twelve years old, my mother, she sent me to stay with relatives on a farm, middle of nowhere. Those were good years.”
Vanessa: “But you came back.”
Fisk: “Yes. Time and distance, they afford a certain clarity. I realized that the city was a part of me, that it was in my blood. And I would do anything to make it a better place. For people like you.”
Vanessa: (toasting) “To a better place.”