After giving us Wilson Fisk in the end of Episode 8, Episode 9 takes us right back to the end of Season 1, after being taken down by Daredevil. Wilson Fisk enters prison, among the lowly criminal degenerates of Gen pop, forced to stare yet again into the blank white abyss that evokes fear, pain and rage.
Meanwhile, Matt Murdock’s still heartbroken over that kid Elektra killed. But come on the kid damn near killed Matt with an arrow to the chest. So this time around in the break up, Matt turns Elektra away. And Foggy. And Karen. Shutting everyone out. Like true ronin.
Daredevil goes tracking down the accountant affiliated with the hand (the one Matt and Elektra stole that keycard from [always the strongest and the weakest link in any criminal organisation]). Now there is this cryptic place called ‘The Farm’, where apparently the accountant’s son has been held against his will. I smell another GTA mission.
And with Fisk in prison, a whole new hierarchy and set of rules apply. In his white prison uniform, Fisk takes on the look of an experimental subject thrust into the deep end of the worst society has to offer, the dregs and savages. And to top things off Fisk get’s visited by the prison’s ‘King Pin’ Mr. Dutton who draws a thick line defending his monopoly on the prison’s contraband. But of course, Wilson Fisk grabs us as a man that plays chess, not checkers. And where ever he lands, best believe he’s going to dig in and scrape his way to the top. And so he does.
Spending the last of his dwindling wealth on doing favours for fellow prisoners in return for their muscle, Fisk starts a campaign of recruitment to gain a foothold. And while Dutton is safe in his Block A stronghold, with corrupt prison guards and prison crew, Fisk gambles the last of his money on a variable that could turn the tide- The Punisher. Remember that guard who made the ‘threat’ before Castle took the stand in the last ep.? Well turns out that was Fisk’s doing. So now Frank’s in prison in an attempt to find out more on his family’s murder, and Fisk offers him a man who facilitated the deal between the Irish, the Cartel, the Bikers and all the other scum bag maggots involved in the Central Park shooting that killed his family- Dutton. So when a wild dog sicks a slightly uglier wild dog in prison, the results are one sanguine, explosive violence. No, I’m not touching myself right now.
First day in prison, Frank Castle essentially becomes Fisk’s triggerman, is given a shiv, and is on his way to find answers on the tip of his blade in the lion’s den of Dutton’s cell block A. And he has a seven minute window to do it.
There’s a shift change, the perfect time for any shady misgivings to occur in prison. And as Fisk promised, Castle gets safe passage to cell block A and he confronts Dutton, not before slicing a henchman’s throat. Frank gets more slivers of information in Cell Block A than Karen and his blood soaked nights in Hell’s kitchen ever could offer him. All of which points to a government conspiracy. Frank learns that the police infiltrated one of the gangs and were going for a public sting. We also learn Dutton wasn’t as high up as Frank thought he was… there was someone else in a higher position who donned another cool, cryptic moniker- The Blacksmith. This guy, unknown to even Dutton is responsible for floating black tar heroin from the Middle East, and is the guy who headed up this little coalition of Hell’s Kitchen criminals that got Frank’s family killed. So the sting went south and shots started flying.
Dutton was involved. So a shiv to the gut was not far off. But others are involved, and Karen’s further sleuthing reveals that one of the missing body who was initially filed in the ME report as John Doe was actually an undercover cop, the police are involved as well. Frank swiftly leaves his cell, mission accomplished only to see a wall of cops waiting for him at the gate. The don’t open it, but instead release all prisoners from cell block A. Splendid. Fisk with the double cross. Now all civility is dashed like wishful dreams and only the need for survival remains.
The episode did promise us Seven Minutes Of Heaven, and Frank delivers with the savage, brutal efficiency of a troglodyte merged with a remorseless killing cyborg. The prison gave new inmates white overalls, and it seemed Castle couldn’t wait to get into the big-boy orange prison gear, so he decided to paint his white uniform with the closest colour he could find, cell block A’s blood.
And Daredevil takes the Oldboy fight choreography and runs with it; Frank punches, bludgeons, stabs and hacks his way through bodies in an effervescent sea of blood and chaos. The final scene of Frank collapsed in bloody white prison clothes, laying in a sea of dead prisoners that fell by his own murderous hands, drives home to us Dutton’s last words to Frank; no matter where Frank Castle is, his crusade could never truly be over. The state of this evil world wouldn’t allow it.
Frank’s passage and baptism of blood amidst the chaos and violence always seems to leave us feeling that morally he is in a even more precarious, slippery slope into becoming truly lost and unredeemable.
We get a real sense of the savagery of Castle in this episode, and reminds us of the calculative and conniving Wilson Fisk is, and with no Dutton to take the King Pin moniker in prison, it seems Fisk is well on his way to take on his future title as Hell’s Kitchen one true boss of crime. Castle surviving the onslaught in Block A put a bit of a hiccough in Fisks plans. But like a true adapter, Fisk sets another course of action that would have Castle broken out prison to wage war on the criminal underworld, inadvertently helping Fisk to make the transition from prison to the crime King Pin of Hell’s Kitchen that much more smoother. Chess, not checkers.
And things get curiouser and curiouser when Daredevil discovers exactly what the far is… a basement of caged kids having their blood ciphered off in tubes and collected. We are really delving into some supernatural occult territory which begs the question, “Are we dealing with vampires now”. Where’s Blade when you need him. And it looks like another Season 1 phantom has come back to haunt and own the Devil, that fricken ninja Nabu that sliced and diced Daredevil to shreds and near death. Apparently that explosion and conflagration didn’t kill him.
Karen Page has found an affinity for writing (for a newspaper this time), Castle escapes the prison in riot gear (damn near fitting) and Matt gets a crash course in the occult religosity… always some blood-letting involved. Damn Freaks.
It feels the Season’s back on track and at great momentum despite slight filler-y episodes. We think the fight choreography shines a bit brighter in this episode too, but it seems to be the consensus that there are a few gold nuggets scattered throughout the season.
And with all the Marvel Knight’s back on the board, this chess game of variables makes for a good game come the rest of Season 2.