It’s a Wilson Fisk origin story! Are we going to get any explanation of how he gets superpowers or (eventually) a cool nickname? We do not. But it’s a good episode anyway. Wilson wakes up in the middle of the night from a nightmare, stares at the white painting he bought from Vanessa a few episodes ago, and prepares himself an omelet while the sun comes up. He goes through a closet of nearly-identical suits and picks just the right one, although I think it’s the same one we’ve always seen him wear, then pulls out a drawer of cufflinks although we know he always chooses the same ones, his dad’s. When he looks in the mirror, instead of his real reflection he sees himself as a boy, covered in blood splatter. I kind of feel like I’ve got his backstory now? Credits!
Matt, still bruised and bleeding from his fight with Stick (and apartment covered in broken beer bottles, ’cause that’s a good idea) wakes up. His talking alarm clock chimes very softly but squawks loudly when he turns it off and announces it’s 7am. Matt gets to the office just after Karen and Foggy, who are arguing over the sensibility of investigating the people who already tried to kill Karen once. Foggy admits that Karen is terrible at making coffee just as Matt walks in and distracts them with him his artfully rearranged face. They catch him up on their escapades and Matt reluctantly agrees to help as long as they take the fight to the courtroom, since it’s his and Foggy’s home turf.
Nobu is blaming Wilson’s operation for the death of his “weapon,” but Wilson points out that he asked for no police at the docks and they arranged that. Nobu leaves on some untranslated threats, and Wesley asks why, exactly, they’re putting up with his attitude when he doesn’t seem to be contributing anything to their operation. Wilson is clearly scared of him. The most reliable business partners are always the ones you’re scared of. No, wait…
Flashback! Some kids who are way too old to be playing hopscotch are playing in the street. But at least there are extras, in 70’s wardrobe and everything. Willie is helping his dad assemble campaign signs for city council while his mom tries to figure out which bills to pay. His father (Bill, so Willie’s a Junior) passes him a beer and laughs when he spits it out. He waxes poetic about how wonderful life will be once he’s elected to city council and taking bribes left and right. That’s actually the part he’s excited about. He finally admits that he borrowed money from a crime boss before turning back to his campaign signs and hammering a nail into his own forehead. That’s what we call “telegraphing.” Foreshadowing is when you think something might happen, telegraphing is when they plain-out tell you. Which is not always a bad thing. Like foreshadowing, it is a tool to be used sparingly.
Wilson’s on the phone with Vanessa, although it sounds like he’s doing a job interview, when he’s interrupted by a call from Wesley. The cop that was put in a coma when Fisk had him shot has woken up. They figure out their best bet for offing the cop is his partner, who is at least as corrupt as he is.
Foggy is bitching about how Matt’s version of research involves sitting in a room and actually researching instead of going out and getting themselves beat up. Yeah, Matt. Don’t be a buzzkill. Matt’s using a nifty device that translates web pages into Braille, one line at a time, and finds the connection between Union Allied and the shady company that hired them to defend the clearly guilty “bowling alley guy.” Karen is in the middle of suggesting tracking down Mrs. Cardenas’ landlord to find out his connection to those shady companies when she stumbles on the story about the cop waking up.
Wilson carefully walks the cop’s partner into agreeing that the cop deserves to die for not telling anyone that his phone had been taken and the information on it was compromised. The partner clearly doesn’t want to do this to someone he’s known for 30-35 years, but Wilson asks him to put a figure on how much each of those years is worth. For his sake, I hope more than a couple digits. Only thing worse than selling out is being cheap. To be fair, when you sit someone on a folding chair in the middle of an otherwise-empty warehouse, the very clear implication is “either you kill this guy, or we kill you and then kill this guy.”
The partner smuggles a syringe of poison into the hospital in a meatball sub and injects the cop’s IV. He’s just finished when the cop wakes up and when Daredevil breaks in and lays him out. Daredevil asks the cop, who is already dying, if Wilson Fisk had anything to do with any of this, but instead the cop just says, “is it my turn for this?” and dies. So that was less than helpful. The other cops who were guarding the door just miss catching Daredevil, but he was clearly there.
Wilson is treating Leland to a Kevlar-lined, tailored suit, but Leland is only interested in bitching about how his face is no longer in pristine condition and he’s telling his son not to visit because it’s too dangerous. We get a nice, long shot on the tailor, Potter, because apparently he is also a supervillain with a nickname in the comics. I’m thinking this show’s version of the Evil League of Evil only asks you to demonstrate that you have a heartbeat to be admitted. Leland continues bitching about how Daredevil found him once already and he needs 12 hired bodyguards. Um, Leland? That’s a real good way to make yourself get found again. Hiding out should really be the name of this game. Wesley comes in to report on the assassination of the cop, and nobody’s happy to hear the cop had time to say something to Daredevil and they don’t know what it was. However, they were able to then pin the murder on Daredevil, which they wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise, so this really seems like a net win for them. If they did know what was said, they’d be positively popping bubbly by now. As is, Leland is still bitching.
Flashback! Willie, face looking pretty beat-up, is being treated to zuppa (like tiramisu) by his mom. Bill comes in and demands to hear the story. Willie saw a classmate knocking down his dad’s signs and confronted him. I was sort of surprised when this turned out to be the truth just because it would be such an easy lie, but they find and confront the kid on the street (he’s the same size as Bill, for the record) and he readily admits to it. He also establishes that the election’s over and Bill lost. He doesn’t admit to calling Bill a loser, but then falls back on, “my dad [said it], I’m just repeating it.” Which is the most asshole thing to say. You must know someone on Facebook who’s fond of posting quotes (often unattributed) and when someone points out they’re factually wrong, says, “I didn’t say it! I’m just reposting it!” Yeah, take responsibility for your own wall, asshole. The kid’s holding a bat and seems to accidentally tap Bill in the head trying to walk away, so Bill grabs the bat and beats the snot out of the kid. Once he’s lying on the ground, bleeding, he makes Willie come over to keep kicking him while he’s down.
Wilson wakes up from his daily nightmare, looks at the painting, makes himself breakfast, dresses himself… but before he looks in the mirror, Wesley calls to tell him Madam Gao is on her way to his penthouse. I didn’t realize they had that kind of relationship. Apparently Wilson didn’t either.
Wilson serves tea, and they establish that Madam Gao speaks English and Wilson speaks Mandarin. She asks if Nobu has caught on that Wilson also speaks Japanese, and Wesley looks very put out to realize he is about 40% less useful than he thought. She sends him away and tells Wilson that Leland gave her his address and points out he may not be the most trustworthy person right now. She threatens to cut him out of his own crime ring if he doesn’t take care of his loose ends. She leaves and Wilson, naturally, flips a table.
Flashback! Bill tells Willie to stare at the wall and think about how he should be a king. The wall, naturally, looks just like the white painting Fisk has. His mom tries to tell Bill not to tell the crime lord he can’t pay him back right away, and Bill responds by taking off his belt and whipping her.
Wesley interrupts Wilson’s reminiscing to bring in Vanessa. Vanessa asks to hear the whole story, which means we see the rest of the flashback. As we knew, Willie grabs a hammer and pounds his father’s head in. He keeps pounding away after his father’s dead, screaming “keep kicking him.” He’s covered in blood by the time his mother stops him, looks at the body, and tells Willie to get the saw. She undresses the body, giving the cufflinks to Willie, and then saws him into pieces. Wilson describes how they disposed of the body in pieces and Vanessa tells him he’s not a monster. Fun fact: now that there is no Wilson Fisk, Sr., Willie can drop the Jr. from his name. Wilson turns into the victim, tells her how there’s people out to get him without mentioning that nobody is accusing him of killing his father. They want him for his current crimes, of which he is equally guilty.
Ben is trying to go home, but he’s walking to his car in the pouring rain when Daredevil stops him. Daredevil tells him about Wilson Fisk and claims innocence for all the dead bodies he’s being blamed for. But since he beats people up for information, Ben’s not eager to call him a reliable source. Daredevil convinces him to write an expose to tell people who Wilson Fisk is.
Vanessa’s in bed with Wilson when he wakes up from his nightmare. He looks at her instead of the wall and goes back to sleep. She eats breakfast with him so he’s not alone. She chooses his suit for the day for him, going for a lighter grey than we usually see him in and a different set of cufflinks. When he looks into the mirror, he sees himself. Over all of this is Ben reading his article which is light on facts and specific accusations and heavy on vagaries like “men like him fear the light.” Unfortunately for Ben, as he’s writing, Wilson Fisk is giving a press conference basically refuting the article he hasn’t published yet point for point and word for word. Ben deletes the article without saving it as Wilson ends on a triumphant note, a hero in this own story.