It’s a late night in Hell’s Kitchen as Foggy and Karen bond over drinks (a lot of drinks), Matt reflects on his father, Battlin’ Jack Murdock, and finds a new ally.
The Russian human traffickers kidnap a young boy in an attempt to lure Matt into a trap. Once the trap is sprung, Matt barely manages to escape, and is found bruised and bloodied by E. R. nurse, Claire Temple, played by Rosario Dawson. Claire and Matt struggle over his wounds, him requesting her not to call a hospital, and Claire informing him that the good deeds he’s been doing have been noticed by the people of Hell’s Kitchen.
This episode is split into two stories, the first focusing on Matt and Claire and the trust that quickly forms between them. Claire’s character represents the people of Hell’s Kitchen. Foggy and Karen do as well, but Claire is a character outside of Matt Murdock’s circle of friends and acquaintances. She’s the perspective of Hell’s Kitchen on what Matt has been doing. Stopping human trafficking, as well as preventing violent muggings and other attacks. It’s a connection for Matt to the people of Hell’s Kitchen, and begins to show the viewer who Matt is fighting for.
The second story, and the real meat of the episode, is told through a series of flashbacks and focuses on the relationship between young Matt and his father, veteran boxer “Battlin'” Jack Murdock. Jack has raised Matt on his own, and the father and son have formed a bond beyond simply father and son. They’re friends, partners, and often times medic and patient when Jack comes home from a fight and Matt needs to stitch his father back together. Jack is still the responsible father as he lays down the rules of Matt finishing his homework, though. He wants his son to be educated. A smarter man than he was.
After Matt’s accident and his blinding, their bond seems to only get stronger as Jack works at finding ways to take care of Matt financially. One such way is throwing fights. A fight between “Battlin'” Jack and “Crusher” Creel is set up and Jack is supposed to go down in the fifth round. However, trying to make his son proud, he wins the fight, taking in a large amount of bet money, which is to be deposited in Matt’s name.
Before the fight, having a feeling things won’t go well for him, Jack makes a call to a woman, leaving a message on her answering machine to take care of Matt. It’s a safe bet to think this woman is Matt’s estranged mother, but aside from the brief recorded voice and the fact that at this point in time she was alive, we know nothing else about her, yet.
This flashback also gives us our first strong connection/cross over to the rest of the Marvel Universe. Carl “Crusher” Creel becomes the Absorbing Man and was featured in the first few episodes of Agent of SHIELD’s second season, having the ability to absorb any material and transform his skin into the properties of said material.
While the entire series of this episode’s flashbacks are strong in the story they tell, they’re placement throughout the episode takes the viewer out of the current action. Much like in the first episode, shifting between intense moments in the present to intense scenes of the past and then back again, not only feels jarring as you jump between stories, but it loses momentum for each story as it switches back and forth, and often times has to compensate for that lost momentum.
Special mention should be made for the last few minutes of the episode. As Matt discovers the location of where the Russians are hiding the boy and confronts them, an intense, and brutal, fight takes place. This is no surprise as this is an action show, however this particular fight is set in a small hallway and done in one take. The stunt fighters do an incredible job of utilizing the hallway and small rooms on either side, and the camera follows the action well. One shot scenes are done in numerous movies and TV shows, but none that I’ve seen have been so intense and realistic and raw, as the actors had to continue fighting, and their exhaustion shows as they attempt to step back and take a moment before the next punch.