Wilson reflects on his childhood, Matt joins Foggy and Karen’s investigation, and the King steps out of the shadows.
Cracks are beginning to form in Wilson’s foundation as his associates, one by one, come to him with concerns of his handling of recent situations. Leland is in distress over his recent encounter with the Devil of Hell’s kitchen, so Wilson makes arrangements for the snarky accountant to be tailored a new suit, made with the same protective fibers that Wilson’s suits are made with. Nobu is furious over the loss of his “Black Sky,” the child that Stick assassinated in the previous episode. However, Wilson assures him that he came through on his end of the situation, promising clear streets, quiet docks, and no police involvement. Madame Gao is the final crack in Wilson’s demeanor when she shows up at Wilson’s doorstep, revealing, with her usual steely confidence, that she knows much more than she lets on, and so does Wilson.
During Wilson’s troubles, he’s reminded of a defining, and traumatic, event from his childhood in the 1970’s (or 1980’s. The exact date is unclear). Growing up with a verbally, and physically, abusive father and a mother who stands up to him set the foundation for the man that Wilson was to become. One who borders the line between man and monster to achieve his goals and protect those he cares about.
Now working together on the Union Allied case with Urich, Foggy and Karen argue whether or not they should involve Matt. Arguing about it becomes irrelevant when Matt hears them outside the door of their offices and confronts them, drawing out the truth. As Karen suspected he would, Matt is over cautious about the safety of his friends dealing with this criminal underworld and trying to expose Fisk. But, instead of talking them out of it, he joins the investigation, and sets down his own rules, all of which focus on being careful.
Wilson Fisk is put center stage for this episode, showing the clashing elements of his personal and professional life. He lives on a routine and has, until recently, kept the two sides of his life very separate. As he interacts with all of his associates, it is made clear how each of them see Wilson Fisk. Nobu thinks he’s unable to make good on the guarantees he’s made regarding their partnership. Leland Owlsley looks to Fisk as a protector who may not be able to protect him for much longer. Madame Gao sees him as a young man who was once an effective leader in their organization, but is starting to become sloppy, and only wishes for him to regain his footing.
Wesley and Nadia, while given only a few moments of screen time in this episode, stand out as the people in Wilson’s life who genuinely care for his well being. While Matt has Foggy and Karen and Claire, Wilson has Nadia and Wesley.
Peeling back the layers of Wilson’s character also reveals the strong comparisons between Wilson and Matt. Both men want to make Hell’s Kitchen a better place, both want to protect those they care about, and both work from the shadows. Their methods and motivations towards Hell’s Kitchen are their biggest differences. While Matt works the streets to make Hell’s Kitchen safer, Wilson works from high rises to destroy the crumbling waste he sees around him to make way for something better. The comparison is made clear when both have a scene that parallels the other, as Wilson goes into a rage and flips massive stone table, and Matt, also enraged, throws his laptop across the room (but let’s be honest, we all want to flip tables and throw our laptops occasionally).