Apparently, when Matt has to beat the absolute crap out of cops, they all conveniently happen to be corrupt as all hell. Needing information and unwilling to kill, Matt carries the only surviving head (pun intended) of the Russian mob to a condemned (double meaning!) building. Here, the brutal exchanges between Matt and Vladimir begin.
As the situation deteriorates around them, Matt and Vladimir spar about who they are, and what they are there for. Matt in particular is forced to come face to face with his reticence to kill. Vladimir goes after him viciously for his inability even to let him die, and how that is a weakness that Fisk will use over and over again. In a moment of vulnerability, Vladimir takes advantage and nearly gets them both killed sending them plummeting a few stories into the basement.
In the meantime, Fisk shows how ruthless he can be, ordering the deaths of several policemen, including the rookie in an incredibly painful and gruesome way. Vladimir, slowly realizing that the man in the mask didn’t actually kill his brother, tells him that he will need to be able to kill if he wants to bring down Fisk, that once he entered this arena, he was no longer a man, but an animal, and they will do anything to survive.
I think that this was the most contained episode so far. In terms of location and time-span, it almost seemed like it was a play on stage. Because of this, in terms of the plot, there wasn’t a huge amount of advancement, but the episode is so key because it gets us into the mind of both Murdock and Fisk, using Vladimir as a catalyst to let us see what makes them both tick.
The pacing of this series is just excellent, as we finally see Fisk and Murdock exchange words, and while they don’t realize it, they expose us to the fact that they’re really just two sides of the same coin. What will be exciting is to see how alike the two of them actually become and how close Matt will come to crossing that line.