"In the Blood" is the fourth episode of Daredevil season 1.
In the Utkin Prison deep in Siberia, circa 2007, a pair of guards shove Anatoly Ranskahov into a cell where his brother, Vladimir, resides. The pair doubt odds at their survival, no better than the corpse they share the cell with, but those doubts are short-lived; Vladimir has used his time in the cell to tear a rib out of the corpse to use as a weapon in a bid for freedom. Anatoly asks if their fate will see them return to Moscow, but Vladimir talks him out of it, saying that the future lies in America.
In the present day, Anatoly rushes out of a building, claiming that someone has infiltrated it and demanding to know where Vladimir is; he can barely enter a taxi before a lifeless body is hurled out a window crashes onto the hood of the car, tumbling onto the pavement as Anatoly makes his escape. With the car peeling out into the streets, Matt, standing in front of the broken window, listens to the taxi getting away from him.
Matt then visits Claire, currently hiding out in a co-worker's apartment, so she can patch up his wounds. They trade dialogue about Matt's actions and the role it plays in both lives; Matt insists Claire stay hidden until the Russians aren't out for her while rebuking her requests of getting body armor, claiming it to be a hindrance to his movement. The conversation continues as the pair exchange phone numbers and Matt sheds a bit more light about the organized crime ring, searching for someone who may be able to give him a lead on Fisk before carrying it out.
Matt: Well, apply enough pressure, someone will break... sooner or later.
Wesley visits Vladimir and Anatoly at a garage where taxis like Anatoly's getaway vehicle are being repurposed with new logos. He hands them paperwork officially transferring Prohazska's assets over to them. However, Wesley informs the brothers that Fisk is also unhappy at how the Ranskahovs are continuing to fall short on their payments due to the masked vigilante; even Nobu and Madame Gao's patience is starting to grow thin. Though Vladimir is quick to turn down Fisk's offer of assistance (not helped by Wesley's tone unintentionally making the offer come off more like a demand), Wesley leaves it on the table for he and Anatoly to discuss. The brothers, rather than bow down to Fisk, instead choose to reach out to their network for help.
Karen meets with Ben at a diner in Tribeca to talk about the Union Allied case. While initially skeptical at the facts Karen provides him with, Ben takes her word, but addresses another angle of the question: with the exception of Karen, everyone involved in the case has been killed off, like someone is covering their tracks. Thus, he advises Karen to stop trying to look deeper into the case, especially considering that her past activities make her unlikely to be taken seriously. When Karen calls him out on what she considers his lack of courage, citing past scandals that he exposed, she asks what happened to the Ben of the past; he responds that he's become older since then, and a lot smarter in how he covers the big stories, leaving the diner without giving her a chance to respond.
Anatoly and Vladimir enter the hospital under the guise of visitors to find one of their contacts in critical condition; Semyon, the Russian that Matt threw off the roof of Claire's apartment. As they prepare to wake Semyon from his coma, the brothers reflect on their past in Utkin; Anatoly in particular remembers promising never to lose what they once had in Moscow, but states that he and Vladimir had lost sight of that goal and lost touch with each other. Vladimir replies by assuring Anatoly that they'll reclaim that prestige together, waking Semyon afterward by injecting a spike of adrenaline into his heart. After removing Semyon's breathing tube, he tells the Ranskahovs of Claire, and in turn, they call in another one of their enforcers, Sergei...
...who is next seen barging into Claire's apartment, accompanied by some of his men. Though they find nothing, Santino soon appears in front of the doorway, attracting the mobsters' attention.
Wesley fills Fisk in on the situation with the Ranskahovs. Right now, he believes Anatoly is more willing to cooperate with the rest of the crime ring. Fisk is certain the Russians will be handled, as will the masked man, before the car stops at its destination. Fisk requests Wesley stay in the car and, after thanking him for his help, leaves to enter Vanessa's art gallery.
Fisk glances around at the gallery paintings, waiting until Vanessa catches notice of him. The pair trade some banter over the "Rabbit in a Snowstorm" painting before Fisk, though stumbling over his words, offers to invite Vanessa out to dinner. Though Vanessa turns him down, Fisk accepts her rejection, and upon seeing this, Vanessa comments about her surprise on how well Fisk is handling the subject. Fisk admits that he remains uninterested in a woman that can be bought; Vanessa decides to take him up on his offer, the pair delighting in their mutual fondness for Italian cuisine afterward.
Claire's night of tending to her co-worker's pet cat is disturbed by nearby noises; after checking, she spots a woman going past the hallway, and pays it no mind as she carries on with her night, unaware of a figure glancing at her from outside her curtained windows. Meanwhile, Foggy and Matt are leaving the 15th Precinct after having bailed out a drunken electrician who nearly burned down his house. Foggy is regaling Matt once more with the story of how his mother wanted him to join the family's butcher shop instead of go off to be a lawyer. He also asks Matt if he has doubts about starting Nelson & Murdock, and their former internship at Landman & Zack could've gotten them better offerings. The conversation is cut short by Matt answering his burner phone, to the sound of Claire screaming as she's dragged away by Sergei and his men. As Foggy hails a taxi to go back to the office, Matt races back to Claire's temporary abode, but finds it empty.
Karen spends her night at an auction house where Union Allied assets such as phones, computers and fax machines are being auctioned off. She sketches the outlines of some potentially suspicious bidders, like the individual who buys up a bunch of Union Allied computers and phone equipment. She runs in to Ben, who advises her to bid on some of the smaller lots to keep her cover intact. He leaves just as quietly as he arrives.
Sergei and his comrade load Claire into the trunk of one of the Ranskahovs' taxis, and take her to the Ranskahovs' garage to torture her. During this time, Matt has found a distraught Santino, but after calming him down, he learns that the Russians took Claire and left in a Veles taxi.
Fisk and Vanessa's date takes place at a new upscale restaurant. Fisk pours his heart out to Vanessa, how Hell's Kitchen is a part of him, his dreams of making it a better place; a scene contrasted by the Russians attempting to extract information on the masked man from Claire, but to her aid comes Matt himself. Matt proceeds to kill the power, and takes down Sergei's men one at a time, before Sergei takes Claire hostage. This ends poorly for him, as Matt disarms Sergei and breaks his arm.
Ben and Karen regroup at the diner, where Ben advises Karen that, if she still wishes to look into the Union Allied case, she should plan her actions with much more care from now on, starting with signing the Union Allied contract. Meanwhile, the Ranskahovs return to the garage and, seeing their men laying on the ground, Anatoly decides to make good on Wesley's offer and ask Fisk for help; albeit begrudgingly, Vladimir lets him go. Fisk, in the midst of his date, has the chance to share his favorite childhood dessert—zuppa inglese—with Vanessa. The dinner is interrupted at that moment by Anatoly who, despite Wesley's warnings, storms through Fisk's bodyguards to tell Fisk that he agrees to his offer. Fisk quickly escorts Vanessa out while telling Wesley to put Anatoly in a car to be taken to an undetermined location.
As Karen informs Foggy of her winning some office equipment from the auction house, and Foggy also begins to tell her the butcher story, Matt patches up Claire's injuries in his apartment. During the ensuing conversation, Matt begins to express his doubts that he's actually making a difference in the city. Claire assures him that despite how scared she is about the predicament, Matt can quell those fears and truly make the city a better place, and in turn, Claire learns his real name.
In the aftermath of Anatoly disturbing the date, Vanessa seems to have her perception of Fisk shattered, unsure of if she can trust him, unsure of how she feels towards him as he walks her home. In the car, meanwhile, Wesley shares a talk with Anatoly, wherein he expresses he wanted to make amends with Fisk despite the Russians' past mistakes. When they come to a stop in a deserted lot by the eastern landing of the Queensboro Bridge, Wesley shares some ominous words with Anatoly before he gets a phone call. He hangs up, and Anatoly asks if that was Fisk. Wesley confirms that it was, and he wants to have a word with Anatoly.
A split second later, Anatoly's door opens. Fisk reaches in and rips Anatoly from his seat, the two getting involved in fisticuffs. Anatoly is repeatedly pummeled by Fisk, consumed by sheer wrath. Anatoly eventually gets an opening, pulls a switchblade, and slashes at Fisk, to no avail...as Fisk's suits have an inner mesh lining. Fisk grabs Anatoly, slams him against the side of the car, and disarms him, in the process breaking Anatoly's arm.
With that, Fisk continues his beatdown of Anatoly, viciously beating him into the pavement, Wesley quietly listening to the commotion. Desperately, Anatoly tries to crawl back to the car, but can only utter defiantly to Wesley before Fisk knocks him out. Fisk then maneuvers Anatoly's body, positions his head in the door well, and begins smashing the door against it repeatedly. Wesley barely flinches, as Fisk smashes Anatoly's skull in, his brain falling to the pavement, until the head is reduced to nothing, and the rest of the body goes limp. Seething with fury, Fisk catches his breath. As Wesley supplies Fisk with a handkerchief to wipe Anatoly's blood off his face, Fisk takes notice of the damage to his suit, and asks Wesley to inform Melvin Potter to tailor a new suit and also send Anatoly's remains to Vladimir as a message.
Wilson Fisk: I'm counting on it.
Tropes present in "In The Blood:"
- After Action Patch Up: Done as Book-Ends; first Claire patching up Matt, then Matt patching up Claire. The first is played for the usual Ship Tease, while the second has Matt revealing his real name to her.
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: Subverted. Due to some miscommunication, Wesley's offer to Vladimir and Anatoly of Fisk's support in helping them get back on track comes off to Vladimir like a demand as opposed to an offer.
- Arbitrary Skepticism:
- When Ben Urich meets with Karen at the Square Diner:Ben Urich: You say here [in my notes], that Rance assaulted you in your apartment. And a man in a black mask saved your life?
Karen Page: Yes, but he just... He came out of nowhere.
Ben Urich: And you'd never seen him before?
Karen Page: No.
Ben Urich: [shrugs] Stranger things, right?
- Wesley isn't satisfied with the Russians having so many setbacks as a result of the masked man.James Wesley: Madame Gao and Mr. Nobu have expressed their disappointment.
Vladimir Ranskahov: We have not heard of this.
James Wesley: Hmm, that's because we've been talking behind your back, about how the Russians can't seem to handle one man running around in a mask. I mean, if he had an iron suit or a magic hammer, maybe that would explain why you keep getting your asses handed to you.
- When Ben Urich meets with Karen at the Square Diner:
- Armor-Piercing Question: When Claire asks Matt if he has an actual plan or endgame, he has to admit he doesn't. Given that he's up against a well-organised criminal conspiracy, this is a case of Did Not Think This Through.
- Auction of Evil: Union Allied assets are being auctioned off through the usual auction houses. Karen drops in on one to see which shady faces are buying up the Union Allied lots, and at Ben's suggestion, bids on some of the smaller lots to avoid raising suspicion.
- Batter Up!: The Russians threaten to take a bat to Claire if she doesn't give them information on Daredevil. Matt shows up in time, and Claire uses the bat to take out the last thug.
- Beneath the Mask: We see both sides of Wilson Fisk—the lonely man who tries to form a genuine relationship with Vanessa, and the brutal crime kingpin who can beat someone to death just for embarressing him.
- Blatant Lies: Karen makes up a story about buying new office equipment to explain to Foggy why she was at the auction house, as opposed to following the Union Allied money trail.
- Big Damn Heroes: Matt shows up just in time to save Claire from being beaten to death.
- Big Eater: Fisk admits that his love of zuppa inglese as a kid may attribute a bit to his girth today.
- Broken Pedestal: Karen's view of Ben as a crusading reporter is obviously shattered by his more cynical approach and lack of interest in attacking the Union Allied piece head-on. She changes her view on realising he's taken up the story—he just didn't want to involve her.
- Continuity Nod: Wesley tells the Russians he could understand their difficulties if they were dealing with someone who had an iron suit or a magic hammer.
- The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: When first meeting with Ben at the diner to discuss how to move forward with the Union Allied matter, the conversation shifts to Rance, the assassin that Fisk had sent to attack Karen in her apartment. Karen immediately realizes the other Union Allied people were all murdered to keep quiet.Karen Page: Well what about Rance? Do you really believe that he just—just up and hung himself in jail? I mean, that guard tried to do the same thing to me. Why—why don't you ask him?
Ben Urich: Farnum? He's dead. Ate the barrel of his gun in his basement. And your old boss McClintock? Overdosed on pills or some such. You seeing a pattern here, Miss Page?
Karen Page: ...Then why isn't anyone looking into this?
- Damsel in Distress: Claire gets kidnapped by the Russians.
- Dark and Troubled Past: During the first diner conversation, Ben Urich makes clear he knows about what Karen did in Fagan Corners before she came to New York.Ben Urich: Stories like this are built on sources, Miss Page. Credible sources. I did some digging into your, uh... past activities.
- Death by Irony: Anatoly is far more discreet and accepting of Fisk's anonymity than Vladimir, but his desperation to settle matters and Vladimir being too proud to make the deal cause him to be the one to intrude on Fisk's private life.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Fisk brutally beats Anatoly to death with his bare hands and decapitates him with a car door because he interrupted his date.
- Dissonant Serenity: Wesley doesn't bat an eye as Fisk viciously begins bashing Anatoly's head in with the car door, even casually stepping out through the opposite door as if nothing unusual is going on.
- When the brothers are talking in the jail cell, Anatoly says, "Soon it will be just you, Vladimir." At the end of the episode, Fisk kills Anatoly.
- Fisk's custom-made suit that he needs replaced by the episode's end.
- In the episode's beginning Claire brings up body armor to Matt, who responds that it would be too bulky and slow him down. At the end of the episode, we see that it makes up at least some of Fisk's bulk.
- Girls Love Chocolate: Vanessa admits to being a bit of a choco-holic in her youth. Milk chocolate, she clarifies, not bitter "dark chocolate".
- Greasy Spoon: Karen has her meetings with Urich at the Square Diner. This is an actual business, not one invented for the series.
- Here We Go Again!: Matt when Foggy once again talks about how his mom wanted him to be a butcher.Matt Murdock: [smiles] Oh God, not the butcher story again...
- "How Did You Know?" "I Didn't.": Ben Urich's response when Karen asks if he knew she'd be at the auction house.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Used when Fisk is using his car door to destroy Anatoly's head, with the car chassis being used to hide the actual injuries being done.
- He Who Must Not Be Named:
- Fisk's name is supposed to be taboo. Unlike before, Vladimir doesn't care and powers through when Wesley tries to interrupt him:Vladimir Ranskahov: [curses in Russian] Tell Mr. Fisk—
James Wesley: We don't. Say. His name.
Vladimir Ranskahov: Tell Mr. Fisk that if he wants a pound of flesh, he can come here and carve it himself.
- After Wesley leaves, Vladimir is incensed that Anatoly is accepting of Fisk's privacy. He speculates that Fisk doesn't want anyone referring to him by name "because it would betray that he's just a man."
- Fisk's name is supposed to be taboo. Unlike before, Vladimir doesn't care and powers through when Wesley tries to interrupt him:
- Laughing Mad: Claire's ominous laugh when Matt kills the power.
- Moment Killer: Although Fisk is inexperienced at dating, Vanessa finds herself enjoying his company until Anatoly bursts in only to get stopped by Fisk's bodyguards, which she suddenly realises are posing as the majority of the restaurant guests.
- Mook Horror Show: Matt kills the lights in the garage and takes down the Russians one by one while they all scramble trying to find where he is.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Anatoly learns the hard way that you should not interrupt Fisk's personal life.Wilson Fisk: [to Wesley] Tell Mr. Potter that I'll need a new suit.
- Off with His Head!: Fisk uses his car door to decapitate Anatoly.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Fisk's beatdown of Anatoly can put him into this territory.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Ben attempts to dissuade Karen by pointing out what happened to previous whistleblowers who gave him tips on major stories.Ben Urich: Remember the one about the runoff? What that company was dumping into the river?
Karen Page: Yeah. Sure.
Ben Urich: Fished the guy that tipped me off out of that same river a month later. And that fella trying to clean up the Teacher's union? Moved out of state, after flyers went up saying he was a pedophile. They underestimated what people in power will do to stay there. I didn't think you'd make the same mistake after what happened to you.
Karen Page: What about the woman from your first series of articles, about the VA? What happened to her?
Ben Urich: She met the worst fate: married beneath her to a workaholic who never appreciated her.
- Short-Distance Phone Call: Wesley gets a phone call, which he answers, and then hangs up. He confirms to Anatoly that it was Fisk, and Fisk wants to have a word with him. Turns out Fisk is just outside, having arrived in another car. A second later, he opens the door and rips Anatoly from his seat.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Ben pulls one on Karen at the auction.
- Villain Episode: Much focus is given to the Russians and on Fisk.
- Villains Out Shopping: Most of what Fisk does this episode is (surprisingly adorkably) take Vanessa out on a date. The intrusion of his professional life into his private life is what prompts him to kill Anatoly.
- While You Were in Diapers: Karen's not happy that Ben doesn't seem too interested in following the Union Allied story to the end.Karen Page: Well I did some digging, too. I read every big story with your byline. The VA kickbacks, toxic runoff, the Teachers Union scandal. Hell, you pretty much brought down the Italian mob back when I was in diapers! What ever happened to that reporter, Mr. Urich?
Ben Urich: He got old. And a hell of a lot less stupid.
- Would Hit a Girl: The Russians, specifically Sergei, have no qualms beating up Claire to get information on Daredevil.