Daredevil Recap And Review – S01E06 – Condemned


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The writers of Daredevil keep surprising me at every turn.  The sixth episode, efficiently titled Condemned, is basically a 48-minute lesson on superb screenwriting.  This no-frills installment has minimal locations, high conflict, a ticking time clock, escalating tensions, and character arcing — all delivered in spades.

With corrupt cops on Wilson Fisk’s payroll after them, Daredevil has to extract information from a critically injured Vladimir.  To make matters worse, the two are also trapped in a condemned building with no way out.  On the supporting character front, Foggy and Karen develop their relationship further at the hospital.

This lean episode is packed with excitement and character development.  Remember the third episode, titled Rabbit in a Snowstorm, where we saw very little of Daredevil?  This is the opposite of that story.  Here, we get a whole lot of Daredevil and no Matt.

A Daring Recap

We pick up right after the events of World on Fire.  The cops surround Daredevil and he willingly gives up.  As they arrest him, he overhears one of them about to execute Vladimir.  Still in handcuffs, Daredevil springs into action and takes all three of them out.  The two quickly escape.  When the cops come back to consciousness, they execute Vladimir’s associate.

While Ben is working on the Union Allied case, the commotion outside his office catches his attention.  His editor wants all the reporters to cover the recent explosions.  Ben knows that these events have something to do with the Russians.  Against his editor’s wishes, he runs off to cover the story.

Corrupt cops arrive at the Russians’ distribution warehouse and start to execute anyone still alive.

Daredevil brings Vladimir to a condemned building.  Vladimir starts to make accusations that Daredevil killed his brother.  However, Daredevil explains that Fisk is behind everything, and wants Vladimir to help him put Fisk on trial.

Foggy and Karen bring Elena to the hospital where they run into Claire who’s currently the attending nurse.  Foggy soon discovers that he’s also critically injured.  While taking care of Elena, Claire receives a call from Daredevil wanting to know how to stop Vladimir’s bleeding.  Even though she would be glad to see Vladimir die for having her kidnapped, Claire agrees to help.  Following her instructions, Daredevil uses a road flare to cauterize Vladimir’s wound.  As the process proves to be extremely painful, Vladimir’s screams are heard by nearby police officer, Sullivan.

Sullivan enters the condemned building to investigate, but is quickly ambushed by Daredevil.  Asking Sullivan who he works for, Daredevil finds out (using his super-hearing abilities to detect lying) that Sullivan has only been on the job for two months and is clean.  He makes Sullivan tell dispatch that this was a false alarm, but Sullivan screams out Daredevil’s location instead.  Cops quickly surround the condemned building, along with Detectives Blake and Hoffman.  Soon, Ben shows up to do his reporting, and both Blake and Hoffman brush him off as an annoyance.

After securing Sullivan to a column, Daredevil questions Vladimir about Fisk.  The conversation leads to Fisk’s financial backer.  When Daredevil edges closer to hear the name of the backer, Vladimir surprise attacks him.  The two end up falling through the decrepit floors of the building.

At the hospital, Foggy and Karen have been desperately trying to reach Matt.  Foggy decides to leave his bed and look for him, but Karen puts a stop to it.

When Daredevil comes to consciousness, he hears Vladimir’s faint heartbeat.  As Vladimir’s heart stops, Daredevil revives him with chest compressions.

Outside, the Emergency Services Unit (ESU) arrives.  Little does Ben know, this ESU team works for Fisk.

Looking for another way out, Daredevil detects the presence of a subway.  He quickly finds a manhole leading to a tunnel, but is unable to lift the heavy cover.  Fisk’s voice then interrupts him via Sullivan’s radio.  As the two communicate, Fisk compares Daredevil to himself — both men wanting the best for Hell’s Kitchen.  Meanwhile, an ESU sniper sets up on top of a building.

Fisk makes Daredevil an offer of letting him go if he kills Vladimir.  Daredevil refuses and vows to bring Fisk down.  Ending the call, Fisk has his ESU sniper take out Blake and other cops in a display of power.  He then has the media broadcast a tape of Daredevil at the site of the explosions, framing him for the night’s events.

With the ESU entering the condemned building, Daredevil desperately tries to uncover the manhole.  Surprisingly, Vladimir’s lends a hand and the two are able to gain access.  The ESU find Sullivan first and brutally execute him on the spot.

In the tunnels, Daredevil and Vladimir are cornered by the ESU team.  Daredevil throws Vladimir clear of any gunfire and engages the assailants, taking them out quickly.  Vladimir, now armed with one of the ESU officer’s automatic weapons, tells Daredevil that he will hold the rest of them off while Daredevil escapes.  In a showing of gratitude to Daredevil and defiance to Fisk, Vladimir reveals the name of Fisk’s backer — Leland Owlsely.

As Daredevil escapes to safety, the sounds of automatic gunfire are heard in the distance.

Moments That Blind You with Awesomeness

  • Daredevil’s “look Ma, no hands” escape from dirty cops.
  • The more quiet moments between Foggy and Karen.  The character development of supporting characters amazes me in this show.
  • The fight between Daredevil and a heavily armed corrupt ESU team.  The initial twisting-somersault-machine-gun-fire-dodge was pure gold.
  • The radio conversation between Daredevil and Fisk.
  • For some reason, I found this piece of dialogue to be hilarious:

"FISK: The Russian … is he alive?VLADIMIR: I’m still here, you fat s—!DAREDEVIL: Does that answer your question?"

Final Thoughts

There’s nothing I like better than putting two polarizing opposites in a claustrophobic situation.  Condemned is writing at its finest.  Matt Murdock comes face-to-face with the reality that he may not be enough to stop Fisk, and hits a low point in his fledgling superhero career (we’ll still call him that even though he claims he’s not a hero in his conversation with Fisk).  Fisk’s mindset of being a person who’s doing the right thing makes him evermore dangerous and frightening.  And it also makes him a great adversary to Daredevil — because both men feel the same way about themselves.

Let’s also not forget about the Foggy/Karen relationship that’s developing.  The writers could’ve easily gone down a cheesy road with this, but they made it as close to reality as possible.  Foggy is probably the best supporting character to have ever graced a superhero television series.  He’s only a superpower away from being a hero himself.  Karen is definitely a character you would like to know more about.

Condemned was the fastest 48 minutes I have ever experienced.  With thrilling action, compelling story momentum, and excellent character development, this episode hit it out of the park.  I’m ready for more!

Next: Check out our previous recap of Episode 5 - World on Fire

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