Wilson Fisk wakes from a fitful sleep to stare at the “Rabbit in a Snowstorm” painting he bought from Vanessa. This seems to calm him and he begins to go about his daily routine: chop fresh veggies for a perfectly cooked omelet to be enjoyed alone, choose from many similar suits and shirts what to wear today and dress, and choose the same exact cuff links from a lovely collection to wear every day and examine his reflection. Except it’s not him. When he looks into the mirror, he’s sees the image of a boy who looks an awful lot like him covered in blood.
Remember when Matt and Stick wrecked Matt’s apartment having that knock-down, drag out fight? Matt never cleaned that mess up. His alarm wakes him at 7:00 and the showrunners give us such much appreciated gratuitous shirtless Matt, and he braces himself to face the day.
Karen doesn’t want to tell Matt about her investigation with Ben, but Foggy thinks it’d be better to clue him in on things. He also thinks he should finally tell Karen her coffee sucks and I guess Foggy should learn to make coffee, eh? Foggy begins to bandy the idea of “keeping Matt in the dark” (poor choice of words!) just as Matt arrives, so Foggy hastily tries to change the subject. Matt isn’t fooled, though, and asks what’s up so Karen spills about her Union Allied investigation. Matt thinks the whole idea is half-cocked and dangerous but Karen says she won’t sit by and not do something for the people Union Allied might hurt next. She adds that Ben is the guy helping them investigate and break the story. In a successful effort to help Karen and Foggy stay out of his way while he continues his vigilante bit, Matt insists that they all promise not to take unnecessary risks and to make sure to try Union Allied on their turf: the courtroom.
Nobu is pissed at Fisk because his Black Sky shipment went belly up. Fisk insists that he held up his end of the bargain and adds that it’s not his fault Nobu didn’t tell him how important his shipment was before he went and lost it. Fighting words! Nobu spouts a flow of angry Japanese, prompting Fisk to apologize and Nobu leaves with a final threat. Once he does, Wesley chimes in that he doesn’t like Nobu’s attitude, since the yakuza aren’t really contributing anything like Madame Gao or Leland. Fisk says they have to keep playing nice while Nobu remains a necessary evil to endure.
In a flashback, we get a peek at little Wilson Fisk back in the…’70s? His father, Bill, is running for election and Willie is helping make endorsement posters while his mother, Marlene, tries to balance their bills nearby. Throughout, Bill exhibits all manner of dubious parenting (who encourages their kid to idolize corrupt politicians?) and spouts a lot of macho crap (“My dad let me swig his beer before I could even talk!”) that Marlene disagrees with, but Bill ignores her. As Willie chokes on his first sip of beer, Marlene wants to know who else is worried about the family’s finances besides her. Bill says he got a loan from Rigoletto, referring to it as an “investment.” He tells her she knows nothing
John Snow, that Willie is smarter than her, and she’s got to spend money to make money. He’s a real gem.
Back in the present, Fisk has another famously awkward conversation with Vanessa over the phone when Wesley calls and interrupts. He says Detective Blake has woken up and if he recovers from his extensive injuries, Blake might not be too happy that Fisk had him shot. Wesley says “taking care of him” will be an issue since Blake’s hospital room is under guard by police (two of whom are Fisk’s) from the man in the mask. So Fisk tells Wesley to set a meeting for him with Hoffman, and Fisk will convince him to do the job in person.
As Foggy tries in vain to convince Matt that he’d be put to better use on the streets taking skulls and cracking names (his words, not mine), Matt reads something about Confederated Global Investments – the same company that hired them to defend our favorite bowling alley assassin a few episodes back. He asks Karen if Westmeyer-Holt Contracting is one of the subsidiaries that she tracked down from the Confed Global check, which it is. The contracting group has several complaints against it just like Mrs. Cardenas’, so it’s up to Foggy to call her landlord, Tully, to see if he can shed some light on the situation. Just then, Karen sees a news alert that Blake has regained consciousness and it looks like the man in the mask has another job tonight.
Fisk makes the hard sell to Hoffman and says things will end badly for him and Blake if Blake “speaks out of turn.” Hoffman is reticent and says Fisk doesn’t have to worry about him talking, so Fisk tells him the real reason Blake needs to go: he didn’t call when his phone (and thus the addresses for the Russians) was compromised and that led to a string of unfortunate events for Fisk (a huge no-no). With another veiled threat, Fisk asks Hoffman how much his friendship with Blake is worth to him and it seems Fisk has broken Hoffman.
Hoffman shows up at the hospital looking like he’s got a midterm but didn’t study. He approaches one of the officers guarding Blake’s room who searches him (and his paper bag) before letting him into Blake’s room. Hoffman pulls a syringe out of the bag and injects its contents into Blake’s IV – just as Blake wakes up and the man in black arrives with a stick-aided sleeper hold. After lying an unconscious Hoffman on the floor, Matt puts a chair under the doorknob and begins to question Blake. Officers begin forcing their way into the room as Blake’s heart monitor goes off the charts and Blake leaves Matt with a small clue. He says, “Is it my turn for this?” and Matt flees into the night.
Fisk has taken a squirrelly Leland to visit his suit guy, Mr. Potter. Leland doesn’t love needing a specially lined suit to protect him from the man in the mask and Fisk offers to move Leland to a safe place with a dozen guards. Wesley arrives to report on Blake’s assassination. Neither Fisk nor Leland are pleased to learn that Blake spoke to the man in the mask before dying and Fisk assures Leland that he’ll handle it, which doesn’t sway his opinions on Fisk capabilities of late.
Flashing back again, Marlene comforts Willie with some zuppa (delicious!) after he comes home bloody from a fight. Apparently some kid named Bernie is to blame. Then here comes Bill being a hard ass, taking Willie’s cake and making Willie tell him the truth: Bernie was knocking Bill’s election signs down and called the Fisk men losers. Bill and Willie visit Bernie and, after a little verbal provocation, Bill begins beating the crap out of Bernie with his own bat. Then he forces Willie to join him, screaming, “Kick him!” until a crying Willie kicks Bernie in the ribs again and again.
Fisk wakes from another fitful sleep with a start and stares at “Rabbit in a Snowstorm” again, and we’ve got a repeat of the opening sequence. The only difference is that Madame Gao has invited herself over this morning. Fisk makes sure that his BFF Wesley will be there and makes tea for himself and Gao. Then two shoes drop: Wilson speaks and understands Mandarin and Madame Gao speaks and understands English. Not only that, Gao speaks Japanese and knows Wilson does, too. With this new transparency, they dismiss Wesley to converse in private.
Madame Gao starts in on Fisk in much the same manner as Leland and Nobu, saying he’s gotten sloppy and emotional in recent weeks (how else could she know where he lives?). She tells him that she’s not there to chide him, but as a courtesy. She warns him to get it together or she’ll take her business elsewhere. Then Fisk rage flips his gorgeous dining room table and screams Wesley out of the apartment.
Flashing back again, Bill parks Willie in a chair in front of a white stucco wall (that looks an awful lot like “Rabbit in a Snowstorm” tbh). Bill tells Willie to stare at the wall and think about the man he wants to be until he comes back home. This concerns Marlene, who doles out a couple of “I told you so’s” when Bill says he’s going to sort out his loan to Rigoletto. Bill puts on the same cuff links Wilson wears as an adult and then flies off the handle at her questions and slaps her. Then takes off his belt and whips Marlene as Willie sits crying, staring at the wall.
Wesley has come back to Wilson’s apartment with Vanessa. She asks Fisk what’s wrong and insists that he tell her, no matter what he believes she’ll think of him.
Back to the traumatic domestic abuse evening, Bill continues to attack Marlene and blames her for all his problems. Fed up, Willie grabs a hammer and warns his father to stop. Bill goads him and Willie hits him in the head with the hammer once, then twice, then a few more times as he yells “Keep kicking him!” (like Bill did when they attacked Bernie). Marlene comforts Willie, who is splattered with blood, then tells him to the saw as they begin the dirty business of dismembering and disposing of Bill.
Fisk tells Vanessa that he and his mother carried bags of his father each night for a week to the river. No one asked questions about the disappearance knowing Bill owed money to Rigoletto, and Willie was sent away to live with relatives on a farm. Fisk says he wears his father’s cuff links to remind himself that he is not cruel for the sake of cruelty (debatable) and Vanessa tells him he isn’t a monster. He goes on to tell her that people just don’t want to see him shine and are trying to take him down, but he won’t let them.
The man in the mask visits Ben as he leaves work in the pouring rain and asks him to expose the man responsible: Wilson Fisk. Ben wonders why he didn’t go to another reporter and Matt says it’s because he knows people who trust Ben, who realizes this is about Union Allied/Karen. Then Matt begins to feed Ben info, including Leland Owsley’s name and the dirt on Blake, Hoffman, and Fisk. Unfortunately, none of his proof is reliable, but Matt says exposing Fisk will do enough to get the city to turn against him.
For the third time, Fisk wakes from a fitful sleep with a start – but he doesn’t stare at “Rabbit in a Snowstorm” this time. He rolls over and gazes at Vanessa instead. His morning omelet has doubled as Vanessa joins him for breakfast, and he is clearly at sea. She picks his suit, shirt, and cuff links today, and in a voiceover, we hear Ben reading his Fisk expose. Then Fisk appears on TV in a press conference, demonizing “The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen” and publicly blaming him for all that’s gone wrong recently. Stunned, Matt, Karen, and Foggy all tune in to this press conference as well, which has effectively killed Ben’s story. Fisk announces his name loud and proud, vowing to take back Hell’s Kitchen.