Is Fisk A Full Villain On 'Daredevil'?

by Rachel Paige

Just like how we know Matt Murdock grows up to become Daredevil, we know that Wilson Fisk from Daredevil grows up to be The Kingpin. While he's a huge character during Daredevil Season 1, there is still not a whole lot known about him — and he's doing that on purpose. He's a villain that feeds off the fact that no one knows who he is until just the right time. That time comes midway through the season, when Wilson Fisk says he's going to help New York City as best he can. Considering he's a villain, how does he plan to do that?

The episode, "Shadow in the Glass" directly deals with how Fisk intends to help NYC. Maybe "help" should be in quotations. Speaking for the first time publicly, he basically details that he wants to ride Hell's Kitchen of that "devil in the mask." He doesn't explain just how he's going to to do it, but if everyone pitches in, and shows no fear, they can bring the city out of its poverty and crime! Yay! He doesn't even need to go further into details, because he's got the city practically eating out of his hand with this speech.

And he keeps that wordsmithing alive throughout Season 1 of Daredevil. When Fisk is asked about Elena (the older woman being forced out of her apartment) he explains that he offered her a substantial relocation fee, so it wasn't like he was just kicking her out — OK, guy. Nice gesture, for the man living in a decadent Hell's Kitchen penthouse. And then there's always these scenes (warning, this gruesome as hell):

Still, Fisk doesn't quite appear to be a villain, even though Charlie Cox's Matt Murdock assures us that he is. On one level, Fisk really wants to help Hell's Kitchen. But how is he actually doing that in between framing Matt Murdoch and blowing up buildings in his beloved neighborhood? Well, by speaking out about what's wrong in the area, and using his influence (and money) to make sure it becomes this nebulous "better place," of course. (Generally, you don't have to blow places up to make them better, but maybe that's just my POV.) By "better place," Fisk really means he wants to own all of Hell's Kitchen in order to dictate what happens. I'm sure there's an allegory in there somewhere.

Fisk's intentions on the show don't differ much from Fisk's intentions in the comics. He's still very much a crime boss, but he's got what we might call a "softer" side, too. He donates money to charities; he offers assistance to those in need; he never played the role of the "bad guy" for the public to see. When he married his wife Vanessa, she didn't even know he was a powerful kingpin. Let's not go calling him a big old softie, but he does care. He's a bad guy, but he's not all bad in that he genuinely wants to make things better. He's just got a totally twisted way of going about that.

But that doesn't save him on the Netflix series. The end of Daredevil Season 1 has Fisk locked up in jail, now betrayed by the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood he was trying to help, so come Season 2, he probably won't be so generous with his money anymore. I'm betting we're going to see more of the Kingpin side rather than the "staring wistfully at art" side of Wilson Fisk.

Image: Barry Wetcher/Netflix