[This article contains major SPOILERS for Daredevil season 2.]
Even though it has only been available for a few days, it's reasonable to think most fans have already consumed Daredevil season 2 in its entirety. Those who have worked their way through the second 13-episode helping of Matt Murdock's crusade against villainy know that a major character makes a memorable appearance after the halfway mark of the new season. The appearance not only plays a key part in the Punisher's narrative, but it also hints at a larger collision on its way between the Man Without Fear and a familiar foe when and if (though that's not a very big "if") Daredevil continues with season 3.
For those in the know – i.e., those with enough disposable time on their hands to have pushed through 13 hours of comic book television in roughly 72 hours – the character in question is of course Wilson Fisk – perhaps better known as Kingpin after his recent run-in with the Devil of Hell's Kitchen. Fisk was last seen losing his "king" status following a climactic tussle with Daredevil that not only saw a desperate Fisk bested in hand-to-hand combat by his new nemesis, it also solidified Murdock's alter ego as the savior of Hell's Kitchen.
The conclusiveness of Fisk's final moments as a free man and the season 2 focus on new characters, like the Punisher and Elektra, may have led many to think the Kingpin's story would be put on hold for a later season or that it would, at best, be a footnote in the new storyline. But Fisk's reappearance becomes a turning point for a similarly incarcerated Frank Castle and, following a rather intense interaction with Matt Murdock, suggests Fisk isn't just securing power during his stay behind bars; he's rebuilding his lost empire while serving as a guest of the state.
Talking with EW about his top-secret(ish) return as Wilson Fisk, actor Vincent D'Onofrio delved into the secrecy behind his return and what kind of a challenge it was to return to the character after he suffered such a mighty fall:
"… it was always the plan to use me. I knew that I was going to come back in some form, but I didn’t know what we were going to do until [producer] Jeph Loeb told me. I loved the idea of keeping it quiet and not letting the fans know. It’s more fun for everybody. Once I realized what was happening story-wise, it was just exciting to revisit the role. I just loved it. I loved being back in his head again… it was like putting on a pair of shoes, but they’re not that comfortable. [Laughs] They’re a little painful at times, you know? But for some reason, they’re still one of your favorites, so you wear them."
D'Onofrio went on to talk about where Fisk is now that he's been exposed as a crime lord and after suffering defeat at the hands of a relatively new vigilante. He also spoke how being incarcerated has changed Fisk and what that means for his attempts to rebuild his empire:
"I think he feels as if he’s misunderstood, and he needs to do some really hard-core explaining. That’s his journey now. He needs to straighten people’s point of view of him out however he can, however he needs to… In this portion, in the second season, he’s just been walking back and forth in a box, in a cage, like a lion or a tiger would. I think he just needs to get out. He doesn’t feel, nor do I feel like he belongs there."
Finally, D'Onofrio ventured into speculation as to what's in store for the battle between Fisk and Matt Murdock, and whether or not their paths are in fact destined to cross down the road. Unsurprisingly, the acclaimed actor was unable to actually divulge specific details (inasmuch as they actually exist at this point), but he did say some nuggets have been sent his way "to keep his interest."
"Well, I could lie and tell you something that’s not true, but what was going on, I’m not allowed to talk about. [Laughs] It’s all about things to come. [I know a] very very very little bit. They tell me little things to keep my interest so I don’t go away, you know? [Laughs] The little bit that I know, I can’t [share], and all I can say is that I’m lucky enough to be able to play this character that I know they really like over at Marvel Television. The little things that I do know are so exciting that for a character actor, it really makes me happy."
Given the response from fans and critics alike to his performance as Fisk, it would be easy to imagine D'Onofrio wouldn't need much to keep his interest and keep him wanting to come back for more. With any luck, season 3 will follow actor Charlie Cox's advice and bring D'Onofrio's unforgettable Wilson Fisk back into Hell's Kitchen.
Daredevil season 2 is available in its entirety on Netflix.