The Kingpin is locked in a fierce grudge match against former employee Norman Osborn, with both sides being played by the mercenary for hire Hobgoblin, seeking to take over as the new king pin of crime. After Aunt May is hospitalised when Hobgoblin abducts Harry Osborn from his apartment as collateral, Spider-Man is drawn into the conflict as he searches for the connection between Osborn and the goblin, only to be caught in an explosion as the Hobgoblin brings a building down on top of him.
Spider-Man races through the building with the raging fireball right behind him, leaping out the other side as the building explodes. From this direction there are no building high enough for him to get air-born which leaves him open to the Hobgoblin’s aerial bombardment. Seeking cover beneath a truck, Spidey is thought dead when Hobgoblin unleashes an attack that engulfs the entire street in flames – Hobgoblin leave cackling in triumph unaware that Spider-Man took shelter in a storm drain beneath the van.
Norman is too busy watching the news coverage of the Goblins’ attacks to notice Spider-Man entering Oscorp. Approaching Norman he demands to know why the Hobgoblin was meeting with him earlier and what it has to do with Harry. Norman forgoes a straight answer but assures Spider-Man that the matter has been dealt with via a bargain with the mercenary, stating it was necessary to protect his business interests (yet only mentioning Harry when goaded by Spider-Man) and that by midnight everything will be over, then leaves to see May after threatening to return shortly after the deadline.
Hobgoblin goes to Fisk’s tower of operations, finding no one around he makes himself comfortable at his employer’s desk. The Kingpin arrives remarking on how the Goblin clearly has a taste for the trappings of power – Hobgoblin agrees that he indeed wants everything that Fisk has, then moves onto the topic of his payment. Fisk however, has footage of Hobgoblins meeting with Norman and the deal struck to remove him from power, and terminates his employment. Hobgoblin avoids Fisks’ security and opens the main hanger where his ultimate glider is waiting, proceeding to lay siege to the building until Alistaire Smythe forces Kingpin to flee: Hobgoblin is now in control of Kingpins’ wire taps, city-wide surveillance, information brokering and technology. He frees Harry in order to gloat about his new empire and state his plans for revenge against Norman Osborn. He contacts Norman to inform him Kin Pin has been eliminated but he’s had a change of heart and now wants Oscorp too – and Harry is his bargaining chip. Fisk enters with a proposition; Osborn provides a weapon able to stand against the Hobgoblin, and in return Fisk will provide access back into Fisk Tower in order to take down their common adversary. Norman has just the weapon in mind.
Midnight arrives and Spider-Man returns to see Harry has not been returned, however Norman plan. He leads Spider-Man to the secret entrance into Fisk Tower. As Spider-Man works his way through the stronghold, Norman returns to the limo where Kingpin is waiting to congratulate the man for potentially ending one, if not both of their rivals. While Hobgoblin is dealing weapons and information to both sides of a conflict, Spider-Man gains access to the central hub and engages the Goblin. Kingpin watches from the sky as his tower flashes from the barrage of explosions from within as Hobgoblin throws everything in his arsenal against Spidey, finally subduing him long enough to get air born on his glider and launch a full-scale attack that destroys the entire office. Realising the extent of his actions, Hobgoblin decides it’s time to leave, distracting Spider-Man by putting Harry in danger as he flies from the building – all is going according to Fisk’s plan. Harry and Spider-Man head for the elevator as Smythe and Fisk arrive to take control of the damage, overriding the elevator and sending it hurtling to the ground floor - Spider-Man and Harry jumping to safety before they are crushed in the wreckage. Determined not to let Spider-Man escape Fisk orders the detonation of the evacuation tunnel but too late to stop the hero’s getaway yet preventing him from backtracking later and discovering the actual location of the Kingpins’ headquarters. Not to be put out by recent developments and the destruction of his command centre, Kingpin assures Smythe they will rebuild his empire from the ground up – stronger than ever.
May still shows no signs of recovery, leaving Mary Jane to wonder where Peter is, the same time Spider-Man is delivering Harry to Norman. The power struggle between Osborn and Kingpin is over, but Hobgoblin has scores to settle, attacking Oscorp with delight as he notices Spider-Man is there to. Spider-Man tricks the Goblin into crashing his glider and sending is careening into the river.
Peter arrives at the hospital as May regains consciousness, agreeing that he should move back in with her while she’s in recovery. She tells him he did the right thing in saving Fisk from the assassination attempt and that uncle Ben would be proud. In the moonlight the ghostly apparition of the Hobgoblin soars through the sky, vowing his revenge against Spider-Man.
Hobgoblin takes control of the king Pin empire, using Harry as a bartering chip to get Norman to hand over Oscorp to him as well. Let with no alternatives, King Pin agrees to a cease fire with Osborn and concocts a plan to use Spider-Man to rid them of the Goblin – preferably neither of their adversaries escaping the conflict. Spider-Man drives Hobgoblin from his seat of power, allowing Fisk to start again from the ashes, and returns Harry to his father. In the ensuing rematch, Hobgoblin is seemingly killed when his malfunctioning glider hurtles into the river. Peter agrees to move back in with Aunt May.
After the double crossings and intricate plans of the previous episode, this second half is designated purely to the action as the Hobgoblin’s plans come to fruition. Boasting four lengthy fight scenes as the Goblin takes all comers, it would have been easy for this episode to falter, especially given the intricacies and methodical plotting of the one preceding it, yet it never falls under its own weight. Each fight brings something new, whether it’s the stakes at risk, the set piece or the actions undertaken and all sit perfectly comfortably within the context and run time. However, the speed at which Fisk is able to retake his empire seemed a little jarring. Aside from one scene in which the Goblin deals with escalating a conflict using the information network, there is no real sense of him becoming the new king pin, let alone threatening Fisk’s power base. It all happens too neatly within the framework of the episode, and while it’s tight and engaging, perhaps it’s just disappointing at the ease in which the new regime is toppled and the old on reaffirmed.
There is also a disheartening feeling of returning to the status quo, and not simply for the fall and rise of Wilson Fisk. By the credits Peter has decided to live with May once more, despite the big yet not essentially forced move of him living with Harry. Everything set up here and in the previous episode is returned to its original state, despite the promises of needful change to come.
Mark Hamill once again steals the show as the maniacally cackling, devious Hobgoblin and it’s refreshing for an story in this series to stay with the villain for as much time as it does here, giving him time to fully flex and develop his character and the sense of weight he has within this world. Spider-Man almost feels like a bit-player (almost a plot device) in his own show as the villains take centre stage, and it’s all the more rewarding for it as it really deepens their characters and the world going on beyond Peter’s life.
Solid action pay-off to a rewarding story set up in the previous episode. It’s just a shame that there is no real sense of moving forward despite the big promises of change.