Previously on Daredevil, ‘The Path of the Righteous’
“The wheel constantly turns. We must adapt to its position or be crushed beneath it.”
The Ones We Leave Behind was a very bleak episode and I feel it’s best to begin this review by addressing the death of Ben Urich. He was an upstanding human being, both personally and professionally, and the MCU may never see more of his kind. His valiant stand against Wilson Fisk was commendable. I doubt begging for mercy would have changed Fisk’s mind about killing him. Vondie Curtis-Hall’s portrayal of the character brought so much life and depth to one of Marvel Comics’ more beloved tertiary characters that it was sad to see him go.
It’s hard not to blame Karen for Ben’s death. It was her bright idea to find Wilson’s mother and press her for damning information about her son. When Wilson asks Ben if he was alone when he visited his mother, Ben doesn’t implicate Karen. But what good would it do to blame Karen? She’s got a hell of her own to deal with. Now Ben is dead, his life snuffed out by Wilson Fisk.
“I should’ve just had her shot.”
Although Vanessa has regained consciousness and Wilson expresses his guilt over nearly getting her killed, he must deal with another tragedy as news of Wesley’s death surfaces. He’s visibly affected by the death of his right hand man and even proceeds to nearly beat a nameless henchman to death, once again displaying his terrifying rage. Fisk is on the war path and it feels clear to him that the Masked Vigilante is to blame for everything.
Interestingly enough, we later learn the attempt on Vanessa’s life was masterminded by both Leland Owlsley and Madame Gao. They both agreed she proved too much of a distraction for Wilson and weakened his commitment to their plans to control Hell’s Kitchen. This reveal almost comes as no surprise given how vocal they’ve been with expressing their disapproval of Vanessa’s presence.
Continuing the bleak tone of this episode, Karen deals with the immediate consequences of murdering Wesley. After disposing of the gun, she’s plagued by insomnia and visions of Fisk haunting her bedside. She’s filled with overwhelming guilt over taking the life of another human being.
Foggy and Matt are still not on speaking terms. They can’t even stand to be in the office while the other is around. Matt later admits to Karen he’s somehow taken Stick’s advice to heart about pushing away the ones you love if one hopes to succeed. The three of them stand apart at a time when they truly need each other more than ever. With Karen now harboring secrets of her own, our protagonists spend the rest of the episode alone and disconnected from their team. Karen copes on her own with the help of liquor and the cynical threat of upgrading to drugs. Foggy pursues a lead of his own regarding the case against Fisk. He enlists the help of Marci Stahl, an old flame at Landman & Zack, with gathering more evidence about Fisk’s criminal enterprise. Finally, Matt follows one of Madame Gao’s blind couriers, which ultimately leads him to the heart of her heroin trafficking ring.
The encounter between Matt and Madame Gao is definitely a highlight of this episode. We learn these people have blinded themselves as a show of good faith. Working for her heroin operation is the only livelihood afforded to them. Now that Matt has busted her operation and burned it to the ground they have nothing left to live for. Before he can gather more information from the doddering old woman she shocks us all by defeating him with a single blow and escaping into the night. Personally, I wanted more from their face-off and we can only hope to see more of this enigmatic woman in the future.
Quote of the Week: While I could’ve picked a line where Matt or Wilson waxed philosophical about their own motivations, I was clinging to brief flashes of humor littered throughout the episode. Here are some highlights:
- “The world around us is preoccupied with celebrity weddings and videos of a cat.”- Wilson Fisk
- “Ease off the booze, stay off the Mary Jane.”-mFoggy
- “Maybe this isn’t the the best time to be beating your men to death. He did what he was told. I think they call that loyalty or something.”-Leland Owlsley
- “That’s disappointing. I thought this was a booty call.”-mMarci
- I couldn’t help but snicker at Wilson’s mother obsessing over wanting zuppe as her son hurriedly spirits her out of the country.
- So we agree that Madame Gao isn’t even human, right? I mean what the hell was that force punch move she used on Matt? I hope we see her in the Iron Fist series because the symbol on the heroin she’s been distributing is clearly the mark of the Steel Serpent.