Previously on Daredevil, ‘The Ones We Leave Behind’
Since the show became available on Netflix in April 2015, casual viewers have wondered if Daredevil was worth looking into. Of course, I would recommend this show, especially with the existing market for grittier depictions of comic book heroes thanks to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy. The series has certainly had its fair share of highlights throughout its pilot season. The showrunners were met with criticism from diehard fans when they decided to go with a more brooding portrayal of The Kingpin, a far cry from his more suave and charismatic version in the comics. Vincent D’Onofrio, however, has done well with his portrayal of Wilson Fisk, the tortured man-child trapped inside the body of a monstrous crime lord. There’s also been some criticism regarding whether or not Charlie Cox is believable in his portrayal of a blind person. Yet the show does succeed in evoking the overarching Catholic themes of guilt and redemption which are characteristics of Matt Murdock’s moral code without being too heavy-handed. With its nuanced script, the show successfully wove a very intriguing drama about a city ruined by crime and corruption. But the show loosened its grip on the elements that made it wonderful in the finale. While this episode was not terrible, it did seem like the script was rushing to get to the battle between Matt and Wilson.
“I am the ill intent who set upon the traveler on a road he should not have been on.”
The episode opens with Ben’s appropriately somber funeral, his casket lowered into the ground while Many Rivers to Cross by Jimmy Cliff plays in the background. And while it was nice of Matt and Karen to both be present for the service, it’s hard not to let go of the feeling that Ben’s death was all their (especially Karen’s) fault. And, as if the writers anticipated this sentiment from the viewers, they have Ben’s widow step forward and basically relieve Karen of her guilt over her husband’s death. It felt a bit stilted for Doris to say those comforting words to Karen even though she’s the one who lost her husband. Te absolvo, Karen… apparently. Matt and Foggy reconcile not too long afterwards. Then Leland’s treachery is revealed moments before he’s murdered by Wilson. As I’ve said before, it felt like the writers wanted to speed through the episode to get to the fight between Daredevil and The Kingpin. They even rush through retrieving Hoffman, who in turn testifies against Fisk and leads to his arrest and the end of his criminal empire in one sweeping montage complete with its own operatic soundtrack.
While in custody, Vincent D’Onofrio gives one of his best performances as he recounts the parable of The Good Samaritan before he’s rescued by his men. It’s at this point that Fisk, who once thought himself the hero of his story, heeds Gao’s sage advice and finally makes a decision by embracing his role as a villain. Watching Wilson slowly come to the realization that his dream of a bright future for Hell’s Kitchen is dead and that he is the monster that has been hastening the city’s destruction is both brilliant and terrifying to behold.
“I wanted to make this city something better than it is.”
The victory celebration at Nelson & Murdock is cut short with the news of Fisk’s escape. Matt picks up the armor he commissioned from Melvin and we finally get to see him wearing the iconic Daredevil costume. The final battle between Matt and Wilson is so brutal that I’m willing to overlook Fisk’s lame “I’ll kill you!” battle cry. Wilson manages to land several excruciating punches and even performs the iconic Kingpin move where he picks Daredevil up and drops him to the ground. But was there any doubt as to whether or not Matt would triumph in the end? Ultimately, he defeats Wilson and sends him to prison where he’s left to contemplate his fate while staring at a blank wall. Matt, Foggy, and Karen have saved Hell’s Kitchen, avenged their fallen comrades, and look to the future with a renewed sense of purpose.
As I write this article, Daredevil has already been renewed for a second season. In fact, Jon Bernthal, who most of you may recall played Shane on The Walking Dead has been cast to play The Punisher. They’ve also cast French actress Elodie Yung (who played Jinx in G.I. Joe Retaliation) to play Elektra Natchios. New showrunners have also been appointed as Steven S. DeKnight (who directed the finale) has handed over to reins to Douglas Petrie and Marco Ramirez. Daredevil is still a phenomenal show and Marvel Studios has succeeded in its initial foray into the world of Netflix. And with these things in mind I look forward to season two.
- Where was Claire this entire episode? I really hope we get more of her in season two.
- It was convenient of Leland to mention his son right before Wilson kills him. Will he surface in season two as the classic Daredevil villain “The Owl?”
- Vanessa is a Ride-or-Die lady. It’s a shame Leland and Gao attempted to have her killed instead of working with her.
- Will we get more of Stick next season as well as a proper introduction to The Hand and their rivals The Chaste?
- Nelson & Murdock finally get an official plaque outside their door! Time for them to be the best Avocados ever.
- The newspaper article at the end of the episode features art from Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev’s run on the Daredevil comics. I highly recommend reading those issues.
- We’ve got an Elektra! Here’s hoping we also get Bullseye next season.