Daredevil Episode 11: "The Path of the Righteous"

The Prelude

Oh, where will this story take us now.

Fisk seemed to be a brilliant backstory throughout Episode 10, and while that story was mostly about Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson, I can only imagine that this story is going to be about "The Kingpin," and how he reacts to those very subtle, yet dramatic, happenings.

It feels almost as though they are creating his side of the story in the same way that he has learned to deal with his emotions, like a child. First, Karen Page and Ben Urich visit his mother in the nursing home, and then someone tries to kill Vanessa, the love of his life. This episode ended before we had a chance to see if this cracked his calm facade, as so many other personal affronts have done prior.

He's already killed his father to protect his mother, so one can only wonder what's in store for Page and/or Urich if the Kingpin finds out they took that visit, and you kinda know that he already will, right? Wesley finds out everything.

So we seem to be sitting at a launching off point. All of our main characters are now officially pointing at each other in varying degrees, but all seem to be separated by something. Foggy and Matt aren't speaking, and it appears as though their business is over. Karen is left in the middle, and now reaching out to Ben. Ben wants to quit, but can't get the reporter out of his system.

On the other side, Fisk is sidetracked by Vanessa, while Madame Gao and Owlsley always seem to be up to something. Either way, with three episodes left, all of these characters are likely to meet up in one form or another, and we're just getting started.

I have to imagine that trouble is afoot for Karen, Ben, and whoever tried to kill Fisk, by accidentally poisoning Karen. Fisk's anger has no bounds.

If you read beyond this, please know, there are spoilers regarding Episode 11.

The Review

"You told me you were the man this city needs. I think you're also the man this city created."
I'm interested in a story that doesn't jump the gun (no pun intended) whenever the obvious sits before it, and this episode very much proves that sometimes good things come to those who wait. I expected Fisk to destroy everything and everyone in this episode, setting off some sort of cataclysmic two-show rampage in which he destroyed everything and everyone, which in turn, would launch Murdock/Daredevil towards him for their ultimate battle.

Instead, this show was clearly the reset for the end, starting with Fisk, himself. The show begins with him carrying Vanessa into an emergency room, screaming for help, with Leland Owlsley hilariously following, noting that he needed to get checked out as well.

Throughout the show's arc, Fisk is very much focused on Vanessa, and riding the guilt train that he got on the minute she drank that poison. In turn, Wesley seamlessly takes control of the situation, as he begins the hunt for Fisk's attempted assassin, and ultimately, who went to see Fisk's mother.

While in the hospital, Wesley receives a call from Mrs. Fisk, who tells him that she was visited by a woman with blond hair and blue eyes, and he immediately knows that it's Karen Page. With Fisk in Vanessa's hospital room, Wesley sneaks off to take care of this before Fisk can even find out, and takes a gun from Francis, one of Fisk's hired guns.

Prior to that, Wesley had sent Owlsley off to fish around Madame Gao, to see if she had anything to do with Vanessa's poisoning. It looks like we have a "bad-guy" who-dun-it on our hands.

My money's on Leland.

One other interesting piece to note from the hospital scenes is when Fisk sits next to Wesley and thanks him for basically being the glue to his life. Fisk wants desperately to keep that maniacal side behind closed doors, and you can see that Wesley serves up situations in which he can satisfy that side of things, while still forming a clean front to his business. They're almost equals here, only separated by Fisk's brute strength.

With Fisk consumed with guilt that an assassination attempt on his life nearly killed his love, and Wesley pointing his anger towards Karen on a solo-mission, we are given a glimpse into the grit of what's turning into one of the better characters on the show.

This show really is all about Karen Page. In the midst of the law firm break-up, she's trying to hold together all of the pieces. She shows up at Matt's place, and see's he's beat all to hell, while also trying to figure out what's going on between the two. She ends up meeting with Foggy, trying to put the pieces together on that end, but fails. She also is in contact with Ben throughout the episode, as she continues to poke and prod him to shine a light onto Fisk as the bad guy.

Without her, and without this episode, you could convince yourself that all our heroes might end up separated.

Foggy is shaken, sleeping with Marci.

Matt is shaken, visiting his priest once again, to question him about the Devil inside himself.

Fisk is shaken, standing beside his woman, feeling that guilt.

Ben is shaken, wondering if all of this is worth it, and needing to take care of his wife.

In the midst of this chaos are Wesley and Karen, who were pointed towards each other in this episode right from the start. Wesley finds Karen at her apartment, kidnaps her, and as she comes to, finds herself sitting in a chair at an empty table, in a warehouse.

Wesley sits down and you really get the impression that Karen isn't getting out of this alive. Only, that's not what Wesley wants. He wants Page to forcibly steer Murdock and Ulrich away from Fisk, and if she doesn't, he'll kill everyone important to her. He places a gun in the middle of the table...almost too far out on the table. His phone rings, and Karen grabs the gun once he's distracted. It was Fisk, trying to figure out where he went.

While Wesley plays it off the way only he can (gun doesn't have bullets), she follows up with the line of the series for her character:
"Do you really think this is the first time I've shot someone?"
There's a thought provoking statement for you. Before Wesley can react, she shoots him...

...a lot.

Fisk really does get Wesley killed here.

Go figure.

Once can only wonder where this goes next. It appears as though he'll never find out that his mother had a visit from Urich and Page, and who went after Vanessa is still up-in-the-air, but now Wesley is on the docket of doom as well.

I can't imagine he's going to be all that happy.

The Notes:

  • The parallel's between Matt and Fisk are undeniable. While Matt's Dad steered him true, and with a catholic upbringing, the only church that Fisk's father took him too was in front of a blank wall. Matt's guilt leads him to redemption, while Fisk's leads him to destruction. It's a a lot of fun to watch these two working outside the lines, so dramatically different.

  • Claire comes back to patch Matt up in this episode, and we clearly are given the impression that this is her last episode. She'll always be there for him, but only to fix him up. My guess is we haven't seen the last of Claire in this "Defenders" series. Temple's comic book roots are with Luke Cage, not Daredevil, so when they fire up that Netflix series, my suspicion is that she'll be back, and hopefully more prominently.

  • Karen's shift from Foggy to Matt has started. You can see that she is attracted to him, even though he just as clearly, sees her as a friend. In the comics, this is an extremely reckless relationship. With Karen committing murder, we could see her start to head down that path. But perhaps my favorite scene in this episode is one so out of place and off-setting, that I had to mention it. Karen brings Matt a balloon with a monkey on it, and hands it to him at the end of their act. In one of the darkest episodes to date, I found myself chuckling at the subtle humor. You later see the balloon in the background, as Murdock is pulling out his yoga to get his mind right. Really good stuff.

  • Here comes the suit. Everyone has been bringing it up to Matt, and he's finally put two-and-two together. In a fantastic scene, Murdock locates Fisk's tailor, Melvin Potter, who has made Fisk's "armored" suits in the past. We met him in Episode 8. Murdock finds him, they have an epic fight, and in the end, we find out that Potter is being blackmailed by Fisk. In the comics, Potter is a super-villain called "The Gladiator," who ultimately flips sides. They do a nice job here internalizing it. Murdock asks Potter to make him "a symbol."

  • We're also given a glimpse at a possible character to come. In the fun fight between Potter and Murdock, we see "plans" on a table, first of a series of polygon shapes, then of blades. Potter also throws a "circular saw" blade at Murdock during the fight, which is "The Gladiatior's" calling card weapon in the comics. The Betty that he refers to is also a comic book character, that turns Potter towards to good, and who he eventually marries. Very nicely done, just in case they need a character in the future.

  • You have to think that the title is an homage to either Pulp Fiction, or the Bible, or both. From Ezekiel 25:17, and quoted by Samuel L. Jackson's Jules in Pulp Fiction: "The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you." In Pulp Fiction, this is when Jules and John Travolta's Vincent start blazing with their guns. Your guess is as good as mine who they are talking about here.

  • Here's what I love about the series: Daredevil and Murdock's plotline throughout are really the sidestory here. That's how good they've build the characters. Karen and Wesley take the frontburner, and deliver a fantastic set-up story. There's no way Fisk doesn't burn down the city after this.

...onto the next...
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