Daredevil Episode 12: "The Ones We Leave Behind"

The Prelude

Someone is clearly going to die.

While Wilson Fisk may seem complicated, at the core of it all, he really isn't. Sure, he started the series in the shadows, a man behind a corporation, buying and rebuilding Hell's Kitchen. Once we actually meet Fisk, we understand that he's doing everything he can to hide his evil in the shadows,  as well as who he is. Yet, Fisk presents himself as a refined and soft spoken leader to any and all outsiders, with the exception of James Wesley, who clearly knows every side of Fisk.

Well, knew.

A woman, Vanessa brings him out of the shadows that Fisk has craftily created, and immediately, we see that he functionally can't handle it. He's not refined. He's not really knowledgeable in the world.

At the core, Fisk is a ten-year-old kid that was created into a thug by a mother that was beaten (yet not quite right anyways), and a father that was beating. In a sense, Fisk is playing a dark version of the movie Big. While Hanks' wished himself into a man's body, his boyish humor oozed out of every pour of his body. In Fish, the boyish humor is replaced by dark and deadly tantrums. My guess is that Hell's Kitchen is about to get a dose of this once he finds out Wesley's dead.

If Kingpin ever puts it together that Karen Page was at the center of the visit to his mother, as well as Wesley's murder, well, she's not going to be long for the series.

The Review

"Watch your back Ben, Fisk is an animal, and we're backing him into a corner."
Who the hell is Karen Page anyways? Has she killed someone before? What is her dark past? Obviously, for those that have read the Daredevil comics, we know that Karen's history is married to drugs and the Kingpin. It's clear in this series, that she has a story that's yet been told.

The intro to her story in this episode sees her trying to clean herself of Wesley's murder, literally in the shower, as well as with a fifth. I can't tell if she's upset that she did it, or upset that she's done it again. I'm not sure if this plays out in Season 1, or if she ultimately is killed, but regardless, it's a nice layer to her character.

I really thought she was going to die in this episode, so when it WASN'T her that died, I was pretty well shocked. I'll get to that in a second.f

Ultimately, Matt Murdock and Karen share a moment in which we can see that they will likely either get paired up, or her death will set Daredevil on his next path. Karen's story seems a bit clunky as a whole through this series, and I'm not sure if it's on purpose, or something they just kind of walked into from episode-to-episode.

Initially, they set her up with Foggy, which was odd. Ultimately, they moved apart, and fairly innocuously, with Karen now seemingly interested in the gallant, blind lawyer. They clearly share a bond, and it's an uncomfortable one, which does bare a similarity of sorts, to the comics.

The star of this episode though is Vincent D'Onofrio, who seems to absolutely relish his role as Wilson Fisk. His initial scene is with Vanessa, who chooses to stay with her man in his time of need. In a very short time, we see that Fisk likely sees himself as a man with Vanessa, for the first time in his life, and she sees things exactly the way he does.

But while most will talk about the ending scenes with Ben as the most memorable, his final scene in front of Wesley's dead body may be the most telling a visual of the entire series. We understand his relationship with Vanessa. While they have just met, she kicks the door open and makes it okay for him to be a public bully pulpit.

But his relationship with James Wesley is much more complicated.

In a moment that showcases his love for his right-hand man, Fisk pulls up a chair to Wesley's body, and holds his hand, before ultimately kissing it. This is a backstory that I want to know about. How did they meet, and what has Wesley done for Fisk in the past, and vice versa? Whatever the case, this very subtle foray into their relationship, with Wesley sitting there dead, is as spectacular as it is underplayed. While Fisk wasn't complicated, Wesley was, and their relationship seems to go far beyond a simple boss/employee.

I wish Wesley didn't die.

In another fantastic scene, Murdock tracks Madame Gao's blind drug runners in his lawyer garb, but parqouring across the city, while following a car that he's tracking via the classical music being played inside. His dance across the Kitchen's rooftops is again reminiscent of the comic book, and watching Murdock doing this without donning his Daredevil persona is pretty special. Gao sees Murdock, now dressed as Daredevil, in her drug warehouse, and the fight is on, ending with Daredevil saving the drug runners.

But Gao can fight, adding another layer to her very interesting character. It isn't the last.

Of course, most are talking about the end scene, in which Ben Urich comes home ready to break to the world that Wilson Fisk is evil via a blog he's set to create. We come to find Fisk already as Urich's apartment, after finding out that Ben went to visit his mother. While Urich let's Fisk know he isn't threatened by Fisk, The Kingpin let's Urich know that's not the intent of the visit.
"I'm not here to threaten you, I'm here to kill you."
With that, the Kingpin chokes the life out of Ben Urich, in one of the true surprises of the series.

Welcome to the Kingpin folks. One more episode to go, and this continues to get better.

The Notes:

  • Leland Owlsley plays an interesting role in this episode. With Wesley dead, he clearly steps into the #2 role with regards to Fisk, but I'm not really sure how anyone trusts this guy. His meeting with Gao after her drug warehouse burns down gives us a couple of surprises. First, GAO SPEAKS ENGLISH, which she hasn't done yet. Second, her and Owlsley were the ones that poisoned Vanessa to get Fisk focused on the job at hand. Really good stuff there.
  •  Gao says that she is leaving, and when Owlsley asks if she heading back to China, she says, "It's a considerable distance farther." Her drug packets contained a symbol that was found on an Iron Fist nemesis, Steel Serpent. If this is true, I suspect that Madame Gao might be a character we see again. I mean, one thrust, and she crushed Daredevil.
  • Foggy is back in, and that's a good thing. The series should wrap up with Page, Nelson and Murdock working together. I fear that it may take a Page death to do it though.
...onto the next...
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