DAREDEVIL 1.11 ‘The Path of the Righteous’ Review
DAREDEVIL Season 1 Episode 11
Episode Title: “The Path of the Righteous”
Writers: Steven S. DeKnight & Douglas Petrie
Director: Nick Gomez
Previously on Daredevil:
In any given TV drama, there are always characters who are expendable. They’re the men and women who can suffer terrible fates and even get killed off in the name of rising tension and higher stakes.
Daredevil episode 11 had me going for a few minutes. I was temporarily fooled into thinking that either Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) or Ben Urich (Vondie Curtis-Hall) were about to be killed off after word of their ill-advised trip to see Fisk’s mother made it back to James Wesley (Toby Leonard Moore), Fisk’s right hand man.
I got it wrong. Karen wasn’t expendable, and she’s never been more interesting than she is now. Ben also got a reprieve, but not everyone else made it out of “The Path of the Righteous” alive.
There are full spoilers ahead for Daredevil episode 11. You’ve been warned!
Karen Page was Daredevil’s first love interest in the comic books, but she barely has any kind of relationship with Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) in this incarnation. Matt has been so absent from his own life that Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) is a lot closer to her than Matt is. This was underscored when Karen was frustrated by her inability to get Matt to tell her about what happened to him.
“The Path of the Righteous” created great tension about Karen’s fate when she was kidnapped by Wesley. If Matt had shown up, it would have been a huge cop out. But that left Karen with no one to save her… so she saved herself.
It’s not the first time that Karen has shown that initiative. And Karen may not have been bluffing when she told Wesley that she had previously shot someone. She certainly wasn’t bluffing when she grabbed Wesley’s gun and killed him. That’s insane, but I love it. Karen’s not about to go out and become The Punisher, but she’s just gone farther than Matt ever has. Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) isn’t likely to react well to this, and Karen’s sloppy attempt to cover up her presence at Wesley’s death probably won’t be enough to keep Fisk off of her trail.
At the present, Fisk has bigger things to worry about. While Vanessa Marianna (Ayelet Zurer) is alive for now, there’s an apparent gang war underway. If Wesley hadn’t died, I would have guessed that he was responsible simply because he was the least likely to turn on Fisk. He was like a criminal version of Mr. Smithers, and competent to a fault. But dying is a pretty good alibi in this case.
Leland Owlsley (Bob Gunton) was pretty funny as he was far more worried about his own safety than anyone else’s. There’s still a pretty strong chance that Leland was involved in the poisoning, but I honestly don’t know if Madam Gao (Wai Ching Ho) or the Japanese mafia is behind the attempt on Fisk’s life. One thing we do learn is that the Japanese mob did get that stretch of properties in Hell’s Kitchen that they wanted…
After several episodes away, Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) finally made her return and got some closure with Matt. At the very least, Claire got a better sendoff this time as she and Matt mutually agreed that they can’t be together… as much as they might like that. It’s refreshing that the show didn’t go CW on us. But I still would have liked to have seen more of Claire this season on Daredevil. Hopefully Dawson will be back if Daredevil gets a second season order.
This episode was fairly light on Matt’s costumed alter ego, but the foundation was laid for his first real superhero costume. There’s actually been some very subtle buildup to Matt’s costume, as he recalls a moment in episode 9 when Fisk’s body armor protected him from harm. Matt eventually tracked down Melvin Potter (Matt Gerald), the mentally challenged man who made the body armor for Fisk.
For the non-comic book fans out there, Melvin’s Marvel Universe counterpart, Gladiator was one of Daredevil’s first enemies and also a costume designer. Tying Melvin into the origin of Daredevil’s superhero costume is a very neat tweak on the original continuity. Melvin and Matt and even find that they have some common ground in their desire to be free of Fisk. But before they reached that point, Melvin and Matt had another really fun fight scene that even used some callbacks to Melvin’s supervillain costume.
As for Foggy, he slept with his shark-like ex-girlfriend and kind of blew Karen off. But even though Foggy acknowledged that he and Matt are in a rough spot, the door to a reconciliation isn’t completely closed yet.
This episode effectively set the stage for the final two episodes of Daredevil season 1. I’m looking forward to seeing the fallout of Karen’s actions.