DAREDEVIL 1.12 ‘The Ones We Leave Behind’ Review
DAREDEVIL Season 1 Episode 12
Episode Title: “The Ones We Leave Behind”
Writer: Douglas Petrie
Director: Euros Lyn
Previously on Daredevil:
In my last review of Daredevil, I mentioned that either Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) or Ben Urich (Vondie Curtis-Hall) could have been expendable before the twist ending revealed that neither of them was going to die in that episode.
That luck ran out in the penultimate episode of Daredevil Season 1. So let’s get the spoiler warning out of the way and jump into it.
If you only have one season of Daredevil, then I can see killing off Ben Urich. It took me a while to warm up to this incarnation of Ben, but he’s a vital part of Daredevil’s supporting cast. I fully expect that Netflix and Marvel will decide to continue doing Daredevil seasons, but Ben’s absence leaves a hole that can’t easily be filled.
I’m sure that’s part of the reason that Ben was chosen for this episode’s dramatic death, as Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) drops by to apologize for thinking that Ben was irrelevant… right before murdering Ben for getting too close to Fisk’s mother. I hate to say it, but that is kind of Karen’s fault for dragging Ben upstate to see Marlene Vistain (Phyllis Somerville).
I think that Fisk was hoping that Ben was behind the death of James Wesley (Toby Leonard Moore) as well, but Fisk wasn’t so blinded by rage that he misread Ben’s reaction to Wesley’s name. If nothing else, Ben protected Karen one more time by insisting that he was alone when he visited Marlene.
We haven’t seen Fisk this vulnerable since his first date with Vanessa Marianna (Ayelet Zurer). While Fisk is relieved that Vanessa survived the attempt on her life, Wesley’s death devastates him. Fisk and Wesley called each other friends, and it was clearly a connection that they both felt. Karen is probably not out of the woods yet.
Speaking of Karen, Deborah Ann Woll convincingly portrayed her guilt even though she was justified in taking Wesley’s life. It seemed like a cheat that Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) didn’t sense any of Karen’s ordeal during their encounter at the end of the episode. But maybe Matt was simply too preoccupied with his own drama. And perhaps he’ll figure it out in the finale.
That last scene between Karen and Matt was a long time in coming. One of the few shortcomings of Daredevil Season 1 is that Matt and Karen barely had any scenes together with just the two of them. Here, Matt breaks down before admitting that he can’t do this alone and he even tells Karen about Stick without mentioning his name. Now, Karen and Matt actually have an emotional bond with each other.
Meanwhile, Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) is trying to coax a soul out of his ex-girlfriend, Marci Stahl (Amy Rutberg) while going after Fisk without Matt’s direct help. Although Foggy gave Matt the cold shoulder early in the episode, he also told Marci that he didn’t think that “the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen” was a terrorist. I think that the show is teasing a face turn for Marci, but it’s really hard to care about her. She reminds me of Maria Pitillo’s character from the really shitty 1998 Godzilla movie.
I have really enjoyed Vanessa on this series, and it looks like she’s becoming more and more like Fisk. Vanessa rejects Fisk’s attempt to get her out of the country and she even encourages his impulse to destroy the people who tried to poison them. But as it turns out, Vanessa really was the target of Madam Gao (Wai Ching Ho) and Leland Owlsley (Bob Gunton).
To a certain degree, that makes sense. Gao and Leland were the only two remaining members of Fisk’s criminal alliance, and they wanted Vanessa out of the way to bring out Fisk’s inner beast. More intriguingly, Gao seems to imply that she’s not quite of this world when she flattens Matt with a single blow and says that her homeland is much further away than China. K’un-Lun, perhaps? Maybe we’ll see Gao again in Iron Fist or The Defenders.
As always, Daredevil featured some great action sequences. But one of my favorite parts of the episode was Matt’s rooftop pursuit of the car transporting Gao’s blind drug mule. It’s also interesting that Gao insisted that her blind workers blinded themselves for her because they had faith. Faith in what, exactly?
Getting through Daredevil has been a real marathon and I’m not quite ready to leave this world just yet. But I still want to see how this plays out as soon as possible. The binge is almost over.