Friday, 20 November 2015

Review - 'Daredevil', S01E12 - 'The Ones We Leave Behind'

In the previous episode, we saw that Karen was, under the right circumstances, quite capable of crossing a line that Matt Murdock has, so far, refused to cross. With her life at risk, she grabbed hold of the first opportunity she was provided with to snatch up a gun and shoot Wesley - leaving him laying dead, as she made her escape. There is, of course, a strong argument to be made, here, that she simply did what was necessary - after all, she does not have Matt's enhanced sense, or his martial arts experience. All she really had was the gun she was able to snatch while Wesley was preoccupied with trying to intimidate her - that, and her willingness to use it.

Karen killed someone who was, clearly, a terrible person in order to save herself, and the people she cared for - but, despite this, it is still very clear to the audience that the act has taken a clear toll on her. It is, really, another of sign of the impressive devotion to 'realism' (even if of a very heightened sort) that we have often been shown with Daredevil. It would be too easy to imagine Karen being flippant and dismissive about the whole thing in the way that characters in other, similar, shows have been so often in the past. So, while it might seem like a small thing, the fact that they devoted some screen-time to showing us the consequences for Karen is appreciated.

Matt, meanwhile, continues with his efforts to bring down Fisk's criminal empire by targeting Madame Gao's heroin production operation. Gao (Wai Ching Ho) has always been the most mysterious of Fisk's allies - perhaps, even more so than Nobu. So, with that in mind, it was actually a little disappointing to see how easy it was, in the end, for Matt to bring her operation down and drive her from Hell's Kitchen. It simply wasn't nearly as exciting as Matt's fight against the Russians, or his tense stand-off with Nobu, had been - and, it feels like it really should have been. At the same time, though, it was certainly interesting to see the way in which Madame Gao seemed to casually dismiss the destruction of such a large, and successful, operation as something entirely unimportant.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Gao proves, in this episode, that there is actually much more to her than simply being the mysterious leader of the Triad presence in Hell's Kitchen. First of all, there is the simple that that it was actually Gao, along with Fisk's 'accountant' Owlsley (Bob Gunton), who was responsible for the poisoning that left Vanessa near death - something which she arranged in order to remove what she consider to be an unnecessary distraction for Fisk. Then, there's the fact that, despite being an already woman who clearly needs a cane in order to walk, she is still capable of hitting with enough force to knock Matt to the ground during the brief moment in which their paths cross. And, then, she simply leaves - leaving nothing behind but hints of her true identity that probably wont be revealed to the audience until Iron Fist is eventually released.

Fisk, meanwhile, decides that it's well past time that he start 'cleaning house' - finally getting 'hands on' with his efforts to get revenge on those who have hurt, and betrayed, him. Madame Gao may be out of reach, but there is still Owlsley.

But, it's not just the poisoning that Fisk feels the need to avenge, anymore - there is also the matter of the death of the man Fisk considered to be his only true friend. As he attempts to uncover the truth of what happened to Wesley, Fisk also learns of the unexpected visitors his mother had received - though, this time, Fisk's mother (who is clearly suffering from some form of dementia) is only able to recall the older black man who had visited her, and not the young woman - leading Fisk directly to Ben Urich. The result is a tense confrontation between the two men - one which gave us the latest in a long line of great moments for Wilson Fisk, and one of only a small handful for Ben Urich, who remains a character that was frustratingly underused, even at the end.

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