TV Review: Daredevil (1×12) “The Ones We Leave Behind”

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“Welcome back to my weekly/daily review and recap of “Daredevil.” To catch up on previous coverage, click here

“Yes, the world fell apart. Didn’t you notice?”

So, let’s mention that Karen problem again. On the one hand, it’s amazing that she was allowed the upper hand on her attacker at the end of the last episode, a rare moment of giving complete agency to her character even if it resulted in violence. Sure, I’m wary of her dependence being alcohol once Foggy and Matt are emotionally unavailable, but it certainly is a step up. It’s also nice when you realize how she’s been the active assailant on Fisk since the beginning and that even with a heavy threat looming overhead she still wishes to find justice.

I need more of abrasive Karen and less of the Karen who’s written childishly. It seems unnecessary to harp on her characterization so much but when she’s the female lead, it’s hard to ignore certain inconsistencies. Hopefully this will be all remedied by the recently announced season two. For now we can all just appreciate how nice of a performance Deborah Ann Woll is giving. She and Elden Henson really grew into their roles as the season progressed.

The fallout of Wesley’s death doesn’t end with Karen, and we get a surprisingly touching scene with Fisk that packs much more emotional gravitas than anything he’s shared with Vanessa, thus far. He see’s his friends body in a warehouse and he sits down next to him and holds his hand. It’s another layer being stripped away from this villain that continues to confirm the idea that he still a little kid who’s grown up into this larger than life figurehead of a crime organization. This plays out even more later in an unsettling scene with Ben.

But more on that later.

Matt is spending his time avoiding Foggy and trying to find out where else Fisk’s influence lies which involves him tracking blind dealers.

I’m going to go ahead and assume that the rooftop, flying squirrel, parkour showdown that Matt performed in daylight was supposed to be purposefully comical. I mean, how else do you explain it? It’s just plain silly and campy in a way that the show has rarely been so far in its run so playing it for laughs is the only explanation I’ve got.

It’s just ridiculous.

What he finds, however, is not and he faces more horror than he would have expected even if his target is a heroin den.

Matt in the heroin den of Madame Gao is an appropriately upsetting scene both for the viewer and the character. Charlie Cox plays Matt’s disgust visibly on his face when he realizes that all of the workers are blind. Matt has been well acquainted with the underbelly of his city for a while now and he knows that it’s full of danger and deceit but this is a new type of depravity that even he isn’t accustomed to. You can see the shock he goes through and how it unsettles him for a moment, allowing for Gao to gain an upper hand. She bodily forces him away (implying there’s more to her than meets the eye) and manages to get away. Matt is only just able to save the factory workers as the building goes up in flames.

We’ve been privy in the past to just how wonderfully human Matt Murdock is. Fights not just bounce of him and his adrenaline only gets him so far with his movements becoming more and more lethargic as the fights go on. It is new to see him so alarmed by actions that aren’t against him which makes his talk with Karen all the more significant.

He’s tired- emotionally and physically. Matt has take a beating as of late. All of this adds up to a poignant moment between he and Karen. He can tell she’s tired as well, although he doesn’t know of what, and he unloads. He tells her that someone he used to consider a friend told him he’d have to push the ones he loved away to do what he does and that he’d believed he wouldn’t have to. Now he see’s himself doing just that and it scares him. As he tells her he had a really shitty night after seeing the worst examples of humanity and the idea of doing it alone is crippling. Cox reads every word with a note of exhaustion, playing Matt to seem younger than he is with open vulnerability.

All of this leads us to the end where a night that couldn’t get much worse for the characters does just that. I won’t say that I’m surprised that Ben died, if only because there’s been narrative hints up until this point, embedded in the scripts for each episode. It’s simple but there. Every time Ben or Karen told each other goodnight, or hung up the phone, I expected one of them to meet their end. Because, when it’s pointed out in the script that a character expects to see someone the next day, after a meaningful conversation or a touching moment, wouldn’t the dramatic effect be all the greater if one of them weren’t able to make that call?

Dramatic effect be damned. Sure I’m not surprised but it seemed too soon in the series to kill off a character that had proved to be so interesting up to that point. Sure, his anti-millennial bullshit annoyed me just like anyone else who thinks the internet is the enemy to journalism does, but his dynamic with Karen was sweet. The showdown between he and Fisk happens more with words than violence because once Fisk says he’s going to kill him, it’s a done deal considering even Matt had a difficult time. It’s a violent scene and a distressing way to watch a character we’ve come to care about go.

It’s a strong episode that sets up the finale quite nicely.

8/10

She is a 23 year old in Boston MA. She is hugely passionate about film, television and writing. Along with theyoungfolks, she also is a contributor over at TheMarySue.com . You can contact her on Twitter (@AllysonAJ) or via email: allyson@theyoungfolks.com.